Wondering how you will get that big pile of stuff into your backpack for your gap year? Here we share some secrets about how to decide what to take with you and what to leave behind
1. First of all put everything you would like to take with you onto the bed in a big pile. From shoes to electronic items, put it all in one pile. Fold your clothes neatly and try to make everything fit into as small an area as possible in front of you.
2. Now it’s time to prioritize. Make a second pile but this time you will only take out items that you REALLY want to take with you. Your aim is to cut out half of the items from your first pile.
3. This may not seem easy to some but it is about what you really NEED to take rather than what you WANT to take. For example, when your backpacking nobody would find it odd that you have worn the same shorts all week, infact, they may actually find it odd if you have worn different shorts every day. Everyone is in the same situation. Normally if you did this at home your friends would maybe feel the opposite but whilst on the road practicality is king and being cool and looking good won’t last long.
4. Shoes are the thorn in your side when it comes to packing your backpack. Shoe lovers may weep at this point but your going to have to leave most of them behind. It is very hard to alter the size of your footwear by squashing them down. They are also formed in a shape that will encourage wasted space in a backpack. If you don’t believe it try packing your backpack once without shoes, unpack, then re-pack with them inside. You’ll be suprised! 2 pairs of shoes is an absolute maximum. If your going somewhere hot take jandals/flip flops and a comfy pair of trainers. You won’t need those smart, expensive ones, “just incase”. No true backpacker will be able to afford a night out at an expensive nightclub or restaurant.
5. Electronic items are useful when travelling but too many items can mean you end up with several different chargers and plug adapters. Girls should try and leave hair dryers and straightners behind if possible just because they can take up room and are fragile. Mini travel versions are available.
6. Buy a travel towel. Travel towels are made of material that is ultra absorbent and quick drying. They fold away to a tiny size and therefore take up around 20 times less space than a regular towel. Plus, it’ll dry out super quickly overnight.
7. If you’ll be visiting countries with different climates on your trip pack accordingly. Don’t bother taking your big, warm clothes with you if your going to be travelling through Thailand for 2 months before hand. You don’t need to carry the extra weight and bulk if you don’t need to. Leave them out and buy a couple of cheap, warm outfits when you get to a colder climate.
8. Lastly, it’s important to be slightly under on your packing and have a little bit of room left. This is for two reasons. As you travel you are bound to pick up things such as souvenirs and extra items that will not fit in your backpack if it’s bulging when you leave, so save a bit of space. Also, you won’t back your backpack as efficiently when your leaving a hostel at 6am so a bit of extra space will mean everything will fit in nicely.
Full list of items to pack:
7 Pieces of underwear
7 Pairs of socks
1-3 Warm sweaters /jumpers (depending on your desination)
2 Pairs of trousers
2 Pairs of shorts / skirts
2 Pairs of shoes
1 Set of bedtime clothes / pyjamas
1 Warm hat / beany
1 Pair of swimming shorts / bikini
Electrical adapter plugs
Small bag laundry powder
Swiss army knife
Small speakers for Ipod
Wind up torch
Bungee clothesline chord
Antibacterial hand sanitizer
2 Toothbrushes (1 in hand luggage)
Travel first aid kit
Toiletries (smaller sized bottles)
Do you have any further suggestions on what to pack in your backpack? Comment below