A question I can never answer definitively, but one that always comes up before an adventure! Do I bring my backpack or suitcase?

Yes, suitcases are…

  • bigger
  • easier to drag around
  • easier to find things

But they are also …

  • heavier
  • more awkward with stairs and cobbles streets etc.
  • you tend to pack far more than you need

I love my backpack, its a front loader which simply means a zip on the front/middle, so you don’t have to trail everything out to find something. When buying a new backpack, make sure it is a front loader.


For more packing tips, you can read my most popular blog post ‘The Packing Bible’.

I feel like I’m ready for adventure when I wear my backpack. You tend to pack more sensibly, and it has loads of hidden pockets which make pick-pocketing more difficult.

I feel like a tourist with a suitcase, but I feel like a traveller with a backpack. Plus, you can’t really say you backpacked around Europe without a backpack now can you?

When buying a backpack, be sensible. 60 litres max for women, and 70 litres for men. Know your own strength! Don’t ruin your trip by coming home with chronic back pain. I packed far too much on my first backpacking trip around Europe, and it made moving from one place too another so difficult and cumbersome.

I have now learnt that throwing a backpack off a boat onto a beachy shore is far easier than throwing a suitcase. You will experience this if you ever go island hopping in South East Asia. It is also an old sailors superstition that you should never bring a hard suitcase onto a boat.

When I saw people had brought suitcases to Australia I was shocked. They had filled the suitcases with straighteners and beauty products (and everything but the kitchen sink). You can have all those ‘luxuries’ at home. I left that behind and that was part of the  thrill for being there. Trust me when you’re in a exciting new place you won’t be worrying how straight your hair is. After living in Melbourne for six months I had accumulated a lot of stuff. Soon enough I was on the road again, and could only bring what I could carry on my back.

Ditch the excess, and live simply for a while.

“I would live out of a backpack, if it meant I could travel the world!”

I lived out of a backpack for fourteen months and I loved it. I remember coming home to my closet of full of clothes, and shelves of stuff I managed to live without. I felt like I owned far too much stuff, and I realised how much of it was unnecessary to live happily. Sometimes a change in perspective can do you a world of good. It was one of the most important things I have learnt from travel …

 Collect moments, not things!


I have created a Nectar List of memories I have collected instead of things. You can read it in my ‘Nectar List’ Blog.

Pack lighter – go further!

“He who would travel happily must travel light”


For more all purpose packing list, you can read my ‘Packing List’ blog post.

I have just ordered an ebook called ‘A year without make up’. I can’t wait to read it!

If the thought of travelling without make up, straighteners, and all your designer clothes scares you, then that is exactly why you should do it. Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.


“I was amazed that what I needed to survive could be carried on my back, and most surprisingly of all, that I could carry it.” Cheryl Strayed


Do what’s right for you and your budget! If you have a bag that you’re happy with …just use it! The extra money that you would spend on a new backpack or suitcase could be spent on your adventure. The bag won’t make or break your trip. At the end of the day, it’s just a bag, so don’t sweat the small stuff!

If you have any other questions please comment below! I’d love to hear them!

Enjoy your adventure, and return safely

The wandering boomerang 🙂


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