5 Things to bring for First-time Backpackers

First time backpacking can be an apprehensive affair, so it helps to feel prepared before leaving. This is a quick list of less obvious things to pack that I’ve found useful.

By backpacking, I mean travelling light (usually with some sort of backpack as your main luggage, hence the term) and on budget, which usually involves staying in hostels.

1. Clothes Hanger(s)

To air dry your towels, or clothes you may have washed. Not every hostel has hangers or an area to hang clothes, so I usually bring at least one wire hanger (bendable) with me.

2. Ziploc Bags

For waterproofing and vacuum packing. Save space, protect electronics etc. Think about packing in sets e.g. sleeping, hiking, so that they’re easy to retrieve from your backpack- especially in low light, since you might go into a hostel at 2am when your bunkmates are asleep.

3. Multi-plugs

Newer hostels may have power outlet for each bed, but generally this is a luxury, and you may have to share the power outlet. Bring along a small multi-plug so more people can use the outlet at the same time.

4. Padlocks

Most hostels I’ve been to use lockers with rather big locking mechanisms, so bring a decent sized padlock (I’ll have to look up the dimensions). Small padlocks won’t be able to lock up the locker properly.

5. Eyemask & Earplugs

Personally I don’t use them, because the discomfort makes me less likely to sleep than simply bearing with late-night disturbances from post-drinking bunkmates or midnight check-ins. But they could be a life saver, so consider bringing a set on your first trip.

Honorable Mentions

Some other stuff you might find useful:

  1. Safety Pouch – something you can hide under your outerclothing to store passport and bulk of cash. I’ve not been mugged, but been close to being pickpocketed, so its better to be safe than sorry.
  2. Slip-ons– to use while airing the main trekking shoes/boots or during flights. Think TOMS, Crocs or something similar.
  3. Offline References – Wireless charging isn’t widespread enough to give up the unlimited battery life of paper yet, so print out those hostel bookings etc.

If you’d like to comment or ask a question, do leave on below, or tweet me @wasabigeek.

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