Packing for a trip is always tricky, but packing for a family holiday is even harder. How much to bring? How to pack it? Suitcases and backpacks both have pros and cons, and the best option depends on how old your kids are, where you’re going and what kind of vacation it will be. Here’s a handy guide!

Packing for a family holiday: are suitcases or backpacks best?

Packing for a family holiday: Are suitcases or backpacks best?



Backpacks are easy. They offer a lot of freedom and flexibility, so they’re great regardless of whether your plan is to trek through the jungle or lounge at a luxury resort. Plus, they leave both hands free so you can hold kids’ hands and shepherd them through airports. No need to worry about navigating stairs on uneven roads, either. Just strap them on and go!

On the other hand, backpacks can get heavy fast! When you’re toting your luggage around on your back, you’ve got to be both in good shape and mindful of how much you pack. They’re also tricky to use with baby carriers, and since most backpacks are top loading, it can be difficult to access your stuff—even if they have lots of pockets and compartments.


  • Very mobile and easy to tote around
  • Leaves both hands free to attend to children
  • Weight is evenly distributed, so it’s easier on your back when you lift it


  • More difficult to access contents
  • Awkward to use with a baby carrier
  • Requires more physical exertion than a wheeled bag
  • Often smaller than suitcases

Best for:

  • Families without infants or babies
  • Trips that may involve a lot of public transportation
  • Trekking trips

Are suitcases or backpacks best?


Suitcases are usually larger than backpacks, so when you’ve got to load up everything from clothes to toys to nappies to formula, having plenty of room is key! They’re easy to pack and organise, and it’s easier to get to what you need without tearing everything out. Plus, if you have an infant or a baby strapped to your chest, strapping on a backpack is tricky.

The downside of using a suitcase is that it requires one of your hands to drag it around, leaving you with one less to pick up, feed or entertain children. If kids are prone to darting off, it’s tough to chase them with a suitcase, and suitcases are not as mobile as backpacks, so it’s harder to climb stairs, navigate uneven streets or get on and off buses, boats or other forms of transportation.


  • Easy to pack and access items
  • Holds more and offers more room to pack awkwardly shaped items
  • Easier to use with a baby carrier


  • Less mobile than a backpack
  • Difficult to maneuver on stairs, uneven ground or public transit
  • One hand always occupied pulling the suitcase

Best for:

  • Bringing a lot of baby equipment or using a baby carrier
  • Trips that primarily use taxis or a private car service

Are suitcases or backpacks best?

Anantara Vacation Club Phuket Mai Khao makes packing for a family holiday easier by offering guests complimentary use of a Bugaboo Bee stroller. It’s sturdy, easy to maneuver and lightweight, so it’s perfect for exploring the island… and one less thing to pack!

Do you find it easier to travel with a backpack or a suitcase? Tell us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Weibo.

About Anantara Vacation Club Editorial Team

Anantara Vacation Club, launched in 2010, is an exclusive collection of luxurious Vacation Ownership resorts and suites, offering each generation the opportunity to explore the world’s most exciting destinations. Owners can purchase Club Points that determine the length of stay, time of year and the size and type of accommodation. Visit: Contact us:

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