Packing is one of the things I dread the most about travelling but with some forward planning and smart decisions you can make the most of it. Here are some of my tips to love your backpack again:
- Lay out everything you think you need to pack… then halve it! Especially important for first time travellers. I know from my first trip I packed WAY too much and I thought I was being quite conservative, how wrong a girl can be. There are some great packing lists available online if in doubt. Just remember you will be carrying the weight of this, make it bearable!
- Never underestimate the importance of a decent backpack! Particularly on long trips, your backpack becomes your life, so its vital to make a wise purchase. Do your research and decide what is important to you. Personally, I would recommend a suitcase style opening rather than a top loader as it stops you having to take everything out! Also you will be grateful at least once for making sure your backpack is waterproof – no one wants a bag full of wet clothes especially with the somewhat limited laundry facilities in hostels…
- Two words: packing cubes! I really wish I had these for my last big trip and I can’t wait to make use of them this time (the ones I have are pictured below). You can pick them up for very reasonable prices online, they save space and help organise your clothes. Make packing clothes even easier by rolling rather than folding and using zip-lock bags to add an extra waterproof layer.
- Those little essentials. Smart packing is not only reducing the amount of weight you bring but remembering some very handy extras. A notebook – writing down phone numbers/ addresses/ diary entries/ simply entertaining yourself on long journeys! Plug adaptors – as logical as it may sound, it was crazy when I was travelling the number of people that forgot them. Ear plugs – not an essential per se but you will be glad you bought them. Hostels are not renowned for being the quietest of places at night and you don’t want to be messing up a great day of adventure from being grouchy through lack of sleep!
- Travel towels really are a travellers dream. They dry super quickly, are much lighter and space-friendly than normal towels and can be picked up for a steal if you look in the right places. Make sure you bring a spare as they need washing fairly regularly!
- The boring stuff. Ok, so we have to talk about the important stuff – your itinerary (if you have one), flight schedules, bank details, copies of your passport/ visa. Of course a lot of this will depend on where you are travelling and for how long. Its always an idea to make sure someone back at home has a copy of all your important information including bank details – you never know when it might come in very handy.
- Be smart with your hand luggage. At the airport and on flights, you want everything you need in easy reach. Invest in a travel wallet (like this one) to keep your passport, tickets, transfer information and any hotel/ hostel details in one place – preferably in the order you will be needing them! In a busy airport you won’t want to be rifling through masses of paper to find your connecting flight details.
So these are some of my top tips for making your trip that little bit easier and leaving you more time and energy to enjoy the important things! Do you have any great advice or thoughts on my list? Please feel free to leave them in the comments section.