By Catey Hill, MarketWatch
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This was supposed to be a story about a suitcase.
But when I started asking travel pros and frequent travelers what luggage they didn’t leave home without, many of them had this to say: Their go-to piece of luggage was the humble backpack — though on longer trips or those that required a ton of stuff they might also carry a suitcase. ( One of the best-selling, best-reviewed travel backpacks on Amazon is the roughly $29 Matien Travel Laptop backpack, which has more than 4,300 reviews and gets 4.7 stars. )
“It’s so much more convenient to be able to move around easily whenever and wherever I want — unencumbered,” says Andrew D’Amours, founder of travel deals site Flytrippers of his go-to backpack.
He opts for this roughly $50 black Amazon backpack, which has tons of space — it can hold up to 55 liters of stuff — straps for comfort and tons of pockets that make it easy to find your stuff .) Plus, “I can avoid all the bag fees (and the useless wait at the bag drop-off counter and the baggage carousel),” he adds.
And Landon Sanford, co-founder of travel app Rayka, notes that backpacks are great even outside of the airport: “For me, roller bags can be tricky when you’re quickly bouncing between hostels, countries, or new experiences.”
“It’s easy to carry by hand or like a backpack, it fits into carry-on overhead so I don’t have to go through baggage claim,” he adds about the bag.
Looking for something a little more stylish? Maria Potehina, a blogger at travel site Call It Adventure, opts for the Sherpani Backpack — which retails for roughly $130 on Amazon — and can convert from a tote to a backpack and is both “high-quality” and “stylish,” she adds.
And if you want something that can help keep your stuff safer, Sofie Couwenbergh, a blogger for WonderfulWanderings.com, recommends the Pacsafe Metrosafe backpack. It “allows me to stow my laptop safely, has an RFID pocket and is slash-proof, so I can use it as a theft-proof daypack as well.” It retails for roughly $100 on Amazon and “also has lockable zippers,” she says.
For full-time traveler Michael Alexis, the Minaal Daily which sells for $250 on the company’s website — is his choice, for a few reasons. He says it “fits everything I need for a weekend or extended trip - with room to spare,” is “durable” and “easy to pack.”
Of course, a backpack might get too heavy for some travelers, and you can only fit so many, say, pairs of shoes in it, but for many people, a backpack is all they need on a trip.
And Molly Fergus, the general manager of travel planning site TripSavvy, says that though her luggage preference varies depending on what she’s doing, “for a more rugged trip, backpacks are the most comfortable.” She loves the Tortuga Setout Backpack — which sells for about $200 on the company’s website. “I’ve opted for the Tortuga Setout Backpack, which opens like a suitcase but has strong foam shoulder straps, netted back support, and two detachable waist straps if you over-stuffed the carry on-sized bag a bit,” she explains.