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Backpacking can take on many forms. From drifting between cities on a train, jumping from one Asian island to another in elephant pants and flip-flops, to catching an already full bus somewhere in Africa – the one thing they all have in common, though, is that you’d do it with a backpack instead of a suitcase.
No matter how you plan on traveling and where you’d like to go, as long as you choose the backpack rather than the suitcase and have a few uncomfortable travel methods up your sleeve, you can tick this one off your bucket list.
In case you’ve never embarked on this adventure before, it’s a couple of things you should keep in mind to make the trip as fun as possible. Use this quick and easy guide, to start with, and you should feel a bit more prepared.
Pack With Care
Many first-time backpackers have made the same mistake and packed way too much. Do yourself a huge favor and choose what you pack with care; don’t bring more than two pairs of shoes, consider leaving the sleeping bag behind, and pack only the lightest and most practical clothes you have.
Otherwise, you run the risk of being thoroughly fed up with having all of that stuff on your back that you’re not going to use – and you might just leave it behind somewhere. Keep it safe at home instead and save your back the trouble at the same time.
Choose The Right Backpack
If you don’t have a proper backpack yet, you should check out Backpacks.Asia and make sure you get one for your needs.
Keep in mind that your size and weight have an impact on the kind of backpack you should choose, so do some research before you invest in one.
How much you need depends on the length of your trip but the basics should include just a tiny bit of clothing, an emergency kit, a few toiletries and medications, antibacterial gel for your hands, a pair of flip-flops as well as excellent shoes that will support your ankles and knees when you walk with a heavy backpack.
Here are 10 essential items that I feel every backpacker should bring:
A Good Travel Towel
Forget that bulky cotton towel and instead go for a lightweight microfiber towel. Sooner or later, you will need to shower and there’s nothing worse than repacking a damp towel that will make the rest of your clothes smell funky. Get a microfiber towel and save yourself the trouble – plus, it takes up way less space than a regular towel.
One of the best purchases I’ve made is the PackTowl Personal Packtowl. It is highly compact and folds up to almost no space at all, is ultra absorbent, and dries super fast, making it the perfect accessory for your adventure. It can also double up as a beach towel for tropical locations. It comes in various sizes and even though the price may seem steep for a towel, trust me, it’ll be the best money you ever spent as a traveler.
What can I say about packing cubes! I feel this is one invention that has changed the life of travelers. I can’t imagine how I lived and traveled before purchasing packing cubes. These are such an awesome way to keep all your essentials organized, as well as save some space in your bag. No more rummaging through your luggage looking for a particular tee! And they come in so many different varieties and price ranges too!
While most hostels do offer padlocks on rent, having your own will be a great money saver and prove to be an essential item if you’re staying in hostels during your backpacking adventures. You might also consider locking the zippers on your backpack to ward off any pickpockets during travel days!
Flip-flops are an absolute travel must-have. If you’re traveling in Europe, you might not need them so much but if you’re traveling in warm countries or tropical locations, they are a must-have. Regardless of your location though, if you’re backpacking, you definitely need flip-flops in your bag. Why? Answer: hostel showers.
Long-term travelers should go for something that is comfortable, durable, and versatile. Also, I feel everything can be done in style, including backpacking. So who says your flip-flops can’t or don’t need to be cute? I love these functional yet stylish thong sandals! You can pack these instead of additional cute sandals.
A Water Bottle
When you’re spending your entire day walking and sightseeing, access to drinking water is a necessity! If you have to buy drinking water every time you’re thirsty, it’ll quickly add up to unexpected costs while traveling abroad. But if you have your own water bottle, any time you come across drinkable tap water, you can just fill up. If you’re concerned about the space it’ll take up, you can get one of those collapsible plastic bottles that fold up neatly when they are not filled. Here’s what I like.
One Lightweight Cutlery Set
If you’re backpacking solo, you might not want to eat at a proper sit-down restaurant. I feel picnicking is a backpacker’s best friend when it comes to eating affordably and alone. While many grocery stores will have plastic cutlery for you to take, having your own set just-in-case will save you a lot of stress when you want to slice up your baguette or eat your store-bought gelato in peace.
You can grab a lightweight and inexpensive set from Amazon here.
A Tissue Pack
You never know when tissues will come in handy, whether for yourself or a fellow traveler. I never forget to carry a pack of tissues regardless of how I’m traveling. Also some intimate and facial wipes so that you can feel a bit fresher.
You can get them online in bulk for cheaper. Here’s a good option.
Think about other ways you can make it a bit easier to maintain your personal hygiene when you’re sleeping on trains, buses, ferries, and hostels. Dry shampoo is always a winner!
Whether you don’t have access to a shower or your hair just needs a quick perk up, a dry shampoo can be a life saver! And I love how these days there are so many options when it comes to a non-toxic/clean dry shampoo! I’m in love with this one!
You might think a duct tape is a random suggestion, but this is an essential item for your backpacking trip. Be it patching up broken bags to sealing up shoes that randomly split (true story), it’s a light and versatile item that travelers often forget to pack.
A Proper Day Bag
When you’re out and about, you’ll need a decent sized day bag that will hold all your necessities. Wearing your large backpack while you’re sightseeing is not only cumbersome, it makes you a target for robbery, so pick a day bag that is comfortable, spacious but also that doesn’t scream to the world that you’re a tourist! A tote bag like this totally works!
After you’ve been through your share of backpacking adventures, you’ll be quite up to date on what you absolutely need and what you can go without. Keep in mind that everyone is different and what’s vital to some may be more ‘meh’ to you. Leave behind as much as possible and remember that you need some space in your backpack to bring back some souvenirs.
What’s in your backpack? Let me know in the comments if I’ve missed any of your backpacking essentials!
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