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What's better, a backpack or suitcase?


by @patrick | 5yr  | 17 comments

I am used to travel with my backpack. A logic choice when you also walk trails and such.
But while traveling for a few months now in South America, I do not walk a lot with my backpack while living as a DN.

So the question came up: Backpack or suitcase for the next travels?
The walk from hostel to the bus terminal is no problem. And a case is so much more accessible to live outโ€ฆ I think.

The case to go for me would be a Rimowa, thรฉ topnotch aluminum one.

What is you experience with a case vs. a bag?

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@azurio | 5yr

I laughed at myself pretty hard once I switched from backpack to suitcase. All those days getting sweaty and tired seemed so silly. And the rare occasions when I have to lift my suitcase? No big deal.

1 more vote for suitcase! Though of course it is a personal taste, only โ€” I totally get that backpacks and rucksacks are better for plenty of people, and thatโ€™s awesome. :slight_smile:

(Hoping to see more particular brand suggestions and links, since Iโ€™m getting a new one.)

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@thomas_sims29 | 5yr

I would vote for suitcase, i have nothing against the backpack, i love them too, but suitcase is more comfortable, if you donโ€™t have to walk a lot, your clothes willnโ€™t be wrinkled, you can take more of it, as usually suitcases are more spacious, you donโ€™t have to carry all the weight on your shoulders, and the main thing for me is, when you take the suitcase you feel the atmosphere of the travelling.

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@patrick | 5yr

Whoow guys Great feedback. Love reading all of your experiences.
Have not made my decision for my next trip, first I need to finish my 6 month trip cross South America. But enough food for thought.

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@jessehanley | 5yr

I use a Tortuga backpack and think itโ€™s perfect for my lifestyle right now.

Itโ€™s huge, fits everything and when Iโ€™m on the go it makes life really easy. I also have a day pack for my laptop and tech gear.

On the 1% of the month when Iโ€™m actually bouncing around being able to carry it on my back is a lifesaver. Similar to what @Dries mentioned itโ€™s just a lot nicer compared to a suitcase that you have to drag around.

I also like that the backpack keeps the amount of clothing/gear I travel with minimal. I tend to buy a lot and it helps my wallet :smile:

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@dries | 5yr

Ok, close your eyes for a momentโ€ฆ and think of the lovely journeys youโ€™re going to make as a nomadโ€ฆ now add the screeching sound of plastic wheels over concrete as ambient soundtrack.

Pleasant?

Otherwise, heavy backpack luggers donโ€™t seem to leisurely stroll to their destinations eitherโ€ฆ

Good alternatives can be both a quality trolley or backpack, as long as they are small, agile and comfortable. I personally use a light backpack (boreas bolinas, 30L, 5-8kg filled, no need for hip belt) that also also doubles as a day or weekend pack. I love how small packs (and nomadism in general!) force thinking about what stuff is actually useful. And give the freedom to turn short hikes into new beginnings at will.

PS: www.carryology.com generally has good reviews both of trolleys and backpacks (also of the Bolina I use).

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@gwtiemann | 5yr

I am also a backpack fan and recently had an experience that made me appreciate my backpack even more. I was traveling through Italy and Turkey with a friend of mine and she had a 40L hard-sided roller suitcase and I was using my 70L Osprey. A few of the cities that we visited had very little impact for either of us as we had car for part of the time and used Taxis for the other times between train stations and airports to hotels/apartments. For the most part there was no discernible difference between the two forms. Easy A-B destinations the wheeled suitcase was likely a more efficient choice but hiking to our lodging in Cinque Terra was much better with my backpack, save for perhaps @gigigriffis comment on a bit of awkwardness at nicer hotels. However when we went to Istanbul, our taxi from the airport was unable to locate our hotel and thus we were relegated to walking up and down various streets searching. Throughout Italy and Germany I had very few problems with Google maps and my phones GPS but in Turkey some of the coordinates did not match(including our hotel) and so the wheeled suitcase became problematic very quickly on the cobbled streets and largely inclined corridors. The hard-shelled suitcase did not have very ergonomic handles as it is meant to be primarily wheeled and only carried a small portion of the time. After about 2 hours of trekking around we finally found the hotel but the workout on my friends hands/arms/back was evidence enough that wheeled luggage is not suitable everywhere. It likely comes down to ones areas of travel and personal preference while traveling. I am sticking with my backpack.

