So you’ve long been dreaming about travelling the world, with nothing but what can fit into your backpack in tow and now it’s finally happening, but it all appears to be a bit overwhelming because you don’t quite know exactly what to do next. What do you pack? How much is too much? Is it still backpacking if I take a second bag? Well we’ve put together 10 essential tips every true backpacker should live by to set you on your way.
One Bag Only
The first rule of backpacking is to really only pack one bag. If anything doesn’t fit into that one bag then you’re trying to take too many items and it’ll defeat the whole purpose of backpacking. The bag must be big enough to fit all your travelling essentials but small enough to take onto the plane as hand-luggage.
Pack Only the Bare Essentials
Your ability to take only one bag with you hinges on your ability to pack only the bare essentials. Pack only what you need by iterating through the basic activities which form part of one’s basic existence on earth, i.e. eating, sleeping, washing up.
Get a Backpacker’s Bag
You really need a specialised backpacker’s bag if you want to travel like the true backpacker you’re trying to be. An example of one such bag is that which has multiple zip openings through which you can force more items in and multiple storage pockets.
Laundry on the Go
In your specialised backpacker’s bag, separate your clean clothes from those which are too dirty to wear again, perhaps with something like a plastic bag so that the dirty ones don’t soil the clean ones. Laundry is done on the go, either in a washbasin or making use of the laundry service some places of accommodation have.
Preferably Warm Destinations
If you’re visiting a warm destination it means you can squeeze in more light clothes like your quick-drying t-shirts, as opposed to having sweatshirts, jerseys and jackets eat up unnecessary space. Of course you’ll take one jacket (it gets cold up in the clouds when you’re flying too) just in case the weather starts acting funny.
Stay at a Backpacker’s
Backpackers’ or hostels are specialised places of accommodation which cater specifically to backpackers, which means there’ll be no judgement if you wear the same sweatshirt for like five days in a row. Missing a towel maybe that you just couldn’t manage to pack in? Backpackers are generally accommodating to such and you’ll perhaps get lent one if you voice your concerns.
Always Leave Room in Your Bag
Never pack your bag to full capacity. Even backpackers can’t resist buying stuff while out travelling so you’ll definitely need some of that space to bring back some things you can’t resist buying.
Learn to Pack like a Backpacker
Backpackers are some of the best luggage packers you’ll come across and while it does take some practice to get it right, you can definitely learn how to pack in such a way that you even amaze yourself as to just how you managed to get all your stuff into one bag. T-shirts can fold in some ways you perhaps never thought possible, for example.
Take Full Advantage of Offered Amenities
If someone invites you for lunch, go! If your room (or bed in a dormitory) comes with a complementary bar of soap, a toilet roll and a small tub of shampoo, take it all! Backpackers survive on the amenities extended to them and there’s no time to act all snobbish. You’re not a luxury traveller at this particular point in time.
Act like a Backpacker
When people at your destination know that you’re a backpacker, they’ll treat you like one, which means no funny stares at the fact that you’re wearing a backpack or that you’re wearing the exact same outfit you were wearing when they bumped into you on the previous two occasions your paths crossed.