Usually its foreign foods, dodgy hostels and homesickness that travellers fear when booking a trip, for us it’s packing. When a fashion graduate and self-confessed gadget geek booked a round the world trip, the idea of fitting everything into only one backpack seemed harder than a task on The Apprentice.
Looking back at our mistakes, what we actually needed and what we wished we’d left behind (although at times this was each other), we have created a list of essentials that we cannot travel without. Whether it’s a weekend away or a gap year these items will save space, time and money to ensure your next adventure is the best one yet.
Probably the most essential item on your packing list. Get it wrong not only will it break, leaving you and your dirty knickers stranded but it’ll leave your back broken also. So many people have asked why backpacks and not wheeled suitcases. Simply, it is far easier to navigate cities, packed metro trains and cobbled streets with this on your back instead of dragging along wheels. We did thorough research before buying ours, the same way you’d investigate any new life long companion. We opted for the Mountain Warehouse Traveller 60+20, and found this style the best for the following reasons:
- It opens not only top and bottom, but around the edge the same way a holdall does. This means you can see the entire contents at once and don’t have to rummage through the entire bag.
- There is a removable day bag that can be zipped on and off. Perfect for hand luggage or shorter trips.
- The shoulder straps can be zipped inside the bag so the backpack turns into a holdall, making it much easier for airports (means the straps won’t get caught in baggage conveyors).
THE POWER BANK
RIP to all the money we wasted on the army of battery powered USB portable chargers over the years. The ones that would work a few times and then give up (they’re £2 for a reason). We cannot recommend enough investing in a durable portable charger that you charge and lasts numerous times not just once or twice. This has proved a lifesaver for road trips as we use our phones as a Sat Nav so it guarantees we’ve still battery power to take photos once we arrive. Essential for music festivals, camping and to ensure you can snap every moment without your phone dying. We opted for the Anker PowerCore 20100.
THE UNIVERSAL ADAPTOR
If like us, you enjoy a little continent skipping, buying multiple adaptors requires money and space which backpackers are very limited of. This nifty device is a multi-regional adaptor which works in Australia, America and Europe due to the changeable pins. It also allows USB charging meaning the hairdryer and phone charger can be plugged in from power socket. Hallelujah.
When I found out how much Darren had spent on the Bose QC35 headphones I went bat s**t crazy. Costing the equivalent of a plane ticket I hoped they performed miracles and I can now confirm, they do just that. Built with noise cancelling technology not only do they play all music, audio books and podcasts with HD sound (if that’s even a thing) you cannot hear a single thing around you. So, if drowning out the noise of your travel partner/hostel companions is essential to your backpacking success then add these to your basket now. They also connect via bluetooth instead of annoying tangly cables.
If like me, you are also a tad terrifying of flying I cannot recommend these headphones enough. During a flight I cannot hear a single thing from the engine etc, making me instantly more calm. If also like me, you’re a bargain hunter, I found a decent equivalent that are good sound quality and wireless. Not quite up to the Bose standard but a close second.
THE TRAVEL POUCHES
Like matching Tupperware or handheld hoovers packing pouches were items I felt were reserved for only the super organised and not actually essential. Why not save myself the money and just chuck it all in? So, so wrong. Dedicate a category per pouch, for example underwear in one, dirty clothing in another, toiletries in another etc and hunting down items will become so much quicker than emptying the entire contents of your bag for one pair of pants. No longer will you have to sniff to decide what’s clean or not, as you keep all the dirty separate from the wearable and at times we even packed an overnight pouch (just Pj’s, 1 change of underwear etc) so we don’t even have to take out all pouches if we were in a destination for only 1 sleep. The best part? I genuinely believe travel pouches mean you can pack more in your backpack, we now can’t imagine travelling without them. We opted for the Amazon Basics set of pouches, with one set per person and an extra set, because…Lauren.
THE GOPRO HERO 4
From the blue lagoon to beer spas, selfies with turtles to treks up mountains, the GoPro captures it all. Although there are numerous new styles since, we find this one does everything we need both underwater or hiking high in the clouds. Note, some require you to buy an extra waterproof case and won’t automatically be waterproof.
Three top tips if investing in a GoPro :
- Remember a waterproof selfie stick if using in the sea! We made this error using an ordinary selfie stick but salt water erodes the metal resulting in it snapping. We recommend this waterproof selfie stick.
- It is recommended that a Class 10 SD card is used. We forgot ours during our trip to Europe resulting in lost footage as the files were corrupted. We recommend this SD Card.
- Do not waste money on the official GoPro accessories. Definitely do your research (or we have done it for you) for the best and cheapest dupes that do the same job but at a fraction of the cost.
One of the best pieces advice we were ever given. Bring a head torch. Admittedly, I laughed out loud – Loz wearing a head torch, think again mate. However this is essential in so many places such as campervans and tents or sunrise hikes. It’s impossible to see the lava in Hawaii without one as you need to hike for 4 miles in the dark, our accommodation in Fiji requested we took one when we booked and so many sunrise and sunset photos would not be possible without trusty headlight help. Don’t count on your phone as batteries die and dropping my phone down a volcanic crater wasn’t on the bucket list.
This word may sound like a small, mythical creature but in real life it is far more majestic. Essentially it is a selfie stick however, we feel like absolute numpties whipping out a selfie stick in public and the footage is so shaky anyway that we simply don’t bother. Until this game changer. It can hold both a GoPro & phone but counter-balances the weight as you move, ensuring smooth flawless footage. You can record panorama views without swivelling a selfie stick around – simply through the click of a button. Through the app you can even track your face meaning those awkward cut off selfies are no more and every person and their granny can now be a Vlogger with ease.
Below are a few suggestions that we currently have packed but these are trip (and person) dependent.
Products from Amazon.com
Price: $14.97Was: $24.99
Please note this article contains affiliate links. Purchasing through these links adds no costs to you but does provide us with a few pennies towards our next packet of instant noodles, so by following our recommendations and purchasing through our links you will help keep these two backpackers alive.
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