When it comes to planning your trip to Europe there are a lot of details to think about, such as outlining your travel budget, booking your flights and deciding where to stay. One of the big decisions you will need to make is what type of luggage to bring.
As a seasoned traveller, I would absolutely recommend bringing a backpack or a duffel bag with you rather than a rolling suitcase. Here are some of the reasons why:
When you add wheels and a handle to the luggage, most wheeled bags will be a lot heavier than a backpack of a similar size. Consider the fact that many train and metro systems in Europe might involve a lot of steps rather than escalators and that you will have to lift your heavy bag up over them.
The advantage to carrying a backpack instead of wheeled luggage is that all of the weight is supported by your hips, legs and back – some of the largest muscle groups in your body. The same weight that would be difficult to lift with your arms is much easier to support when you carry it on your back.
Cobblestone Streets Are Hard on the Wheels
Your rolling luggage is very convenient when you are in the airport, with its ramps and smooth floors. However, when it comes to traversing the cobblestone streets of a tiny village in Italy or France, your belongings will be bouncing up and down as you roll your luggage over every bumpy stone. Cobbled streets and other types of uneven pavement are common in historic centres in Europe (and are part of the charm), so this is another good reason to avoid the wheeled luggage.
You Won’t Have Both Hands Free
When you are navigating your way around European streets and public transit systems, it is much better to have both hands free so that you can look at the map, buy tickets, open doors and perform other tasks. This is also a security issue, if you take your hands off the handle of your wheeled luggage to buy a metro ticket someone walking by could easily snatch your bag and run away.
Wheeled Suitcases Are Awkward in Crowds
As you arrive in London, Rome or Paris you will probably have to make your way through a busy crowd in order to get to your destination. Trying to wheel a suitcase through a crowd is challenging and it will really slow you down. Being able to carry everything on your back is more efficient and compact and will help you to move through the crowd more easily.
These are just a few of the reasons that I prefer using a backpack rather than wheeled luggage when travelling around Europe. Think about it carefully and perhaps even visit a luggage store and try out both – it all depends on your travel style.