Backpack Vs. Suitcase for Tonga
It’s the ultimate showdown in travel: Backpack Vs. Suitcase! Which should you take to Tonga? On one hand, a backpack is easy to carry on and off of boats when doing some island-hopping, but wheely suitcases are oh-so-easy to glide across the airport floor! In short, which type of luggage you should choose for Tonga depends on what type of holiday you intend to have. We’ll go through some pros and cons of each in this guide.
Tips for Picking the Right Luggage for Tonga
Choose According to Your Baggage Allowance
Check out your airline baggage allowance before choosing your luggage. For checked baggage, the maximum weight allowance is usually 23-40kg (50-88lbs), while carry-on baggage allowance is typically 7kg (15lbs) with dimensions no more than 55cm x 40cm x 23cm (21″ x 15″ x 9″). Each airline is different so be sure to check.
If you plan on taking a domestic flight during your trip to Tonga, note that the baggage allowance for checked baggage is lighter, around 15kg (33lbs) for flights to Ha’apai and Vava’u and only 10kg (22lbs) for flights to ‘Eua and The Niuas!
Learn more about travelling to Tonga in Everything You Need to Know About Arriving in Tonga.
Think About the Surfaces You Will Encounter
On the mainland of Tongatapu, ‘Eua or Vava’u, most surfaces you’ll encounter are urban or compact dirt. If you’re doing a bit of island-hopping, perhaps to one of Tongatapu or Vava’u’s off-shore islands or staying in Ha’apai, know that you will probably have to carry your luggage over water or sand.
Take a Suitcase and a Backpack!
If you can’t decide between a backpack or suitcase, pick both! Use your suitcase for transporting the bulk of your belongings and check your backpack in as carry-on luggage for your flight. Then, when you arrive at your accommodation, unpack your backpack and use it as a day pack.
Suitcases for Tonga
Staying in just one or two accommodations? You have your transfers organised and are perhaps just sticking to some main islands? A suitcase will be an easy choice, easily rolled along the surfaces of airports and the streets of Nuku’alofa. If staying elsewhere on the main islands of Tongatapu, Vava’u or even ‘Eua, your transfer (or taxi) will take you from the airport to your chosen accommodation, where it’s very unlikely that you’ll need to worry about the easiest bag to carry then.
Other than being easy to roll across certain surfaces and saving your back from a heavy and sweaty mission, what else are the benefits of using a suitcase for Tonga? They are so easy to organise! Opening up a suitcase to find your clothes essentially spread in front of you far surpasses the “rummaging for clothes” experience you get with backpacks.
The Pros of Taking a Suitcase to Tonga
- Easier to organise and find things inside than a backpack
- Easier to transport around airports and urban areas than a backpack
- You can usually fit more in a suitcase than a similar-sized backpack
- Hardshell suitcases help protect the contents better than a backpack
The Cons of Taking a Suitcase to Tonga
- Harder to carry across different surfaces like beaches
- External elements like wheels and handles can break
- External elements like wheels and handles add to the baggage weight.
Backpacks for Tonga
The go-to luggage for the traveller that prefers to move around, backpacks are practical and versatile. Carrying backpacks over sand and water is much easier than with a suitcase, as well as lugging the backpack on and off ferries.
We also like that the weight of a backpack itself is usually much lighter than a suitcase, meaning that you can pack a few more things before you go over the baggage allowance of flights. Then again, backpacks usually can’t contain as much as a similar-sized suitcase. At least you’ll almost be forced not to overpack as this would also mean that you’ll be carrying a likely heavy item on your back in the tropical sun which isn’t always the most comfortable of experiences.
The Pros of Taking a Backpack to Tonga
- Ideal for island-hopping, as they are easier to carry over difficult terrain than suitcases
- They are versatile and some can be used as a day pack
- They force you to not overpack and not go over the airline luggage limits (as you usually don’t want to carry something too heavy)
- More durable than suitcases.
The Cons of Taking a Backpack to Tonga
- Can be uncomfortable to carry on your back for long periods
- Not as easy as suitcases to transport around airports and urban areas.
Day Packs for Tonga
You’ll need to carry a few things around during your day-to-day in Tonga, including sunscreen, swimwear, towels, water, money, etc. See The Complete Packing List for Tonga for a full list. With that in mind, a day pack is a piece of essential luggage to have in Tonga. Day packs can also double up as your carry-on for your flight to, from and around Tonga.
Day Packs for Active Travellers
For travellers who like to be on the move, sightseeing in the towns, hiring a bike, and going on boat tours, a small backpack is a versatile option for a day pack.
Day Packs for Beach Bums
For those travelling on a cruise, spending days going to the beach or lazying by the pool, a beach tote or beach bag is a good day pack of choice. You’ll have enough space to fit all your essentials and look good in the process.
Day Packs for Families
Carrying things for the whole family can be a challenge. One way to go about it is to take a suitcase and a large backpack to Tonga. That way, when you arrive at your destination, you can unpack the backpack and use it as a day pack for the whole family, having more than enough space to fit in all the millions of things that come with carting kids around on holiday. Check out more tips in 10 Essential Tips for Travelling to Tonga With Children.