They will make your life on the road easier.
I had my first backpacking adventure in 2017, exploring the Balkans for a month. In 2018, I spent three months traveling in Eastern Europe. I learned a thing or two about what belongs in a backpack and what doesn’t. Let me share that with you!
Smaller, Foldable Backpack
Your big backpack is heavy and bulky, and it’s hard for you to carry it around. But when you are out exploring, you need a small bag to carry your belongings. The best solution is a foldable small backpack that you can carry inside the big one and take out only when you need it. Make sure it’s big enough to put inside your wallet, phone, snacks, and a coat.
Passport and ID card
If you have a Passport and an ID card, take both with you. Be smart about it and keep them in two different places — one in your big backpack and the other in a smaller handbag, for example. That way, if you lose one of the documents, you always have a backup that will save you from a bureaucratic headache.
To be even safer, always keep a digital copy of all your documents in your email inbox. It’s a fast and easy solution that can prove to be very helpful at times of need.
Microfiber Travel Towel
If you are backpacking, you will probably stay at a hostel and many of them do not provide towels to their guests — or do so at a cost. Take a towel with you, but be aware that not all towels are created equal. If you chose the wrong one, it can take up too much space in your backpack and make it heavier than it needs to be.
The solution: a microfiber travel towel. These are small, lightweight, and dry super quickly, making them very convenient. And they serve multiple purposes: besides using them for showering, you can take them to the beach or even use them as a blanket.
While being disconnected from your devices can help you appreciate the place you are visiting, you don’t want to run out of battery if you really need to use your phone.
On the road, it’s not always easy to find a spot to charge your devices. You will probably do it at the hostel but some don’t provide plugs in every bed. And do you really want to leave your phone charging somewhere accessible to everybody while you sleep?
But leaving a power bank there is less risky. In the morning you can take it with you to charge your phone during the day.
Keeping yourself hydrated is essential while you travel. But you probably don’t want to pay the excessive price shops charge for water in touristic places.
The best alternative to this is to always carry your own bottle and fill it up wherever and whenever you can — at the accommodation, at public fountains, or even at the bathroom of restaurants or museums you visit. Of course, keep in mind if the tap water in the country you are visiting is drinkable or not.
If you really need to buy water, always do it at a supermarket, not in a shop — it will cost, at least, three times less.
When packing for a backpacking trip, it might be overwhelming to decide which clothes to pick. You need to find the perfect balance between what you need and what fits into your backpack. And every unnecessary item means extra weight you are carrying pointlessly!
If it is a long trip, you will have to do laundry anyway, so keep this in mind before you start packing. The key is to go for versatile items that go well with most of the other clothes. This way, with only a handful of pieces, you create a vast array of outfits.
Also, pack some items that will make a difference in your daily outfits. A nice blazer jacket will get you ready for a night out and a fancy top is perfect for a special occasion, like a dinner cruise.
One last tip: some materials are better to take on the road than others. Try to go for fabrics that do not wrinkle easily and, even without ironing, you will always look great!
This is important even if you will be visiting places where you think the weather will be dry. Because if it happens to rain, you don’t want to get wet or be stuck in your accommodation waiting for the sun to come back.
When picking a rain jacket, there are a few aspects to take into consideration. It should be light and take up as little space as possible in your bag. It should be water-resistant and have pockets where you can keep your phone or small camera easily accessible. Extra points for interior pockets where you can keep some money safely!
This might seem unnecessary to pack, since you will always find some plastic bags when you need them, right? Wrong! So better leave the house prepared, especially considering they don’t take virtually any space and weight in your backpack.
You will need them to put your dirty or wet clothes and shoes, and to separate things inside your backpack.
For many people, this is a no-brainer, as they will use a smartphone on their daily lives anyway. But a smartphone with internet access and the right apps can be immensely helpful in any trip.
The most important benefit comes from using the online maps. With them, you will be able to navigate very easily, on foot or by public transport. You can also call a taxi or check online the opening times and entrance fees of the places you want to visit. Other important apps are the currency converter and the translator.
If you want to see what I packed for a three-month trip backpacking in Europe, check out my vlog, The Incredible Here.