As I prepare for my trip to Turkey, I was thinking about which would be better: backpack or suitcase? I have used both on trips and they both tend to work well. In some circumstances, the suitcase is preferred. In others, the backpack definitely rules. I read a blog in which someone said they decided they would “grow up” and start using suitcases. I am not so sure that person will find suitcases all that convenient for their travels.
Business trips and what I call high end trips tend to require suitcases. On a business trip you often have to take your luggage with you to meetings since you are either rushing from the airport just before a meeting, or rushing to the airport after a meeting. A backpack just looks out of place, especially if you are wearing a suit. There are also suitcases specifically for that purpose. Their design keeps suits, shirts and dresses in fairly decent shape. I have seen people with backpacks at meetings and it just looks unprofessional, I don’t care how comfortable and convenient it is.
On a high end trip you are generally not the one worrying about your luggage, or if you are, you are only worried about it for a brief amount of time while en route to your destination or away from it. You certainly won’t be lugging it around—that will be the porter’s job. A backpack doesn’t make sense since you are not carrying anything yourself or having to worry about size and convenience. Congratulations if you travel like this. You probably don’t visit this site if you do, anyway. So keep with the suitcase. It makes sense for you.
I find the backpack to be very useful if I am moving around a lot, have a minimal amount of stuff with me (though, you would be surprised at how much a good pack can carry), and I am taking the typical traveler clothes—one nice outfit for clubs, one or two regular outfit for everyday use, and one outfit for beaches and the like, plus the odd and ends we all travel with such as sundry items, and so on. You can, of course, through the electronic gadgets in there as well without any issues.
There are no worries about whether the pack will fit because it is flexible, whereas luggage usually isn’t. You can hold the pack if you absolutely need to since there aren’t any sharp edges and wheels to jab you. The pack can grow and shrink as needed, assuming you packed it correctly to start with. And bestof all, there is no dragging heavy luggage across cobblestones (which is what I faced in Central Europe this summer), lugging it across muddy roads or trying to get it up their stairs of your hotel. The backpack is also much easier to get into and has more pockets and spaces.
All in all, I think the backpack wins out for most typical travel given it’s convenience and versatility. There are convertible backpacks worth considering, but I think a good quality backpack is the way to go. Visit a reputable shop that specializes in this type of gear and try out several models. Make sure it fits well and is comfortable. Even if you don’t buy from them, REI is a great place to try on different packs and receive good advice. A good backpack is not cheap, but it is well worth the investment.