What to Take in Your Backpack When Traveling: The Ultimate Packing List and Tips
Backpacking is one of the most exciting and rewarding ways to travel the world. You get to explore new places, meet new people, and experience different cultures. But before you hit the road, you need to pack your backpack wisely. What to take in your backpack when traveling depends on many factors, such as your destination, duration, budget, and preferences. In this article, we will show you the ultimate packing list for backpacking, and give you some tips on how to pack smartly and efficiently.
1. Backpacking Essentials: What to Take in Your Backpack When Traveling
When you’re backpacking, you want to pack light and smart. You don’t want to carry unnecessary weight or items that you won’t use. You also want to pack items that are versatile, durable, and useful for different situations. Here are some of the essential items that you should take in your backpack when traveling:
1.1. Passport and Travel Documents
These are the most important items that you need to pack, as they are required for entering and exiting countries, booking flights, and proving your identity. Make sure your passport is valid for at least six months after your return date, and that you have all the necessary visas, permits, and vaccinations for your destinations. You should also make copies of your passport and travel documents, and store them in different places, such as your email, cloud, or a separate bag. This way, you can access them in case you lose or damage the originals. You can also use apps like Google Drive or Evernote to scan and save your documents online.
1.2. Money and Cards
You need to have enough money and cards to cover your expenses and emergencies. You should have a mix of cash and cards, and use them wisely. Cash is useful for paying for small items, tips, and places that don’t accept cards. Cards are useful for paying for large items, online bookings, and withdrawing cash from ATMs.
You should also have a backup card in case you lose or damage your primary card. Sometimes, you should inform your bank of your travel plans, and check the exchange rates and fees for your destinations. In addition, use a money belt or a hidden pocket to keep your money and cards safe from theft or loss. You can also use apps like XE Currency to track exchange rates and manage your money abroad.
1.3. Clothes and Shoes
You need to pack clothes and shoes that are suitable for your destinations, weather, and activities. The clothes are needed to be comfortable, breathable, and easy to wash and dry. They should also be versatile and can be layered, mixed, and matched. You should avoid packing clothes that are bulky, heavy, or require special care. Furthermore, pack shoes that are comfortable, durable, and appropriate for walking, hiking, or other activities. A pair of flip-flops or sandals for showering or relaxing. A hat, sunglasses, and a scarf or a bandana for protection from the sun, dust, or cold. You can use packing cubes or compression bags to organize your clothes and save space in your backpack.
1.4. Toiletries and Personal Items
You need to pack toiletries and personal items that are essential for your hygiene, health, and comfort. Toiletries that are travel-sized, biodegradable, and multi-purpose. They should also be specific to your needs, such as medication, contact lenses, or feminine products. You should also pack personal items that are useful for your well-being, such as earplugs, eye masks, travel pillows, or a book. Pack a towel that is quick-drying, lightweight, and compact. You may also need a reusable water bottle that is leak-proof, durable, and easy to fill and clean. You can also use a toiletry bag or a ziplock bag to store your toiletries and prevent leaks or spills in your backpack.
1.5. First Aid Kit and Emergency Items
You need to pack a first aid kit and emergency items that are essential for your safety and survival. A first aid kit contains basic items, such as bandages, antiseptic, painkillers, and tweezers. The first aid kit also contains items that are specific to your destination, such as insect repellent, sunscreen, or altitude sickness pills. Emergency items that are useful for unexpected situations, such as a flashlight, a whistle, a knife, or a fire starter. You may also need a phone that is unlocked, charged, and has a local SIM card. Moreover, you should pack a power bank that is portable, powerful, and compatible with your devices. You can also use a waterproof bag or a dry bag to keep your electronics and valuables dry and safe in your backpack.
These are some of the backpacking essentials that you should take in your backpack when traveling. Of course, you may need to adjust your packing list according to your personal preferences, needs, and circumstances. But remember, the key to packing your backpack is to pack light, smart, and essential. This way, you can enjoy your backpacking trip without hassle or burden.
2. Backpacking Extras: What to Take in Your Backpack When Traveling
Besides the essential items that you need to pack for your backpacking trip, some extra items can make your trip more enjoyable, comfortable, or fun. These items are not necessary, but they can enhance your travel experience and suit your personal preferences. Here are some of the extra items that you may want to take in your backpack when traveling:
2.1. Camera and Accessories
If you love photography or want to capture your memories, you may want to pack a camera and some accessories, such as a tripod, a lens, a memory card, and a battery. You should choose a camera that fits your budget, skill level, and style, such as a DSLR, a mirrorless, a point-and-shoot, or a smartphone. Additionally, you can use apps like Snapseed or Lightroom to edit your photos and make them look more professional.
