Hello, my husband and I are off to New Zealand in October for a 5 week fly drive holiday, our first long haul trip. The plan is not to overpack but launder as we go but we would like to know the best cases to take that aren’t too large or cumbersome, we were told that z frame suitcases are best for space but a friend suggested the wheeled backpacks might be a better choice, any suggestions welcome as we have only travelled within Europe so far, thanks Aileen
Oh my! Be prepared for a long thread with every possible case recommendation here. We, posters, get involved with these questions. Have your own criteria for your luggage. Here are some criteria: 40-45 liter bag, backpack or wheeled, cost, dimensions, features, etc.. (Check your airline's baggage limits for dimensions allowed for carry-on or checked.)
Ebags.com is a good site to quickly research (and purchase) bags. Get packing cubes! They make a difference! Roll your clothes into logs and place in packing cubes to maximize space. Pack about 4-5 days worth of stuff and do laundry. Keep asking questions.
If you will scroll back through a few weeks or even months of posts, or try searching for luggage or bag recommendations, you will find literally hundreds of posts. You will find links to dozens of excellent travel backpacks, rollers, and various carryon-sized bags. You will also find advice on how you can evaluate your specific needs and to choose among the many options. Quick internet and youtube searches will reveal hundreds of packing lists and bag recommendations
My personal choices: Tom Bihn Aeronaut 30L and 45L, Patagonia MLC45, Tom Bihn Cafe shoulder bag, and 20-28L backpack for everything else.
Try to have fun doing the research and shopping. Try to get your bags a few months before your trips so you can experiment and debug your systems. Take a long weekend trip to a nearby site and work out the flaws.
Are you driving throughout your trip rather than public transportation? How many internal flights?
Which do you prefer...a backpack or a wheeled bag?
What did you use in Europe?
My preference whether I'm checking luggage or taking a carryon is for a hard shell, wheeled, lockable case in combination with packing cubes.
You're doing a fly drive therefore the consideration of having luggage that is suitable for hauling around public transport and the like is not relevant. Opt for the most durable, strong yet light case but also bear in mind how many you're taking and whether they'll fit in the boot of your rental car.
When we travel long haul we're either driving the other end or taking a taxi to our destination which will be our home for the next two weeks or so. We also have our children with us so we generally have one large hard shell wheeled case and two medium hard shell cases. I also have a leather duffel bag that contains all the valuables, electronics etc and this accompanies me on board. However we don't travel light, I even take a portable barbecue chimney starter with me when we go to Mallorca as the villas we stay at have barbecues and there's nothing worse than using those 'light the bag' packs of instant lighting charcoal. I also take my own knife set (holiday home knives are notoriously blunt) and a travel cooking pack containing small amounts of herbs, spices, oils, vinegars, flour etc whenever we're self catering (which is most of the time). It's safe to say that my travel style is a stark contrast to Rick Steves'.
What are z-frame cases?
New Zealand is very family friendly, and many hotels will have guest laundry facilities. Keeping your clothes clean will not be a problem!
Take a raincoat. It can rain at anytime...NZ is not that green for nothing! Few freeways, so plan on taking extra time to reach your destination. Another hint for NZ and Australia..If you go to a nice restaurant with table service, be sure to ask for your check when you are finished...they won’t just bring it to you.
This sounds like a car trip, so bring what ever baggage you like, as you will haul it in the boot of your vehicle, not on your back as you might in Europe, traipsing from hotel to metro to train station. Since you asked about cases, my favourite case is Samsonite Cosmolite, but this brand can be a little hard to find in the US as it made in Europe. But worth a try.. I bought this brand of luggage in 2012; although the cases are very lightweight they have really stood up to a lot of abuse. Not cheap.
You will have a great time!