1What to Bring and How to Choose the Right Luggage

Your choice of luggage and your packing list for your Working Holiday Permit experience in Canada will vary greatly depending on your needs and plans.

Quite logically, Working Holiday Permit holders all have different expectations—what may seem essential to one may seem absolutely useless to another. Then you have minimalist travellers who leave with the bare necessities because they’re hoping to roam around the country without feeling weighed down. But what if you’re going to settle down for a few months in a specific place? Then you may want to pack a couple of suitcases full of everything you might need, no point in starting your stay in Canada with a long shopping list!

So basically, there’s no one-size-fits-all luggage option, but there is the right luggage and way of packing for you—and that’s what we’re going to help you figure it out.

The backpack vs. suitcase dilemma, and how to solve it

Backpack or suitcase? This is typically the first packing dilemma when you’re about to travel to Canada. It’s convenient to associate a backpack with backpackers, and “sedentary” Working Holiday Permit holders with suitcases, but choosing the right luggage is actually more complicated than that. Both types of luggage have pros and cons, so it’s really up to you to decide which one suits you best.

Picking the right suitcase for your Working Holiday Permit experience in Canada

  • Check the wheels and rolling mechanism carefully to make sure you’re picking a sturdy suitcase (remember, you’re going to Canada and your suitcase may see snow and slush for the first time ever!)
  • Make sure all zippers are weather resistant and durable—you’re going to open and close your suitcase many, many times.
  • Choose the lightest design possible to “save” weight for your stuff!
  • Leaning towards a hard-shell suitcase? Hard-sided suitcases are more shock resistant (think of luggage handling at the airport…) but they’re much heavier. Lightweight hard-shell suitcases can be very expensive.
  • Considering a soft-shell suitcase? They’re lighter than hard-shell suitcases but keep in mind they’re usually less durable and rarely waterproof. You can find good quality soft-shell cases at reasonable prices. They’re also easier to fold (if you choose a “wheelie bag” kind of suitcase) and store once you find your home sweet home for a little while.

Pros and cons of travelling with a suitcase: Guess what—it snows in Canada! If you’re landing (or travelling) in winter, lugging your suitcase on icy or poorly plowed sidewalks can be a real challenge. However, if you’re not planning to travel too often once in Canada you should survive a couple of suitcase-in-the-snow challenges.

Picking the right backpack for your Working Holiday Permit experience in Canada

  • If you’re planning to travel a lot, choose a backpack with easy access to the contents, i.e. not one that only opens at the top. Otherwise, you’ll have to take out all your stuff every time you need something.
  • Choose a backpack that fits your body type. Always try it on (fully loaded!) before you buy it.
  • You may have heard it before but… bigger isn’t always better. Pick a bag you can actually carry for more than a minute. You may have to walk around with a heavy backpack.
  • Inside or outside pockets are practical to stay organized.
  • A waterproof bag cover to protect your backpack can be a wise investment if you’re going hiking or spending time outdoors. A strap to secure it is also useful.

Pros and cons of travelling with a backpack: Make sure your back stays pain free! A backpack that is too heavy, ill-fitting, or poorly filled can quickly become a burden and strain your body, especially if you travel a lot. It also has less capacity than a suitcase. On the other hand, getting around with a backpack is much easier (steps and stairs are not an issue, for instance).

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Cofondatrice de pvtistes.net, j'ai fait 2 PVT, au Canada et en Australie. Deux expériences incroyables ! Je vous retrouve régulièrement sur nos comptes Insta et Tiktok @pvtistes avec plein d'infos utiles !
Cofounder of pvtistes.net. I went to Canada and Australia on Working Holiday aventures. It was amazing!

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