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@geonomad | 5yr

I am a backpack fan for the convenience of walking longer distances over questionable ground. Perhaps I shouldnโ€™t choose the hostel that is just out of town, but I seem to go that way. Wheels wouldnโ€™t cut it and there arenโ€™t always cabs where you need them. Besides, I feel more free when I can walk.

Currently, I use the REI backpack that zips up the straps so it becomes a small suitcase with no dangly bits when necessary. I find that handy when packing it away at โ€œhomeโ€ or in the overhead bin.

The price was less than USD 100, so it is replaceable if something happens to it. So far, it has a few hundred thousand miles on it and looks almost new. Value for money, for sure.

It seems to be just the right size for my needs, but YMMV.

A good point was made about the metal roll-on being more burglar proof. I tend to be extremely attentive in risky areas and so far have not had that problem, although I did lose a camera from the open top while paying too much attention to my laptop on a bus with WiFi. My bad.

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@gigigriffis | 5yr

Iโ€™m a backpack girl all the way. I love having my hands free and itโ€™s much easier to run, carry a coffee, and manage my dog on her leash when all my stuff is safely strapped to my back. I also feel less vulnerable to losing or having my bag stolen (where someone could grab a suitcase out of my hand and run, theyโ€™d have a tough time ripping the backpack off my back).

The only downside Iโ€™ve encountered is that I feel somewhat foolish when Iโ€™m arriving at a super nice hotel looking like Iโ€™m about to hike the Appalachian trail. But that embarrassment only lasts the few moments it takes me to check in and hide my bag and put on a nice โ€œsee, I belong hereโ€ skirt to reemerge.

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@nikipaniki | 5yr

I have a 2-in-1, which is a backpack with wheels. I think itโ€™s perfect for all my trips. Itโ€™s carry-on size and has gone with me to Europe during the Fall, Japan in Winter, and Korea in Spring time. For summer travels, I usually just carry it as a backpack as itโ€™s easier to move when taking boats or walking along dirt roads. I roll it when I donโ€™t have to carry it around. And use it as a backpack when the roads are pebbled, sandy, or dusty. Anything that makes rolling it a nightmare. So far thatโ€™s working well for me. :blush:

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@yoio | 5yr

Porque no los dos?
I recently have dealt with the same question. Traveling through Australia and South East Asia. I wanted the comfort of a suitcase but also the ability to go on occasional off-road trips\trails. I discovered a category of bags that was perfect for my needs, theyโ€™re usually called โ€œTravel Backpacksโ€. The spectrum varies but Itโ€™s basically what we call a โ€œRucksackโ€ but with suitcasey features like handles, shoulder straps hide compartment, all-around zip front loading etc.

Mine is Kelty Redwing 50 (a little too big) but I have never had problems taking it on an airplane, even on the cheap airline companies. It was never full loaded though.

Good luck

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@don_lee | 5yr

Because I travel light so I prefer backpack. I found this blog post a few days ago which makes some good points of why you should use a backpack instead of a suitcase http://shoin.wf/reasons-to-ditch-the-suitcase/

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@mrslippery | 5yr

Essentially both in one.

  • I canโ€™t always get by with only carry-on
  • most of my time is in โ€˜friendly territoryโ€™ - wheels are OK and useful (but should be off road style) - so why backpack the load when you donโ€™t need to
  • but there are stretches where wheels donโ€™t work - going from platform to platform via stairs in India train station, Paris metro interconnect with stairs only, etc.
    So my go to bag is a 28" 80L Osprey Sojourn, off-road wheels (cobble stones, bricks, and dirt are not 4-wheel spinner friendly), weight supporting waist beltโ€ฆ do i really need the full 80L? No, but the compression straps let me carry un-full, and thereโ€™s plenty of space for en route acquisitions
    (and if i can do carry-on only itโ€™s a similar smaller convertible)
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@kathrynoh | 5yr

I usually travel with a smallish suitcase but lately Iโ€™ve had a lot of back problems so am wondering if a backpack might be better. I am just not a fan of backpacks though - having everything behind you where you canโ€™t keep an eye on it, the sweaty back and yeah, the being a pain in the butt because you knock people with it.

