Backpacking essentials, pro tips to save time, space and money on your next trip.

Suitcase Vs Backpack

Planning your next or first big trip? There are many common mistakes aspiring travelers make when it comes to how and what they travel with, mistakes that not only weigh and slow them down but unnecessarily chip into travel funds, I was certainly guilty of it in my early days.

Use a suitcase, not a backpack!!!! – WHAT? BUT I’M GOING BACKPACKING! For some reason when we think about backpacking around the world we all go out and buy these massive backpacks to later realise that pretty much the only time you use them is when going between transport and or to your accommodation. Not only are they expensive but unless you’re planning to climb a mountain without a sherpa or do a week-long single-trail walk over rough terrain, then they are a pointless, hot and heavy, and a real pain in the back! literally!!!
  • New age suitcases are light, strong and have wheels!.
  • Better for protecting your fragile things from breaking
  • Easier to pack and unpack.
  • Safer as backpacks are easy to cut into from theaves.
  • Same price or even less.
  • Easier to transport without doing your back in because did I mention, they have wheels!

When going backpacking in certain countries you will go on some rough terrain so I do suggest getting a suitcase with some solid wheels like this one

Travelpro Maxlite 5 22″ Expandable Rollaboard Carry-on Suitcase, Black (Black)

Small day/backpack – A small backback is still a good idea.

    • Hotels and hostels will often let you leave your suitcase safely stored for several days at no cost whilst you explore the local area, especially if it means you’ll stay another night with them when you get back.
    • If you’re not using your day pack, it doubles as a great separator for your dirty clothes inside the suitcase (I’ll always keep a plastic bag in it also for the wet or dirty stuff)
Only take what you absolutely need – When packing, if you look at an item and think, “yeah I’ll probably use that”, DON’T take it! The less experienced traveler often packs half their suitcase with things they don’t even end up using. If you haven’t seen the documentary or read the book “The minimalists” Do yourself and the world a favor and do so, I now live by the principles in this book and am way more efficient, lightweight and happier because of it.

Dark over light – All you goths out there will love this. When traveling, washing your clothes can often be tricky and quite expensive, the darker your clothes the less you’re going to have to wash them, saving you time and money.

Sarong not towel – normal towels are bulky and heavy, a definite no-no, I used to use a large traveling shammy towel however, I found that they are so good at soaking up water that they would even soak up the humidity in the air, so unless you take great care in drying it after every use, it will quickly become smelly and then can’t be mixed with the rest of your things.

A Sarong works just as good and double as so many different useful things, for example;

        • Blanket
        • Beach or Bath Towel
        • Wear It
        • Scarf / Shawl
        • Cover up
        • Bed sheets
        • Pillow
        • Purse
        • Curtain or Divider
        • Packing Separator
        • Padding
        • Emergencies . 
        • Gifts

Shoes to choose – there are really only 3 pairs of shoes you need.

  • Flip flops – for those warm casual days.
  • Going out shoes – for when you want to go out dancing or dating.
  • Active shoes – for when you’re going trecking or doing something that your feet need solid support.
    Packing Tip – Pack them at the bottom end of the suitcase heal to toe and fill them with small things or breakables to save space but also act as extra protection for fragile things, you can put extra padding in them by storing your socks in there also.
Roll don’t fold – Not only does this make it easier to pick out an item without making a mess of others, but it also saves space as your ability to compact things better by rolling.

Take a small power board with you – That way you’ll only need one international adapter and can charge all devices at the same time.

Books are for idiots! Ok maybe that’s a bit harsh if you are a book person, sure take a book with you, you may not always be able to charge your devices easily and there is something nice about reading on paper, but only take one! they are heavy and these days most hostels have some kind of book exchange.

Rather than a book, e-books on devices like a kindle will save you plenty of space and weight. I can’t recommend audiobooks enough.

  • Listen on the go.
  • Instant access to just about every book you can think of at your fingertips.
  • Works off your smart phone so takes up no extra space.
  • Once the book you want is downloaded to your device, you can listen offline, whilst on a plane or hiking in nature with no wifi.
  • audible is an amazing application, I would even go as far as saying, I love it! it has made my life so much more productive and worth every cent ten fold! for a small no-contract monthly subscription you get 1 free book per month which is often worth more than the actual subscription and kind of forces you to educate yourself which has truly changed my life and saves me carrying around novels.

    4 Amazingly useful travel products.


Travel size manual Coffee pressAn absolute must for any coffee loving traveler. My mum put me onto this engenius invention and I’m seriously so happy with the purchase, there are other ones that require batteries but they are more bulky and they need batteries, they’re more prone to damage, cost more and are not as good for the environment.

Inflatable neck pillow – pretty self explanitory and they do often sell them in airports but you’ll pay 3 times as much there so here’s a link for your convenience.

Lightweight Parachute Portable Hammock – Even if you’re not planning on sleeping under the stars, this thing weighs nothing, takes next to no space and you’d be surprised when it may come in handy.

Universal travel power adapter – You can’t travel without one of these bad boys and this paired with your power board will make you the envy of every backpacker fighting for a place to charge their things.

Yay for transparency! The links in this post are affiliate links. This means that if you buy anything, I’ll earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only link to stuff I’ve actually used and never endorse crap. Your support helps me keep the site going.