I always said I would never be a backpack person. I think there is nothing glamorous about lugging around a backpack, ruining your outfit and hurting your back. You also can’t pack as much and it’s often harder to organise and find your items in there. Not to mention that I’ve heard stories of people’s straps being ripped of by conveyer belts at airports, making it extremely difficult to carry their heavy luggage around.
However, 2 weeks into my Europe trip and I have started thinking that a backpack wouldn’t be a bad idea…
So far I have stayed at 6 different places of accommodation in the last 2 weeks. Most places have a fair few flights of stairs to tackle. And it’s become very annoying having to deal with a heavy suitcase being dragged up stairs. I’m pretty sure my suitcase has been dragged up 20 flights of stairs so far (no, I’m not exaggerating). It was a brand new suitcase when I brought it with me and it’s already looking destroyed.
It’s also been a pain having to drag it for long distances. Even though it is a light suitcase with decent wheels and a handle, it’s difficult to be pulling along those 25kgs for more than 100m. I’ve got sore arms from dragging it around. It also doesn’t fit very well in places of accommodation. Most European hostels or hotels do not cater for big suitcases, in other words, the rooms are just too small .
It’s also really really annoying being in a crowd and trying to make your way through with a heavy suitcase. I have experienced this each time I got off the ferry at the islands in Greece. I literally could not get through the crowds because people were everywhere!
In hindsight, using a backpack would have been a better idea.
Whilst it may have been harder to find my clothes, if you look at the state of my suitcase right now then I don’t think it really matters that much. If I’m hungover and trying to move quickly from one place to another I will just shove everything in there and zip it up. It’s nice to know I can do that so quickly, but I still have to constantly go through and repack the suitcase, just as I would with a backpack.
I saw one girl who had a backpack with wheels and a handle… If I knew that this hybrid existed maybe I could have bought that? I at least should have brought a smaller size suitcase. It would have made life a little bit easier. Well, maybe…
I think that this has been a big lesson for me.
So, what have I learnt from this?
- A suitcase would be fine if I was staying in one main place of accommodation, and I didn’t have to deal with public transport or dragging it behind me for long distances
- If going to multiple places in a short amount of time, a backpack will be the way to go. Harder to pack nit obviously worth it.
- When it comes to organisation, It doesn’t matter if you have a suitcase or bag – if you’re not organised in one, you won’t be in the other.
This has made me seriously reconsider my packing options for when I go to Cambodia. Being a developing country, I don’t think my bright blue suitcase would be suitable, even if I am staying in the same place for the majority of the time. I think it will actually be easier in the long run if I chose a backpack over a suitcase for the next trip.
What do you guys think – are you a fan of the suitcase or the backpack?