Backpacking unpacked: your top 10 backpacker essentials

Madeleine Raine tells us her backpacker essentials to take the stress out of packing for your adventure...

Madeleine Raine
14th November 2019
faungg from Flickr
Whether you’ve been travelling for months in Australia or are taking a weekend away in some chic European city, we’ve all had the panic over what to pack in our hand luggage. What will I need?! All these ideas bounce around our heads until it’s finally time to go and you're no closer to having a packed bag, just a very messy room. Here I will go through ten backpack essentials that any bag must have!
1. Travel Documents

I know this may be stating the obvious but how many times have you packed everything and are ready to leave for the airport only to realise you’ve left your passport upstairs? This can also include any insurance policies that you need (or probably should take out) or health cards. I find keeping all these loose papers in a folder makes it so much easier to find at a moment’s notice.

2. Water Bottle

Don’t be fooled into paying those extortionate airport prices when you can bring a refillable one for free! Whether it be a reusable plastic one or these new metal ones that have taken the world by storm, bringing your own bottle makes it a whole lot cheaper and means you have access to water wherever you go.

3. Portable charger

We’ve all had that moment, when you’ve got less than ten percent of your battery left and you’re wondering how you’ll make it to the hostel in time. You shouldn’t have to worry whether you’ll be stranded without your phone; just plug it in and off you go!

4. Padlock (and keys!)

I know this may sound slightly unusual but I’ve found having a padlock in my backpack is such a handy tool. You never know when you’re going to need to lock away your valuables during the night or storing them in a hold during the day. This way, your belongings are always kept secure and you don’t have the fear of anything suspiciously going missing.

5. Book or magazine

Although reading isn’t for everyone, I find taking a book or even a magazine away with me is such a lifesaver if I want to conserve my phone battery but also don’t want to be sitting idly for an hour waiting for a connecting train or flight. Slipping this into your backpack gives you the option to divert your gaze during travel and can even be used as a wind-down activity at the end of a long day. Often hotels and hostels offer a small library or book swap too, so you are never out of options to swap or change when you like.

6. Sanitary wipes/hand sanitiser

This one needs no explanation. Why suffer from the constant fear of germs when a quick wipe over the plane tray tables can leave you feeling refreshed and germ-free!

7. Umbrella or poncho

Getting caught in the rain when you’re travelling is one of the worst experiences. Especially if you haven’t brought a waterproof and you’re squelching around wondering why you even bothered to leave the hotel that day. Bringing an umbrella or poncho are great ways to keep dry and can be bought at almost any shop or supermarket for cheap prices around the globe.

8. Headphones or earplugs

We’ve all been on those flights. The ones that feel like you’re at a football match they are that loud. Bringing headphones or earplugs is a great way to ensure you have a quiet and relaxing flight, also coming in handy if you’re staying in a hostel and those eight hours of sleep are a make or break situation for you.

9. Tissues

I find these to be the most useful item to bring along with me anywhere. Whether it’s flu season or the toilet stalls have run out of toilet paper, tissues offer the perfect rescue for any holiday nightmare.

10. Last (but certainly not least), snacks!

Whether you’re a chocoholic like me and crave a chocolate bar every hour, or want to opt for a more healthy snack such as a cereal bar, this is the perfect way to ensure that you never go hungry and is a great way to save the pennies when travelling.

Feature Image credits: The Generator Judge

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AUTHOR: Madeleine Raine
MA History student with a BA in English Literature and History. Lifestyle writer and avid traveller who has recently branched out to also cover news articles. Twitter @RaineMadeleine

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