Many a time I have been in this particular predicament. Should I travel with a pack or a suitcase? The simple answer is this. What kind of travelling are you going to be doing?
If you are going to be schlepping your way around Europe or South America, spending a night here, a couple of night’s there and using the cheapest public transport you can find, then I would suggest that you travel with your belongings in a pack. The great thing about a pack, is that because you’re going to be travelling with it on your back, you are always aware of how much stuff you are putting in it and how much it will weigh. That works particularly well with me because I am the worst of the worst when it comes to overpacking. Coming home after a long trip abroad, I can guarantee that I will have a pile of perfectly rolled clothes sitting in the the bottom of my pack that were never used. My pack would sometimes get so heavy I would try to swing it on to my back, overbalance, and end up in a pile on the ground with my travelling companion laughing their head off. Not a pretty sight.
If you are a little more well travelled and you’ve left your hostel days behind you, then a suitcase would probably be the best choice for you. No one wants to look like a pack horse if they can help it. Plus! Your clothes and toiletries are much more easily accessible than if they were in a pack that you felt like you were going to the rabbit hole with Alice just to get that t-shirt you want.
A little tip. If you are going for the suitcase, go for a bright colour or one with an easily recognisable pattern. The number of plain black suitcases on those luggage turnstiles at airports is truly incredible. No one wants to open up their suitcase at the start of the trip looking forward to putting on that perfect ‘exploring Paris outfit’ only to find grey granny panties and velcro sandals because you’ve picked up the wrong suitcase.
Just ask yourself the question: what kind of travelling am I going to be doing? Then the answer will come to you!