When we started our fairly long trip in 2012 each of us had a fully packed and heavy as hell backpack – my spine aches whenever I recall it! Well, backpacks seem to be the best choice if you go backpacking – and especially in South East Asia they proved themselves useful. Backpack will fit in the van for a visa run trip in Thailand, on the small motorboat in Indonesia and even the Vietnamese bus driver can find a bit of a room for it till he’ll shoo you out of his vehicle 5am on the road on the outskirts of Ninh Bin …
We never doubted our choice of backpacks till we reached Taiwan and then meet young Taiwanese travellers in Japan, too. Their cool, nicely designed suitcases were a totally different approach to travel. Sure, suitcases may not be the best choice for undeveloped countries with specific style of transport. But they are awesome for a longer trip – being your wardrobe on the go and pleasant to your back, my spine loves it! Those little wheels do the job, so you can even walk miles as long as there’s a decent road 😉 and you won’t be sweating heavily when you reach your destination.
We came back to Europe with backpacks and… a new suitcase made in Taiwan (filled with our favourite Asian snacks and some gifts :)) And on our next trip this spring, to Scotland, we decided to take 2 suitcases. A very reasonable choice, I must say. To add to the comfort of suitcase travelling, all you need to do is use sendmybag.com or similar. I believe there must be some competition, but we haven’t tried anyone else. Our friends used that kind of suitcase couriers in Japan and had an awesome trip, travelling light across Japan while their heavy suitcases reached their destination within few days. We sent our bags/suitcases from Scotland to Poland for less than a cost of checked in luggage on the plane and without all the hassle of reaching the airport from a rather remote area. Everything went smooth and easy.
I enjoy travelling, being on the road used to be a great feeling. A little less appealing when you need to worry about all your belongings at once. I guess you learn about the perfect way of travel, as you go, every time. What we learnt till now (sometimes the hard/heavy way :)) and want to share with you:
Take a light backpack with (always!) less than you want to take when you plan a backpacking trip with plenty of moving around and staying short term in each place, especially in less developed countries
Take a suitcase as your “wardrobe” whenever you plan on staying more long term in one destination and/or travelling in more developed countries; using suitcase’ courier to send bags ahead around the world/Europe/country can make it even easier
Our magic mix for work exchange looong trips from now on: suitcases to be send ahead + smaller/less packed (eg. camera, ultrabook, etc.) backpacks with us. Such backpacks are also great to take on a few days’ trips/hikes in the area when you reach your work exchange project.
Hope you find the article useful for your next trip. Bon voyage everyone!