Our friends over at The Leap can go toe to toe in an airline miles showdown with almost anyone. Considering the amount of adventure traveling they do, you can be sure they’ve packed a bag or 2,000. They’ve got packing for far flung places down to a science. Here are some of their pro tips on packing a backpack for your next destination adventure.
BACKPACK OR SUITCASE?
Forget a suitcase – it’s useless on the go. The crucial question here should be: ‘top-loader or side-loader?’ Trust me – always opt for the side loader. One access point means you have to take everything out to find that one item at the bottom. Also, make sure it has a waterproof cover. In many places, the grand promise of an ‘overhead compartment’ simply means on the roof.
You’ll want to make the task of finding items as easy as possible. You don’t want to be in a position where you’re quite ready to throw your backpack out of the closest window after only two days.
Sort your belongings into groups and use clear packing bags/cubes to organise them (e.g. your underwear in one and swimwear in another). Most people will opt for a waterproof liner inside their backpack, but sometimes this can take up too much room, so if your individual packing bags are waterproof, you won’t need to worry about having a liner.
The chances are high that you are going to want to come away from your destination with some locally-found goodies. So make sure you leave room in your rucksack to accommodate for this. Plus, it’s never fun when you have to sit on your rucksack each morning to be able to close it.
Make sure the last thing in your backpack is the first thing you’ll need the next day.
Pack small items into shoes and the corners of your backpack to make the most of the space.
Always keep spare essentials in your hand luggage, just in case anything happens to your main backpack (think small toiletries and underwear).
THE PERFECT MEDICAL PACK
I can guarantee that if you don’t take one, you’ll end up wishing you had. So get this right. Pro tip: remove everything from its packaging to save space, but keep the instructions for medication. Make sure you bring:
An assortment of plasters and bandages
From covering blisters or a stubbed toe (which will definitely happen by the way, as you’ll be living in flip flops) to keeping the sterile patch over your latest drunken injury.
They keep wounds clean and stop bandages from sticking.
- Antiseptic wipes or spray
- Medical tape
Germolene (or antiseptic cream)
A godsend for any cut, scrape or seriously itchy mossie bite.
- Pain killers
Diocalm and rehydration salts
For the morning after that dodgy street kebab…
LIFE SAVERS YOU MUSTN’T LEAVE HOME WITHOUT
You’ll find that it’s the odds and ends you pack that will actually make the biggest difference to you when you’re away. Here are a few I swear by:
Can be used for literally anything. From taping together a patch on your rucksack, to holding together an annoying rattling window on a night bus, to holding together someone’s thumb when you forgot to pack your medical tape.
Clear zip lock bags
Great for leaky toiletries, keeping electronics out of the sand, keeping small, loose items together or keeping that crucial map dry in the latest downpour.
Useful for laundry, waterproof covers (for you and your rucksack) or if times get really hard, fill it with something soft for a mattress/pillow.
For all those times (and there’ll be a lot of them) when bathrooms have no soap.
Unless you think you’ll be able to sleep through half of your dorm stumbling in at 3am when you have an early flight the next day? No? Didn’t think so.
There will come a time when one-handed packing in the dark just doesn’t cut it.
Perhaps one of the most underrated items ever. Guaranteed to make the overnight bus journeys, or airport floors, that little more bearable.
Useful for when you’re walking around dangerous cities or you when you want to keep money safe on overnight travel.
Preferably one with a steel cable to give you more flexibility when securing your rucksack to something and a smaller one for your day bag.
Some embassies require them for arrival visas, and you’ll need them if you lose your passport and require a new one.
Lightweight travel towel
They take up much less room and dry a lot quicker than ordinary towels.
For the awkward things that duct tape just can’t fix. Like your beats headphones that are definitely going to explode.
This is just a sampling of the great information Milly from The Leap put together. You can go here to read the rest of her post.
So what do you think? Is there anything vital we’ve left off? Let others benefit from your mistakes in the comments.