There are backpack people and there are suitcase people. Both people spend hundreds on their luggage of choice, whether it be an 85L top loader backpack with a multitude of separate compartments or a hard suitcase with 4 spinner wheels and a portable charger built into it. 

Disclaimer: If you know me, you know I’m partial to one option, but that’s neither here nor there and I promise to remain objective in this comparison!

What does my audience prefer to travel with?

Why should I travel with a suitcase?

They’re much easier to pack than a backpack.

There are typically two separate compartments in the 2 halves of the case that harmoniously zip shut (if you’ve packed well enough). It’s a standard shape which is much more conducive to packing than a backpack may be, and they can even come with fancy upgrades like portable chargers built into them! 

Generally speaking, suitcases are much more forgiving than backpacks, especially when so many people deal with back, shoulder, and hip issues.

Suitcases allow you to not have to heave a bag onto your back every time you move, and you don’t have to worry about finding the perfectly comfortable fit for you.

Suitcases can be much more convenient.

Suitcases are more convenient to transport if you aren’t having to worry about taking public transportation or walking over cobblestones and sand. They obviously save lots of trouble and backaches since you aren’t having to constantly take them on and off every time you sit down.

Why Shouldn’t I Travel with a suitcase?

Suitcases can also be much less convenient.

Suitcases can be difficult to navigate public transportation with. Many stations lack escalators, so carrying a heavy suitcase up stairs could pose some problems and risks. 

Keep in mind what sort of destination you’re going to and how you will be getting to your accomodation.

Are you staying in a pedestrian-only part of a city where you have to trek down a cobblestone street? Are you staying at an accommodation that requires you to walk across unpaved surfaces?

Suitcases don’t like cobblestones, dirt, or sand. You run the risk of breaking the wheels or getting your case stuck, which could end up being incredibly annoying to deal with.

Suitcases can be expensive to repair or replace, and it’s incredibly common for cases (especially hard ones) to be damaged during transit. Most manufacturers don’t have a warranty for damage done, so if it becomes unusable, you’ll have to end up purchasing a brand new one.

Why should I travel with a backpack? 

For able bodied travelers, backpacks are SO convenient.

Backpacks can make moving from one place to another very easy, especially if you’re walking or taking public transportation. There is no worry about having to drag it up flights of stairs, as it is essentially an extension of you.

Keep in mind what sort of destination you’re going to and how you will be getting to your accomodation.

Backpacks make for much better options when in destinations where you’ll be walking across cobblestone or unpaved surfaces. There won’t be any worrying about wheels being broken or stuck, and they aren’t as awkward to maneuver. 

Backpack manufacturers are usually fantastic.

Most reputable pack manufacturers have amazing repair warranties, meaning if your pack tears or breaks, you may be able to send it back to them for repair or replacement. Each manufacturer’s details differ, but it makes the price of good packs worth it. 

Backpacks force you to pack light.

If you’re looking to save a few bucks, backpacks can be great options because they typically force you to avoid overpacking and may allow you to travel carry on only. This makes travel and transit much easier and more efficient, as you are able to skip the baggage claim and start your adventure right away. 

Why Shouldn’t I Travel with a Backpack?

Backpacks aren’t for everyone, and that’s okay!

Many people physically are not able to travel with a backpack for a multitude of reasons. You have to be decently healthy and not have major issues with your back, shoulders, hips, etc. in order to comfortably transport a 15+kg pack whilst traveling. 

Backpacks limit the amount of things that can be packed.

Unless you’re walking around with an 85L pack, you’ll likely be able to fit much less into your travel backpack than a suitcase. While it’s still VERY possible to overpack a backpack, you may run out of room for the essentials. 

Backpacks can be difficult to replace or repair while on the road.

Unfortunately, accidents happen and your bag may end up torn or unusable in the middle of your trip. This can trigger an issue because backpacks are much more difficult to find in stores, especially outside of large cities. Suitcases are still the preferred type of luggage for a majority of the world, so where you’re likely to find a suitcase replacement whilst traveling, the same cannot be said for backpacks. 

So with all that being said…which luggage option is best?

This is really going to depend on what kind of traveler you can be and what kind of traveler you want to be. 

For those who are able-bodied adventurers who have nothing to hold you back…

I say go for a backpack! I can’t begin to describe the freedom that transitioning to backpacking has given me in my travels, especially when including multiple destinations in one trip. They make transit SO much easier and thus far, I’ve saved hundreds of dollars by not having to pay checked baggage fees on many different airlines.

If you have physical limitations or like having all your options…

A suitcase will likely be a better option for you! You could still utilize smaller suitcases if traveling carry-on only is something you’re interested in doing, meaning you could also save hundreds on baggage fees. It’s not worth risking injuring yourself to use a backpack when there are underlying issues that make it painful or uncomfortable, so opt for a suitcase with spinners that can wheel right along side of you.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Tiff

    I love my osprey that I was recommended by my good friend 😉

    Never going back to a suitcase (especially for extended trips)!

    1. Taylor

      Yessss Osprey packs for life!!

  2. Kyle

    I concur with Tiff, my osprey backpack is the best and I would never get a suitcase unless I absolutely could no longer travel with a backpack. So much more convenient! Although i do get a lil sweaty walking miles with a back back on 😫

    1. Taylor

      So glad you’re a fellow fan of Osprey packs!!

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