It affects all of us, it’s a common bug that we catch at the least appropriate times: it’s the packing anxiety. What to pack? What are the outfits we can’t be without? What if we forget something? And when we go on a plane there are all those measurements to think about. Every traveller’s nightmare, every Ryanair flight attendant’s dream.
But there’s no need to Panic! Here is our backpacking checklist so you’ll never have to worry about packing again.
What To Pack For Every Occasion
✈ What To Pack For A Flight
Whether you’re in for a long or short trip, with a carry-on huge checked baggage, there are things we always go through when we’re about to take off into the blue skies. There’s one important rule: be organised. If you follow these steps thoroughly, you’ll be done packing in less than 40 minutes. And that’s a promise.
Step n°1: Open your bag
See how much space you have. Bask in the beauty of that beautiful empty suitcase before you start stuffing it like a Thanksgiving turkey.
Step n°2: Print the Hostelworld backpacking list and check every box
The first thing you should pack is your clothes, shoes, and underwear. Put everything in the bottom of your bag, to fill the spaces and the angles that are usually left unused. Then go in with jeans and trousers and try to keep them as flat as possible. Then add shirts, jumpers, dresses and everything else that is in our packing list. Every layer needs to be as flat as Emily Ratajkowsky’s stomach, and every empty space you may have should be filled in with small accessories, like belts and scarves.
☝ TIP: A trick to pick the best outfits: make sure you have 2/3 specific items for every occasion, be it daytime, nigh time, special occasions or pyjamas. Those items should be the things you really can’t be without and that make you feel like a million bucks. Then you need to find other basic pieces to go with your statement items, just to complete the outfits. For example, with the jeans you’re obsessed with you could wear two or three different tops.
Once you’re done with the clothing items, it’s time for toiletries. If you follow our packing list, you’ll be sure to remember everything. A useful technique is to divide the fundamental stuff, like your toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush from different creams and makeup that take up more space and, let’s be honest, are not really that indispensable.
✌ TIP: It’s very common to buy travel sized products but you’d be better off getting a travel set with refillable bottles. You can easily get them from Ikea or Primark and fill them up with the products you already have. A great way to save space, money and the environment. You’re a superhero!
With the categories in our packing list, it should be very easy to decide what to pack. We also have sections for plasters, umbrellas, condoms… everything you’d need and more! Remember to save everything you may need for a long flight for your carry-on bag . Especially, don’t forget these three things: a book, because you can watch the Fast and Furious saga only so many times; earphones, to listen to music but also to protect yourself from your snoring neighbour; and a sleeping mask, so you can take a power nap in the clouds, or at least try to.
Step n°3: Mentally go through your day to see if you forgot anything
A foolproof way to make sure you have packed everything? Go through a normal day in your head: from brushing your teeth to tucking into bed at night, and think about all the things you would use for these daily activities. Then run get the deodorant you had forgotten.
🌊 What To Pack For The Beach
Now you know how to survive the flight like a pro. But you may need specific things for specific destinations. For example, going to the beach may require extra items. These are 5 you really can’t forget.
- Forget the SPF. Wait, what? Before we get a thousand emails from worried dermatologists, hear us out. We know SPF is necessary, but you can actually buy it in bulk at your destination and save yourself some room and trouble, especially if you only have a carry-on bag.
- Sunglasses and flip flops. You may think that’s obvious, but people actually forget them all. the. time.
- A beach read. First of all, because reading a book while laying in the sun on a beautiful beach is one of the simple pleasures of life, second, because it’s going to make you look very interesting and smart. When you’re thinking about which book to take with you, consider buying one once you’re there. It could make for a great souvenir. And many hostels organised book exchanges, where you can leave one and get another!
- Cards and games. Every card game is good for two things: killing time in the daytime and drinking faster in the night time.
- Shapeshifting scarf. A huge and flowy scarf can be used in many ways and save many outfits: great to throw on when it gets a bit chilly, it can make for a cute cover up with a good dose of knotting and transforms into a beach towel when needed.
⛰ What To Pack For The Mountains
Mountains can be tricky when you need to decide what to pack. Here are 5 golden rules to follow when you’re going hiking in the woods.
- Say goodbye to cotton and bright colours. Sweating and hiking go hand in hand. It’s already pretty awkward, let’s not make it worse with obvious sweat patches.
- Layers. Layers. Layers. In the mountains it’s cold. But then it gets sunny and it’s hot. But then during the night, it’s freezing. But then you sweat, anyway. How to deal with this? Be like Shrek, layered like an onion.
- Good shoes and socks, so may socks. All the socks. It’s a given that you need good hiking shoes to hike, but people tend to underestimate the importance of socks or the amount they need. So pack them socks, kid.
- Very fashionable blister plasters. Ok, maybe not that fashionable. But necessary. Especially when you’ve been walking for hours and you’re in the middle of nowhere.
- Get those wipes, baby. Baby wipes are so important. For sweaty armpits and dirty hands, obviously. But also because you don’t want to go all Tarzan and use leaves in place of toilet paper.
🎒 What To (Back)pack
All of this tips are great for every occasion, even when you’re going backpacking. Obviously, though, you’re not going to have as much room, so follow these 5 tips.
- Every maybe is a no. The backpackers’ golden rule. ‘Nuff said.
- Shoes hanging from the backpack. Scrunched up clothes. Yes, your mum is going to kill you once she sees how crumpled your shirts are. But believe me, you need every inch you can save!
- Documents in the outer pocket. Seems obvious, but it’s always better to reiterate.
- Nothing disposable. Toiletries, forget about them. There’s no room for disposable stuff you’re going to throw away anyway. Make sure you have the essentials you’re going to need the whole time. Everything else you can buy.
- Bum bag = BFF. Now it’s also a fashion statement, so you can’t say no.
So there are a lot of rules and tips to remember, but at the end of the day what you really need to take with you on a trip is joy, curiosity, and the will to never go back.
📚 About The Author 📚
Ilaria is an avid traveller, always looking for new adventures. Right now she’s in the United States. Follow her around on Instagram!