The biggest thing I wanted to know when planning my first ever travelling adventure was all the practical knowledge. What backpack, what I would need, blablabla. I took a lot of things that were completely useless and now know from experience the really handy bits and pieces to ensure I have with me.
Now, depending on what type of traveller you are and what type of trip you are taking will make a key difference in what sort of knowledge you’ll be seeking. This advice is mainly directed to backpackers as this is how I have spent the majority of my travels!
1. The backpack
I highly recommend getting yourself a backpack that opens on the front and not just at the top. This will save you sooo much time and frustration when trying to look through your bag and retrieve certain items! I can’t tell you the number of times a fellow backpacker would say “wow that’s so good I wish I had that”. It will make your life heaps easier.
I have the Lowe Alpine Women’s Voyager 65L which also comes with a small 15L daypack with laptop compartment. This is now laughably big for me, Eron and I are even sharing it on our upcoming trip 😂
However, it is a super practical bag. Frontal opening, pocket sections on the inside and outside, highly adjustable straps so you can make it fit you correctly and also built in clips on the straps so you can attach your small pack on the front when wearing both. It also comes with a cover to zip around your straps when checking your bag in. And as well as this it comes with a rain cover which has definitely come in handy.
I believe the reason it is advertised as a ‘women’s’ bag is that they tend to have more straps to adjust to a female shape whereas men’s or unisex bags are less flexible in this department.
Cons would be that this is now way too big for me, and if I was being fussy it would be nice to have the opening zips go back even further!! But that’s really not a big deal.
(So big even Fijian children can squeeze in! 😂 )
*UPDATE* I think this bag has now been discontinued – but there are lots out there with a similar design!
2. Packing Cubes
Something that has really helped me to keep my bag organised and avoid me losing things has been packing cubes! This really has made my life so much easier; I know exactly what items are in each compartment which makes it so easy to find stuff! I’m not actually sure which exact ones I have, I just picked them up from my local store, but they look a bit like the one below and come in all different sizes. Click the photo for the link.
3. Keep it light
Now, this is a recommendation rather than something practical to take with you; and that is to pack light!! Now I know its hard to know what light really means when you’ve never been on a long-term trip before. (I thought I was packing light and now when I look back at how much I had it was crazy! – I ended up giving away so much of my stuff or just chucking it.)
I pretty much travel with 1 pair of hiking/work out trainers, 1 pair of flip flops and 1 pair of tiny sandals (just in case of a fancier occasion.) The flip-flops and sandals take up no room! I’ll probably take enough underwear to go a week without doing a wash (remember in hot locations you’ll probably live in your swimsuit anyway!) In terms of actual clothes I try to travel with stuff that is versatile and can be worn in different ways. On average, probably a couple of casual dresses or playsuits, 1 pair of leggings and 1 jumper for chilly flights! 1 nice outfit for fancier occasions, a couple of pairs of shorts and tops. I’ll always take a sarong with me too – they are so useful and versatile!! I’ve used them for the beach, as a towel, a blanket, covering up for temples and holy places, to bundle up my laundry in! They really are so useful.
Sometimes what I’ve stated above is even too much!! Trust me; it sounds like nothing but you’ll quickly realise just how little you need. It’s actually quite refreshing and liberating.
If you ask Eron, he’d say all you need are the clothes on your back, a toothbrush and you’re all set 😂 Now I do like a little comfort!! 😂
Take 2 padlocks with you. If you’re staying in hostels, a lot of them will provide you with a personal locker to put your valuables in (but you’ll most likely need your own padlock to secure it). The other padlock can be used on your backpack for when you leave the hostel/room for the day or for when you take flights.
5. Back up cash
Take some US dollars in cash and store them somewhere safe. This one I think is really important especially if you are travelling solo. Having a backup fund that you don’t touch unless for emergencies is a really sensible way to travel. Most likely you won’t need it, but if you do it will save your butt! My card stopped working once and I had no way to access any money! Whilst I sorted it out my backup cash was there for me to use. I say US dollars because this is the most widely accepted and sought-after currency. You could pretty much use it or be able to exchange it anywhere.
Anyway! I hope those 5 things served you in some way, and if you have any more questions, don’t hesitate to send me an email or shoot me a DM on insta and i’d be happy to answer! <3