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Backpack vs Rolling Luggage: What to Choose for a Long Bus Trip?

June 7, 2022
By
Liz Arnold

At Infinity Transportation, we're known for providing great deals on charter bus rental services, minibus rentals, and shuttle buses – but we also like to bring you valuable information right here on our site!

While all of our buses and coaches come with ample storage space, we know that it's sometimes hard to choose what kind of bag to travel with. Backpacks, suitcases, overnight bags…there are so many to choose from, and the wrong one could easily make your trip more uncomfortable than it should be. Bus transportation should be convenient and easy, and luggage is a part of that!

So, in this piece, we'll explore the ultimate travel luggage backpacks and suitcases, and help you decide what option is best next time you take a trip with Infinity Transportation.

Traveling with a Backpack  

Sometimes, a carry-on backpack suitcase is just what you need. And sometimes…it's not.

Pros of Traveling with a Backpack 

People say it's the best suitcase for backpacking because it's literally a backpack! It fits over your shoulder, it's easy to travel with, and after a while of carrying it, it's easy to forget it's there.

If you're planning on traveling for a long time but don't need that many clothes, this is perfect. You won't have to worry about leaving your bag in a hotel after you check out of a room, you won't be pulling heavy luggage around cities, and they often have easy pockets on the outside of the bag that allow you to store water bottles and other essentials when you're traveling.

travel luggage backpack

A backpack is:

  • Easy: Travel backpacks are designed for ease of use. If you pack light, you can fit most of your clothes in, throw them on your back and you are good to go, whether you are planning an overnight trip or traveling Europe for months. Not to mention they are easier to handle through crowded airports and city streets.
  • Lightweight: Most backpacks are designed with lightweight materials so you can carry your essentials easily. It can come in handy if you are walking a lot - between train stations for example - or if you are using airlines with weight limits.
  • Don't need wheels and heavy handles: Anyone who has been traveling Europe knows that cobblestone streets can be deadly for wheeled luggage. There is a reason why backpacking in Europe is popular.
  • Many options to choose from: Backpacks come in all sizes, from smaller backpacks for short trips and everyday use to heavy-duty hiking backpacks with a large capacity and high-tech features.
  • With so many pockets you'll easily keep the items you bring on the bus organized: Whether you are packing just a backpack or several bags, a small backpack is a great way to keep your belongings close by and easily accessible during the entire trip.

 But despite all the benefits, there are definitely some drawbacks to using a backpack, too.

Cons of Traveling with a Backpack 

OK, so you're traveling, but you need more than just a few changes of clothes. That means a backpack probably isn't for you. 

Even though it's easy to carry and you can often fit a surprising number of things in there, you're going to want something bigger if you need more clothes – and you're also going to want something that allows you to properly fold your clothes and keep them wrinkle-free.

Whether you're traveling for business or pleasure, a longer trip typically calls for a bigger bag. 

Here are some of the biggest downsides of travel backpacks: 

  • No protection for your belongings inside: A travel bag designed to meet weight restrictions offers little padding and exposes your belongings to more chances of getting wet or broken especially more fragile items.
  • Can't wheel them when it gets heavy: As convenient as traveling hands free can be, a large backpack can quickly get heavy and your back and shoulders will probably hurt.
  • Could hurt your shoulder if it's heavy and you use it a lot: A heavy backpack can be a killer even if you are a light packer. The best backpack has many adjustable straps to even out the weight, including padded shoulder straps, hip belts, and waist straps. Rolling backpacks can be a good compromise.
  • Your clothes are going to wrinkle: If you must carry dress clothes on your next trip, a smaller backpack may not be the best solution since your clothes will not be protected and be packed tight.
  • Harder to pack and unpack: Finding the outfit or item you need to be lost in the whole backpack can be a hassle, especially if you are in a rush. Using packing cubes in your travel backpack can make your life easier, especially on long trips like international travel.

With that said, though….if the convenience of carrying a backpack trumps all of these downsides, then it still might be the right bag for you.

Traveling with a Rolling Luggage Suitcase 

Rolling bags are a great alternative for those looking for something convenient like a backpack, but with the space of traditional luggage. In fact, a wheeled suitcase is one of the most common kinds of luggage people take on a bus. 

