Best Travel Luggage for Your Next Adventure
So you need to decided whether to take a suitcase or backpack on your next trip and then which size. Here are some tips that will help you decide which is the best travel luggage for your next adventure.
Best Travel Luggage or Backpack?
To help you choose, think about your budget for accommodation / transport and how many changes of location you will be doing during the trip.
So are you travelling for two weeks, but visiting seven cities and staying two days in each?
Maybe you are travelling slowly for one month and moving places just once?
A backpack is an obvious choice for when you plan to move from place to place a lot (think every three days and travelling for three months). A backpack is more suitable if you’re planning on budget modes of transport like buses and the metro. I switched to a suitcase when I determined I wanted to stay a month renting an apartment in one city.
If you are not moving to a new place at least every week the suitcase vs backpack question is not such an important one.
If you need to jump on public transport and are moving every few days then go with a backpack. A backpack is easier than a suitcase to transport when the roads are uneven or there are no sidewalks.
Even travelling to big developed cities like Rome and Paris if you never move around it’s not a big deal. However, moving around on and off transportation, down cobble roads, streets with no ramps up to the curb, buildings with no elevators these can be easier to travel with a backpack.
If you are a person who always takes a taxi or car everywhere and barely goes on public transport when moving accommodation then take a suitcase for your trip.
Best Travel Luggage: A Small Bag
Aside from a backpack or a suitcase, I always have a small shoulder bag with me. A 10 litre size, this is a manbag, it allows me to have easy access to the most important things. This can also be used as a day bag when walking around a city or going to the beach. Because I have this small bag with me, I don’t need to have easy access to my backpack or suitcase, to pull out a jacket or anything while in transit.
My personal preference is a shoulder bag, as I can use it easily with a backpack as there are no straps to get in the way. I can also rest it on top of my suitcase if I travel with one. Usually I wear my bag over one shoulder or across my chest if I want more security. I can keep it in-front of me and tight across my chest if need be.
On public transport, I can put my main bag away and just have my small bag with me. The bag also rolls up and I can put it in my main carry on bag when I am at the airport. I can then take it out again once on board the plane if I want to.
Airlines sometimes force people to check in bags at the gate if the plane is full and there is no more space in the overhead compartments. They discriminate against cases with wheels and make people with them check the bag in. Whereas backpacks are still able to be taken on the flight. If this happens and you have a small bag, transfer any essentials to the small bag so you can have them on the flight.
Best Travel Luggage – Backpack Tips
I hate top loading backpacks where items at the bottom are not easily accessible. Buy a backpack that opens up like a suitcase with a zip opening the main compartment and one at the top.
A good backpack can be more comfortable and convenient than a suitcase when travelling on a budget. Especially if you don’t go over 10kg of weight. I have used my backpack as a backrest many times!
The only time I would have my backpack with me is during the transit from accommodation to accommodation.
For buying a backpack I use Decathlon for getting the best travel luggage. I like their Quechua brand. Here is the backpack style I use and recommend. The black 40 litres bag which is just small enough to squeeze into hand luggage. This is a high quality backpack and costs £60. Or the blue 60L bag is the size I recommend if you want bigger than hand luggage, but not so big that it breaks your back! The blue bag is a bargain at £40. Click the images to see technical details and buy the backpacks.
An empty backpack weighs less than a suitcase. If you are trying to fly with only 7kg hand baggage allowance then this is important.
A backpack is quieter.
A backpack is easier to shove inside the measuring device that airlines use for carry on bags.
Carrying a backpack is weight lifting. At the start of my first backpacking trip I could barely make it to the tube station with my backpack only a five minute walk from my house. When I returned six months later I could walk around a city for a few hours with my backpack and go up flights of stairs no problem.
Backpacks get you sweaty and smelly in hot countries.
When people see a backpack they think of you as a tourist, but one with less money.
Some nice places and hotel staff are prejudiced against people with a backpack.
If you don’t pack light or aren’t strong, carrying the bag is a challenge.
Suitcase Backpack Hybrid
If you are sick of backpacks, but don’t want a suitcase, the suitcase backpack is for you!
Make sure the bag is comfortable on your back for when you use that option.
Don’t get the bigger version (80L) and overloaded it, then you can’t really use it as a backpack. This defeats the purpose and you may as well just buy a suitcase. Buy the smaller version (40L – 60L) or don’t buy one.
Suitcase Backpack Downsides
It’s heavier than a backpack and about the same weight as a suitcase, maybe even heavier than some lightweight suitcases.
These bags have only two wheels not four wheels. Once you have tried four wheels, there is no going back to two wheels!
The only drawback really is that the handle and wheels take up a bit more space. Look for one that allows you to tuck the straps away for when you’re wheeling it. This is an important feature.
To conclude, I hope after reading this you can decide which is the best travel luggage for your next trip.
Learn how to improve at packing less by reading How to pack like a pro for your next flight