17 backpacking essentials to make travelling easier

17 backpacking essentials to make travelling easier

I was going to write a whole packing list for backpacking, but I can bet you already know most of the things to take on a backpacking trip. If you don’t, shoot me a message and maybe I will write it because I care about you. But until then, here are 17 somewhat random or unconventional backpacking travel essentials to make travelling easier, including items I wish I’d packed and things I saw other backpackers use and thought ‘my god, people are actually smart sometimes’.

1 – A tote bag for top bunks without shelves

My friend told me tote bags are only for vegans but they’re also great for when you’re on the top bunk in a dorm, who knew? Hang your vegan tote from the bunk bed and put all your stuff inside so you can access it without getting down or having earplugs and chargers all over your bed. Genius.

Photo of me with a backpacking travel essential
I’m not a vegan!!!!!!

2 – Over ear noise cancelling headphones

Nothing says ‘fuck off’ more than a huge pair of over ear headphones, so when you don’t feel like talking, whack them on and get some alone time even when you’re surrounded by people, unreal. 

3 – Collapsable Tupperware container/s

Cooked too much lunch? Tupperware container! Got random shit that doesn’t have a place in your bag? Tupperware container! Bought a gift you don’t want to break? Tupperware container! 

4 – A fat notebook and pens

Great for admin days, writing, card games, journalling about your adventures, leaving love notes for your new hostel wife etc. Also great to write your buzzing thoughts down if you’re an anxious person like me (check out my blog Nine ways to manage anxiety while travelling, this might help with that too).

Notebook and pen as a backpacking travel essential
My cute notebook made for 10 year old girls.

5 – Eye mask and earplugs

Pretty obvious why they’re handy. 

6 – If you’re a reader, bring a Kindle

BuT I LiKE ReaDiNg a ReAL BOoK – yes mate we all do. I hate when people say this about Kindles, like they’re a better person for liking paperbacks when Kindles solve so many problems! You can have 100s of books with you without weighing you down and whinging about how the hostel book exchange sucks. They have a light so you can read when there’s no lamps. If you wear glasses, you can make your font huge so you can read anytime and be judged by every single person who catches a glimpse of your font size. Kindles rule, books drool (when travelling).

Large text on Kindle as a backpacking travel essential
Sometimes I go bigger when I’m feeling extra blind.

7 – A giant microfibre towel or sarong

If you get a bottom bunk, hang it up and use it as a curtain for some privacy and darkness. My favourite towels are by Dock & Bay as they’re massive but roll down small. Extra tip: roll your towel up and put it in the drink holder section of your backpack to save space. Extra, extra tip: bring a smaller microfibre towel to use for your hair if you got long locks for a touch of home comfort.

Large towel as a backpacking travel essential
Look how happy she is, this could be you!

8 – Packing cubes/cells

Helps you organise your backpack so your shit isn’t a mess and you don’t have to take every item out to get to your fave Backstreet Boys tee.

Packing cubes and a backpack
SO much easier to pack and yes this is my bag size for a year.

9 – A pencil case with medical supplies

Good for any long trip really. My pencil case must haves are paracetamol, band aids, antiseptic spray, antihistamines, ibuprofen, Imodium and Valium (great for overnight buses, comedowns and snorers).

10 – Zip lock bags/plastic bags

Put your toiletries in a zip lock bag in case they leak! Put a sandwich in there! Put wet swimmers in there! Put everything in there!!!

11 – Power bank

Especially handy when dorms don’t have sockets next to the bed so you can charge your phone/AirPods/Kindle.

12 – A worldwide converter with multiple USB ports – a backpacking must

These are fabulous as you can charge multiple things at once in any country. Even better, get one with a long cord so if there aren’t sockets near your bed, you can still reach your phone.

13 – Roll up travel pillow with clip

Great for buses, great for when you get a crap thin pillow, great for something to cuddle at night when you’re lonely. This one is the best!

Photo of clip on travel backpacking travel pillow
Cosy level 1000.

14 – A container with cooking essentials

Oil, salt, spices, sugar, hot sauce – backpacking travel essentials you’d have at home in one container, so when you cook you don’t have to buy heaps and your food will be tasty af.

15 – Universal sink plug + washing line

If you only need to wash your undies or your favourite white linen pants, these are super handy. Wash your clothes in the sink and hang them on a washing line or the edges of your bed without having to pay or do admin for a full wash.

16 – Two padlocks

I always carry two with me, one for my bag full of valuables and one for my big backpack. If you’re like me and worry about your stuff miraculously disappearing, the padlocks will help you stress less.

17 – Multiple bank cards

I have four bank cards and yes, that is probably excessive, but I’m also travelling indefinitely. At the very least you should have two, especially if you’re travelling long term. You never know if a card will get blocked, eaten by an ATM, stolen or broken. I also found some of my cards wouldn’t work on booking sites and others would. Not having access to money is THE WORST so having extra bank cards is an awesome safety net.

Any other item I could add here? What are some of your backpacking travel essentials? Please tell me to add it and help other fellow backpackers.

Yours in vegan tote bags,

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