Where will you go? How will you travel? and What will you do? The answers to these questions will make easier on you to make up your mind how to pack and prepare for the trip and most importantly what kind of bag to choose for your travels. The truth is that there isn’t one right answer for all types of travel.
It won’t be so hard to make up your mind when choosing between these two I suppose simply because they are intended and suitable for different occasions, locations, and terrain. Nevertheless, we are looking here for the ones that are around a carry-on size.
Suitcases on wheels are a great option for airports and flat surfaces like sidewalks when you probably use a taxi or car to take you to the final destination. Wherever your travels take you, don’t hesitate to bring your belongings in style on wheels. You can simply roll from one terminal to another catching your connections with ease. Now, regardless of the type of the suitcase you settle on, you want to look out for a couple of things: the expandable handle needs to be long enough that it’ll be comfortable for you when you roll it around and the wheels are much better when they are aligned with the suitcase. If they are sticking out they are going to break easier. Finally, having a lighter carry-on might mean you’ll be able to pick it up and put it in the overhead compartment in the plane with less effort or you can pack more stuff in it.
Backpacks, on the other hand, are for more adventurous vacations, dirt roads or when you’ll have to walk a lot, especially in the cities, changing many ways of transport, such as buses, trains or metros. With a backpack on your back, you definitely move easier conquering all those stairs on the way with no problem at all. That’s why any traveler gets easily attached to his backpack very soon. It becomes his best friend. You carry everything you need in it and its convenient to bring it wherever you go. It has that easy going feeling of spontaneous traveling. You can just stash your gear quickly and simply hit the road.
This would mean that you’ll pack your suitcase when your travel is of a more formal nature, wedding, funeral or business meeting for example. In this case, nicely packed wrinkle-free clothes are what you’ll need foremost. And a suitcase has way better organizing space where you can arrange and find your clothes with ease. Above when nicely folded up, the clothes will be ready-to-wear with no additional ironing. Anyhow, when you find yourself in a situation where you have to deal with a few wrinkles a much better way to make them all gone if you use a hair dryer instead of an iron.
* You just pull the fabric, make sure is straight, turn the dryer on hot and blow on the spot where the wrinkles are. The wrinkles will be gone in a matter of seconds.
Clothes are definitely easier to be found in a suitcase than in a backpack. They have compartments to keep your belongings well-organized, and elastic cross-straps to minimize the shifting of the content. Backpacks open at the top, so you can easily get only to the clothes packed on the top. If you want to get something from the bottom, you’ll have to unpack and take out everything, take what you need and pack it back again which is a hassle. Moreover, the clothes are almost impossible to be packed folded in a backpack, but you have to roll them instead. The only way you can do when backpacking is rolling your clothes, packing and arranging with the backpack in the vertical position. So, unless your clothes are from fabrics that won’t make any wrinkles you’ll have difficulty preparing yourself for such occasions.
Backpacks are lightweight and more practical though. They come with so many pockets, easy to reach for things you need to have at hand, sleeves to organize your electronics and water bottle pockets. Suitcases at best have only one pocket while the hard-shell ones have none. They don’t have front pockets so if you want to get anything out of the suitcase you have to open the entire thing. It’s good to have a pocket for the laptop, for example, that is easily accessible when you go through the security and need to take it out.
If you want to roll your suitcase on the sand, dirt roads or cobblestone streets most likely it won’t survive the trip. When you start rolling that wheels on the cobblestone alleys the chances are that very soon you might be left wheelless and deaf. The noise can be so annoying. Although a rolling suitcase will carry most of your weight for you, the fact is that the wheels and handles on the suitcases are often plastic and they can easily break or stuck too. And when that happens bags become very hard and difficult to be carried in hand. So, you’ll be stuck with repairs of the plastics on your bag too. It’s always a good thing to bring spare wheels with you instead of buying a new suitcase though. Above all, that plastic will only add unnecessary weight to your luggage. They are also tough to be maneuvered on stairs and in crowds. And there is plenty of that on public areas such as train or metro stations. So, unless you are taking a cab straight from the airport or the area has very good accessibility and nice sidewalks, the suitcase won’t be such a good idea.
When it comes to safety and securing your belongings undoubtedly the hard-shell suitcases are the best. Especially when you need to pack breakable and fragile things. Although they can look a bit bulky, the shell will give that necessary protection to the content of the suitcase and you’ll need only one locker to make sure nobody will steal anything or that someone unauthorized will open the luggage without your presence and consent. They are pretty much theft-proof.
But, functional backpacks for active vacations could be just the right choice for some travelers. They can be weather resistant with adjustable hip belts to release the weight of your shoulders. Some countries are great for budget-conscious backpackers. If you pack light and plan on doing laundry more often, then you can backpack other countries and experience foreign cultures in a more local and budget-minded way. People that travel a lot are well aware of how costly and timely checking a bag is. So, they take advantage of traveling with a carry-on luggage when flying with planes avoiding all those unnecessary fees for the checked-in luggage on the way and save on their budget a big time.
All in all, as I already mentioned before, you can travel in class on wheels or have a more adventurous approach on foot. Both types of luggage are good in certain circumstances but at the same time can very much ruin your trip and holiday if you opt-in for the wrong one that won’t match the nature of your trip.