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Open Travel Diary: Suitcase vs. Backpack

On the road, your luggage is like a shell to a tortoise – a home. In it are the items that become your world for the duration of your travels, journeying with you from place to place. The type of luggage you choose is therefore an important decision for a traveler.

We have suitcases and backpacks, and decide which one(s) to bring depending on the nature and location of travel. If we are traveling to a place where we won’t be doing a lot of walking with the luggage itself, then we would likely go with the suitcase. An example would be in a situation where we only need to go a short distance from the airport to a hotel.

We don’t just consider the walking factor though. Suitcases may be more of a hassle on some modes of transport or in some locations where certain facilities are lacking. Cities in Japan generally have excellent streets for wheeling a suitcase, but train stations can be nightmarish. Many train stations don’t have elevators or only have them to certain areas of the station or particular platforms. On our recent domestic trip in Japan’s Kansai region, we opted for our backpacks as we were traveling long distances on trains with many transfers which meant lots of going up and down stairs. With minimal space on the train, it can often be easier to throw your backpack up onto the racks than trying to do this with a large suitcase or having to hold on to it as it wheels about on a moving train.

On long trips, we would almost always opt for backpacks as we find them to be more versatile for our travel style and for a variety of locations and situations.

So we want to know, what’s your travel luggage of choice? Do you prefer a suitcase or backpack? And if you have both, in what situations do you use them?

Join the conversation by commenting below.

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Open Travel Diary: Suitcase vs. Backpack | Notes of Nomads

Thursday 10th of January 2013

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Britt Skrabanek

Monday 7th of January 2013

Backpack all the way! For the sake of ease and not paying that bloody fee to check in luggage, my hubby and I switched over to a carry-on backpack years ago. It is so much easier to get around and it's also a fun challenge to pack with a goal of simplicity, to be less high maintenance about the whole travel wardrobe and just be creative.

Jessica Korteman

Sunday 27th of January 2013

Wow, that's amazing! Not sure we can get our stuff down to carry-on packs for a RTW trip, especially because we usually bring things that have to be checked like Swiss Army knives. But the idea of only bringing what you can carry-on sounds like a fun challenge. Certainly minimalism is key and multi-purpose items or items that you can make multi-purpose by inventing new ways to use them is a fun lesson in creativity. We'll see just how low we can go as we get closer to leaving time!

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