It’s probably one of the toughest things to do: packing. Even though I’ve backpacked quite a bit now, I still have to remind myself every time that I can’t fit my whole wardrobe in a 38l backpack. But once you’re on the go, you’ll realize quite quickly that all those things you found totally necessary to survive when packing, are a total waste of space in your backpack. Of course it totally depends on where and for how long you’re traveling. If it’s just a short city trip, plan your outfits in advance, take one jacket that goes with everything for the ‘bad-weather-scenario’, and maybe swap and share clothes with your travel buddy to reduce your luggage. That’s how I went to Paris for 5 days with not more than a sports bag. If it’s a longer trip, you honestly don’t need a lot more. As I’ve said, I only use a 38l backpack (small backpack for a small person I guess) and it works perfectly fine. You’re traveling, you’re not at a fashion show, and if you pick only few items that are comfortable and all kinda go with each other, you’re prepared for everything and can still look stylish. I find jumpsuits perfect for traveling, as they don’t take away a lot of space and it’s just one piece of clothing to complete a whole outfit- what an amazing concept. When you’re packing, always ask yourself “Do I really wanna carry all of that around and risk it getting lost or super dirty?” because that’s what happens in the end. Of course I do have some things that I always take with me and that have proven to be super useful while traveling:
7 essentials I’d never ever leave at home
- Battery Pack – one of the most useful things I’ve ever bought probably. You don’t have to charge your phone unattended in hostels anymore, you can just charge it on the go! The one I have(Ravpower, ca 30€) can charge your phone/ go pro up to 8 times. It’s quite heavy, but great solution for festivals and road trips when there’s no way to charge your phone for days! They also come in smaller sizes with which you can charge your phone just 3-4 times!
- The most comfortable shoes I own – I always take my nikes with me, no matter where I go. Strolling all day through the city? A bike tour? Horse riding? A day at the beach? Hiking? A night out partying? Yup, sneakers are the way to go. Taking different pairs of shoes just takes way too much space in your backpack- and there’s literally nothing you can’t do in sneakers or running shoes! The only other type I’d take is flip flops in case you find yourself in a very gross hostel shower!
- Plastic Bags – I guess as a swimmer I grew up appreciating the use of plastic bags more then others. They’ll make your whole life of living out of a backpack so much easier and more organized. You’ll want to separate your clean and dirty laundry from your shoes and from anything that might leak in your bag. You can organize your clothes in different bags that in case you’re looking for a specific item you can just take out the plastic bags instead of unpack everything to realize that what you were looking for is right at the bottom (of course). They’ll keep your belongings dry in case you’re backpack gets super wet, you can use them as trash bags,….plastic bags are great, so if you think you’ve got enough, pack another two!
- Lock – always have a little lock with you when traveling. Hostels usually provide lockers for your belongings, but you have to bring your own lock. If there aren’t any you can just lock the backpack itself which is also a great idea to stop pickpockets on public transport!
- The „Fresh pack“ – There will be those moments when you just feel incredibly gross and disgusting and there’s no way you can take a shower anywhere. Having an emergency „fresh pack“ consisting of gum, deodorant, mouth wash, face/ baby wipes and cheap perfume, at the top of your backpack or in your handbag to feel fresh when in fact you’re the exact opposite is a must for me!
- Thin sleeping bag – I’ve got this super thin sleeping bag which is actually used by hikers. It’s basically just a linen ( so you can use that instead as well) which you can use as a sleeping bag in case you end up in a filthy place to sleep at. I didn’t use it much while traveling in Europe, but found it quite useful on road trips. It’s light, small and it’s just good to know that you have some sort of blanket with you. Plus you can stuff its case with clothes as a pillow- tadaaa there’s your portable bed!
- Cameras – the most obvious one at the end- there’s literally no place I’ve ever been to without my DSLR ( I use a Canon 550D with a 18-135mm lens; quite out of date, I know, but it’s my baby). I usually take my GoPro (Hero 4, silver edition), as it’s so light, small and great for everyone who’s into water sports and outdoorsy stuff! I used to take my camcorder as well, it’s fun for personal videos or to just pass it around for everyone to film a little when you’re traveling as a group, but the quality isn’t the best and it just feels like too much equipment. So DSLR and GoPro are my way to go!