A Backpacker’s List of What to Pack and What to Pass

Oouch Charlie. My feet hurt. And it’s still huuurting!

I’ve wrecked my rainbows. And in return they’ve wrecked my feet. Guess that’s not much of a surprise after exploring 8 different countries. But I’m too stubborn to wear my tennis shoes for any longer than when I’m traveling between cities. Ooh, I am so ready for my next backpacking trip because I’ll know what to pack and what to ditch. Starting with a cute pair of shoes/flats, and depending on location maybe some small boots. What else…

Must-haves (what saved me time and time again):
– Euro flat iron, of course
– X5 mini hair dryer. That thing is amazing, and soo small I often can’t find it in my pack.
– Water bottle, the good kind that keeps your water cold
– iPhone, or any portable device which you can access wifi. Absolutely must have, this thing is my best friend. I never had to pay for wifi or even wait to use the hostel’s computers. And, it makes writing a quick blog at a train station very easy.
– iPad/laptop/netbook: Great for transferring photos if you’re doing a long trip. I think I would prefer a netbook because the iPad requires extra steps for photos, but no big. Also great for movies and books! Halfway through my book now, it’s like 1000 pages!
– Good backpack. I don’t what I was originally thinking when I was planning on bringing a rolly. I see so many people struggle, and have even helped some of then carry their luggage while easily carrying my belongings on my back. My North Face travel backpack, size small, is amazing. Not too big where I’m struggling, but roomy enough where I can fit all my stuff comfortably. It’s water proof (for the most part), super durable, and doubles as a duffel. The backpack straps are super comfortable too! Love my ninja turtle, but next time I’m getting the black one. This ones being passed down to you, Mom!
– Secure daypack, specifically the PacSafe 500. When I’m exploring a city, I feel pretty confident that no ones going to get into my bag because it has these safety clasps on the zipper. I try to stay out of big crowds, so usually no one is right next to me long enough to unhook it and then unzip it. Also it has a great feature where I can unstrap one strap to put around something. For example, right now I’m at the train platform and it’s hooked onto my jeans beltloop, so if someone tries to grab it and run I’ll come with. Oh, it’s also small, cute, and soft. Win! Also great bag is my longchamp bag – perfect for when I don’t feel like looking like a tourist, waterproof and folds up small.
– Towel – I have one of those super thin towels that dry really quick and take up little space. Has been a total life saver because not all places offer towels, and I never have to worry about it being wet when I need to pack up my stuff and go.
– Combo lock! Duh. You knew this. I also have a cable lock which I don’t use often but I still like having. One time I left my daypack locked to my backpack in my hostel when I went to the beach, and I felt much better knowing that someone couldn’t take my daypack.
– My baby, my Canon Rebel! For a split second I considered leaving my Canon at home, but nooo way! I’m so glad I brought it. I’ve gotten amazing pictures, way too many to share all of them. I’ve had a blast and hopefully improved my technique a little… Shrug.

Things I didn’t need:
– My sleepsack. Which is a good thing because it means my hostels were all clean enough where I could use the sheets!
– My heels. Well, ok I do need these because every girl should have at least one pair of heels with her, even if she is a smelly backpacker. I know I’ll wear them in Florence and Milano, but up to now I’ve probably only worn them twice.

For the most part, I felt that I was traveling with just enough necessary stuff to feel comfortable but not overwhelmed. Not bad for my first backpacking experience! So who’s with me to backpack through South America next? Well, my trip isn’t over just yet. Next stop: Firenze!

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