Backpacker Hacks - Useful Packing Tips and Items

What is your ideal vacation or travel itinerary abroad?

Think about it for a moment, visualize it.

How long is your trip? Most definitely you plan to relax, how will you do this?

Do you plan on trying the local food? Maybe learn about the local heritage and culture?

Rishikesh India


Everyone’s ideal trip away from home is going to be visualized in different ways. It could also vary at different stages in their life. For me, in this past decade - my favorite way to travel is for a few months at a time, with a modest daily budget, and my backpack. I cherish the chance to try many of the foods which the locals of that land eat and I adore learning about the local culture.

I enjoy backpacking for months at a time as it really humbles me and allows me to fully experience the true culture of my destination rather then just see it from a tourist perspective. Getting a true glimpse into another culture is one of the best ways to learn in my opinion. This is a lot of why I love travelling so much.

Indian Food

Exposure to other cultures has facilitated in my growth as a human being in ways that I feel I would have never attained otherwise.

So this is why I recommend travelling with only a backpack. To allow yourself to get ultra close to the culture of the people who’s country you are visiting. It is totally okay if you only have a couple weeks available for your trip instead of a couple months. a Backpack is still the way to go, trust me!

There is this undeniable sense of freedom to be able to put everything on my back and go. The way it enables me to move around easily, take local buses and walk longer distances is fantastic.

Backpacking is great as long as you pack properly. So how the heck do you narrow it down?

I’ve narrowed it down to 3 helpful tips and 5 useful Items that I would recommend to anyone starting their first backpacking adventure and who may be wondering what they should pack.

Tip #1 - Pack Light

Above any tip I can suggest, this is not only the most oblivious, but the most crucial. It wasn’t until I had gone a few places, thought I packed light and then realized I actually brought stuff I did not need at all. The less you can bring, the better.

Packing light is somewhat of an art form and I feel like I’ve gotten pretty good at it after a decade of backpacking and living a nomadic lifestyle. The biggest mistake I would make in the beginning was bringing WAY to many clothes.

How to Narrow it Down?

Packing TIps for Backerpack Travel

Lay all the clothes out that you want to bring and then cut it in half, and half again, until you are down to something like: 2 shorts, 1 pair pants, 3 short sleeves, underwear, socks, 1 long sleeve.

Try to only bring 1 pair of running shoes, comfortable sandals and flip flops. One trip I did, I carried around hiking boots the entire time and didn’t even use them! What a waste.

Tip #2 - Favor a Smaller Backpack Over a Large One

Make sure your backpack is comfortable and of a good size. My first trip backpacking I had this HUGE over sized backpack. After about half an hour of walking with it I was so tired and my back was aching.

I quickly realized how unnecessary such a huge backpack was for a traveller like myself. The key is to pack as light as possible, you really do not need much when you travel and leaving space in your backpack allows you to buy a few souvenirs. There is also the oblivious fact that it is much easier to carry and maneuver with for example; quickly getting onto packed buses is less of a hassle with a small load.

I also recommend keeping a smaller day size backpack with all of your id’s and things you really can’t part with (like your passport) on you at all times. I suggest this because sometimes when travelling cheaply by local bus you have to put your backpack in places you cannot see.

Bus Sri Lanka Travel

There is always the possibility of your pack getting stolen so plan for this scenario. Not saying it will happen to you, but just to be smart and think of “in case” in does. Keep your most valuable items on you and only bring from home what you wouldn’t mind parting with.

Tip #3 - Don’t Bring Your Favorite Items

I always bring clothes that aren’t my favorite and don’t necessarily make me look like a traveler with money. What I mean by this is that I leave all my jewelry at home and wear clothing that isn’t flashy at all. This way you are less of a target then someone wearing all their gold and the latest fashion.

Backpacker Tips: 5 Helpful Items to Pack

Environmentally Conscious Travel

After experiencing a few trips I have realized there are about five super handy items which are very useful for backpackers who want to pack light and travel on a budget.

  • Water bottle and water filter - think about the environment! Vacationers can create a lot of waste so be a savvy traveller and be aware of the possible impact you are making. Reduce plastic waste and bring your own water filter. While in India, I will admit that I found the water still tasted funny even after filtering it two different ways. What we did was grabbed one of those huge containers from a local shop, refilled our bottles and then returned the plastic for the local to use again. We found that a 20L container lasted the two of us about 6 days.

  • String for clothes - handwashing clothes is a great way to save money while travelling but sometimes there are places without a place to hang them, bring yourself a string to hand stuff on. Some people bring clips as well but if you want to skip these to save on plastic and space in your backpack just put a few handy knots in your string to keep clothes held in place.

  • Knife - Super useful for self defense of course but also for cutting fruit or making a little salad!

  • Spork and/or chopsticks - eating utensils for your fruit, salad, or oatmeal

  • Kettle - small travel size kettle so you can make your own coffee or tea in the mornings. I also like to make my own oatmeal. Again, convenient and a money saver!

Hopefully I gave you some ideas for your next backpacking trip! If you have any questions please contact me, I would love to hear from you!

Thanks for reading ♡

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