TRAVEL HACKS: packing your backpack

by Meryl Hanmer

Packing is one aspect of travelling that many people dread doing. It’s all too easy to either pack the wrong things or pack far too many things. When I began my journey travelling the continent I made many packing errors, but soon learnt what essentials I needed and what items to ditch!

Padlocks
I never stay in a hostel that doesn’t provide lockers in which I can safely store my bag whilst I’m not in the room. While some hostels provide their own keys for lockers, most require you to bring your own padlock. I always carry a small lock and slightly larger lock so I’m prepared for however the lockers need securing.

Hostel flip flops
Whilst I always ensure I am staying in a clean hostel, I still don’t walk anywhere in hostels bare foot, especially in the bathrooms! An investment in some cheap flip flops is, in my opinion, a definite must!

Spare charger cables
Personally I rely on my phone massively when travelling; from storing all tickets/booking confirmations to using Google maps for navigating new cities. I simply couldn’t manage without my phone and charging cables break all too easily, so a spare is always advisable.

Adapters
Although a seemingly obvious item to pack, I see too many people panicking in hostel dorm rooms because they forgot adapters for the right countries. Unless travelling purely in one region its best to get a universal adapter so you know you’re covered no matter what country.

Silicone travel size liquid containers
A thousand times better than their plastic counterparts, the silicone containers make it much easier to use every drop of the liquid within and, of course, travel size because of airport restrictions.

Plug stoppers & travel size clothes detergent
Depending on the length of your journey you may need to do washing whilst travelling. Every now and then it will be worth the splurge paying for use of hostel washing machines but for small amounts of washing needed, i.e. underwear, a wash in the sink is easier and cheaper.

Power bank
Long days out taking lots of photos may prove draining on your phones battery and so it is always advisable to have a good power bank with you that will give your phone at least 2/3 full charges.

Pack of tissues & hand sanitiser
Two items that I very quickly learnt are absolute essentials after being caught one too many times in ‘ill-equipped’ bathrooms abroad. These are two items you will be grateful for should you need them.

Copies of all documents
If somehow you lose your passport abroad, having a photocopy of the original can make obtaining emergency documentation much quicker and easier. Of course, nobody plans to lose such items, but when you’re far away from home, it is always better to be extra prepared.

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