The ease and convenience of any backpacking trip depend on what you pack and carry in your backpack. It is important to carry everything necessary, yet not packing too much. I remember the first time I left home for a few months long journey, my backpack looked like a 70L bin-bag. Obviously, overwhelmed with the idea of long-term travel, I had no idea what I was doing, and I shoved in everything that I thought of as ‘useful’. This is one of the common mistakes that newbie backpackers do, and I was no different.
Now, after years of travelling, if there’s one thing that I’ve learned it is – Travel Light! And that’s pretty much the mantra I use while packing for a journey. Take as little as possible, perhaps half the clothes and other things you think you will need, and you’ll realise that it was the best thing you did.
I take only what is necessary, and if I really need something, I buy it on the way. It’s not hard to find medicine, toiletries, clothes or even an umbrella, anywhere in the world – and that’s pretty much all you need to survive while travelling.
The more I travel the more I realize I don’t need a lot of stuff while travelling. Everything I own fits into one backpack. Packing light is a cliché, yet one that has a lot of truth to it. But then again, the question always remains to: What Should You Pack? And if you too are struggling with it, here’s my suggested list:
- 4-6 t-shirts | T-shirts because they’re easy to pack and easy to wash.
- 2 pair of shorts or capris | Because they’re convenient and take less space in your bag.
- 1-2 pair of khaki or cargo pants | No fancy zip-off pants but something lightweight, wear-anywhere, quick-drying, decent-looking pants for travel, hiking and relaxing.
- 1 long sleeve shirt or a T-shirt | In case you need to cover your arms or look more presentable.
- 1 pair of jeans or trousers | Again, to only look presentable.
- 1 swimsuit | Because you never know when you’ve to swim in public, and doing so in your underpants is not cool.
- 1 towel | Though I carry along a sardine cloth – that long scarf that Asian women wear around their head and shoulders. Because you can use it as a towel, as a scarf to cover your head under the sun, and unlike a towel, it even dries super-quickly.
- 5-7 pair of socks, with at least one pair of compression socks, avoiding swollen feet on exceptional days.
- 1 pair of slippers or flip flops
- 1 pair of sneakers or trekking-shoes
- 1 Sun-cap
- 1 toothbrush and toothpaste
- 1 Electric shaver
- 1 small bottle of shampoo
- 1 small body soap
- 1 small bottle of liquid shower soap
- Other items like Nail-cutter, plucker, scissor | Not only for their obvious use but to also use them as your hardware tools.
- Anti-allergy tablets
- Hand Sanitizer
- Mosquito repellent | You can also use some Tea-tree oil instead as it works equally well.
My Blogging Gear
- Sony DSLR
- Action Camera
- Small Tripod
- Universal power adaptor
- A few empty zip-lock bags (to carry unwashed clothes/wet towel etc)
- A padlock
- A small needle and thread
This is pretty much everything I carry on a trip. Additional items like your sleeping bag, tent etc; and the type of clothes (eg. you won’t need half-pants while trekking in the Himalayas, but perhaps an additional pair of cargo pants) depends on what kind of trip you’re going for. So have your wits about it.
For more, here’s a list of 10 travel packing tips that will further help you reach your full travel ninja potential:
Take earplugs. Because snorers are everywhere and you need your sleep.
Skip the towel. As I said, rather take a long sardine cloth, because it is handy and multi-functional.
Always have an extra USB charger. To make sure you don’t run out of batteries.
Take a light rain jacket. To save yourself from unexpected chilly nights, light showers and even breeze.
Get good shoes and slippers. Shoes, because you walk a lot when you travel and don’t want to beat up your feet. Slippers because they make your stay comfortable and relaxing. Moreover, in unexpected dirty toilets, it always feels good to have something under your feet.
Carry a basic first-aid kit – especially a lot of band-aids. Because accidents happen, and you must be prepared.
Pack a flashlight. Always! And this should be other than the flashlight in your phone.
Carry a book. Because reading and travelling is a great combination, especially if you travel alone.
An extra copy of your passport and important documents. Also, Don’t forget to e-mail a copy to yourself.
Always carry a lock. While travelling in Asia, use your lock rather than the one given by your guest house.
And last but not the least… Remember to PACK LIGHT!
Looking for a backpack? Read How To Choose The Perfect Travel Backpack
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