Whether you’re setting out for a backpacking trip to Asia or Europe, preparing and packing your backpack can be tricky and it will require some thought and planning. Here’s a complete backpacker’s guide to the do’s and don’ts of packing.
Packing light is key but is easier said than done, when it comes time for you to actually sit down and pack. Our first instinct, especially for those more cautious packers, is usually to pack everything that comes to mind, just on the slight chance that you may have to use it once or twice.
Your backpack is going to be your life for the duration of your travels. Whether you plan to be gone for a couple weeks, or a couple months, you’re going to be wearing your backpack on your back the entire time. It’s important to remember this and only pack the essentials. A smaller, and lighter backpack will be less cumbersome for you. It’ll make you a happier traveller and make for a better backpacking experience.
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When packing your clothes, fight the urge to throw your entire closet in your bag. You’re not going to need everything, that extra fleece sweater is only going to take up space. Pack only a couple pairs of bottoms, shirts, a swimsuit and about six pairs of underwear. You can easily wash your clothes wherever you’re staying.
Be prepared for the weather. Research ahead of time so that you’re aware of your travel destination’s current climate beforehand. For those hotter destinations, you’ll want sunblock to wear while you’re out and about. Purchase a travel size, so that it doesn’t take up much room in your pack. You can easily invest in another sunblock if you run out on the trip.
Bring along a small day pack, so that when you are going out on day trips to tour the different cities and towns, you won’t have to carry your large backpack around all day. Keep your backpack back at the hostel, in a security locked room that they provide. This will make for much more enjoyable day outs.
Invest in a travel size phrase or language book for the trip. It doesn’t take up much room and it will come in handy when you’re trying to communicate and socialize with the locals.
Another great investment for the trip is an international adapter. Your phone is a great tool for booking accommodations, checking bus schedules and getting directions, you’ll want to keep it charged so that you’re prepared for anything.
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Avoid over packing. This is the biggest, most common mistake made by backpackers. You’ll regret that extra weight when you’re lugging your pack on and off the bus and especially when you’re experiencing back pain from the backpack that is half your size.
Avoid bringing laptops, tablets, or any other bulky piece of technology. Travelling is a great opportunity to get away from technology, and laptops and tablets add a lot of weight. Also, bringing it, you’ll have that added stress when leaving your backpack at the hostel. You won’t need a laptop or tablet if you have your phone. This is a much smaller, and more convenient means of technology.
Excessive Beauty Products
Keep your makeup and hair and beauty products at home. Or just pack a few beauty products that you absolutely can’t live without, but you don’t need your entire beauty routine. You won’t need it while backpacking. If you feel like dolling up for a night out, you can easily purchase products locally.
Expensive Jewelry and Valuables
Important rule of thumb: if you can’t live without your great grandmother’s gold pendant necklace, don’t bring it. You shouldn’t bring expensive and irreplaceable jewelry and valuables because they present too high of a risk of getting stolen, or lost.
Once you’ve read one, you’ve read them all. You won’t need a number of different, bulky guidebooks, especially to destinations that you won’t be arriving to for at least a couple months. Using the Internet on your phone or visiting an Internet café will provide you with the same information, and these alternative options are both weightless.
The best part of backpacking is walking around and exploring the different culture. Don’t bring uncomfortable, impractical footwear that will hinder this once in a lifetime experience. Bring a pair of good walking shoes, comfort over fashion.
Over packing is just like over thinking. When you over think, you’re filling your brain with all kinds of meaningless things that aren’t going to matter in the future. So when packing, you think these are my favourite heeled boots, I wear them all the time and it would be great to pack in case we go out. Stop yourself and think no, I don’t need them, they aren’t practical and I probably won’t even wear them.