It's a traditional-looking suitcase but fitted with wheels on the bottom so that it doesn't need to be carried at all times. You know the ones we're talking about! 

Let's take a look…

Pros of a Wheeled Luggage Suitcase

carry on backpack suitcase

The pros of using a rolling luggage suitcase might seem obvious, but it's important to take these things into consideration.

If any of these benefits are really big for you, then it may easily trump the convenience of a backpack. For instance, the fact that rolling luggage suitcases.

  • Easy to access your clothing: One of the big advantages of wheeled suitcases is that they provide more place to organize your clothes than a duffel bag or backpack, especially if you need to include dress wear and formal wear to your packing list.
  • Plenty of pockets and space for extras – whether that's books, electronics, wires, and so on: The best travel bags include plenty of pockets such as a laptop sleeve to keep your essentials easily accessible without having to unpack everything.
  • Better protection for your belongings: One of the worst things when opening your bag is to discover that your shampoo, perfume, or souvenir bottle of alcohol broke during transportation and soaked your clothes. A suitcase provides more structure and protection than a backpack.
  • Pulling a rolling luggage suitcase won't hurt your shoulder like a backpack: Even the best backpack straps won't help if you are a heavy packer. A rolling bag is a better option if you move between locations often.
  • They can be inexpensive! Although a travel backpack is often associated with budget travelers, a rolling suitcase is often less expensive than some of the most engineered backpacks these days.

Cons of Traveling with a Wheeled Suitcase 

Suitcases are fantastic for longer corporate trips, but that doesn't mean using them is without drawbacks. 

Larger and less convenient than a backpack, you may be surprised at how a suitcase can become a hindrance on your next vacation. While you can rest assured that your suitcase will fit perfectly on any of our coaches and minibusses, you never know what situations you'll find yourself in during your trip, whether you'll struggle for a place to keep the suitcase on the final day of your trip after checking out, or if you'll end up in a situation where you're carrying a suitcase with you on a day trip. 

  • Bulkier and heavier than a backpack: When it comes to the debate of backpack vs suitcase, one of the issues is that backpacks tend to be more light weight than suitcases, though some are designed to be lightweight these days!).
  • Not easy to take with you on excursions: If you must pack only one bag and must choose between either a backpack or a suitcase, the former is better suited for going about your day. You may also choose a smaller bag as an extra for excursions and daily activities.
  • More room means packing heavier than you need to: A travel backpack is typically pretty compact unlike suitcases so you can only take the essentials. However, although all the packing advice point to erring on the lighter side, especially in the days of carry on restrictions, you may be tempted to take more than you need with a suitcase.

Backpack vs Luggage Suitcase: What to Choose?

convertible carry on luggage

Choosing the best luggage between a backpack vs rolling luggage is a personal preference. There are some benefits and drawbacks to each, and everybody's situation is different.

For excursions and short trips:

If you're planning on doing a lot of activity, if you're hopping between hotels or hostels, and if you're only planning on going on a short trip, then we recommend a backpack. When it comes to the backpack vs suitcase debate, the former is easier to maneuver.

Even if you're going on a longer trip, a backpack can still work for you if you're willing to take fewer clothes and pack a little lighter overall. Using a carry on size backpack that fits on the overhead bins instead of a checked suitcase is a great way to save money. Wheeled backpacks can be a good compromise.

Just find the best medium sized backpack you can, and fill it up, especially if it fits as carry on luggage. You can opt for a wheeled backpack if your trip includes a lot of transportation.

For longer trips with friends and family:

Taking a longer trip with friends and family, and want to make sure you don't forget anything? We think a roller bag is better for you. Make sure your wheeled bags are high quality, with sturdy wheels and lockable zippers for extra safety.

And if you're worried about taking too much with you, why not share a single piece of rolling luggage? It means you're traveling lighter, and you won't be short on space!

When's Your Next Getaway?

Are you planning a getaway? Infinity Transportation rental company serves businesses, families, and teams across Chicago and the Chicagoland area.

Whether you're looking for a trip across town or a vacation with loved ones, don't look anywhere else for a charter bus rental quote. Our team is always happy to help, and get you the right deal!

Oh, and don't forget your backpack (or luggage)!

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