Packing a backpack for travels can feel like a hefty task, and when you’re a first-time backpacker, how do you know where to begin? Once you’ve got all the real essentials out the way - passports, money, clothes etc - you want to think about the items that’ll really make your life easy when you’re on the road. We’ve put together a backpacking checklist of the handiest things you can think of taking on your travels. These are the travel essentials we never regret packing and will never backpack without again…
Looking for a complete travel packing checklist?
A SECRET MONEY BELT
Whether you’re walking around the Sacre Coeur in Paris or down Las Ramblas in Barcelona, packing a secret money belt is the answer to avoiding the pickpockets. The flat belt fits against your body and under your clothes, so you can hide your passport, bank card, cash, keys, phone and whatever other valuables you have from the hands of any pickpockets that might be lurking.
A REUSABLE WATER BOTTLE
If you’re travelling Europe, a reusable water bottle is essential. Tap water is usually safe to drink, you don’t want to spend money needlessly on supermarket water and as we all know it’s terrible for the planet. If you’re in Asia or South America, consider investing in a filtered reusable bottle to make sure you’re drinking safe water while still avoiding unnecessary plastic.
A TRAVEL PILLOW
When you’re sat upright on a 10-hour rickety train across Europe, a travel pillow will feel like the best purchase you’ve ever made. There are a fair few to choose from these days, from round-the-neck pillows to blow-up pillows and soft pillows that pack into a small drawstring bag.
Invest in a decent portable charger for your travels to avoid any chance of running out of battery, whether it’s in the middle of the day and you don’t know your way around, or you’re halfway through a flight and suddenly have no source of music. The panic of hitting 10% battery isn’t worth risking it.
Nothing is worse than a messy backpack, which is why packing cubes are one of our top tips for getting your packing right. These things are the secret to being the ultimate packing pro, making it SO much easier to find whatever it is you need without having to unpack the whole thing to dig it out. Packing cubes (or organisers) come in packs of four or five, so you can roll up your bottoms to fit in one, tops to fit in another, underwear for another and so on. Then they will all fit neatly in your rucksack so you can find it all easily.
A MULTIWAY TRAVEL ADAPTOR
These things are a godsend. Not only can they adapt to any plug socket around the world, but you can charge multiple devices all at once. Charge your and your travel buddy’s phones while you straighten your hair or charge up your camera battery. Wherever you are in the world, your electrics are sorted!
A CODE PADLOCK
Code padlocks are always the better option than the ones you need to keep hold of a key for. It eliminates all chances of accidentally losing a key and the panic when you realise you can’t get into your bag or your hostel locker. Padlocks come in handy all the time when you’re travelling, as some hostels require you to have your own in order to use the lockers, and they keep your belongings safe inside your backpack. Just please pick a code that’s easy to remember - as long as it’s not 1234…
AN EXTRA LARGE TRAVEL TOWEL
Travel towels are great for travelling, as usually hostels won’t provide you with one plus they’re quick drying and fold up nice and small. However where a lot of backpackers go wrong is choosing the size, as they think buying a small one is better as it’ll take up less space. Save yourself the struggle of covering up with a tiny towel and just go for the extra large - they barely fold down to any bigger than the small size!
You don’t wanna be lying in your hostel bed at 3 am listening to the snores of your dorm mates wishing you had listened to us and packed some earplugs. They're not only great for sleeping but they make the perfect travel accessory for when you want a bit of peace and quiet on your trip.