Backpack or Rolling Luggage?

Delsey Suitcase

If you’re taking your first trip one of the biggest questions you will tackle is what to carry all your stuff in! This can be a hard decision and can greatly depend on where you’re going and the type of traveling that you’re doing. Let’s break it down a little to help make this decision a bit easier.

Backpack Pros

  • Using a backpack gives you full use of your arms which comes in handy (get it?!). Access to your hands allows you to hold tight on public transport, quickly access money and ID at the airport, and buy last minute snacks.
  • You can easily navigate stairs. Pretty much anywhere in the world you’ll encounter stairs, which are easier to tackle without holding many things. Escalators and elevators are hardly a guarantee.
  • Backpacks can actually be more comfortable if you’ve got one that fits well.
  • Packs fit tightly to your body so that you can easily navigate crowded streets since you’re likely to happen upon some touristy spots during your travels.
  • Many hostels have personal lockers, which backpacks can fit quite nicely in. This also means your belongings will be secure.

Backpack Cons

  • Most travels include an airport at one point or another and unfortunately the conveyor belts and baggage handlers are not always so gentle on your backpack. Most packs also have straps that can get caught in the conveyor belts and get torn off or damaged.
  • If you’re the type to over pack, then using a backpack will hurt your back quickly with all that weight on it.
  • A backpack of high quality usually costs more than a suitcase of equal quality.
  • Having a backpack on you can get sweaty quickly; this isn’t for everyone!


Rolling Luggage Pros

  • Luggage can get heavy quickly and it’s much easier to roll it along than to have to carry it. This works great if you’re going places with smooth and wide streets.
  • Organizing your belongings is simplest in a suitcase since they fully open allowing access to all parts.
  • Suitcases are built to deal with the roughness of airlines and are less likely to become damaged while they’re out of your hands.
  • Trying to pack light can be stressful but with a suitcase you don’t have to worry about weight since you’re never carrying it.

Rolling Luggage Cons

  • Stairs will be the death of you. Every time you encounter stairs you’ll probably hate your wheeled luggage but you may get lucky enough to find people around you who will help.
  • If a wheel breaks, you’ll probably need a new suitcase. This can happen pretty easily too on rough streets or cobble stones.
  • Dealing with dragging luggage behind you in crowds can be a hassle you may not want to deal with.
  • Many trains have their luggage compartments above the seats so it’s important that you can still lift your suitcase to get it up there.
  • Hostels don’t usually have space to store suitcases. They might have space in a basement but then it becomes an inconvenience every time you need something out of it.
  • Suitcases themselves tend to weight more than a backpack which can be a probably if you want to use it as a carry-on on a plane.


The Verdict

For me, I will always stick with a backpack. That’s coming from a healthy lady in her early 20s. Your physical ability will greatly affect this decision but if you can manage it, a backpack may be more physically straining at times but is overall more convenient and creates less hassle.

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