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Backpack vs. suitcase? Our decision.

Backpack vs. suitcase? Our decision.

With 85 days until our round-the-world adventure, each day of planning and pre-trip preparation is becoming more and more important. With that in mind, we recently journeyed to the nearby outdoor supplies store determined to find ourselves some backpacks for our upcoming travels.

After spending nearly an hour browsing and trying on the different sizes and types of packs available, a revelation suddenly hit us.

Do we even need backpacks?

We went home and did some serious thinking, quickly realizing that the answer to our question was a strong and resounding no!

Despite all the great reasons provided by our Facebook fans as to why backpacks were a better option for them than suitcases, the reasons they provided just didn’t match the requirements for our journey. So when we do depart for Hawaii in under 3 months time, we’ll be wheeling a pair of suitcases behind us.


Amy's pink suitcase will see more action on our RTW!

We’re aware that the whole backpack vs. suitcase debate has been done to death but we still thought it would be worthwhile sharing our reasons for choosing a suitcase instead of a backpack, particularly as it is going against what many of our readers believe.

A suitcase is easier to pack/unpack

Although we’re traveling as slowly as we can, having easy access to our luggage is important. Not having to rummage through an entire backpack to find what we’re looking for is a big advantage for us!

We’re not planning on walking extensively with our luggage

Our current plans don’t involve hiking (or walking extensively in urban areas for that matter!) with all of our material possessions on us. The plan when arriving in a new city is to drop off our luggage and then go exploring. This obviously plays a big part in our decision to choose a suitcase over a backpack.

The destination

Our first destination had a big impact on our decision. Because we’re starting in the USA, we’re confident that the roads and sidewalks in America can handle our suitcases with wheels. Rough terrain such as gravel roads or cobblestone footpaths will surely be a rarity. Plus, we’re more likely to look like tourists in America if we’re walking around with backpacks than we would with suitcases (at least that’s what we’re thinking).

Easier to handle/no physical exertion

The last thing we want is for Amy to fall on her back and not be able to get up again, looking just like a turtle! That’s a strong possibility if we’re carrying around backpacks (it’s happened to a friend of ours!) – so being able to wheel around our luggage is the favorable option until we have a greater need to travel with backpacks.

We can always change our mind!

When we do decide where to go after North America, then we can re-assess our options and decide whether to make the switch to backpacks for the next leg of our journey. Perhaps all we need is a visit to REI and we’ll be converted? But that’s a decision for another day.

We do understand that there are downsides to taking a suitcase with wheels. There may be occasions where we need to carry our suitcases up stairs but we definitely see this as the exception and not the norm. Regardless, I think we’ve made the right decision… do you?

Do you travel with a backpack or a suitcase? Share your reasons in the comments and tell us whether you think we’ve made the right decision.