Let’s say you’re heading to Mexico to spend a few days camping on the Caribbean coast, then going to Mexico City.
The few days by the beach will be filled with sunshine and relaxation. But in Mexico City, you’ll focus on enjoying museums and nightlife.
How do you pack for that? The two destinations are completely different!
How many articles of clothing should you take? Should you take a backpack instead of a checked bag? Which size?
Worry no more. We’re going to help you find the best travel gear luggage for your trip.
Why Choosing the Right Travel Gear Luggage Is Important
Your Luggage Could Define Your Trip Style
Let’s say you plan to travel light and move quickly … but you pack a 50-pound suitcase. That luggage just changed all your plans. How can you run to catch a bus while dragging that huge bag behind you?
If you’re going abroad on a budget, Couchsurfing and spending a lot of time on trains and public transportation, carrying an enormous checked bag will make your travels miserable.
Think about the style of your trip based on the transportation methods you’ll use abroad. Are you going to multiple cities in a short amount of time? Traveling by bus? Taking Uber all the time? Choose accordingly.
On a fast-paced trip, focus on the basics and the most comfortable bag you can carry with you. If your trip is more easy-going and you don’t mind taking taxis, pack as huge a bag as you want!
Pack Better to Make Your Life Easier
Packing is a difficult art to master.
I’ve been traveling full-time for over four years. Every time I have to move, I still struggle with packing!
It’s hard to decide what’s going with you and what’s not. Which clothes will be best for the weather? Which shoes will you need?
Personally, The best way to organize my luggage is to consider what I’ve been wearing for the past few months. If you’re going to a place where the weather is similar to your hometown, choose the pieces you love most at that moment.
If you have a special occasion to attend or want to dress nicely to take photos in the exotic city, take those factors into consideration, too.
How I’ve Chosen the Right Travel Gear for Me
When I started traveling full-time, I carried a comically large checked bag everywhere. It was a hassle, but since I only had to deal with it once every few months, I put up with it.
The problem started when I was preparing to leave Germany to go to Spain.
Spain was about three times warmer than Germany, and I realized I was carrying huge luggage filled with almost exclusively winter pieces.
That experience taught me it’s better to only pack a few key items when going to multiple destinations with different types of weather. One jacket, a good pair of boots, one or two bikinis. Then layer up. Think of yourself as an onion with layers!
Packing layers was perfect for my situation. What’s your perfect packing style? It’ll determine your perfect luggage.
Pack Up Your Troubles! Find Out What Travel Gear Luggage You Need
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1. Carry-on Luggage
When Do You Need Carry-on Luggage?
I didn’t invest in a sturdy carry-on bag until an airline lost my friend’s bag for over a week. In his carry-on luggage, he’d packed necessary clothes, all his electronics and chargers and daily necessities. Basically, he didn’t have to buy anything for the entire week.
I was shocked. He taught me to always take some items in my carry-on … just in case.
Carry-ons are important if you’re traveling with multiple airline companies or have multiple connections. You just never know what’s going to happen. Better safe than sorry!
I started packing my carry-on so well that, at some point, I decided to travel with carry-ons only.
Benefits of Traveling with Only Carry-on Luggage
The best part of traveling with just a carry-on bag is that after checking in online, you can head straight to the security check. You get to skip waiting in line to check a bag!
Another huge perk: Upon landing, you can get your luggage from above your seat and head straight to immigration. No more waiting.
Some people find it cumbersome to travel with so few things. But in my case, it’s been working quite well for over a year.
True, I have to wash clothes more often than other travelers. And I only pack a small shampoo and conditioner with me, buying a regular size when I arrive at my destination.
But the pros easily outweigh the cons.
Things to Consider When Choosing Your Carry-on Luggage
Before getting your hands in the coolest hand-luggage you can find, you need to check with your airline.
Companies have different guidelines for size, weight and format of your luggage. Make sure to confirm all this when buying your ticket, especially if you’re planning to take low-budget airlines in Europe or America.
Most American companies restrict the size of carry-on luggage to 22 inches (22”x 14″ x 9″).
