Written by Becca Siegel of halfhalftravel.com
If you’ve been dreaming of your spring break trip -- that well-deserved week-long getaway -- you probably have a lot of prep to do. From figuring out what to pack, to how hot or cold it’s going to be at your destination on the day you land, the to-do list can pile up before you leave home.
One important thing to conquer before taking your spring break vacation is deciding which type of luggage to bring. Regardless of whether or not you’re a ‘suitcase person,’ the kind of luggage you’re bringing along should match your trip type.
In the past few years, I’ve taken both suitcases and backpacks (and even duffel bags) on trips. To figure out which type of luggage is best, I think about factors like my main mode of transport, the length of my trip and how much I have to bring.
There are other considerations to have in mind as well. For example, will you be in various airports during the trip? Will there be any considerable walking you’ll have to do with your bag? If you’re flying, will you be checking a bag, or carrying on?
To help you out with the decisions surrounding which luggage to take for your spring break trip, I’ll be sharing a few items to keep in mind. If none of the bags in your current collection makes the cut, then keep an eye out for my recommendations of the latest SwissTech backpacks, suitcases and duffels, below.
Here are the seven main questions to ask yourself when choosing your spring break travel bag.
Will you be road-tripping on spring break?
If you’ll be taking a road trip or using a car during your trip, try a duffel as your luggage. The benefit of a duffel bag is that it’ll be more flexible for fitting into a trunk with all your friends’ bags.
Suitcases, even if half-empty, take up the same amount of space as they would if they were full. For car travel with a group, having a bag that can flatten down (or expand) is beneficial.
Will you be traveling in airports during spring break?
We’ve all been that person in the airport rushing for a flight. One of the biggest parts of air travel is having a bag that glides smoothly across the shiny floors of an airport. For this, you need a suitcase with great wheels that feels right.
Does your suitcase have wheels that spin completely around, so that you can turn corners and walk quickly? The aim of good suitcase wheels is to make you feel like your bag is moving at the same pace as you are, instead of weighing you down during transit.
My recommendation: Having high-quality wheels as a major consideration when picking a spring break suitcase, my recommendation is the SwissTech Exhibition 26" Upright Suitcase. It has oversized 8-wheel 360-degree spinners for ease of movement, so you and your bag will travel seamlessly together.
Will you be moving around frequently?
For moving around a lot, consider a backpack. A backpack is ideal for anyone who’ll be jumping from one location to the next -- for example, spending a night in one place, and then moving onward.
Backpacks also benefit anyone who plans to be taking types of mass transit, like buses, metros and trains, during a trip. The reason is that backpacks are easiest for going up and down stairs, or ensuring that your backpack can go in the overhead compartment of a bus, van or train for a few hours.
My recommendation: the SwissTech Excursion 18" Backpack has great features like heavy-duty main compartment zippers for all your accessories, and also an integrated USB port for use with a power bank -- perfect for spring breakers on the go.
Does your spring break trip involve urban areas?
Have you ever traveled in big cities? You might be aware of what traveling in a big city is like, from metro stations with lots of stairs and no elevators, to cobblestone streets in historic districts, where your luggage wheels won’t roll very well.
My best advice to spring breakers who choose cities for their destinations is to pick luggage without wheels. When you have a bag like a duffel that can hold all your things and can support a considerable amount of weight, wheels are no longer part of the equation.
Also, if you’re staying in a historic hotel, guesthouse or B&B, there may be no elevator to the top floor. It can be stairs all the way (more charming, in my opinion), and having a duffel bag as your luggage will be key.
My recommendation: SwissTech's Urban Trek Duffel Bag is right for this kind of spring break trip, as it has padded and reinforced handles that make carrying comfortable.
Is your spring break trip less than a week?
Isn’t packing just the hardest? It’s so challenging to visualize exactly what you’ll need for a trip without going overboard. If your trip is less than a week, pick a mid-size bag and pack light. This way, you won’t be weighed down by excess, and you’ll definitely avoid overweight fees if you’re flying.
My recommendation: For a smaller-size suitcase for spring break, look at the SwissTech Exhibition 22" Carry On. This bag is carry-on size, and also has a 2-inch zip-around expansion for added packing space.
Will your spring break be near water and will anything get wet?
Spring break is a great time to hit the beach and get sandy, but … is there anything worse than having a wet bathing suit that somehow makes everything else in your bag damp or ruined?
There is a way to avoid this, and it’s to pick a travel bag with a “wet bag.”
My recommendation: the SwissTech Navigation 21" Carry On. It’ll have you covered, with its six multi-functional compartments including a removable wet pouch, so that your bathing suit won’t dampen the rest of your clothes.
Do you plan to have a spring break bag that qualifies as carry-on size?
If you plan to only have a carry-on bag for your spring break trip, then my biggest tip is to look for carry-on-sized luggage. There is certainly a difference between luggage that seems carry-on size according to its looks, and luggage that is carry-on size according to its measurements.
I’ve been finding this out more and more with both domestic and international airlines, as they post measurement requirements for carry-on items. For example, some US airlines quote carry-on size to not exceed 9 inches x 14 inches x 22 inches (22 centimeters x 35 centimeters x 56 centimeters), and that includes handles and wheels.
Either way, you’ll want to ensure that your bag makes the cut so that you don’t have to check baggage.
My recommendation: the SwissTech Urban Trek 20" Carry On measures 20"H x 14"W x 7.75"D, so you’ll definitely be in the clear, size-wise. Even with its compact size, you’ll get the benefits of the 2-inch zip-around expansion for added packing space, and four multi-functional pockets that are great for small accessories.
Want to see where I’m headed next? Follow me at the [@halfhalftravel blog](https://halfhalftravel.com), where I feature all the thoughts that go into choosing gear and packing, for each specific type of trip I’m on.
Enjoy spring break!