Taking time out from study or full-time work to travel is becoming an increasingly popular rite of passage for young people. It’s a time to explore the world, make new friends and cause mischief without your friends and family finding out!
Before you set off, make sure you’re fully prepared. Here’s our recommendation of 10 essential items you shouldn’t hit the road without. Happy travels!
Make sure you take a lightweight sweater or similar item of clothing that is easily rolled up, that can also double as a blanket for those chilly flights or unexpected cold snaps. There’s seriously nothing worse than shivering through a long-haul flight with nothing to keep you warm. Oh, you can also use it to cover your face if you’re weirded out by other passengers watching you sleep.
Eye masks are essential when you’re not sleeping in the comfort of your own bed. Most backpackers choose to stay in dorms, after all, it’s much cheaper than forking out for a hotel! However, the downside of people coming and going from your room at all hours and flicking on the lights is a recipe for disrupting your beauty sleep. Not a fan? Just pull on your trusty eye mask and start counting sheep. Sweet dreams.
Earplugs go hand-in-hand with eye masks. Simply pop them in your ears and drown out the loud and (sometimes unwelcome) sounds of your temporary roommates. There are some things you simply can’t un-hear!
Don’t head off without several different types of personal identification, as well as photocopies of your passport and any other important information you have. IDs are an easy target for thieves in some places, and you don’t want to get stuck without one. While you’re away, make a rule for yourself that you won’t take all your cards out with you at once in case your wallet or purse is stolen. Most hostels have a safe or some sort of secure area you can leave these things, so make good use of them.
Gadgets and Cables
These days, there’s no denying that electronics are a massive part of our day-to-day lives and we rely heavily on them. Before you head off, make a list of all the devices you’ll be taking and regularly use. Pack them along with any appropriate charging cables and other attachments you’ll need. Use rubber bands on the cables, so you can pack them neatly and tangle-free.
While the comfiest shoes don’t look all that great (deal with it), you’ll truly be glad you brought them once you start walking, trekking and hiking. Who wants to spend a whole day cruising around a city on foot or traipsing through a jungle, only to end up with brutal blisters and fatigued feet? Treat those trotters to some comfort during the day and you’ll still be in shipshape condition to hit up the bars and clubs at night. Win-win.
Sleeping Bag Liner
A must for any backpacker, as not all hostels are created equal. While some may be really clean, others can be a nightmare. A sleeping bag liner keeps a barrier between you and any grime or filthy bedbugs that might ruin your stay. Silk liners are really popular as they’re extremely lightweight and breathable. Don’t skimp on this.
Some hostels might not provide a towel, while some might provide ones that are a little on the gross side. A personal travel towel is the perfect addition to your pack. Pick one that’s made from lightweight micro-fiber; they’ll dry you – and themselves – in no time.
Lockable Bags and Small Locks
Keep the thieves at bay by carrying a bag you can lock. While it’s not quite Fort Knox-level security, it’ll go a long way to deter any opportunists who might want to have a fumble through your personal effects. Small padlocks are handy as well – great for securing your room locker. Grabbing a combination lock? Make sure you choose a code that’s easy to remember, but hard for someone to guess.
Universal Travel Adapter
Universal travel adapters are the shiz. These versatile doodads allow you to plug a device in and connect to the power outlet of the country you’re in. A good quality adapter will usually have an inbuilt surge protector in it too, protecting your gadgets from blowing a fuse – nobody likes a fried iPad or sizzled phone!