You should consider the weight, size, and durability of your camera and accessories, and pack them in a protective case or bag. Don’t forget to check the rules and regulations of your destinations regarding photography, and respect the local culture and privacy of the people you photograph.
2.2. Books and Games
If you love reading or playing games, you may want to pack some books and games that can keep you entertained during your downtime, such as on a long bus ride, on a rainy day, or a lazy evening. I love reading the travel books for inspiration. Yet, you can choose books and games that are relevant to your destinations, such as a guidebook, a novel, a puzzle, or a trivia. You can also use apps like Kindle or Audible to read or listen to books on your device.
You should consider the weight, size, and number of your books and games, and pack them in a compact and organized way. Also, you should check the availability and compatibility of your apps and games in your destinations, and download them in advance if needed.
2.3. Snacks and Drinks
If you love snacking or drinking, you may want to pack some snacks and drinks that can satisfy your cravings, boost your energy, or quench your thirst. Remember to choose snacks and drinks that are healthy, tasty, and easy to carry, such as nuts, dried fruits, granola bars, chocolate, tea, coffee, or water.
You should also consider the shelf life, temperature, and packaging of your snacks and drinks, and pack them in a sealed and insulated container or bag. Make sure you check the customs and quarantine rules of your destinations regarding food and drink and avoid bringing any prohibited or restricted items.
2.4. Souvenirs and Gifts
If you love shopping or giving gifts, you may want to pack some souvenirs and gifts that can remind you of your trip, express your gratitude, or share your culture. You can choose souvenirs and gifts that are unique, meaningful, and affordable, such as magnets, postcards, stickers, keychains, jewelry, or handicrafts.
You should also consider the weight, size, and value of your souvenirs and gifts, and pack them safely and securely. Remember to check the customs and duty rules of your destinations regarding souvenirs and gifts, and avoid bringing any illegal or taxable items.
3. Backpacking Tips: How to Pack Your Backpack When Traveling
Now that you know what to take in your backpack when traveling, you also need to know how to pack your backpack properly. Packing your backpack well can make a big difference in your comfort, mobility, and safety. Here are some tips on how to pack your backpack when traveling:
3.1. Choose the Right Backpack
You need to choose the right backpack that fits your body, budget, and needs. You should choose a backpack that has a comfortable and adjustable harness, a sturdy and waterproof material, and a suitable capacity and weight. It would be best if you also chose a backpack that has multiple compartments, pockets, and straps to help you organize and secure your items.
3.2. Pack by Weight and Frequency
You need to pack your items by their weight and frequency of use. You should pack the heaviest items, such as clothes, shoes, and toiletries, in the bottom and center of your backpack, close to your spine. This will help you balance your load and reduce strain on your back. You should pack the lightest items, such as a sleeping bag, towel, and hat, in the top and sides of your backpack. This will help you fill the gaps and stabilize your backpack. You should pack the most frequently used items, such as your passport, money, phone, and snacks, in your backpack’s front and outer pockets. This will help you access them easily and quickly.
3.3. Pack by Category and Color
You need to pack your items by their category and color. You should pack your items in separate bags or containers, such as packing cubes, compression bags, ziplock bags, or dry bags. This will help you keep your items organized, clean, and dry. You should also pack your items in different colors, such as red, blue, green, or yellow. This will help you identify your items quickly and avoid confusion.
3.4. Pack by the Rule of Three
You need to pack your items by the rule of three. This means that you should pack only three sets of clothes: one to wear, one to wash, and one to spare. This will help you save space, weight, and money. You should also pack only three pairs of shoes: one for walking, one for hiking, and one for relaxing. This will help you cover different terrains, activities, and occasions. You should also pack only three toiletries: one for cleaning, one for moisturizing, and one for protecting. This will help you maintain your hygiene, health, and comfort.
