Have you recently caught the travel bug? Is a wanderlust trip calling your name? Backpacking the world is a common bucket list item for many high school and college graduates. In reality, it's a meaningful journey you can take at any point in your life.
Whether it's a backpacking trip through the jungle in South America or traveling on a budget through Southeast Asia, the real truth is, you will need to have some lightweight gear. Here is a list of 10 things you will need to bring on your backpacking odyssey to make sure it is a success.
10 Packing Cubes
If you've ever needed to find something and had a hard time doing it, there are many packing cubes to choose from. They will help you to compress your clothing and organize your things in such a way that you won't find yourself digging in your bag at all hours and unpacking all of your clothes every time you need to find something. This can really come in handy if you're staying in hostels and ever need anything while your dormitory is fast asleep. Which, you know, you will.
9 Eye Mask And Earplugs
A good night's sleep can be hard to come by if you are in a state of constant travel. You may find yourself battling some insomnia during a succession of long budget flights or on a 13-hour cross country train ride from Brussels to Vienna.
Or you may find that your sleep in a 10-bed dormitory is fraught with snorers, late arrivers, midnight bag unzippers (see above) or bedtime snackers. In any case, having a nice quality eye mask and a good set of earplugs can be a real lifesaver.
8 Microfiber Towel
Not all hostels are created equal. Or if you're adventurous, not all Couchsurfing hosts are overly hospitable. In any case, you'll need a towel. While a soft and plush full-size towel is very nice to dry off with after a steaming hot shower, you will quickly find they take up a lot of space in your backpack, as well as taking a long time to dry.
A quick-dry microfiber towel really comes in handy, especially if you find yourself in an affordable hostel that happens to charge extra for towels.
7 Universal Wall Charger
If you're planning an exciting multi-country journey, it can be helpful to do a bit of research on what the outlet situation may be in each of your intended destinations. You could also roll the dice and check if your accommodation feature the wall strips with USB chargers. You also may find yourself in unexpected places if you leave some of your travel up to chance. In any case, having your own universal wall charger can make your trip a lot simpler and stress-free, especially while you are in transit.
6 Portable Charger
Much like being without wifi, being without a fully-charged phone is anxiety-inducing. Many travelers rely on their phones for GPS, podcasts to listen to while walking through a park, or communicating with hosts that you're checking into the Airbnb you splurged on. Now, imagine your phone is dying and you're far away from a cafe, or subway station with an outlet. Don't let this happen to you, invest in a portable charger and keep it charged for daily use, because you never know when you'll need it.
5 Pocket Knife
Pocket knives can really be useful in many traveling scenarios. It's possible that you stay in a hostel that doesn't have a fully equipped kitchen. If you want to skip the restaurant and dine in for the evening, having a pocket knife handy can help you maintain your budget. Similarly, if you're traveling during a sunny season and plan a cute and cozy picnic in a park, grab some apples, a nice baguette, and cheese and prepare it all with your handy knife. Seriously, they really do come in handy.
4 First Aid Kit
It's hard to plan for everything, but having a small first aid kit can help you in some hairy situations. If you're walking around in a pair of sandals that aren't broken-in, it can lead to some gnarly blisters. In your kit, you've got bandaids, throw in some pain relievers, and anti-diarrhea medicine and you can save yourself a trip to the pharmacy for a minor injury. And if you manage to stay completely incident-free during your journey, you never know who your extra ibuprofen may help along the way.
3 Notebook and Pen
Not everyone is a travel blogger, however, it can be nice to have paper and pencil while you're on your backpacking trip. Even if you don't use it to write your deepest thoughts, a manifesto or 3 things you want to remember from your ferry ride on the Atlantic, it may be helpful to have some writing tools.
A small notebook can be packed in your day-bag and could help if you forgot to download a language on your Google translate, but remembered to write down a few conversational phrases.
2 Water Bottle
It's important to stay hydrated while you're traveling. When you get thirsty on your daily walkabouts or nightly excursions, it really pays to have a sturdy reusable bottle. You'll save money and be a bit more eco-friendly than if you buy bottled water everywhere you go. If you decide on an insulated water bottle, you can keep your cold drinks crisp and refreshing in warm weather, or toasty in cold weather. And if the tap water isn't potable, there are many bottles that can also treat your drinking water.
1 Flip Flops
Staying in a budget hostel can sometimes be hit or miss in terms of cleanliness. Though if you do your homework and read the reviews for places you are staying, you can usually avoid a stinky wet bathroom. However, it never hurts to have a cheap pair of flip flops handy. A sturdy pair of shower shoes do double duty by saving your feet from athlete's foot, which is easy to catch in shared bathrooms and by letting your toes breathe on a nice day at the sandy beach.