How to Pack for Your Next Trip
The first dilemma – should you bring a backpack or a suitcase? While each is good for different kinds of trips and travellers, here are the pros and cons for both:
The best and worst thing about backpacks is that you carry everything on your back. It’s a great option if you’re going to be walking over uneven surfaces such as gravel paths or sand, travelling by boat/over water or in unpredictable weather conditions. It’s never fun to drag your suitcase full of clean clothes over a muddy path after rain or struggle to get it up some stairs when your accommodation doesn’t have an elevator. Backpacks eliminate these issues and work for all terrains and weather conditions.
However, it does also mean that you’re responsible for the full weight of your bag on your back. If you over-pack and/or have to walk long distances, it’s all going to be on you (literally). If you’re using a backpack, you always have to be careful about how much you bring and know whether or not you’ll be able to handle hauling it long distances.
On the flip side, suitcases are both great and annoying because they have wheels. When you’re in the airport or walking down the road, it’s much easier to pull a suitcase than carry a backpack. However, they are also less than ideal for all the reasons listed above. Suitcases are great if you know you’re going to be in more developed areas and/or mostly flat surfaces, but one muddy day could make you wish you’d brought a backpack.
Credit: Jesse How
Certain suitcases do offer more protection than backpacks, with hard shells and built-in locks, but keep in mind that these suitcases are often heavier, more expensive, and more difficult to lug around.
While the choice is ultimately yours, we recommend bringing a backpack with wheels. You get the ease of a suitcase as well as the adaptability of a backpack. It’s the best of both worlds! Now that you’ve selected your bag, now comes the question of how to pack.
How to Pack
Should you have an outfit for every day? Do you need warm clothes? What about an umbrella, just in case?
First things first – how much should you bring? While it may be tempting to stuff your suitcase as full as humanly possible and bring “options”, you’ll never need all of it. As a guideline, we recommend that your bag weight between 10 and 20 kg (22-44 lbs). Less than 10 and you risk not bringing enough, but more than 20 and you’ll likely be over most airlines weight restrictions and risk having to pay an overweight baggage fee.
Also, don’t forget about souvenirs! If you bring a full bag you won’t have space to bring back anything for friends or family (or yourself!). Half the fun of travelling is buying funny trinkets for friends or a nice piece of art for your parents, and it’s never ideal to be constantly worrying about whether or not you’ll be able to fit it in your suitcase. Worst comes to worst, you leave too much space and have a partially empty suitcase – which is never a bad thing!
Credit: Carrie Huseman
You can also buy a lot of things when you get to your destination. Bring the essentials, but if you’re concerned about space, just leave it at home and buy it if you still really want it when you’re there! If you’re travelling with a friend, you can also save space by sharing things like toothpaste and sunscreen.
Finally, don’t forget to check the weather, especially if you’re going to multiple destinations. Places that are only a few hours apart can have drastically different weather conditions, especially if there’s a change in altitude. As a general rule, even if you’re going somewhere warm, it’s always a good idea to have one long sleeve shirt /pair of long pants just in case.
Now that you’re a packing expert, it’s time to book your next vacation. Check out our trips here!