Backpack or Suitcase?

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Many people have strong preferences when it comes to traveling with a suitcase versus traveling with a backpack. Both types of luggage have strengths and weaknesses, however, and what suits you best will depend on your travel style and the particulars of your trip.

Backpacks win in terms of mobility and flexibility. If your itinerary calls for a lot of moving around from place to place, rather than settling in to one hotel and staying there for a while, a backpack may be your best bet. Backpacks are a lot handier if you have to run to make a bus or a plane, and if you find yourself on foot, you’ll almost always be happier to have a backpack. They leave your hands free and distribute weight evenly, and because many of them are designed for outdoor adventures, they do very well in rugged locations.

Suitcases come out on top in terms of durability, access, and ability to keep your clothes looking good. Whereas backpacks are designed for outdoor adventures, suitcases tend to be designed around the needs of business travelers. As such, suitcases are made to keep their contents intact. A hard-shell case can take a serious pounding, and if you want to keep a particular outfit clean and wrinkle-free, you’re going to have a much easier time accomplishing this if you pack it in a suitcase instead of stuffing it into a backpack. Suitcases also give you easier access to your belongings than do backpacks, which often only provide quick access to items at the very top of the pack.

So depending on your trip, either a suitcase or a backpack could be the best choice for you. You’ll probably want a backpack if you’re planning an active, adventurous vacation where you’ll be rushing from plane to train to bus and visiting more rural or rugged locations. If you’re planning a week of fine dining, shopping, and museum visits in Paris, however, chances are you’ll be much happier with a suitcase instead.

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