When setting off on an adventure it can be difficult to know what to take and what to leave at home. What is an essential backpacking kit? What if you forget something vital? First of all, remember that anything you do forget can usually be picked up somewhere on the way – so it’s not generally that big of a deal! And, items are often cheaper abroad than at home. Secondly, remember that everything you take is going to be with you for the long haul – this means that you will have to carry it and cart it to every new place. Think carefully about whether you are realistically going to need every single item you pack – if you think you may not use it, leave it at home!
The smaller your bag is the better. Not only is it easier to carry, but you can also save yourself heaps of money if you can fly with only cabin baggage and if your bag does not require you buy additional seating on public transport. Being able to tuck your bag into overhead storage or underneath a seat can really come in handy!
Of course, clothes will largely depend on the climate in the places you will be visiting and the activities you plan to do. Think about this before packing everything bar the kitchen sink! Don’t pack bulky toiletries – you can buy these as you go, saving you space and usually saving you money.
Some other important things to think about for the essential backpacking kit include:
Essential Medications and Prescriptions
A small first aid kit with items such as plasters, a bandage, antiseptic cream, and painkillers can be really handy on the road. More importantly, though, you should remember to take enough supplies of essential medication with you, as well as a copy of your prescription in case of loss or damage to your medication. Don’t rely on getting essential medications abroad though – if you are running low stock up as soon as you find what you need. If you leave it until the last minute you may struggle to find exactly what you need. Also remember to take a copy of your eye care prescription away when relevant so as you can replace contact lenses and / or glasses if needed.
If you are taking electronic items away with you, remember that you will need to be able to charge them all. This may mean taking travel adapter plugs. Rather than taking one for every single type of plug it can be well worth investing in one of the multi way plugs that can be used in any top of socket. Before throwing your iPod, iPad, laptop, phone, camera, Kindle, et al into your bag, consider whether you really need each thing – the chances are that you can do the same things with several devices so really do not need them all. As well as being bulky, there is also the risk of losing things or having them stolen.
Really Handy Items That Are Commonly Forgotten
There are several things that can come in really useful when you away, but that are often overlooked when planning for a trip. An umbrella is often forgotten when planning a trip to a hot country, but bear in mind tropical downpours. A small torch is perfect for dimly lit areas, power cuts, and late night trips to the loo when your room mate is sleeping! A small set of plastic cutlery is also handy. You can buy market food whenever you like and eat it straight from the container it comes in, and you can buy cheap food from supermarkets and knock up your own snacks. This can be a great way to save money and eat from a variety of places.
A small padlock is great when staying in hostels and guest houses, as many have lockers available and the option to use your own lock on the door. It adds to your peace of mind and makes your belongings more secure. A combination lock is perhaps better, as you have no need to worry about losing a key. Keep a pen handy to avoid rooting about or begging to borrow one when stood in an immigration line and needing to complete arrival and departure forms. Many people pack a money belt but then forget to use it. Take one, and keep your valuable items concealed – it’s better to be safe than sorry! A small packet of tissues or a toilet roll can be a life-saver in many places. You can replenish as you go, but start out with a small amount in an easy to reach part of your bag.