Finally the date of the trip is just around the block, maybe it’s gonna be a three month trip around Asia, a year in Australia, or just a one way ticket somewhere, anyways, you have to pack. Questions start to come up, backpack or suitcase? How many t-shirts? How many pairs of shoes? Will I be missing something?
In my opinion a backpack is better than a suitcase. The suitcase can be very comfortable if you’re planning to stay for a long time in a city, then you can pack your clothes in a more organized way, and keep them in better shape. Plus, if you move, you won’t be carrying a 20-kilo backpack all the time.
However, the backpack is more versatile, and if you go to places like South East Asia, it’ll be a better companion. Yes, you always end up burying clothes in the bottom of it and if you want them you basically have to take everything out and repack. It’s a pain in the ass, especially in a hostel where you have the backpack under the bunk bed, and you are looking for that shirt you haven’t seen in months and you know you’ll have to dig to get it. But think about it, in Asia you sometimes get down from ferries on the beach and have to walk for a while on the sand, you travel a lot in motorbikes, and the backpack is always easier to move around with.
Now let’s see what to pack
A lot of underwear. Myself, I took 12 boxers. This saves you money and time not having to do laundry once very five days.
A lot of socks. You have no idea how many pairs of socks you’ll be losing while traveling, so take more than what you need, because they don’t take that much space anyways.
A t-shirt for everyday of the week. To be honest, I think that’s still too many, as I ended up using the same four t-shirts for a long time, but seven is still a reasonable number.
If you’re going to a colder place, take two pairs of jeans. If you’re going somewhere warm (again Asia), take two pairs of shorts and two board shorts. In the case of girls, quite a few bikinis shouldn’t be an issue.
Two nice shirts, or two nice outfits. They come in handy for going out, nice events and job interviews.
One sweater, and if you’re going to a cold place, a jacket, hopefully waterproof.
A pair of flip flops and one pair of shoes, the ones you’ll be using. If they start to wear out, you can buy new ones. From experience, shoes are heavy and take a lot of space, one pair is enough. Unless, you want to either go hiking or do sports, in that case take the extra pair. I took a pair of hiking boots and it was worth it as I went in numerous hikes and used them a lot, even though they were a pain in the ass to carry around.
A pair of sunglasses.
Medicines. Pills for the headaches, you’ll be hangover a lot, you’ll need them. Pills for colds and fever. Cream for rashes or insect bites.
If you go to Asia, people recommend malaria pills, but they’re expensive and many backpackers don’t buy them and they’re fine. Your choice. What I do recommend are carbon or charcoal pills for food poisoning. Trust me, you’ll need them.
Sun block, aloe vera and mosquito repellent.
If you’re going away for a long time, your laptop can be useful. If you move around a lot, you won’t use it much, but it’s still useful to unload pictures from the cameras, write emails or search for stuff online. Also, if you don’t move much, it’s great for movies. I know you think you won’t have time for that, but you might. When you wake up hungover at a hostel, your best friend will be your laptop and Netflix.
Cameras. If you’re not a photographer, the one in your cellphone is good enough, carrying an extra camera can be uncomfortable, unless you actually use it a lot. A GoPro is a must, as it’s super easy to carry and can be used anywhere and anytime.
An extra battery for the GoPro.
A power bank.
A USB device.
A couple of pens. You always need a pen for something, why not carry one?
An international drivers license. It’s not a must but it can be useful in places like Asia to avoid fines.
A diary, to write your thoughts and about your trip.
A good book. Only one though. If you’re a reader, chill, one is enough. You finish it and you can exchange it at any hostel, they always have books for exchange.
That should be enough. Keep in mind that less is more comfortable, and if you’re missing something you can buy it at the place, but in most of the cases, you’ll be getting rid of things rather than buying new ones, except for souvenirs.