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Packing is an arduous task at the best of times; trying to squeeze in everything you think you will need for an extended stay overseas can be horrendous. Firstly you need to choose the appropriate luggage.

Choose luggage that suits your travel

No matter what kind of travelling you do (a weekend away, two weeks on the beach or months backpacking) you will need your luggage to be easily manoeuvred in and out of your transport and be easy to carry around. So choosing the right luggage to suit your travels is important. Agree?

Most travellers heading overseas on working holidays and extended trips usually choose a backpack or rucksack or a suitcase on wheels that you can pull along for their travels. This is because they are easy to carry around and can be used for many adventures while on the road.

Choosing a backpack

A backpack or rucksack is an essential purchase for any traveller heading overseas. The backpack, once seen as the budget traveller’s best friend, has evolved making it the ideal companion for the modern traveller. Their biggest advantage is they are easy to carry around. So what do you look for in a pack?

Size: New travellers are notorious for filling their luggage with clothes they might wear and knick-knacks they might use and so purchase the largest pack possible. Big is not always best. The bigger the pack, the more likely you are to over pack and end up with a very heavy pack which can hinder your well-being while travelling. Most packs are measured by their litre capacity which, if you’re like most, doesn’t mean very much at all. Therefore, a visual evaluation and some guidance from an attendant in a specialist travel/adventure accessory store will be your best bet.

Comfort: Not everyone is the same height or size so try the pack on first. The only thing worse than a heavy pack is an uncomfortable heavy pack. Your pack should fit you like a glove because the more comfortable you are the better you travel. 

Versatility: As well as being the right length straps should be adjustable and storable in a compartment in the pack. Most packs have straps and handles enabling you to carry the pack like a suitcase.

Style: A pack that unzips like a suitcase is much easier to pack and re-pack than top-opening ones mostly used by hikers. This is because people with top opening ones may have to dig deep or unpack their belongings to find what they are looking for.

Detachable day-pack: Many packs come with a detachable day-pack which will be handy for overnight stays and for carrying knick-knacks around. Some packs include a removable toiletries bag.

Quality: The quality of the pack will determine its strength and sturdiness. In particular, a lot of strain is exerted in the zip area. A pack with a heavy-duty lockable zip is a good investment.

Price: Packs can and do vary in price so it is really up to you to do your research and purchase a pack that will suit your needs. Speak to staff in adventure gear, camping and disposal stores.

Choosing a suitcase

There are various sizes of suitcase available so the size you will need will depend on luggage limits such as on transport and also what type of travel you are embarking on.

Size: Suitcases are available in a number of sizes. It is best to match the size required to the type of travel you are embarking on. If you are only going for a weekend away then a small suitcase will suffice however, if you are heading away indefinitely then a larger one would suit. It is important to look in to and restrictions of size with the transport ie. airlines, that you will going on to ensure you comply. 

Comfort and Versatility: There aren’t many comfort options for suitcases. I would suggest you get one with a telescopic handle that you can adjust to your height to make it easier on your arms when you are dragging the bag behind you. Also ensure it has wheels. Before purchase I would do a quick walk around the shop to ensure the wheels roll smoothly.

Style: There are many styles available which have a soft or hard casing. Softer casings can expand more than hard casings as well as have outer pockets (hopefully zipped) where you can store things.

Quality & Price: Both quality and price can vary with suitcases. It will probably depend on your budget as to how much you wish to spend but really all you want is something that will last the distance.

No matter what you choose – happy travels.

Check out our Travel Store for travel accessories.

About the author: Sharyn McCullum travelled the world for a number of years. Originally she travelled with a suitcase on wheels but over time purchased other luggage that suited each of her travels. Sharyn currently calls Melbourne, Australia home.

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