If you have never backpacked before, just take a second to picture this scenario:
You are dropped at your brand new destination and now come face to face with a challenging walk to your hostel. Your backpack is around 20 kilograms or you are dragging a monster suitcase. Maybe you even get lost on the way and this struggle is after a night bus where you didn't get very much sleep because the guy behind you was snoring like a chainsaw. I promise you, it won't be much fun.
Your heavy bag will be an anchor weight you down and you will start to dread moving from place to place when you should be full of excitement. It will tarnish your travel experience if you are constantly battling with your backpack/suitcase.
Ladies, you might think you need your whole wardrobe, 2 kilograms worth of make up, your favourite designer dress and high heels. However, when you are traveling is that you probably won't need to dress up that much and there are simple ways of looking great with less.
So this is where we come in to give some effective tips to you for a lighter, more manageable bag and also avoiding a trip to the physiotherapist in the process.
We can help you choose the right luggage that suits you perfectly.
OKAY! Once you bought the right backpack you can start to pack your bag!
Whether you are packing for a few weeks, months or even years, there is one Golden Rule when packing... Pack Light!
If you go into summer, you won't need all the big bulky winter gear. Which is a bonus and a lot less to carry.
A Few Tips When Choosing Stuff To Bring
Leave the white clothes at home because they will get stained and be hard to keep clean.
Don't bring things that will take you days dry. Putting wet clothes in your backpack will make everything smell dump and you want to try and avoid this.
Choose darker colours that are versatile and can mix and match together. If they get a little dirty the stains won't be as noticeable.
Try not to bring expensive clothes with you unless you are ok with them potentially getting ruined.
Avoid high maintenance clothes. Choose clothes that will be easy to clean and throw into a laundromat.
Choose clothes that don't wrinkle too much because keeping things unwrinkled is difficult enough while traveling.
Only bring clothes you know you will want to wear a lot and don't bring things you will only want to wear once.
Remember that you can also buy clothes on your travels and they might even be cheaper than at home.
What Do You Really Need?
Even though you are going into summer, at night it could get cold, here are some recommendations:
6 shirts/tank tops
1 pair of jeans
Enough undies and socks
Rain jacket (OPTIONAL)
1 pair of sunglasses
Flip flops (thongs)
Sneakers (No one really uses walking shoes these days)
First aid kit!!!
Microfiber towel, it's light and dries fast
Pack yourself 1 nice outfit for when you go out
Tips & Tricks
Don't bring too much liquids like shampoo, conditioner, sunscreen, mosquito spray... It will make your bag way heavier and I am pretty sure your new destination will sell the same stuff, and maybe even cheaper than home.
Bring 1 Hat to keeps the sun off your face in the heat and can be a great accessory to your outfit. Choose something that will go with your clothing choices.
Ladies, lets talk make up. This is going to be up to you and what you think you will need. Try to stick to the basics, i.e. foundation, eye liner, mascara, a little eye shadow and a lipstick for those nights out. For example: European people don't dress too over the top when going out, so keep that in mind. Another tip for the ladies, a thin scarf. Scarfs are a great accessory to dress up any outfit. Your clothes will be mainly dark to choosing one with a bit of colour can brighten up your look. You can also buy one on your travels and keeping it as a souvenir.
Buy sunscreen and mosquito spray in the country you're traveling to because it will be better quality and it will protect your skin a lot better from nasty sunburns and mosquito bites.
How To Pack Your Backpack?
Now we are getting to the real work and we can finally start packing our backpack. What I personally always do before packing is getting everything sorted on the bed like you can see in the picture below.
I do this to create a better picture of how I will fit all of this in my 55L backpack. Since packing is more than just stuffing everything in the backpack, close it and done. So we like to call it the Fine Art Of Packing.
If you look close enough at this picture you will see our travel dog named Ricky (Instagram @pupabroad). She was a bit upset when I took over the bed, which she thinks is hers. And I could tell she was affected by the idea that I was actually packing for my next trip. Unfortunately she can't come to Australia with us.
There are many packing techniques and I am sure I tried all of them. But for me there is only one method that I find useful. It is also known as the "military roll". Rolling your t-shirts makes them space-efficient and prevents wrinkles when packing. We will show you how to roll your shirts in a few steps.
1. Fold the t-shirt in about 4 inches (which is around 10cm) from the bottom.
2.Fold in one side of the shirt to the middle.
3.And then do the same with the other side.
4.Start rolling the shirt from the collar downwards. Notice : make sure it's a very tight roll to prevent the shirt from wrinkling.
5.Once you are at the end, pull the 4-inch fold around the shirt so it can't be freed from being a roll.
Like you can see, it is very easy to make a military roll. You can also use this method for tank tops and hoodies.
When you finalised your rolls I would recommend putting them in a plastic bag. This plastic bag keeps your shirts together and also prevents it from getting wet.
Personally I use plastic bags for everything. I like to separate my stuff to seem more organised.
Don't throw your plastic bags on the streets/nature, re-use them for dirty clothes or shoes.
Now you can start putting everything in your backpack and close it for take off.
When your backpack was hard to close it only means one thing ; you overpacked. It is important to leave your home country with a bit a free space in your bag. You will end up buying clothes and souvenirs.
I think you are now ready to go on an amazing adventure without too many worries about your backpack and no visits to the physiotherapist.