The Basics of Backpacking: The Packing List

What is backpacking? Essentially it’s traveling across several countries or cities with only the bare minimum of necessities that can fit into, well, a backpack. Generally backpackers are on a budget of some sort and therefore look for the most efficient supplies in terms of quality, size, and, of course, price. Here’s how to prepare like a pro!

 

Be Proactive:

Decide where you want to go!

Two popular options are:

Eurotrip Backpacking: There are dozens of itineraries to choose from and generally from western to eastern Europe the daily costs decrease but so does everything else such as the euro, English speakers, and safety in some cases.

and

USA Road Trip: Maybe a road trip sounds more appealing as it’s relatively cheap to rent a car and drive from city to city as I have done in the USA, an adventure to which I refer to as my “Statewide Ride”; the options are endless and nothing is set in stone but the open road!

 

To-Dos:

Change your data plan for international travel. I can’t live without my smartphone is the reality I’ve accepted as I am constantly emailing, texting, researching and running up my data usage.

Alert your banks you’re going to be traveling to avoid a flagged account.

Consider investing in a travel card to earn points to put towards future expeditions.

Learn basic phrases in the local language such as hello, goodbye, please, thank you and excuse me. They will all go a long way and it’s simply courteous to locals to put in an effort to communicate in their dialect.

Learn the currency. Familiarize yourself with the exchange rate, the tipping customs, and research the best ways to go about spending your hard earned travel funds.

Decide how you want to travel from country to country. Bus, train, or airplane. It all comes down to a simple matter of convenience, time, and money.

Don’t forget the essentials for anywhere travel: cellphone, phone charger, adapter, passport, credit cards, cash, identification, printed copies of reservations.

The Packing List:

Buy a traveler’s backpack, not a school one, multiple zippers are easy targets for thieves and there’s just not enough space to really pack several outfits. A hiking backpack just isn’t secure on cramped trains as the drawstrings offer little protection. Keep in mind that quality backpacks will easily run a hefty price. $93

Buy a money belt for $17. Most popular tourist attractions such as Paris are plagued with pickpockets. So use common sense: If it’s too good to be true it probably is, keep your wallet in your front pocket, know your conversion rates and do your best to keep your backpack in view even if it means wearing it backwards and looking like a dork.

Buy a nice lock for your locker if you are staying in a hostel. You are going to kick yourself when you skimmed a few bucks buying a cheap lock and got it picked or cut and now your hundreds of dollars worth of essential and valuables are gone forever. $11

Buy a burner phone a cheap, prepaid phone that is essentially disposable. There is nothing I’ve seen dumber working in downtown Orlando than Europeans getting blackout drunk, not knowing the laws and closing times of bars in Orlando, and then getting lost and not being able to find their friends because they simply didn’t want to buy a burner phone or alter their cellphone plan. Is it a hassle? Duh but you’ll thank yourself if you ever find yourself in a pickle. $10-$20

Buy a portable battery charger for your smartphone. Constantly taking pictures or using your GPS will drain your smartphone’s battery life in no time, so having a portable charger that will expand your battery life by 3-4 times is always a safe bet. $23

Don’t waste your time bringing a bulky laptop. That’s just more weight you have to lug around and fragile and prized possession you have to keep on eye on. Bring a tablet computer with a case and a keyboard.

Be wary when using a selfie stick, most locals will not take kindly to it. $14

Buy protection and I mean that in more ways than one. You don’t know who’s been where or who’s capable of what. Buy what is necessary to feel safe and secure always. Keep in mind airport security so make your purchases when you land if needed. $9

Buy a keychain flashlight $6. There’s nothing worse than dropping something and you can’t find it or coming back to your hostel and pissing off all your roommates by turning on the lights.

Buy a daypack for $14 and fill it up with only the stuff you’ll need for your daily excursions. That way you won’t have to be lugging around your oversized traveler’s backpack full of dirty clothes.

Buy a travel kit for $12 that will take all the hassle out of finding airport regulation size bottles and give you peace of mind from worrying about forgetting something simple like deodorant or toothpaste.

“Winter is coming”. Pack appropriately for the weather. I’m backpacking through Europe this coming Decemeber and being a Floridian who has never seen snow, I have my work cut out for me. Winter time in Europe the temperatures become freezing and thermals become necessary including a scarf and mittens.

Winter Jacket $70

Beanie $15

Neck Warmer $15

Thermal Mittens $13

Thermal Shirt $11

Thermal Leggings $12

Thermal Socks $10

Waterproof Boots $28

 

The Price Breakdown:

Accessories & Electronics: $112

Backpacks: $107

Winter Clothing: $159

Total Expenses: $393

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