You have made the choice to travel as a backpacker? Congrats, you will live a thrilling adventure! It is a way to discover a place by really connecting with the people, their culture and … it is also a to solution spend less money when travelling (come on that’s the reason number 1 let’s admit it!). You may change very often of place to sleep, leaving room for surprise and the spontaneity of each moment. So you will need a few useful things to make sure your travel will get as comfortable as possible but it all have to fit in one bag that you will carry with you everywhere just like a turtle ahahah. How to pack light but efficient when you travel as a backpacker?
Here are 20 things a backpacker needs when traveling:
Investing in a good bag really worth it since you will carry it during all your travel and for your numerous next travels. What is a good backpacker bag? 1. It should not be too big since the bigger it is, the more you will carry. A 50L-70L is enough! 2. Choose one that you can totally open with a zipper. It will be super practical to find something without emptying all the bag
since according to the law of Murphy the stuff you need will always be at the end although you really organized it well ahah. 3. Make sure it has a rain protection!
Local SIM card
Getting a local sim card is really useful for a backpacker to stay connected in places where there is no wifi. It can save your ass when you will be on the road to geolocalise yourself and check if the taxi or bus you are taking is going to the right direction, to check out a place to sleep or to eat and see the comments in TripAdvisor, to call to book a restaurant, a taxi/ tuktuk/, get extra information on the place you are visiting.
Notebook & pen
Always good to have some sheets of paper to write down advices and good locations you can receive from the people you meet during your journey. It is not bad neither to write down a few addresses if you wish to send some postcards or relatives phone numbers if you loose your mobile phone and you are in danger ahahaha. Personally I love to write a diary when I’m traveling, I gather also all my
crazy ideas, feelings, maps I ask people to draw to find my way ahahha. And the pen is always useful for any boring F*** form you will need to fill in at the airport, hotels etc…
Download the app Maps.me
This app is really great for a backpacker to find its way without any internet connection. You can get offline maps for free with a geolocalization to guide you at each corner.
Super practical when you realize you end sleeping in a little guesthouse in the middle of nowhere with no equipment!
Photocopy of your passport
I never ever leave my passport! But in case of, it is always good to have a photocopy of your passport.
First of all never forget to inform your bank that you are going to travel. Sometimes they can block your credit card if they see withdrawals of cash from an ATM in another part of the world, thinking you are victim of fraud. In some places, there are very few ITM and it happens they have no money. WTF you would think?! But it is a reality and in Sri lanka we even ended no eating lunch to save enough to pay the accommodation at the end of the trip… If you want to avoid this situation, bring CASH! At least a pair of two bank notes of 100 euros. Anyway in many countries it is even cheaper to convert than to withdraw money so travel with CASH$$$.
Hand washing detergent
The best way a backpacker reduces the weight of its bag is by bringing a minimum of clothes. In fact very few items are really necessary to survive like 3 shirts, 1 sun shirt, 1 polar sweater, 1 denim, 1 short, 6 underwear, socks, 1 pair of flip-flop, 1 pair of tennis and sunglasses. Since you will bring fewer shirts than the amount of days of your travel
and I guess you are a clean person, you will need to wash it often. In some places it won’t be difficult to find a laundry but in case of, you can bring a hand washing detergent.
I am obviously not talking about your parents’ towels that take a huge place in the luggage and weight 10 kg when they are wet! For example Decathlon are making super light & thin towels that are really practical to dry super fast.
Water purification tablets
Depending where you decide to go, you way get in the middle of nowhere totally thirsty and desperate to find drinking water … and suddenly alleluia you find a river !! but don’t feel safe to drink it! Fortunately there is a way to purify water that takes no space in your bag. You can use some Chlorine Dioxide Tablets and you will have to wait just 30 minutes for the tablets to effectively neutralize Giardia and up to 4 hours for Cryptosporidium.
Personally I already enjoy the travel before travelling from the moment I buy my tickets and my travel guidebook such as Lonely Planet. Really love to read everything about the country details, weather, culture etc and love to write, corner pages and take notes on it. It is also a trick to get a good treatment when you arrive in a guesthouse or restaurant and show the guide explaining you came thanks to your guidebook.
Plastic bags & travel vanities
If you do not want to mix you smelly & dirty socks or underwear with the rest of the clean clothes you may appreciate to have a plastic bag! Also a waterproof vanity or pouch are really practical when you are a backpacker to get together and find easily your little things that you might need all the time such as a pen, money, passport, sunglasses, key, phone, hand sanitizer etc.
Did you know that your hands are the dirtiest part of your body? A hand sanitizer is a must-have when you eat some local street food served by a guy with some long and dark nail or when you enjoy the pleasures of going to a public toilet with no water and soap! ahahah
What would you do if you cannot take a shower or there is no toilet paper in the public toilets? We all had no choice but to go to some very disgusting toilets for our own survival right? So don’t forget your cleansing wipes 🙂
Travel health kit
First of all you must check if you have all the required vaccines done for your destination. The basic travel medical kit would have:
- Analgesic (pain relief) medicine such as paracetamol or aspirin
- Cold and flu tablets
- Motion sickness tablets
- Antiseptic solution for cleaning wounds or bites
- Blister and wound patches
- Diarrhoea medicine, e.g. Imodium (loperamide)
- Low potency hydrocortisone cream
I know you are tired to hear your mum saying « don’t forget your mosquito repellent! » when you travel in exotic places. But do you know what is the most dangerous animal in the world for humans? The mosquito!! Check out this chart about the world’s deadliest animals. In some areas you will need to use a mosquito repellent to avoid being devoured by mosquitos and catch one of the diseases they can transmit such as malaria, dengue, chikungunya, yellow fever and the list is long!
It takes a very little space and you will be so thankful to have it on you when you get caught by surprise by these crazy tropical rains!
International driver license
That’s just a small piece of paper but if you want to rent a car in some countries and avoid a fine by the local police, get your International driver license.
Camera & memory card
And last but not least the camera & extra memory card! Many people are just using their phone since today smartphones make great pictures that you can directly post on the social networks. However if you are into photography a reflex, Go pro or drones make pictures incomparable!
That’s all folks! Enjoy, Melissa ♡