Different things work for different people, some prefer the suitcase on wheels, some prefer the backpack and some prefer to have a boyfriend who carries your bag for you (I call these people smart). However choosing the right bag, backpack or suitcase for you is important and for anyone who is still figuring it out here are some things to consider.
Look for quality I am speaking from experience when I say there is nothing worse than your bag breaking halfway through a trip. Sometimes you are unsure where your journey will take you and you, and your bag, need to be prepared. Ensuring that you have a bag which will withstand all sorts of activities and terrain is vital. I know sometimes parting with money can be difficult before your trip but it will be worth it in the long run.
Size does matter Think about the size you need before buying a backpack. Are you looking for a backpack that is going to carry all your luggage for 3 months or just for a few weeks? My advice would be to have a big bag and also a smaller one for day to day use. After all, you don’t want to be taking all your luggage with you on day trips around the area. Before you buy your bag think about what you need for your trip and choose a size reflecting this.
How much does your stuff weigh? Replace your heavier items with lighter items. This should be common sense, but I see a lot of backpackers carrying the strangest equipment around with them… do you really need to travel with a hairdryer, hair straighteners, 6 pairs of shoes? Think about the things that you really need during your travels and get rid of the unnecessary items, bearing in mind that most hostels have hairdryers or hair straighteners for rent, or you can normally find someone who has some anyway!
Plan your clothes around season and weather Where are you going and what will the weather be like? If you’re heading to Tropical North Queensland then you don’t really need 4 pairs of jeans and 2 woolly jumpers. If you’re coming to visit Queenstown in winter then maybe leave out your bikinis, jandals, summer dresses, etc. What I’ve done in the past is send my winter clothes to a destination I’m heading to so I didn’t have to carry them around for the 6 months I was in South East Asia. As long as you know where you’re going to be then it’s easy to do this.
Share your stuff If you are traveling with a friend, or with the people you met during your travels, you can share your stuff. This also gives you an opportunity to wear something different for a change! Sharing your gear will allow you to carry a less heavy bag but you will still have all the things you need with you!
Look for items that have multiple uses Look for clothes or equipment that have a few different uses. This helps by reducing the weight of your backpack but you can still have all the items you need. The classic example of a multiple-use item is a sarong. You can use it as a beach towel, as a wrap-around dress/skirt, or even hang it from your bunk to give you a little bit of privacy in your dorm room.
Last but not least, take a bag that suits you. It should be one you love looking at and want to take with you everywhere and feels comfortable.
Having a good backpack/bag/ suitcase is important, you’re not called a backpacker for anything! It is the one thing you take with you all the time, so make sure it’s the right one.