Different types of vacations require different gear. How do you choose between a carry-on suitcase and a backpack?

The wrong choice can ruin a vacation.

Ask yourself these questions: how long your trip is, what you'll be doing, what seasons you'll run into, how much more travel you'll do when you arrive, what the infrastructure is like at your destination, and how much you plan on bringing back with you.

They each have their strengths and weaknesses. Before making that important decision, here are 5 things to think about:

1. For your back: Suitcase

Other than clothes, a healthy back is the most important thing you can pack. Traveling with a suitcase on wheels can be way less exhausting than hauling your own gear everywhere. It will be easier on your shoulders, and the suitcase simply gets wheeled behind you.

Keep these in mind: Your suitcase and clothes should weigh as light as possible. Look for an ultra-lightweight suitcase that is under 4 lb/2 kg.

When a backpack that's too heavy is incorrectly worn on the shoulders, the force can actually pull the body backward - forcing an uncomfortable spinal position.

2. For mobility: Backpacks

Nothing else can replace backpacks in the mobility department. You can run, crouch, and climb over fences with it. If there are five minutes left before the plane/bus departs, you can just choose to haul yourself with a backpack.

Wheeling around a suitcase in a crowded city is usually a hassle. Generally, it's hard to be mobile with a suitcase, which is problematic if you plan on using a lot of public transportation or you're traveling by boat. Also, stairs are not a suitcase's best friend.

For complex itineraries and if you'll bouncing from place to place or hostel to hotel, the simplicity of a backpack works.

3. To look more professional: Suitcase

Suitcases are better suited for more formal engagements. This has to do with keeping suits and clothes looking sharp. A hard-sided black carry-on case just big enough to contain a laptop and a change of clothes has been regarded as the standard choice for business people on an overnight work trip. 

If you're wearing a smart suit, you're not going to want to crease it with backpack straps. Suitcases do a much better job of transporting pressed clothes and simply put, appearance does matter when it comes to business.

4. For versatile organization: Backpack

You have to love your backpack's pockets: the side pockets and all the different placements on a backpack; the bottom pocket for an inbuilt rain cover. There are so many small and hidden ones and you can use the most unobtrusive, non-obvious one as your "hiding spot" for your extra backup cash, valuables, and passport.

The larger the backpack, the more pockets you have. The more pockets you have, the more ways you have to organize stuff.

Suitcases often have less pockets. You might also spend more time digging through your suitcase's back compartment.

Which do you prefer: a carry-on suitcase or a backpack?