10 most useful things to take with you on a backpacking holiday

It’s easy to get carried away when packing for a trip and all too often we lose sight of what is going to be useful and what is just going to take up room and weigh you down.

The best way to find out what you need to take with you is through personal experience, and a certain amount of trial and error,but that’s not to say there aren’t tips out there to help you.


Here’s our shortlist of the top picks to take with you on a backpacking holiday:

1. Light towel

When space is limited, it is important to opt for lightweight options where possible. Small and light travel towels are available but a large scarf or sarong acts just as well. This can be used for a number of different functions along your travels too: whether it’s to act as a picnic blanket, to keep you warm or give you some cover from the sun.

2. Plastic bags

Scrunch a few plastic bags up and tuck them into the corner of your backpack whilst packing; these can come in handy to store wet clothes or muddy shoes, to carry extra items you pick up along the way, or even to act as an emergency umbrella!

3. Toilet paper

Keep a roll of toilet paper handy as not all public conveniences are as well-kitted out as you might expect. Toilet roll can also be used to act as a napkin, temporary plaster, plate, towel, notebook and much more if you’re really stretched on your travels.

4. Combination lock

A padlock can be handy to keep all of your belongings in your backpack safe and for use on lockers in hostels to avoid additional charges. Having a combination lock is preferable as there are no keys to lose.

5. Travel journal

You don’t have to be a writer to keep a diary of your travels. It can be a means of planning the next part of your route, getting a local to provide you with drawn out directions or to keep you occupied on a trip with a simple game of noughts and crosses.

6. First aid kit

Keeping a few basic items such as liquid plasters, pain killers, antiseptic wipes and bandages can be useful when out exploring in more isolated areas so make sure you don’t scrimp on the first aid kit.

7. Zip lock bags

These can have multiple functions, from keeping things dry to making them easier to find – zip lock bags are a backpacker’s god-send.

8. Pocket knife

If your backpacking holiday is taking you to somewhere more remote, a pocket knife can be used for first aid, food preparation and cutting rope. Make sure you check travel restrictions though as you may not be allowed to carry such items into the country or onto aircrafts.

9. Compass

These can be picked up in camping departments and will not only help in secluded places, but also when you are given directions for local attractions. For a more high-tech solution, look for GPS navigation software but make sure you take plenty of batteries or charging facilities to stop these gadgets being rendered useless.

10. Power pack

Portable and light to carry, power packs can charge a number of gadgets on the go and are the best option for those who intend to take everything from mobile phones to digital cameras, GPS devices and camcorders with them.

Preparing for your trip

Once you’re packed and ready to go, the next step is booking your travels. Flybe operates many routes from Birmingham and other small airports to get you on your way and these flights may be cheaper than those from larger airports so it’s well worth considering if you’re on a backpacker’s budget!

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