With each trip, I get a little smarter and better about what to pack and how to pack. Here and there, I pick up tips from fellow backpackers, like rolling those t-shirts and undies instead of folding them. Each time, I learn to apply just a tad more common sense… packing the heavier things on the bottom, or lose that second pair of shoes I hardly wear. As time went on, my list of necessities grew shorter, and my pack got lighter. Although sentimental, that 90 liter bag I carried for those first 2 years sure seems a bit ridiculous now that I could barely fill a 65 liter sack.
Whether it’s a weekend getaway, or a long sabbatical, there are a handful of items I always kick myself for forgetting. I carried none of them when my journey first started, and I had to learn it the hard way. Well, my friends, you don’t have to.
The world is a pretty sunny place, but once in a while, you do find yourself in a shady corner. In 4 years, I was only pick pocketed twice, and have never lost any important documents (knocking on wood ferociously as I type) thanks to my money pouch.
Personally it is just smart to have multiple places for money, and keep your passport on you at all times. I have heard more than a few tales of fellow backpackers getting robbed or pick pocketed. They lost the minimum since they were cautious to keep their wallets light, and hid their valuables safely in a money belt underneath their pants.
Again, the closet hippie in me is hating myself for writing this, since the backpacker community is generally honest and kind. But I did lose my laptop, a tent, and a pair of trekking shoes (yea, bizarre, I know… some bro really had to go camping) on different occasions by being too naive in a dorm.
Almost every hostel has lockers. Bring a lock; it’s better to be safe than sorry.
There eventually WILL be a 50 year old gentleman snoring liberally on the top bunk, and there WILL be a concoction of other sounds and noises you probably won’t want to hear… I am talking to you. Yes, you “fuck-it-let’s-just-do-it-in-the-dorm-even-though-we-are-surrounded-by-7-other-people” lovebirds.
It’s a big world out there, and yes, people are allowed to have their own sockets. On that note, an extra USB charger never hurts.
A Pair of Slippers
It’s darn right annoying to drag your walking shoes everywhere in a hostel, and it takes a very brave soul to go barefoot on those mildly questionable bathroom floors.