4. Frequently Asked Questions
4.1. How Do You Prepare a Backpack for a Flight?
To prepare a backpack for a flight, you need to follow the airline’s regulations and guidelines regarding carry-on and checked baggage. Here are some steps to prepare a backpack for a flight
Check the Airline’s Baggage Policies
You need to check the airline’s baggage policies before packing your backpack, as they may vary depending on the airline, destination, and fare type. You need to check the size, weight, and number limits for carry-on and checked baggage, as well as the fees and restrictions for oversized, overweight, or extra baggage. Also, you need to check the prohibited and restricted items for carry-on and checked baggage, such as liquids, aerosols, gels, sharp objects, weapons, batteries, and electronics.
Choose Your Backpack Type
You need to choose whether you want to bring your backpack as a carry-on or a checked bag, depending on your preference, needs, and circumstances. If you bring your backpack as a carry-on, you can avoid baggage fees, lost or damaged luggage, and waiting time at the baggage claim. However, you need to make sure your backpack meets the size and weight limits for carry-on baggage, and that it contains only items that are allowed in carry-on baggage. If you bring your backpack as a checked bag, you can pack more items, including those that are not allowed in carry-on baggage, and have more freedom and comfort during the flight. However, you need to pay the baggage fees, secure your backpack from theft or damage, and label it with your name and contact information.
Pack Your Backpack Properly
You need to pack your backpack properly for a flight, following the tips mentioned above for packing a backpack for travel. In addition, you need to pack your valuables, essentials, and fragile items in your carry-on backpack, and your bulky, heavy, and non-essential items in your checked backpack. Besides that, pack your liquids, aerosols, gels, creams, and pastes in a clear, quart-sized, zip-top bag, and place it in a separate bin for screening. Remember, you need to remove your laptop, tablet, and other large electronics from your carry-on backpack, and place them in a separate bin for screening. You also need to lock your checked backpack with a TSA-approved lock and attach a luggage tag with your name and contact information.
4.2. How Strict are Airlines about Backpacks?
Airlines can be strict about backpacks, especially if they exceed the size, weight, or number limits for carry-on or checked baggage. The airlines may measure, weigh, or inspect your backpack at the check-in counter or the gate. They possibly ask you to check it, pay a fee, or remove some items if it does not comply with their baggage policies. Definitely, airlines may refuse to accept your backpack if it contains any prohibited or restricted items, such as weapons, explosives, flammable substances, or illegal drugs. To avoid any problems or delays, it is advisable to follow the airline’s baggage policies and guidelines and check your backpack before flying.
4.3. What is not Allowed in Personal Item Bag?
A personal item bag is a type of hand luggage that you carry onto the plane with you and is smaller than a carry-on. It must fit under the seat in front of you or the overhead bin. A personal item bag can include a purse, briefcase, laptop bag, backpack, or tote bag. However, some items are not allowed in a personal item bag, such as:
Anything with a blade, such as knives, scissors, razors, or corkscrews. These are not allowed in carry-on baggage and must be packed in checked baggage.
Anything that could be used as a potential weapon, such as guns, ammunition, fireworks, pepper spray, or martial arts equipment. These are not allowed in carry-on or checked baggage and may be confiscated or reported to the authorities.
Liquids, Aerosols, Gels, Creams, and Pastes That are Larger than 3.4 Ounces (100 Milliliters) per Item
Such as shampoo, lotion, perfume, or toothpaste. These are not allowed in carry-on baggage and must be packed in checked baggage. You can bring liquids, aerosols, gels, creams, and pastes that are 3.4 ounces or less per item in a clear, quart-sized, zip-top bag, and place it in a separate bin for screening.
Batteries, Electronics, or Power Banks That are Damaged, Defective, or Recalled
Such as lithium metal or lithium-ion batteries, hoverboards, or e-cigarettes. These are not allowed in carry-on or checked baggage and may pose a fire hazard or an explosion risk.
Food or Beverages That are not Sealed, Wrapped, or Packaged
Such as fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses, or liquids. These are not allowed in carry-on baggage and may be subject to agricultural inspection or quarantine. You can bring food or beverages that are sealed, wrapped, or packaged, such as snacks, candy, or water, as long as they comply with the liquids rule.
Wrap-Up: What to Take in Your Backpack When Traveling
Packing your backpack for traveling can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. With our ultimate packing list and tips, you can pack like a pro and enjoy your backpacking adventure. Remember to pack only the essentials, choose versatile and durable items, and organize your backpack well. And don’t forget to have fun and be flexible along the way. What are your backpacking essentials? Share your thoughts and experiences with us in the comments below. And if you liked this article, don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter and check out our other travel guides.
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