To wheel or not to wheel, that is the question. Wheeled luggage has undeniable advantages on city streets and any other smooth surfaces. Yet it's a nightmare to drag up stairs and can be most cumbersome along cobbled streets. Croatia has a lot of cobbled streets. From the smooth marble paving stones of Dubrovnik and Hvar to the bumpy stones of Rovinj and other ancient towns, your wheeled suitcase can take quite a beating.
In fact, if your suitcase is of the bargain basement variety, it may not survive the beating. If you lose a wheel on your trip you may not be able to replace it right away. What good does that "lifetime guarantee" do if your luggage breaks down halfway across the world? What are you supposed to do? Mail it in for a quick replacement?
I recommend that you take a hard look at your wheeled suitcase. Your
wheels should be sturdy and inset, not on a hinge. Also
look at the zippers. Flimsy plastic zippers can split
apart if you tend to overstuff your bag (and who doesn't?) Quality luggage
closes with indestructible metal zippers.
Backpacks can be a great choice at any age even though it's usually associated with young travellers on a budget. The advantage of travelling Croatia with a backpack is that you can easily navigate cobblestone streets, stairs, rural roads and the pedestrian only town centres of Dubrovnik and Hvar. The disadvantage of backpack travel is that trudging for more than a kilometre with a heavy pack buckled to your back can be quite a workout.
If your upper body strength is rock hard and/or you pack extra-light, go for it, but I prefer a duffle bag on wheels as my major pack. Otherwise, a small duffle bag can be perfect as carry-on luggage.
OK, maybe you can leave home without them but you'll want to leave home with them. Here are my favourite travel toys:
Packing Cubes & Folders Keep your clothes looking fresh & neat.
Pills, shoes & gels stay in their own place.
Don't forget about baggage insurance!
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