Hey friends, welcome back!
Today I'm going to be chatting with you about the answer of a question I wish I knew the before my first big adventure.
"What do I actually need'?
Through backpacking for extended periods of time, I'd like to think I have this down to a science. Here's a some info that will hopefully make your life a little more stress free while you're preparing to jet off.
✈ A BACKPACK ✈
When travelling, especially for longer period of time, having a backpack instead of a suitcase would be my number one advice. It will save you a lot of grief. My second piece of golden advice: keep it under 55L (L= litres, that is the size of your pack). 55L is even pushing it, mine is 46L. Listen to these next words carefully... you. do. not. want. to. check. your. bag. TRUST ME. Many flights require you to pay extra for it, plus it's a huge waste of time. Keep it under 50L if you can (I could do it, so can you), you will be forever grateful. Also, splurge on something high quality. I didn't the first time and regretted it for months. Literally MONTHS. I find having many pockets on the pack helpful, as well as something that opens almost all the way. Also, get one with a waist and chest strap, it'll save your back.
My sister wearing both of our packs. Don't want to admit why. Maybe later.
✈ A SMALLER BACKPACK ✈
On my travels, there were many times I wanted to go somewhere with a backpack that wasn't my big one. I guarantee you'll run into that too. I found a smaller. light fabric backpack that I could easily crumple up and shove in my pack when need be! Highly recommend.
✈ INTERCHANGABLE OUTFITS✈
This one is HUGE. One of the most important pieces of advice I have. This is how I, who owns more clothes than anyone ever should, was able to spend almost 100 days in Europe. With a 46L bag. Let me break it down for you:
♕ A couple neutral coloured shirts
♛ I brought a long sleeve that I could, with some creativity, turn strapless.
♛ A few short-sleeves / strapless tops because it was warmer during my travels.
♛ A shirt that can double as PJs.
♛ A jacket that can be wrapped around your waist & backpack.
♕ Neutral bottoms
♛ Shorts that can be dressed up.
♛ I brought a skirt that could be dressed up and down.
♛ Athletic shorts that can be doubled as PJs.
♕ A few dresses
♛ As someone who loves getting dressed up, I needed to bring a few dresses. They could be dressed up, down and they could be folded small to fit in my bag.
♕ Underwear & Socks
♛ Just a reminder so you don't forget.
♕ Bathing suit
♛ I brought a one piece I could wear as a shirt and a bikini for when I wanted to really soak in those rays.
A few examples of the 'fits. Yes, I did download a free photo collage app for this.
✈ A FANNY PACK ✈
Fanny packs are a huge plus on your travels. It becomes very convenient being hands free. I found a really cute fanny that I could add a strap to and turn it into a purse! One item with several uses? A god-sent on a long trip.
Gotta love a good fanny.
✈ NECK PILLOW✈
I highly recommend bringing a neck pillow for your long travel days. They'll help you stay comfortable in the most uncomfortable situations and trust me when I say you'll find yourself sleeping in uncomfortable situations. I found one that blows up when you need it! If you can't already tell, I'm a huge fan of bringing things that can be easily stowed. You'll be thankful if you follow this advise.
✈ COMFORTABLE & STYLISH SHOES ✈
Bringing comfortable shoes should go without saying, but when my sister showed up at the airport for our European journey she brought no such thing. I wore my Birkenstocks literally every day, I also brought a pair of sleek black vans that could be worn with every outfit. If you are planning on going to nice restaurants or clubs, see if you can fit a pair of dressier shoes. I didn't bring any heels to Europe and those of you who know me know that was crazy. I caved and bought a pair within the first month. I actually got kicked out of a rooftop bar for wearing Birkenstocks once, so come prepared for the type of environments you want to be in.
✈ WATER BOTTLE ✈
I brought a floppy water bottle that could be folded up small (obviously) or even be turned into a water-pillow (is that a thing?).
That's my sista sporting her snazzy green water bottle pillow on the back of her pack trough the streets of (the) Paris (airport).
✈ PROTEIN BARS ✈
This is also HIGHLY recommended. Stash a bunch at the bottom of your bag and they will come in handy. Food gets expensive. You get malnourished when you're on a budget. THESE are my favourite protein bars of all times. I've tried every brand and I swear, these have the highest quality ingredients AND best flavours. Trust.
Me in my natural environment eating a Chocolate Decadence protein bar. It's as good as it sounds.
✈ SEVERAL COPIES OF YOUR IDS ✈
I met a girl in Prague that had her passport, phone, money and ID stolen on the first day of her long trip. Photocopy everything. Send your friends and family copies. I hope it doesn't but it may just come in handy. We want to make worst case scenario a little better, right?
✈ LOCKS ✈
I brought a regular sized combo lock along with several smaller locks to lock up my fanny pack, backpack and lockers. You'll need them.
✈ PACKING CUBES ✈
Stay organized, it'll save you time. And frustration. And Possibly even tears. It's hard to keep your back pack pockets tidy.
✈ THIN TOWEL/ WRAP ✈
Yes, to dry off (but tbh half the time I snagged towels from hostels... shhh), but more importantly for privacy. Some nights you just don't feel like sleeping exposed to 14 strangers #HostelLife. Also, you'll need it as a blanket on those budget airlines. I swear they blast the AC to try to get you to buy their overpriced, low-quality blankets. My sister and I practically left a 7 hour Air-Asia flight with hypothermia after refusing to buy a blanket because of the morals behind it.
✈ EARPLUGS AND A FACEMASK ✈
Hostel living gets loud. People turn on the lights in the middle of the night. Sometimes you'll want to take in nap in broad daylight. 'Nough said.
✈ CONDENSING YOUR LIQUIDS ✈
If you're planning on solely bringing carry-ons, as you probably should, you're going to have to be cautious about the liquids you're bringing. Firstly, make sure they're all under 100ML or they will be taken away. Secondly, I suggest putting them in a clear bag to quickly take out of your pack while going through security. Sure, you may sometimes get away without doing so, BUT the times you don't you'll probably be in a huge rush. Some airports will have their own bags that they'll make you put your liquids into so make sure you aren't bringing too many. I learned that the hard way. Bringing shampoo and conditioner bars instead of bottles is a great way to condense your liquids!
Now to quickly summarize so you don't have to scroll allllll the way back up:
✈ A backpack (Under 55L)
✈ A smaller foldable bag
✈ A fanny pack
✈ Interchangeable outfits
✈ Blow up neck pillow
✈ PASSPORT. I know this was not above but here is your reminder. Do NOT forget. Please.
✈ Comfortable walking shoes & nicer shoes
✈ Floppy water bottle
✈ Several extra copes of your IDs.
✈ Packing Cubes
✈Thin towel/ wrap
✈ Earplugs and a facemask
✈ Condensed liquids
There you go pals. I hope you take some of advise because it will help. I promise.