travel hacks

10 items to make backpacking easier

Backpacking can be hard at times, always having to carry a big backpack, spending hours in crowded public transportation, crappy hostels… Fortunately, there are some items you can get that will make your life easier and a bit more comfortable.

Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on any links and make a purchase I’ll get a small commission, at no cost to you.

Backpack cover

When I first started backpacking, I bought a fabulous raincoat, specially made to fit yourself and your big backpack. Turns out the idea is great but it’s absolutely not practical, try getting into a cab or a crowded bus with this on under pouring rain. A backpack cover is the cheapest solution. It’s also great because it keeps your bag from getting dirty and is easily washable.

Or better a waterproof backpack

Of course, if you’re ready to invest, a waterproof backpack can save you a lot of worries. You can have the best backpack cover in the world, water will still find a way to your backpack.

Or even better a front-loading backpack

While we’re talking of backpack, one you can open from the middle makes everything so much easier. You can access what’s in your bag way more efficiently, and you don’t have to take everything out just to get one thing.

Rain cover:

Waterproof backpack:

Front loading backpack:

Rolled-up shoes

I’ve already talked about these shoes before, I’m in love with them. They’re super comfortable and take way less space than regular sneakers. Of course, they won’t do if you’re planning to climb Mount Everest but they’re great for regular trekking or any outdoor activities.

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Buy here for women and here for men, on Vivobarefoot.

A toiletry bag you can hang in the shower

This item will mostly help you if you stay in budget accommodation as they often forget to put a shelf or even a hook to put your stuff in the shower. This type of toiletry bags can be hanged on the door handle and save you some discomfort. Some are even waterproof.

Maps.me

I’m always surprised to see how few people know about maps.me when it makes getting around so much easier. It’s an offline map. You download the app, then the map of the country you’re going to, and after this, you don’t need to be connected to wifi or to have data to make it work. It works exactly like Google Maps and it’s super useful to get around. Everyone can add places to the map and they are a lot of trekking trails on there that are not on Google Maps.

Downloads (free): from the App Store – from Google Play

A Power Bank

Well, I don’t think I need to explain why you need a power bank. Just imagine yourself in the middle of a city you don’t know, with a dead phone. Of course, people managed to travel without a phone before, but when your map, your translator, your hotel address, the location of the places you want to visit… are on your phone, it’s hard to get by if your battery dies.

USB Multi-plug and international adaptor

It can be super useful to be able to plug in multiple items at the same time, especially when there are only a few plugs in the dorm or when you have only one plug in the hotel room. You can get one with a universal adaptor so you can use it wherever you are in the world and plug in any types of plugs, like this one:

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A washbag

This laundry bag is not just a simple laundry bag you use to put your dirty clothes in, you can also use it to wash them. You won’t always find a place to soak them and often the sink won’t have a stopper. This bag will make washing your clothes so much easier and it takes almost no space:

 

Headphones you can sleep with

Sleepphones are great, they’re made especially to be comfortable and not to bother you when you’re laying down on your side. They also double as a sleeping mask. It’s great to be able to listen and sleep with music when there’s noise around you.

Earplugs and a sleeping mask

If you’re planning to stay in hostels earplugs and an eye mask are mandatory especially if you’re a light sleeper. Unfortunately, many people in hostels act like they’re alone and won’t mind talking or turning on the lights in the middle of the night (please don’t do that). Even if you’re staying in a private room, it can be useful as the walls can be thin and there are many countries where curtains or blinds are optional.

They also can be used on the bus or plane, to make your trip more comfortable.

A self-sealing dry bag

If you’re planning to be on a boat then you should get a dry bag to protect your belongings (phone, passport, camera…). Even on big boats water is always splashed and accidents can happen. It’s also useful when it’s raining a lot and your regular bag is not waterproof.

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If you’re going to South East Asia, just wait to get there to buy it, it will be way cheaper.

Wet wipes

It took me a long time to cave in to wet wipes. First, because it’s not really ecological and second, well try to find wet wipes that are not full of chemicals in Asia or South America (by the way: baby wipes are usually the worst). I finally adopted them after getting tired of always feeling gross. If you’re going to visit Europe during winter chances are you won’t need them, but if you’re planning on going to a hot and humid country, then you should get some, it will make your life easier.

 

What about you? What do you use to make your travels easier?

Looking for more travel hacks? Check out this great list of items to make your luggage lighter. 

 

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