Traveling with the same Aqualung BCD I use at home (normal size). the weight difference to a travel BCD is not so big and I like to know where everything is on my BCD with my eyes closed. I fold it in my Aqualung travel bag same way I do when I put it in the box in the trunk of my car to go diving around here. storage between dives and diving vacations: cleaned with fresh water inside and outside, half inflated on a hanger in a dry place.
With a back plate and wing you can interchange pretty much everything and make it fit your diving needs. You don’t have that kind of flexibility with a standard back inflate BCD. A back plate and wing can grow with your diving and can also be used as a travel BCD as you can use an aluminium or a soft back plate and then use a steel backplate for weighting purposes back home if you wish to do that. A back plate can be used with multiple wings (not at the same time) to suit the required amount of lift needed.
With a back plate and wing you can add as many D rings or attachment points as you like and there are buck loads of accessories that you can buy such for it. With a Standard back inflation BCD (whilst this is not always the case as many of the newer ones like the Scuba pro hydros are being made with the idea of adaptability in mind) you can be somewhat limited in your configuration. My advice is a back plate and wing, especially if you are considering tech, but I’ve never heard of anyone not liking a bp/w for any style of diving anyway.
Scubapro has some very nice travel BCDs the lite hawk is awesome and very compact (not too badly priced) then if you have a little bit more spending money then go for the Scubapro hydros BCD which comes with its own carry bag and you can fit mask, snorkel and 2mm shorty in the bag with the BCD and then has a place to attach fins.
1. Doesn’t matter, they all work… you just need to get used to it.
2. No need to switch unless you start diving differently (1 tank vs 2 joined tanks vs sidemount)
3. Backplate would allow you to customize webbing and bc but like I mentioned above, sidemount is starting to be all the rage in tec these days and a sidemount bcd is a different animal