Backpacking is, without a doubt, one of the most influential, mind-boggling and invigorating experiences you can have as a young person. You’re thrust out of your comfort zone, immersed in exotic surroundings and forced, for probably the first time in your life, to weather the waves of life on your own (life vest not included). It won’t always be clear skies, and sh*t will go wrong. Trust me. I am the patron saint of travel mistakes. So here are my top 10 backpacking hacks I’ve learnt the hard way.
*No links in this post are sponsored. I just really like these products 🙂
Packing cubes are gods gift to backpackers
Seriously, they make life 100% easier. I now use three in my bag, one for clothes – which I roll up to save even more space, one for my toiletries, and one for my tech stuff and all cords. You roll into a hostel. It’s late, people are sleeping. It’s great to know where all your gear is. You can easily grab what you need out without rummaging around too much. Plus it keeps your bag nice and organised and saves space. I got mine from Kathmandu.
Scan and email a copy of your travel documents to yourself
Leave a photocopy of any important documents, including your passport & travel insurance with a trusted person back home (get travel insurance guys, seriously). But make sure you also carry a photocopy and email a scanned copy to yourself. If you end up loosing anything it is much easier to get things back when you have all the information you need on you.
Inform your bank that you are going away
Some banks will cancel your cards if they see unexpected international transactions on your account. Seriously save yourself the hassle and let them know when and where you are going. There is nothing worse than being overseas and having all your cards cancelled. Even better, if your bank offers them get a travel money card before you go!
Always pay in local currency
If you’re abroad and someone offers you the option to pay with your credit card in your home currency, say no. Always pay in the local currency, wherever you are. Otherwise, you could be charged 2%-7% for this unnecessary “service”.
Pack a pen in your carry on
A pen is essential for completing custom and immigration paperwork and cards. Get a head start and fill them out when the air hostess’ hand them out. This will allow you to jump the queue of people at customs who are still waiting around to use a pen.
Pack a large scarf
Use it as a blanket when you’re cold, fold it over your face to block out the light or as a pillow for a nap, wrap it over your head and shoulders when visiting sacred sites, a sarong at the beach. The possibilities are endless.
Snap lock bags
Maybe my favourite backpacking hack. Take a bunch of snap lock bags with you. Pack all your liquids inside them to stop them accidentally spilling through your bag. Pack snacks in them. Stores your headphones and other cords in them to keep them from getting tangled. Use them as a sick bag when you are hung over and stuck on a windy bus ride from hell… What?
Pre-load Google Maps on your phone
Turn your phone into a free GPS device, even when out of WiFi in the most remote of places. If you pre-loaded your next location when you’re in a WiFi zone, even after you’ve left the hostel, your ‘current location’ tracker would still update along the map.
Invest in a micro travel towel
They are light, absorb a lot of water, take up very little space, dry super fast and are relatively big (like a normal towel). Mine cost $25.00 on eBay and it was totally worth it.
And while you’re at it, invest in a water proof bag
Best purchase I ever made was a waterproof bag. It’s perfect for a day at the beach, boat trips, waterfalls and floating in tubes down rivers. Probably one of the only ‘travel’ products that’s worth a purchase.
Do you have any other backpacking hacks? Share your tips and tricks below!
*No links in this post are sponsored. I just really like the products 🙂