If you’re going travelling, be sure to use our backpackers check list to make sure you’ve packed all the essentials ready for your trip.
A day pack is ideal for when you’re staying in the same place for a few days. It is useful if you are heading out for the day and means you don’t need to carry your large rucksack around.
Wherever you’re going it is worth taking a basic first aid kit, including items such as plasters, antiseptic cream, rehydration sachets and paracetamol. You might also want to take antihistamine ‘bite and sting’ relief cream if you are going to a country where bugs will be an issue.
When at airports or travelling between places it’s a good idea to keep your money and important items such as your passport safely on you. A money belt can be hidden around your waist, under your clothing, and a security pouch can be worn around the waist or neck.
Take a map for each area you will be visiting. It is worth familiarising yourself with your destinations before you go; mark on important areas, such as places you will be staying and attractions you plan to visit, on your maps.
Along with a map a compass is invaluable for finding your bearings should you get lost, especially if you plan on hiking off the beaten track.
You might not be fluent in the language of the countries you are visiting but it is worth knowing a few token phrases. A travel guide is useful for finding local places to eat and areas of interest if you are stuck for activities.
Will be very useful in areas where clean running water is hard to come by or places that are not very sanitary. Use this regularly to avoid any germs or bacteria which could cause illness.
It is unlikely that the plugs on your mains powered electrical equipment will work abroad. Using a travel adaptor will convert your plug to the mains units used in your destination country.
Most people can’t live without their phone and it’s great for keeping in touch whilst you are away. If you will be staying in a country for a long period of time it may be worth buying a sim for that particular country as roaming costs can be high when using your UK phone. Make sure your phone is unlocked before you go. You might also want to take a portable phone charger that runs off batteries; these are useful if you aren’t able to plug in.
For your electronic equipment. Of course it is possible to buy these whilst away but it is better to have some just incase.
A waterproof pouch will seal from the top and keep anything inside dry. These are ideal for any electronic equipment, especially in humid, tropical climates.
This can be used if ordinary laundry facilities are unavailable, if you were camping for example.
Consider the climate of your destination and pack for that. If you are heading somewhere cold, thermal tops and bottoms along with fleece will keep you warm. Alternatively, if you are going somewhere warm then lightweight t-shirts and zip-off trousers would be better suited.
If you are going somewhere where it is likely to rain a lightweight waterproof jacket will be invaluable. Consider waterproof trousers too if you are expecting it to be very wet. If it’s not likely to rain then save on the space.
Just in case you end up getting your pack wet, you will still have a change of clothes that are dry for you to change into.
Consider waterproof walking boots or shoes if you plan to be trekking or hiking whilst away. If you’re not planning to spend a lot of time hiking and instead plan to spend a lot of time in towns and cities, then a basic pair of walking shoes or trainers would be okay.
To use when in the hostel or camp site. This will allow your feet to breathe and recover from the day as you will be relying on your feet a great deal over your coming trip.
If you plan on hiking during your trip it is worth investing in proper hiking socks and liner socks. Always take a spare pair just in case they get wet.
Will be useful if you choose to go hiking for the day away from any shops or water sources
Using these will help keep the contents of your bag dry should you find yourself out in bad weather. A liner will also allow you to pull all of your kit out in one go and keep it all together should you need to dry your pack.
Check the expected climate of your destination. Sleeping bags are rated in seasons. A one season bag would be ideal for warm countries and if sleeping indoors. These will save you a lot of space in your pack. If you are going somewhere that you expect to be cold, then a four season sleeping bag may be needed. These will be heavier and bulkier but also necessary in very cold climes.
If you plan to camp then a sleeping mat will provide insulation from the ground, even in warm countries if you sleep directly on the ground you will be cold. These can be attached to the outside of larger rucksacks, saving you valuable space inside. No need to take a sleeping mat if you plan to stay in hostels.
Useful for more ‘wild’ trips where you may be camping and required to set up camp or catch and cook your own food. They can also be used in an emergency situation to cut clothing or caught material should you need to. Remember to pack in your main bag when flying.
These are useful if you’re travelling in countries with a hot or tropical climate, or anywhere with mosquito’s, midges and tick, etc. Mainly combats Malaria.
A survival kit is a small tin with some very basic needs for an emergency situation. This should include items such as a small sewing kit, waterproof matches, small knife, whistle and a mirror (used for shining sunlight toward aircraft and ships should you require emergency help i.e. stranded). If you are unlikely to be in an emergency situation you can leave this out.
This can be used in any country where you aren’t sure if the water is safe to drink, or if it hasn’t come from a mains source.