backpacking travel

Backpacking Travel: What to Pack Before You Go

By Ingle International

To Pack or Not to Pack?

If you’ve pondered the pros and cons of backpacking, and aren’t fazed by the challenges both you and your backpack will face, the suggestions below might make packing for your trip a little easier.

Make a list of items you truly can’t live without.

I don’t mean your favourite pair of jeans. I’m talking about your passport, your credit card, and any medications you are currently taking. Make sure to pack your meds in their original containers, and bring along your prescription and/or a doctor’s note to be on the safe side. (You definitely don’t want to find yourself in the middle of a drug-related misunderstanding!)

Take a look at your morning routine.

Which products are necessities and which are luxuries? Ladies, do you really need to lug your leave-in conditioner and night cream with you all the way to Europe? And gents, is your high-powered electric razor really that much better than a disposable one? Keep in mind that a lot of these products come in liquid form, and if your backpack is your only form of luggage, they will need to fit into 100mL bottles (and then be placed in a clear bag) in order for you to board the plane. Are all those products really worth the hassle? Remember, you can always make some emergency purchases once you’ve arrived at your destination.

Now it’s time to take a look at your closet.

This part may prove most difficult, so take a deep breath and keep an open mind. You should pack one of as many items as possible. For example, pick one pair of jeans (your most comfy pair!), a sweater for cooler evenings, one pair of runners and a pair of walking sandals or flip flops. As much as my fellow females may want to pack one (or three!) pairs of heels, I highly recommend against it. Shoes are heavy and they take up a lot of space. When backpacking, comfort is more important than style. And you can always buy a pair in Milan or Munich if you really can’t live without ‘em!

What about your drawers?

Well, the smaller the piece of clothing, the easier it is to break the ‘one item’ rule. This includes underwear, socks, t-shirts, shorts, and skirts, which are all nice and squishable! You’ll be travelling for a lengthy period of time, so pack a travel-sized laundry detergent, and be prepared to do some hand-washing in the shower or sink!

How much outerwear do you really need to pack?

Very little. You should wear the majority of outerwear on you when boarding the plane. This means you can avoid packing bulky items, such as jackets, cardigans, or purses. In fact, you should be using your backpack as your purse, ladies!

Last, but not least…

You’re likely staying in hostels, so pack travel-sized body soap, shampoo, and conditioner (2 in 1, if possible!) and a towel. A simple trick is to pack a hair towel and use it for your body. And your flip flops will come in handy when using a public shower (yet another reason to swap dressy for practical!).

Here’s a final packing tip for you.

Rolling your pieces of clothing (as opposed to folding them) actually leaves more space and makes packing easier. Try it!

This article, written by Kathleen O’Hagan, is provided by Ingle International, specializing in travel insurance since 1946.  Ingle International has partnered with Studentawards to provide students with the best travel health solutions for their overseas adventures. For more information, visit our partner site at