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@nickdanforth | 5yr

My wife and I share a very small rolling suitcase (small enough to be considered carry-on with most airlines) and we each have a small daypack.

Suitcase holds clothing, Aeropress, misc. shared items. Backpacks are for laptops, notebooks, cameras, etc.

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@hamshawian | 5yr

I had a backpack then had to trade it for a suitcase whilst I stood still to learn some new skills. I guess we all cannot immediately have our Macโ€™s on a beach.

The goal is to get the backpack back and be as free as a bird. What more do you need than a Mac?

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@jonmyers | 5yr

Iโ€™ve tried both over the years.

Iโ€™m mostly in cities and go city to city, and have arrived at the conclusion I prefer hard side luggage for a majority of situations. I just started failing to see the point. When I was in India for a year, it made sense - for most travel from nomad hub to nomad hub, I fail to see the point anymore.

I find hard side luggage easier to pack (personal preference), far easier to dig through, better protect their contents, if your luggage is in the vestibule of the bus and encounters meddling hands, itโ€™s not that easy to get into - and hard sides have more utility in a majority of most situations when youโ€™re lugging them around.

Disembarking, walking to a taxi, exiting your taxi and walking into the hotel, I always find myself just wanting wheels.

I feel like Iโ€™m wearing a giant sumo fat suit when Iโ€™m wearing a backpack in most crowded situations and just find it annoying. Often, when Iโ€™m in a city like Bangkok, Iโ€™ll be on the train and see people who are going through with these giant backpacks, bashing passengers, knocking stuff over, etc., If you are carrying a separate laptop bag, itโ€™s even clumsier. Itโ€™s more awkward trying to carry a backpack in these type of situations versus just rolling this type of luggage through. I find rolling type of luggage like this easier to get through in larger crowds.

In my experience, in South America (Ecuador, Chile, Argentina & Uruguay) - I canโ€™t remember that many travel inflection points where a backpack would be preferable. Example, ferry from Buenos Aires to Montevideo - is a shit show disembarking, but youโ€™re just going to be rolling through the station and going straight to a taxi and then to a hotel.

Perhaps, in somewhere like Cuenca, Ecuador - and getting off a bus and hauling around the streets or up to a hotel - a backpack might make sense, but - in all, I think Iโ€™d prefer wheels a majority of the time.

If you get a nice one like the Rimowa or a Tumi, they will have warranties and repair centers, should you bust up the wheels, locks, etc.,

And, get a nice duffle for smaller trips where you are leaving your hard side behind for awhile.

Safe travels.

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@wanderingdev | 5yr

I do backpack. traveling by bus or train or walking around happens often enough that i prefer a backpack. I had to travel with a suitcase earlier this year and it sucked ass plus it broke because cobble stone streets are hell on wheeled suitcases.

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Read and participate in 13,920 discussions on Nomad List

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What's the best SIM card you can get for traveling to Spain?


in Spain by @gabygarreau | 25d 24 days ago | 3 comments

Hi! I want to relocate to Spain and I was wondering if someone can recommend a SIM card with a good data package.

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Central America - Where and what's next?


by @as11 | 6mo 5 months ago | 11 comments

Currently in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico and heading to Santa Teressa, Costa Rica next week.
Then Aruba in the Caribbean Sea for Christmas and New Year.

However I feel I want to head back to Central America to bring living costs down, rather than staying in the Caribbean Sea among the expensive Islands.

This means I have around 2 - 2,5 month of unplanned travelling.
Any digital nomads who have ideas about where to head in that timeframe?

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What's the first step now that I can work remotely?


by @mariaplslourdes | 9mo 9 months ago | 4 comments

Hi everyone and nice to e-meet you!
finally, after so long I found a job that allows me to work remotely.
But now? Do you have any practical advice that I can use to approach this new world?
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What's the best warm destinations in Europe in the winter?

