Backpacking Essentials for the Ultimate Adventure


Every backpacker has certain things in common. We want to do as much as we can with as little as we can. There’s nothing worse than getting charged extra for excess luggage or missing a booked tour because of your room mates late night antics. That’s why it’s important to get the essentials right.

After two years abroad, I’ve really been able to refine down the most essential items to this ultimate list. Yet every time I’m about to set off again it’s a last minute rush to get things together and I always promise myself I’ll be more organised next time. So this time, I’m actually writing it all down. Wherever and whenever you’re travelling, make sure your next trip includes these essentials for the ultimate adventure.

What To Pack For Backpacking?

When thinking about backpacking essentials you want to cover off the things that will keep you comfortable and moving in the right direction. Think about what you might need to get around and any specific needs you may have that you might need to prepare for. Hopefully most of these should be covered off in this list.

See also Packing Essentials For The Ultimate Euro-Trip.

Backpacking Essentials You Might Forget

  • Universal Plug Adaptor
    Arrive at your next destination fully charged and ready to Instagram, Facebook, vlog and whats app to your hearts content! With a universal adaptor you’ll never be left unable to plug in and you’ll avoid those pesky hostel hireage fees. Though they’re usually a little more expensive than single destination adaptors, it’s worth the investment if you travel a lot and will free up space in your bags too.
  • Micro-Fibre Towel
    Micro-fibre towels are without a doubt the way to go for backpacking. Though they feel a bit funky to the touch, they dry super fast and take up much less room than a regular towel.
  • Noise Cancelling Ear Plugs
    Sometimes the best things come in small packages! These tiny guys will be your best friends when all you want is a good night sleep and your room mates have different priorities…
  • Blackout Sleeping Mask
    Maybe you are the rowdy room mate? Make sure to pick up a blackout sleeping mask for those that like to party til dawn and sleep til dusk. They’re also just a good item to have in your back pocket for naps in transit.
  • Head Phones
    When you need a night off from all the socialising, there’s nothing better than battening down the hatches and popping your head phones in for an evening watching your favourite travel vlogger.
  • Water Bottle
    One of the easiest ways to tread lightly and keep hydrated on your travels is to carry a water cannister. You’ll be needing water all the time, so you’ll end up saving a bit of money too not buying bottled water. Just remember to check the tap water is safe to drink!
  • Padlock
    Keeping your valuables secure is easy with a padlock. It’s a good idea to get one large sturdy lock to use on a locker at your hostel and several smaller ones to lock up your luggage zips. Some hostels do not provide lockers this is also a good thing to check before booking.
  • Phone, Camera, Laptop + Chargers
    Travelling today is high tech, so unless you’re after a wilderness retreat, you won’t want to be without your machines and their chargers. If you’re buying new devices for travel always think about how they will fit into your luggage and what you want to use them for while you’re away.
  • Stationery
    You might be thinking this sounds a little old school, but there always comes a time when a good old pen and notebook comes in handy. Occasionally our mobile devices fail us and that’s when you’ll be happy to have noted down a few important addresses or numbers.
  • First Aid Kit
    After hours pounding the pavement it’s nice to have some first aid essentials on hand to ease the blisters. Plasters, antiseptic cream, travel sickness pills and mosquito repellent are all items that frequent my carry-on.
  • Downloaded Maps
    Not all destinations have the tourist info you’d expect upon arrival so it’s useful to download maps before you arrive. The Here WeGo App and Google Maps both offer downloadable offline maps. You can download the Here WeGo app for Android or iOS.

Travel Essentials To Remember

  • Passport & Visas
    Does it even need to be said? Of course make sure you have these essentials or you won’t be going very far at all.
  • Boarding Passes/Tickets
    You snapped up the cheap airfares now keep it that way! Make sure you have your boarding passes printed before arriving at the airport, or download your airlines travel app, as many budget airlines will charge to print your boarding passes at the airport.
  • Photocopied Documents
    Keeping a copy of your essential documents, including your passport, visas and travel insurance, means if the worst happens it is at least easier to get replacement documents. Photocopies are always good, but you could even store a copy somewhere accessible to you online.
  • Prescription Medication
    If you take prescription medication it’s also wise to have the prescription packed with you. Countries have different laws about medications, so check before you depart and make sure you have enough of your medicine to last the entire trip.

Now you’ve got the essentials, good luck trying to fit in all the fun stuff. Remember, 23 kgs feels a lot heavier when you’re exhausted, hungover and lost in Budapest!

See also Discovering Dubrovnik In Three Days.


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