no matter where you go, there you are

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

round 1: suitcase vs. backpack

While preparing for my trip, I debated for a short while about whether I would want to bring a small, carry-on suitcase or a backpack (the backpacking kind) to hold all my clothes. I wasn't bringing much, clothes for a week and miscellaneous jackets as well as some books and toiletries. The largest item I had were my hiking boots, which turns out I didn't even use that much. Sneakers were much more comfortable for the street walking I was doing. Anyway, not knowing if my family still had the backpacks we used in 2001 for our failed attempt of New Mexico mountain backpacking, I decided to go with carry-on suitcase for a couple of reasons. 1) Didn't know if we had a backpack 2) it had wheels so I wouldn't have to carry it and weigh my back down 3) the backpacks we would have owned wouldn't be the kind to open on the side, so packing would be a bitch. If I wanted to get something from the bottom, I'd have to empty the entire thing out.

Turns out though, that maybe the carry-on wasn't the best idea. European cities are modern, yes, but their underlying architecture and layout are all still quite ancient. In Florence, for example, almost all the roads and sidewalks are cobblestone, therefore my suitcase didn't like that one bit and it took me forever to walk from the train station and the wheel ended up breaking. A backpack might have also been nicer so that I wouldn't have taken up so much room while on certain transportation or on the street. With the carry-on, I just felt like I was in everyone's way all the time. Yet, I feel like that without carrying anything...

If you end up in the situation where you're debating your mode of luggage, try and take a few things into account so you can make the best decision. Where will you be going? How is the layout of the city? Are there hills, or is it flat? How far is the walk from train station or airport to your hotel or hostel? What will you be bringing, therefore how will you need to pack it? There are many more things you could ask yourself, but those are just a few that might give you a good start.

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