While you’re abroad, you’re bound to be traveling a TON. You’ll probably be lugging around a few days’ worth of stuff almost every weekend, so you’ll want to carry your things in a way that’s comfortable for you and your travel style. So the question that many study abroad-ers have is…
Should you use a backpack or a suitcase when traveling?
And we’ll help you answer it! Read on for pros and cons of using a suitcase versus a travel backpack while you’re studying abroad, as well as our suggestions for both.
• You or one of your family members probably already have one, which means you won’t have to shell out the cash for a new one.
• It’s easy to measure, so you’ll be able to tell whether it will pass as a carry-on bag or not, which can save you from headaches at check-in.
• They are usually rigid in nature which can help protect your valuable belongings and souvenirs.
• If your bag is super heavy (or you’re not very strong), it’s much easier to roll it around than to carry that weight on your back.
• They can be difficult to roll around and handle in small spaces or on tricky terrain.
• Suitcases aren’t stairway friendly, and not every hostel and airport will have elevators!
• If used a lot, suitcases can get damaged or experience wear and tear
• Suitcases can be bulky and may add an extra few pounds to your bag weight.
1. Traveler’s Choice Cambridge 20 in. Hardsided Spinner, $56.99
2. NCAA Denco 21-Inch Carry On Luggage, $72.43
3. Rockland 20 Inch Carry On Skin, $56.99
4. Jetstream Carry On Suitcase On Wheels, $34.97
5. American Tourister Luggage Splash 21″ Upright Suitcase, $42.29
6. Rockland Luggage Melbourne 20 Inch Expandable Carry On, $54.99
• They come in a bunch of accommodating sizes and shapes depending on your needs and body type.
• Backpacks are versatile– they can be used for both weekend trips and hiking or camping.
• They can be taken through any terrain, whether it be a paved and polished airport or the dirt roads of the Amazon
• They’re durable and made to withstand the wear and tear that comes from traveling. Companies like Gregory and Osprey both have fantastic customer service guarantees that any repairs that need to be done are free, for life! How awesome is that?
• It’s easy to keep your backpack with you and keep track of during travel and transportation, since they just sit right on your back and are hands free.
• They can be heavy to lift and carry, and can be a burden on your back.
• It can be hard to organize your stuff in them if you’re always packing and unpacking.
• A pack can’t always protect your valuable items, so you’d need to make sure your electronics are in sturdy cases to prevent damage.
• Some backpacks can run $200 or more
1. Northface Heckler Daypack, $99.01
2. Osprey Aura 65 Backpack, $238.00
3. TAIGA International Traverse Travel and Hiking Backpack, $149.95
4. Teton Sports Scout 3400 Internal Frame Backpack, $61.55
5. Osprey Farpoint 70 Travel Backpack, $198.95
6. Osprey Sirrus 36-Litre Backpack, $138.95
After weighing the pros and cons, there are also other things to consider before choosing between a backpack and suitcase:
1. How long is your trip? There is a big difference between what you’ll pack for an overnight trip and for spring break.
2. What seasons will you encounter? Will you be wearing just swimsuits and shorts or will you need lots of warm, heavy layers?
3. What activities will you be doing? Will you need to pack any extra equipment, or will you be packing as little as possible so you don’t have to lug it all around?
Can’t decide between using a suitcase or backpack when you’re abroad? Go with one of these suitcase/backpack or suitcase/duffle hybrids:
1. Gregory Cache Roller Bag, $299
2. High Sierra AT656 22 Inch, $107.50
3. Athalon Luggage 21 Inch Hybrid Travelers Bag, $94.99
4. Osprey Sojourn 25 Inch/60L Pack, $155.37
5. Timberland Luggage Twin Mountain 22 Inch Wheeled Duffle, $65.69
What kind of luggage do you like to use when you’re traveling? Do you have any other suggestions you’d like to add? Let us know in the comments!
Photo source: Liz Schutz via Flickr