Choosing the right luggage

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You’ve chosen a destination, you’ve booked your flight, and you know what to bring along. The question now, is how are you going to take all those things with you? Take a suitcase? Go for a simple backpack? A trolley case, perhaps? So many ways to transport your stuff, but which one’s the best? What is the right luggage for you?


The Suitcase

suitcaseThe basic suitcase has two big advantages over all other forms of luggage: it has a lot of space, and offers plenty of protection for things inside. The downside? Heavy, cumbersome, sluggish. Sure, plenty of suitcase have a pair of wheels on the bottom so you can drag it along, but suitcases aren’t exactly balanced, so often you’ll have to just carry it along. But even an empty suitcase has, relatively speaking, a lot of weight to it. Suitcases are designed for mass transport. Take your items from one fixed location to another. You can’t really carry it along to stroll along the market, so you’re almost forced to bring pack a bag in it as well.

Still, if you have a lot things to bring with you, either to or from your destination, a suitcase makes sure you you have the room for it. If you have transport on your travels that has enough space for your suitcases and/or you’re spending days in the same location, the suitcase could be the right luggage for you. If you travel around a lot however, you might want to opt for something else.


The sport bag

sport bagLighter and easier to carry than a suitcase, but offering none of the protection. The sport bag is for people who can’t quite fit everything in a backpack, but don’t want to be hindered by weight. While the sport bag offers lots of room, filling it up too much means you might not be able to take with you as hand luggage (assuming you’re traveling by plane), it’ll have to go in the cargo bay. Sport bags do not offer the same protection for potentially fragile items the way suitcases do. Additionally, the sport bags, should you lose sight of them, are easy to open/close, so might want to purchase some locks for them.

The sport bag is fine for people who do not have a proper backpack. it’s lightweight and can be folded, squeezed together to make room. The shoulder strap means it easier to carry around than suitcases, but not as comfortable as backpacks.


The trolley case / roll along

trolleySmaller than a suitcase, sturdier than the sport bag. Unlike the suitcase, this one you can drag along, making it perfect for people who don’t want to actually carry things (they are really popular with businessmen). They don’t offer as much space as a suitcase, nor are they as lightweight and versatile as the sport bag, but the trolley case is a perfect middle ground. It’s perfect for people who don’t have much to bring along with them, but need something that offers protection for their items.

The trolley case isn’t for people who move around a lot. Dragging a trolley around can be a…drag. While it’s perfect for airports, it’s not meant for the streets. Not only that, but it can be a hinder for the people around you. Don’t think it makes you king of the road, or sidestep.

Depending on the size of the case, a trolley case could potentially be used as hand luggage, though they normally can be a bit hard to store in the overhead compartment.


The backpack

backpackEasy to carry, versatile, compact, lightweight. The backpack is usually my go-to form of luggage. It’s much easier to carry something on your back than it is to drag it along or carry it in your hands all the time. The backpack is perfect for people who like to travel tight and do not plan to take much extras back with them. If you know what you need to pack, you can get yourself the appropriate bag. Backpacks have flaws of course, no matter how big it is, it won’t have as much as space as a decent suitcase. They are usually harder to pack and having to carry it around on your shoulders all the time can become a burden. But their “take it anywhere” ability more than makes up for it. If plan to travel, you owe it to yourself to get a decent backpack. The more you travel, the more they become your best friend.

TIP: When trying to find the right backpack, go for one that doesn’t have too many compartments. Companies love to boast how many compartments their backpacks have, but it’s actually not a good thing. Compartments take up space. Just make sure it has a few extra storage places on the outside. If you need compartments, use packing cubes.


The trolley case/backpack hybrid

hybridThe best of both worlds, or a collection of flaws? When your shoulders ache, place it on the ground and ride it around. When the streets are full of holes and bumps, take out the shoulder straps and carry it on your bag. These hybrids can be a decent middle road, offering the benefits of a trolley case, with the versatility of a backpack. But it does come with a range of flaws. These hybrids usually aren’t as comfortable to carry around, tiring your back and shoulders quite fast. That’s a big flaw for a backpack. They often aren’t as sturdy as an actually case either. A design flaw on some these, are the shoulder straps. If you can properly tug them aside, they’ll get away of the wheels, making for rather embarrassing and clumsy moments. Another flaw: the price tag. I’ve noticed these things can be quite pricey. Still, I found myself using these more and more on city trips, so they aren’t without use.

As the Pack Your Bag weeks move along, you now know what to pack, and what luggage to pack it in. I guess soon we’ll have to show you how to pack it…