 

by @jammingsloth | 1yr 1 year ago | 33 comments

Planning ahead for the winter. Iโ€™ll be in Spain in the Fall and want to go someplace warm for the winter in or near Europe, but not Schengen. Was first thinking Cape Town, but the internet is slow and it is very far. Was also thinking:
Israel - but airbnb listings are very pricey.
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What's the best bank account for a global nomad?

 

by @barrybjjoubert | 1yr 1 year ago | 25 comments

Dear all
As a wanna be nomad figuring out a way to get free of the rat race, I was wondering what is the best bank account to have while travelling the globe? I need an account where is easy for me to receive payments from all over the world and it also need to be a bank that I can find almost anywhere in the world. I want to avoid carry cash on me if itโ€™s possible.

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What's the best CRM/system for managing remote work opportunities?


by @panoramica | 1yr 1 year ago | 3 comments

Iโ€™m currently doing some work through Upwork, but itโ€™s sporadic and Iโ€™m keen to get more active on other platforms like Freelancer, Toptal, CodeMentor, Fiverr etc

Currently Iโ€™m managing leads in a Google sheet. Basically itโ€™s just a list of projects I pitched for, how much I bid, what I did differently from the last pitch/bid, how much time went by before I got a offered a job etc.

Iโ€™m not actively following up anybody, and Iโ€™ve in fact โ€˜lostโ€™ a few jobs where the client was keen, but then disappeared without a trace. I guess I need to keep in touch with those people to ensure that they remain focussed on our agreementโ€ฆ

Iโ€™m also keen to take on more small projects concurrently, without dropping the ball on any of them.

Iโ€™ve done a quick Google and turned up a few names including Salesforce, Zoho, Nutshell, HighRise, Base, Nimble, etc etc. But testing out all these products isnโ€™t all that appealing, so I thought Iโ€™d ask here first :slight_smile:

Ideally Iโ€™d like something that integrates with remote job boards in some way.

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What's the best place to incorporate an online business?

 

by @octave | 1yr 1 year ago | 63 comments

I have an commerce website. We get around 1000 orders per month and this is going to get quite a bit bigger in next few years.

I am British. I live in Thailand.
Im not allowed to majority own a Thai business and small foreign entrepreneurs are not really welcome. So i need an offshore company.

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What's the best mobile-data option in New Zealand for nomads?


in New Zealand by @goldsaj | 2yr 1 year ago | 2 comments

Hi All! Iโ€™ve heard Spark and Vodafone are the best. I plan to move around, so I care mostly about having good coverage, and all Iโ€™ll need is around 1 GB of data or so.

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Thanks!

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in South Africa by @kirst85 | 2yr 2 years ago | 12 comments

Iโ€™m a South African about to become a Nomad next year. I will still be employed by a South African company and receive a salary into my FNB bank account monthly.

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What's better? Puerto Vallarta vs. Playa del Carmen in Mexico?


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Hi all,

What do you guys use for call and sms forwarding?

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Is carrying around my laptop in a backpack every day safe in South America?


by @skarabox | 3yr 2 years ago | 9 comments

Hello everyone, I usually carry my laptop in my day backpack, walk around the town in my home country (Poland) and work in coffee shops / shopping centers, other quiet places I find or like.

My question is, how would carrying around my laptop on myself every day around the town work in practice in those places in terms of safety in South America.

I prefer to travel by a city communication than taxis and like to walk around too, but my concern is that I will get blatantly robbed with a gun or knife in a side street and lose my whole backpack with a laptop.

If anyone living in those cities could share their experience about how likely this situation is to occur, as obviously being white and foreign will make me stand out in the first place.

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What's a good and warm place in April to surf with fast internet?


by @jakegibson | 3yr 2 years ago | 9 comments

I landed a remote job that is fully remote with only one team skype meeting a week. Iโ€™m looking to leave around March 13th and stay 1 - 3 months in each place. The first place I want somewhere that is warm with good surf. For the group video chat I need at least 5/2 down/up reliable internet. Any recommendations for a place that meets that end of March - April?

