Suitcase or backpack
Over the last year and a half, the only time I checked a bag was right after the London incidents. Traveling light is a big advantage and avoiding the check in is even better. It is unlikely you will be able to pack enough gadgets for a year no matter what size suitcase you have so you might as well travel light and purchase things as you go. If you want souvenirs, just send them back home by mail, keep the luggage light and avoid any hassles through customs.
In my opinion, a backpack is a must. Unless you are in an airport it's usually pretty rough to carry a suitcase. Vienna is a pretty civilized place but looking for my hotel while lugging around my huge roll on Samsonite was a pain. No issues when in Cusco carrying my backpack up and down the highly inclined streets.
Enjoy your trip
We started out with backpacks but found them awkward, difficult to pack neatly, and with too many straps and things that got caught on conveyors etc and back breaking.
Because we travel by train and bus, where we have to carry bags from one line, down the stairs, through the tunnel, up the stairs to another line to change trains or get to the bus station and because we always stay in hotels that usually don't have lifts, we travel with a cabin bin sized wheely bag each plus a small day-pack each. These wheely bags follow us along the cobblestones up to the hotels without any trouble at all.
We reckon if we cannot easilly lift our bags from the floor into the overhead airline bins or train luggage rack, then they are too heavy to lug around for weeks.
Pack just the bare minimum...after all you are on a holiday not appearing on TV, and it is so easy to wash out the undies or polo shirt in the hotel washbasin and dry them overnight, so you only need one or two changes. And if you really need an item of clothing that you left out because the weather is freezing/boiling, then buy it there..... what a great souvenir of your trip!
It was easy to roll for blocks and over cobblestones because the wheels were big. When it became awkward to use--the filty streets of Varanassi--I left it behind. That was 10 months into the trip and by then I was more travel smart and had lightened the load and carried the pack for another six months. I turned 60 on my trip.
The travelpack was good because it zipped open all around, making it easy to enter and you could lock the zipper, unlike top-loading packs.
When I went to England I used my backpack and found it to be convenient, but it was harder to pack and....being a ...umm..larger sized woman...it looked horrid on me. But it did feel secure and it packed away easy in the hostel lockers.
This time I'm thinking of taking my suitcase. It's a medium sized one (not the super-duper ones) and when I took it to London the last time I went I got everything I needed it in it and with plenty of room left. But it was a pain in the ass on the tube and any place with stairs. I also couldn't store it under the bed at teh hostel. NOt like I leave anything of value in it anyway, but my clothes mean something to me
I'm going for a month to Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany. What should I take?
I'm staying in hostels except for 1 night and a week with a friend. But there are only 4 hostels in total and included in that is a private room in London that I will share with a friend.
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