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Backpacking without the backpack

When you decide that you want to travel the world or go backpacking your first assumption is usually that you have to bring a backpack. There seems to be this unwritten rule that in order to travel you must take a backpack and that taking a suitcase would just be ridiculous, but I’ve come to realise this isn’t always the case.

A few years ago when some of the main tourists spots were a little less travelled, this may well have been true. For example when you get to places like the Gili islands in Indonesia or Koh Phi Phi in Thailand, there are no roads built for transport. This would of course make it difficult to use a suitcase. However in more recent years as the numbers of tourists have grown, the locals and accommodations have adapted to all kinds of travellers making it possible to bring which ever kind of baggage you desire.

I have noticed on some occasions that those travelling with suitcases actually receive more assistance with their luggage, as it can be tricky to manoeuvre them in some places. I have seen locals helping to carry suitcases or using luggage carts to carry them, this is treatment you don’t receive when using a backpack! Obviously this is not always the case or if it is sometimes the people carrying your luggage will expect payment, so it’s always better to be able to carry your own baggage and ensure its safety.

I won’t totally defend travelling with a suitcase as I have noticed that they are not always convenient. For example hostels without lifts are a nightmare with a suitcase, especially when someone is coming the opposite direction! Another difficult situation with a suitcase is cobbled streets or uneven roads. It is pretty difficult to roll a suitcase along bumpy ground so there have been moments I have thought maybe I should have brought by trusty backpack, but having used both kinds of luggage for now I am happy sticking to my suitcase.

Of course there are advantages and disadvantages to using a backpack but I have personally found using a suitcase much easier. I chose to use a suitcase that held the same amount of litres as my previous backpack to avoid over packing, and I have found this means I am also able to carry my suitcase relatively easily when necessary, as it is small in size. Of course it is possible to take a huge suitcase if you wish, trust me I’ve met plenty of people who do, I just have found I personally prefer to travel light. I also prefer not having to carry all of my luggage on my back. As I am fairly small and slim I find this pretty difficult, especially in warmer climates!

Other alternatives to backpacks or suitcase include large duffle bags, which I have also looked into. Some even come with wheels for added convenience so there is the option to carry your luggage when necessary and roll it along whenever possible. There are so many other options also but I simply wanted to make the point that to go backpacking doesn’t necessarily mean you need to have a backpack. You can take whatever you choose and find the easiest, dont worry about what anyone else says!

I would love to hear any of your suggestions on the most practical type of luggage or even your opinion on what you find easiest. Feel free to comment below and let me know!

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