Iโ€™ve read through the forums / nomads list. Iโ€™ve already done Costa Rica and Indo and would like to try somewhere new. Currently looking at Sayuliata Mexico, Canary Islands, and Morocco though I think Iโ€™ll wait on the second two since they sound like they are better in the fall.

Thanks!

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What's the weirdest thing you travel with?

 

by @gigigriffis | 3yr 2 years ago | 21 comments

I was thinking about packing today and Iโ€™m curious: whatโ€™s the weirdest thing you guys have in your bags? Nomads are, by nature, minimalists, but Iโ€™m sure we all do it differently. I have a friend who travels with BASE jumping gear, another a sequin dress. So, whatโ€™s the most unusual thing in your bag?

Mine is probably that I travel with a dog.

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What's the standard salary for a designer in Germany?


in Germany by @nchow119 | 3yr 2 years ago | 0 comments

Hi everyone,

I was wondering what the annual base salary for a full time junior to mid designer would be in either Frankfurt(Main) or Hamburg, Germany.

Thanks,
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What's better? Krabi or Koh Lanta in March?


in Krabi, Thailand by @jnomad30 | 3yr 2 years ago | 2 comments

Thailand - Krabi vs. Koh Lanta in March

Hey Nomads -
So Iโ€™m looking to leave my current base in Chiang Mai, Thailand to head back down south in March to escape burning season.
Iโ€™m looking at staying for a month in either Krabi or Koh Lanta. I already spent a month on Koh Samui which was ok but Iโ€™m looking to explore the other side now and it seems this will be a good time of year seasonally to be on those islands.

Here are my main considerations and would love any thoughts:

  1. Housing - As the islands are much more expensive, I think it would be the most sensible to get an apartment or rental for a month. I got a good deal in Samui when I stayed for a month.
    -A/C is a must
  • Strong, Hi-speed wifi where Iโ€™m staying as I need to do video calls from home
  1. More walkable (or as much as possible) areas are preferred as I donโ€™t use a motorbike and transportation back and forth to restaurants, etc. can get expensive
    Walking distance to the beach would be great but price is a big more important factor

I donโ€™t necessarily care about being near a co-working space as much of my work on video calls requires me to work from home anyway for privacy.

Anyone stayed on Krabi or Koh Lanta & have any suggestions?
TIA!!

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What's the best way for Canadians to get cash or transfer money in Thailand & SEA?


in Thailand by @artofbryce | 3yr 2 years ago | 5 comments

Weโ€™re setting off on our first venture for new digital nomad life in 20 days!

  • starting in Chiang Mai as our home base
  • 1 year ED visa
  • planning to bounce around all over

Right now, Iโ€™m utterly baffled and confused by trying to figure out how weโ€™re going to be able to get more cash or transfer money from our bank accounts in Canada. Either at all or without getting charged insane fees.

Iโ€™ve looked through the forum and a lot of solutions put forth with no real luck. Hoping that some Canadians may chime in with solutions, experience or advice.

Thanks!

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What's the best digital nomad backpack?

 

by @levelsio | 3yr 2 years ago | 93 comments

I hear stuff about Tortuga and Minaal, although Iโ€™m myself using a fake Chinese one I bought here in Bali.

What do you currently have and whatโ€™s the best?

2017 UPDATE: I made a gear page now:

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14k
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What's the best digital nomad backpack?

 

by @levelsio | 3yr 2 years ago | 93 comments

I hear stuff about Tortuga and Minaal, although Iโ€™m myself using a fake Chinese one I bought here in Bali.

What do you currently have and whatโ€™s the best?

2017 UPDATE: I made a gear page now:

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What's the best surf spots in California or South America?


in Cali, Colombia by @rynesweeney | 3yr 2 years ago | 8 comments

I am currently living in Medellin until February. I want to find some of people favorite spots for surfing and community. I have heard Nicaragua and Guatemala have many options.

Multiple one month or more stays in countries below the US (CA, SA, Caribbean as all?). Spanish isnโ€™t a problem. Safety, internet, and surf are priorities. Ive heard good things about Panama and CR but they amount of gringos currently in these places is sort of a turn off (Im a gringoโ€ฆbut that is my preference). Budget is sub $1500/month.

Thank you for the suggestions!

Ryne

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