7 Essential Things to Pack when Going Backpacking
Alisha Nash has provided a list of things you really shouldn't forget to pack when heading out to explore the world...
You may have read this time and time again, but do not forget a pen. Jotting down notes and writing to-do lists with a pen seem to be things of the past, now smart phones are the more practical option.
Many of us do try to remember to hunt down a pen whilst packing our lives into what seems to be a shoebox, but due to the actual small significance and value a pen seems to have, it eventually just slips our mind until we get on that long-haul flight and the air stewardess gives us an immigration form that we need to fill out. With your mum not there with her Mary Poppins bag you start to think of the options of gaining a pen and after asking the air stewardess for a pen, she states that she does not have any pens left. Once you have finally found a pen and returned it, you always manage to make a mistake and need that valuable pen back.
First, you need a notebook in order to be able to write down your spontaneous ingenius thoughts, of how you can build the next hover-craft and how you can stop hunger in the heart of Africa.
Most travelers like to keep a journal and this varies from short bullet points of their daily activities so they can look back and remember, to writing more long descriptive pieces (here you may need a larger notebook).
A notebook is highly useful for writing down key information as you cannot always rely on your phone; your phone may be out of battery after playing too many games on the flight, it may have been lost or stolen, or you may not feel comfortable getting your new smart phone out in an unfamiliar area. For example you can write down;
- Hostel names, addresses and phone numbers (your taxi driver may want to call the hostel for its location),
- Emergency phone numbers,
- Friends' and family's phone numbers and addresses (you may want to be retro on your trip and send a postcard or two), and
- Currency conversion rates for withdrawing money.
3. Duck Tape
Some people may need duck tape more than others. When buying a backpack there is no answer of how much to spend; some will buy the cheapest and most basic, whilst some will buy the backpack with the most compartments, zips, locks, most weatherproof and ultimately the most resistant in general. But there is still a chance that your bag may get ripped or worse case scenario someone cuts open your bag - and duck tape will be your quick fix! Save the embarrassment of having to carry your underwear in your arms until you find your next pit-stop.
It may not be you that needs the survival tape but instead a fellow traveler; you will be their hero and may even receive a free drink because of it [you can thank us later].
4. World Adapter
This one is simple. Going to a few places in one trip? Then find a world adapter (or two).
5. Day Bag
Find a bag which is big enough to hold two nights of clothes and a few necessary items, such as water, sun cream, a book and your toothbrush. On your travels you may have the opportunity to go on a two day excursion; perhaps on a boat or to visit a local tribe/village and it is not practical to take your large backpack and you don’t want to be squeezing your lucky underpants in a Tesco’s plastic bag for the world to see.
A safety tip: If you normally keep your important items in a small bag (e.g. a girl's handbag), ensure you wear the bag sensibly when traveling in unknown areas. In places such as Indonesia and Vietnam, it is known for locals to attempt to pull your bag away, cut the straps of your bag, or even attempt to grab your bag whilst using public transport like a rickshaw.
6. Pocket Tissues
These could come in handy as soon as you get on the aeroplane and if not then, when you step into the airport. On the areoplane you may have the perfect window spot for your long-haul flight, but it also means two sleeping passengers beside you. After already asking them to stand twice for you to use the toilet, you may not want to ask again when you inconveniently need to blow your nose.
It is also very common for international public toilets not to be efficient at stocking toilet paper, after trying the local cuisine from everything to scorpions to snake blood, sometimes you may not be able to wait till the hotel room, so remember your tissues!
7. Scarf / Sarong / Light Long Pants
The scarf/sarong/long pants have multiple uses and therefore are a necessity. The scarf/sarong will be of use for unexpected cold winds or late nights, at times when a coat is definitively not suitable or your mustard anorak doesn’t quite match your full moon outfit. They can also be used as a beach towel, being the lighter more stylish alternative to a towel.
If traveling to Asia, you are very likely to be visiting a temple and some will require you to cover your legs and arms and you must follow these guidelines to be respectful to their traditions and culture. Otherwise you may need to rent a sarong from the temple, worse case scenario you may be forced into buying an expensive sarong or even a whole new outfit which will only be worm once.
The last reason for the long pants is for your staple comfort traveling outfit; for those long long buses and trains.
By Alisha Nash