One of my my most trusted brands for carry-on luggage is from Delsey, my personal favorite being this 29-inch Expandable Spinner Trolley.
Samsonite is another beloved brand among travelers. I’ve had a few Samsonite pieces over the years, and they’ve never let me down!
When Do You Need a Backpack?
If you plan on hiking, backpacking around multiple cities or taking public transportation, packing a backpack is the way to go! They’re also lifesavers when you travel to cities with unpaved streets.
When I moved to Thailand, even in big cities like Bangkok and Chiang Mai, I was still relieved I only took a backpack with me. Traveling with a backpack can occasionally be a hassle because of the weight, but it gave me the flexibility to travel quickly without worrying about dragging luggage around.
I highly recommend going for a backpack if you plan on traveling on a budget as well, making it fairly easy to catch buses and trains.
The Perfect Backpack Size
You can get backpacks from 25 to 85 liters (L). The smaller ones are perfect for daypacks or weekend trips, so you can take only what you need instead of lugging around a huge load.
Most travelers prefer backpacks weighing 40 to 50 L when traveling for a few weeks or so.
The secret of the backpack is to pack light. You will be carrying all your stuff on your shoulders, sometimes for long hours. So keep that in mind while packing!
Backpacks weighing more than 65 L can become uncomfortable if you carry it around a lot. If you’re hiking and taking lots of gear, it might make sense. Otherwise, choose the smaller ones.
Taking a daypack is important if you’re planning to spend a lot of time exploring the city.
This backpack doesn’t have to be fancy, but it needs to be comfortable and fit everything you need, especially your camera.
If you’re on the hunt for a good daypack, I’m absolutely obsessed with mine from Aevor that can be expanded.
Another great option is buy a two-in-one backpack and daypack! Check out this Osprey Farpoint backpack. It’s 60 L, with a 10 L detachable daypack.
Things to Consider When Choosing Your Backpack
If you’re planning on traveling with only a backpack, make sure it has structures that can easily adapt to your body and its shape.
Before buying a backpack online, research and find out what size works better for your weight and height. Try the backpack on at a physical store beforehand, then search for good deals online.
If you want a durable backpacker-style backpack, check out a brand called Teton, one of the best sellers on Amazon.
If you’re looking for a backpack that’s easy to organize, Tortuga backpacks such as the Outbreaker Travel Backpack are a great alternative. Tortuga’s bags also look a bit more professional than most backpacks.
3. Checked Suitcase
When Do You Need a Checked Suitcase?
Checked suitcases are perfect if you think you’ll need a lot of clothes during your trip or will buy things at your destination.
There’s no problem with a checked bag if you’re renting a car or getting an Uber to and from the airport. Packing a large suitcase is also easier than packing a backpack or small carry-on bag.
The best thing about traveling with a checked bag is that you don’t have to worry about what to take with you. There’s plenty of room.
You can select everything you love, including as many pairs of shoes as you want. It’s a freeing feeling!
Things to Consider When Choosing Your Checked Suitcase
When you book your flight online, check if the airline lets you check a bag.
If the cost of a checked bag isn’t included in your fare, don’t freak out! Just make sure you purchase the allowance ahead of time. It’s much cheaper to pay for a checked bag online than to wait until you’re at the airport.
When choosing the right checked luggage, consider the suitcase’s material and wheels. I always go for wheels that can turn 360º to make walking as smooth as possible.
I also like to have pockets outside of the luggage so I can store small items and documents. But some people prefer hard-shell luggage pieces. The decision is up to you!
Once again, Samsonite has one of the best travel gear luggage you’ll find on the market, so take a look at their options.
Traveling can be stressful. No one wants to reach the airport and have last-minute problems with luggage!
Choose the luggage that fits your style and body, and your journey will be smooth sailing. Then you can just focus on eating amazing Bolivian food or visiting as many Russian museums as you can.
Enjoy your trip!
Debbie Corrano is a digital strategist and writer. She works remotely while traveling the world full-time with her two dogs. Over the past few years, Debbie has lived in more than 10 countries, learned a few languages and worked with dozens of agencies and brands.