Suitcase vs. Backpack

The million dollar questions: do I bring a backpack or a suitcase?  That's the same question we asked ourselves several times before we left Buenos Aires, and truthfully, we don't have a fixed answer to this question because each one of us is different. This is up to what you want to bring along with you and where you're heading. We went through moments when we were dying to have a suitcase to carry our stuff instead of a backpack, and times when we were ever so grateful to be carrying a backpack and not a suitcase, but how we felt really was due to the place we were visiting at each of those times.

Our backpacks for all four, touring Indonesia.

Our backpacks for all four, touring Indonesia.

For instance, if you're going to places where you'll be camping, going trekking, etc, it's obvious that a backpack with serve a better purpose for that kind of trip, but if you're planning to visit cities, a suitcase would have been our number one choice based on our experience, because it would have been easier for us as we reached in to look for something and be able to reach it right away instead of having to empty the backpack to reach that one thing we were looking for, found at the very bottom of the backpack.

As of today, we carry two backpacks, the trekking kind, and a small carry-on suitcase that comes in useful when we get on planes.  Each of our children carry their own backpacks and there they can carry only whatever fits. The backpacks left Buenos Aires filled to the brim, and almost all those things we originally carried in them aren't with us anymore, we traded them, replaced them, and gave some of the things away, too, and purchased some new items as well.  We learned about what we needed and what we didn't need along the way.  I think it's fair to say that the one who carried to most stuff was me, but as of today, Artur and I carry about the same amount of stuff each, even as unbelievable as that may seem, even to myself.

So, our advise to you is that you should choose to bring with you the things that help you feel the most comfortable to travel, be it for a short trip or a longer kind of trip, you will be the one carrying your stuff, the things  that as it was our experience we loved so much and slowly learned to let go of.

I apologize if this isn't the kind of advise you were looking for here, but we know that it is truly so difficult to decide because it all depends on how long your trip will be as well, as well as if you'r traveling 'solo' or as a family, if you plan to be able to move rather quickly through your journey or you're willing to take your time and move at a slower pace, and if you feel more comfortable with a backpack or a suitcase, so we're leaving that decision to be up to you.

In the Japan subway, the backpack was perfect.

In the Japan subway, the backpack was perfect.

What we really can tell you is this:  bring with you the things that make you happy, the things that help you feel comfortable. Don't take with you those pants that have been put away for years but you're so sure will be a great thing to wear on the 'safari,' because chances are that those same pants will stay on the bottom of your suitcase or backpack the same way that they were put away in your closet. Being a woman and having had so many pieces of clothes, what I buy now is what I really like.  I should tell you here the amount of sweaters I went through before I finally got the one I have now: one that's thin and that I like, it doesn't take up too much space and it's easy to keep clean. So be mindful about the things you choose to pack.  Don't carry any 'just in case' items, anything you need along the way you can always somehow get there and then.

Camila Lavori