When you’re packing for a trip, everybody always starts with the clothes. If you’re anything like me, you get every concievable item of clothing you might want to wear, then slowly cull the selection. Your clothes are the easy part. It’s when you get to the nitty gritty’s that a few things fall by the wayside…
Some of these are mine. Some are things mates and other backpackers do. And some I just wish someone had told me to bring before I left home.
1. Mutli-Vitamins. You might be the healthiest kid on the block back home, but when you’re hostel-jumping through Europe, your five a day may be hard to come by. Not to mention living on a budget means filling up at the free breakfasts, and bread, cheese and salami can only take you so far. A multi-vitamin a day and you’ll be sweet to sightsee.
2. Lucas’ Paw-Paw Ointment. If you’re Australian, chances are you already swear by this stuff. If you’re not, welcome to the little red tube that will save your life. Chapped lips? Dry hands? Cuts? Stings? Any little wear and tear on your body can be cured by the magic of paw-paw.
3. A pillowcase. Use it as a dirty clothes bag. Stuff some jumpers and socks into it and use it as a make shift pillow on overnight trains. Cover up the manky pillow in the hostel where you swear you can see fleas.
4. Anti-Bacterial Gel. Yes, even if you’re backpacking in a modern city. You can blah blah all you want about how the world is becoming a police state and germs are The Enemy, but you never know when the hostel that looked so good online suddenly doesn’t have soap in the bathrooms. Paraga Beach Hostel, I’m looking at you.
5. Photocopies of your passport and travel documents. Bit of a no brainer, but it’s amazing how easily it can slip your mind when you’re more preoccupied on far-off exotic locations.
6. A good book. Just do it. Even if you ‘don’t like to read’. Even if you’re on a drinking-till-you’ll-probably-puke style holiday. You never know when the train will be delayed three hours.
7. Band-Aids. So many places just don’t have band-aids! And when you cut your foot, you’ll be far happier to have one in your bag than to hobble around town.
8. A lock. Because not all lockers were created equal.
9. Wet ones. Because this one time (at band camp), I spent three nights sleeping on night trains. When I realized we got to the wrong city, and had nowhere to go, I nearly cried. That’s when I had a ‘shower’ in the train’s bathroom with wet ones, and oh-my-god felt a thousands times more cheery. Plus, they’re super good for sweaty days and spilt drinks. BONUS: they’re re-sealable!
10. Drugs. The legal kind. Getting drugs in another country is an absolute pain, even if it’s a major city. And if Delhi Belly hits you, you’ll be glad you made the trip to the chemist back home.
And the bonus item goes to…
11. An envelope. Do you ever look at tickets or postcards and think: ‘Oh! That would be awesome if I had a scrapbook.’ But you don’t, and then you throw them out, and forget all about them. Just grab an envelope, and pop everything in there. You never know when you might find it years later and be taken down memory lane.