So you have your boarding pass printed, your items are laid out, but the packing dilemma still hasn’t been solved. Do you stuff it all in a backpack or do you bring the luggage?

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People can argue about which is more superior but really – it depends on how you travel, and many more factors!

1. Itinerary

This is an important decision-maker. Backpacks are the go-to for people who are constantly on the move from city to city, covering different terrains or who rely heavily on public transportation. Plus, lockers at most hostels can only accommodate little space, so a backpack is ideal. If you’re going to stay put in longer in one place or have most transportation chartered for you, a suitcase is fine.

Once you’ve decided on which to bring, research for your needs. For example, choose an accommodation with an elevator to avoid dragging your stuff up staircases and stay somewhere near a metro for better accessibility. 

2. Mobility

We’ve all been there: you’re about to catch your plane and you have 15 minutes before the gate closes. The knee-jerk reaction is to run for it, of course! With a backpack, the weight is distributed on your back and hips, and your hands are free – making that sprint across the airport a lot easier.

On the other hand, dragging the luggage can slow you down, and your hands aren’t as free. Stairs and cobblestone streets are also a suitcase’s worst enemy. They are pretty heavy to lift if you’re alone, and bumpy surfaces will damage the wheels.

3. Impression

There are great backpacks out there with designs that are easy on the eyes, but there is no beating that polished look when someone strolls by you with their luggage.

Case in point:


Credit: Wallets Online

I know how out of place it feels like to arrive somewhere swanky with a 60-litre load on your back. For a moment there I wished that it would transform itself into a Tumi suitcase! They are a favourite among professionals for good reason – they look smart and you get to avoid a sweaty back! Luggage repels stains and smells better than a backpack too.

4. Protection

The suitcase wins here, hands down. The sturdy exterior is durable and can withstand the battering of travel, especially as a checked bag. The shell of a hard-sided luggage is best at protecting fragile items and valuables.


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If It’s Hip It’s Here 

The softer fabric of a backpack is easily torn, and their many straps can get tangled or caught on conveyor belts. It takes a little more effort, but there are ways to prevent theft when using a backpack such as a cable lock or an eXomesh.


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5. Organization

Packing a suitcase is like fitting puzzle pieces together. Because of the shape, it is easy to maximize the space and you can use packing cubes to separate items (eg toiletries, sweaters, shoes). Open it up and you’ll have easy access to what you need as compared to a backpack.

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Packing cubes can be used for backpacks too, and there are more pockets for storage of specific items. However, top-loading backpacks are a headache to rummage through, and your clothes will most likely be crumpled.

The avoidable nightmare!

Credit: Suitcase Or Satchel

6. Limitations

Do you have a bad back? Are you travelling with somebody who has weak knees or small kids who can’t possibly lift a heavy backpack? A good, lightweight luggage is a solution to your concerns then! Be honest with yourself – if you know you have a tendency to go overboard when shopping, carry an extra foldable bag like this to store your purchases. Still skeptical? Just get the luggage.

7. Multi-purpose

The backpacks normally used for travel are actually designed for multi-day hikes or alpine climbing. If you are into that sort of thing, it’s like getting two for the price of one! Mine has also been useful as a pillow on sleeper buses and trains.

When in transit or waiting for a delay in transportation, your suitcase can double as a make-do seat! With children around, you might even get to use it like this :


Credit: Giphy

To sum it up for you,

Luggage: Perfect for work trips and travelling with family. The choice for checked baggage and the traveller with style in mind.

Backpack: Great for the independent traveller who will be bouncing from one place to the other. Ready for roughness and a little adventure.

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