There are so many different things to pack when you are going backpacking. It mostly depends on where you are going and what you will need while there. However, there are some items that you may not think of at the time, but you will be thankful you brought along. Here is a list of things to pack when backpacking that can be useful no matter what country you are going to.

1.) Tissues or Baby Wipes

Wherever you go these will always come in handy. If you need to blow your nose, have extra toilet paper on hand, or wipe off your legs from walking down dusty streets, it is always good to have a tissue or baby wipe handy.

2.) Flip Flops

It is not always a good idea to go barefoot in a hostel. Or walk around with bare feet in the common rooms. Frankly, it can be kind of rude, especially in other countries/cultures. Take a pair of cheap flip flops with you and make life easier.

3.) A Watch (That Has an Alarm)

A watch can come in handy for a couple of things. If your phone dies, it is always good to know the time. Being aware of what time it is can keep you from missing your bus or train. You can easily get a cheap $10 watch that also has an alarm. While I was in Sweden, my phone died and I had lost my charger. I had an early tram to catch, but I ended up sleeping too late and missed the tram, spending way too much on a taxi to get to the airport. Lesson learned: get a watch with an alarm.

4.) Portable Charger

Once again, having your phone die is no fun for many reasons- and I am not talking about being away from social media. It is good to have a phone for photos, to keep time, get directions, and in case there is an emergency. Having a portable charger will keep you charged up and hopefully allow you to avoid not being able to find that bar in Scotland you really wanted to go to…like me

5.) Zip Lock or Plastic Bags

These come in hand for a few different things- especially the big zip lock bags. You can pack your socks or underwear together in a big zip lock bag for organization and to make more room. Or if you have a wet swim suit but need to pack up, toss it in a zip lock bag and it will keep the rest of your clothing dry. They can also keep any electronics or important items a bit more water proof in case you are riding on a boat. In general they are good for organization.

Plastic bags are good to keep on hand if you need a trash bag at a random time, such as to throw away your messy lunch. They are also great to keep your dirty clothing separated from your clean clothing.

6.) Aspirin/ Tylenol From Your Own Country

Getting a bad headache or pushing yourself through pain is not fun in general. It is even less fun when you are in another country. Save yourself the problem of looking through shelves of foreign medicine that you cannot read and don’t know the right dosage of and bring your own.

7.) Extra Cash (In the Correct Currency)

There are a lot of places abroad that wont take a credit card. You don’t want to miss a bus or skip meal because you only have plastic. Use the credit cards where you can and keep the cash for the necessary places. Or stick with cash the whole trip- just be sure you don’t run out.

8.) Photo Copies of Your ID and Passport

Something I always do while traveling out of my home country is carry a flat folder with copies of my ID and passport. Plus print out proof of my hostel reservations, bus passes and plane tickets. You never know if you may leave your ID behind in a bar or get your passport lifted. If this happens, you need to make sure you can get back to your own country. While I have been lucky enough to not have lost my passport yet, the hard copies of my reservations always come in handy.

9.) A Written/Printed List of Simple Phrases (In Their Language)

While you are looking up the culture and phrases to know before you travel, be sure to write down the common ones that you will use the most, on a physical piece of paper. This will especially come in handy if you are hopping from country to country. I say a actual piece of paper because you never know what could happen to your phone or if it will die on you. This way you also wont have to keep looking up a phrase when you forget.

TIP: I always look up how to say: “hello,” “goodbye,” “thank you,” “sorry,” “I do not speak [the language],” and “Do you speak English.” If you are staying long you should defiantly try and learn more, but these will do for a quick trip.

10.) Something to Read (In a Hard Copy)

Sometime your flight gets delayed and you spend a lot of extra hours in the airport. It is always good to have a small book to keep you occupied. While I was on a backpacking trip I got a book for a pound (UK currency) at a thrift shop in Dublin and read it about 4 times while in the Barcelona airport because my flight was delayed for half the day. And at the end of your trip you can always donate it to make more room in your pack.


Of course, there are many other things you may think of that you should pack that may not be obvious. If so, feel free to comment below and let me know! Hope this helped, and happy trails!

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