What To Pack: Getting Ready For Your Next Trip

Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Email This Pin This
Ready for a new trip and having a tough time deciding what to pack? Here are some suggestions based on our experiences and the one sure thing that we do after every trip is to vow to take less and carry smaller backpacks for the following trip. Regardless of whether your trip will last only two weeks or as long as two years these tips are still the same.

Backpacking South Korea
It's easier to walk around with a small pack

What to Pack?

Pack the LEAST POSSIBLE! After you pack take out half of what you were going to bring and leave it. Here are some suggestions on what to bring or leave and some important reminders.


- Almost everything you can find in your home grocery shop you can find in almost every other supermarket in the world with a few exceptions. This means if you forget or run out of toothpaste or shampoo or suddenly you need Ibuprofen or a band aid or you lose your socks or your flip flops, they also have them for the same price or less in almost every city in the world!

- If you are a budget traveler your bag will be on your back for several hours most days, meaning the less in your bag the less you’ll be spending your evenings crying over your sore back and massaging your weary shoulders.

- Pack enough clothes for no more than 5-7 days. Many things you can wear more than once and its way easier to wash your socks in the sink with a mini detergent pack than carrying around 20 pairs of socks. Also in many countries laundry can be done for less than $1 per kilo and if you couchsurf most people will have a wash machine at their house if you prefer not to use the sink or a bucket.

What to bring:

- A good quality backpack: you will buy things and the inside of your bag will grow. The quality needs to be good or the bag will tear and the zipper will break. The smaller the backpack the better. Remember one thing, most airlines charge you more for check-in bags, you can save over $20 dollars a flight.

Backpacking Italy
Our backpacks while hitchhiking around Europe

- A smart phone: this can be used for writing e-mails, checking your Facebook or Twitter, booking flights, listening to music during long bus journeys, and even for quick pictures when your camera is in your pack. Remember wifi can be found in almost every city, especially at fast food chains such as McDonald's or coffee shops.
*Less recommended but also useful would be a tablet or small computer. We use the $200 Asus Eee pc as it is small, light, and cheap enough that if it was stolen, broken, or destroyed during a surprise rain storm we wouldn’t be devestated. A computer is useful for watching movies or if writing a blog.

- A good point and shoot camera: more discreet for taking pictures of those National Geographic moments or of the lady with a large bucket of water on her head. Believe it or not most people don’t like being photographed without your asking them. Most people will prefer to bring big SLR cameras but remember unless you’re a professional photographer they’re heavier and it’s like carrying a big “I have expensive stuff on me” sign over your head.

-Good quality hiking shoes: one of the best free activities to do in any country and one of the best ways to see the beautiful sites is by hiking or walking. Your feet will appreciate it. We recommend Merrels because they are very durable and comfortable.

hiking shoes in south korea
Our friend's hiking shoes in South Korea
- Tampons: if you are a woman using tampons and are traveling outside of the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, or Europe bring tampons with you. They can be hard to find and often more expensive than in your home country.

- Money belt: great for keeping your most important possessions, your passport, debit card, and large bills. Though we do not recommend to put all your valuables in one place, including the money belt

- A sheet or thin blanket that can easily be rolled up: great for hostels without sheets, sleeping in the airport or bus station, or sleeping during long bus rides.

- The essentials: one daily pair of shoes other than your hiking shoe, usually flipflops, 4 pairs of socks, 7 pairs of undies, one pair of jeans, leggings for females (to wear under jeans when it’s cold, as pants, or rolled up to knee length) and shorts for males, 5 shirts, and a good, light waterproof jacket (for cold climates a sweater can be brought or bought).

-A small backpack or day pack: we picked ours up for a few dollars during our trip, but you may chose to bring one with you. Make sure it can be rolled up and put into your backpack for when you don’t need it. This bag is useful when you are doing day trips, hiking, etc. A purse, for women, is usually quite uncomfortable when spending hours walking around. A small backpack is practical for carrying around your camera, water bottle, jacket, notebook, or miscellaneous items you end up buying.

north face backpack in vietnam
Our daypack bought for 50 cents in Vietnam

Do Not Bring:

- Large bulky electronic device: avoid bringing any device costing more than you would be willing to part with. I usually consider that a $300 limit, but that depends on your personal preferences.

- A large first aid kit: pharmacies can be found everywhere and most items will be the same price or less. Of course if you are traveling in extremely remote areas, think Amazonian jungle or African tribal villages, you should bring the necessities.

- Sweaters and scarves: these are great things that you can avoid bringing, and instead buy while traveling. This way that beautiful sweater in Peru or colorful scarf in India can double as a souvenir.

- Expensive jewelry, watches, or sunglasses: many things you have will break as you are constantly on the move and also can make you an easy target for thieves. In third world countries a foreigner from a “western” country is automatically seen as a rich foreigner, looking even more the part by wearing jewelry, a watch, or nice sunglasses makes it even more likely that you’ll get ripped off.

Now to each his own but one thing you will not regret is carrying a small backpack with nothing but the essentials!

Flying out of Malaysia
Don't forget, the smaller the better

What do you usually bring with you? Any items to add to the list?

No comments:

Post a Comment