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Backpack or Wheels

Me and my wife are going to Italy for a little over 2 weeks. I am trying to decide on a wheeled suitcase (not to big) or a large backpack (each). The backpack seems smart but is it really big enough and will it get old carrying it on my back.. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Posted by
34 posts

I posted a similar question recently and didn't get too many responses. When are you going & where? I was in Japan last August (Tokyo, Mt.Fuji, & Kyoto) ... it was super hot & humid and tons of walking. We used our back pack every single day ... occasionally it was annoying but everything we had in it - we used & if we bought anything it was great to be able to put it in them. We would leave them in the hotel when we went out at night. I am going to try to do the backpack. Rick Steves had a good video (old) I rented from my library & he shows you exactly what he brought in a simple backpack. Key is: plan to wash some clothes! If you're going in cooler season - it will probably be harder to bring warmer clothes only in a backpack. Good Luck - have fun!

Posted by
10344 posts

Wheeled suitcases can be a problem if you have to pull them long distances to your overnight accomodations, especially over cobblestones or other rough pavement. They can also be a big problem in "vertical" towns, say in the Cinque Terre, if you have to climb long staircases. On the other hand, they have worked well for my wife and I when we did not have to face these conditions.

Posted by
3 posts

Give me wheels any day but pack light! My family has had some pretty funny adventures with dragging our wheeled cases up dirt roads, or across cobbles, but we love the freedom of being able to have them off our backs. A compromise would be the ones that go both ways.

Posted by
4 posts

Thank you for the tips. I kinda like the idea of a wheeled backpack. I may look into those.

Posted by
1 posts

My husband and I are also going to Italy in mid-October on the Rick Steves village tour. We found a rolling backback on that has a zipoff day pack. The brand is High Sierra, paid about 80 dollars each for them. Check out their website, they have lots of good stuff. This is our first trip to Europe and I read this website daily looking for good travel tips. Hope this will be helpful.

Posted by
32200 posts

Bob, my preference would be a Backpack with detachable Daypack (that's the method I use). However I suppose this will depend to some extent on where you'll be travelling and what types of accomodations you'll be using.

From my observations, those goofy "wheelie bags" can be a real nuisance at times! I've observed people hauling them awkwardly up and down dirt trails in the Cinque Terre, dragging them along rough cobblestone streets in cities and hauling them up numerous flights of stairs in budget hotels.

Good luck!

Posted by
805 posts

If you are doing a lot of train trips, or even just a lot of transfers, a backpack is a huge help. We took both on our recent trip and having a backpack was superior. For one thing, the cobblestoned streets of most European cities are a bit rough on the wheels.

Posted by
47 posts

I've got to put my 2 euro cents in. I use a bag that has wheels and can convert to a backpack. Over all, my body thanks me for pulling instead of carrying. My girlfriend also has the same opinion. However, when she gets tired, or the road gets rough (steps etc.), are in a hurry, or any combination there of; one bag goes on my back and I pull or carry the other. It's not a big deal to me and the energy she saves keeps her fresh for more sight-seeing. I'm sure the bag is less comfortable to carry than a dedicated backpack, but it wasen't bad, and I had the option when I needed it.