I wouldn't call myself 'experienced' but I recently went on a hiking/general travelling trip and I used a hybrid pack (i.e. a pack that can be opened from the top and the front).
My reason for doing so is that for the hiking/camping part of the trip, I needed to waterproof my bag with a plastic liner so having a bag that only opens at the front would be hugely inconvenient but for the rest of the trip (when a waterproof pack is next to useless), having to dig through my bag from the top every time I needed something would be a real pain. So I opted for a bag that I could open both ways. Also, I knew when I bought the bag that I wouldn't be doing much hiking/camping in the future therefore I wanted a bag that I could also use for future hotel style travel. For me, this was a great choice as it is very versatile for many styles of travel. The bag is great for both types of trips.
I would recommend splurging a little on a hybrid pack like mine because you can use it for any type of trip and if you find a good one, will serve you very well, whatever the occasion. If not, there a cheaper hybrid packs available that will do the job just fine. If you are hiking, however, you will want to make sure you have a well supported pack that fits your back as carrying a pack around for a few hours a day will take its toll on your back. When you get your pack, be sure to have it fitted to you and ask how to adjust it yourself as well as the fittings are likely to change when you use the pack.
Hope this all made sense and helps you. Good luck for your trip!