Travel Backpacking Checklist – What should I pack?

Unfortunately there’s no definitive answer to this one. It really depends on what you’re doing, where you’re going and how long you’re going for. My checklist below is what I think i’ll need for a year or so of travelling.

This video features a few items in my backpack, the full list is below!

Backpack – What should I get?

Obviously the first thing on the list is a backpack. If it’s a short city-break type adventure, you may get away with a smaller 40 Liter backpack. The beauty about these smaller backpacks is that you can usually take them on planes as hand-luggage! However, for your longer travels, I’d suggest a larger 60 liter backpack. Just ensure you get one that’s comfortable and fits your build well.

Top Tip: Visit outdoor shops to try backpacks for size.

Documents & Stuff

I don’t want to teach anyone to suck eggs, but among the chaos of organising your trip, it’s far too easy to forget something important.

  • A VALID Passport (This has caught me out before)
  • Visa (I’d take a physical copy too)
  • Passport Photos (for other potential visas)
  • Driver’s License
  • Student ID/Discount Cards
  • Credit Cards (often used to leave footprints for camper/car rentals)
  • Debit Cards
  • Travel Money Card
  • Travel Insurance Information
  • CV’s (For those Working Holidays Visa types)
  • Cash
  • A folder to keep it all in!

Top Tip: Store copies of your important documents on the cloud!


  • T Shirts x5: I tried to pack really lightweight & roll-able t shirts.
  • Long Sleeved T-Shirts x2: For keeping the sun off your arms and those pesky mosquitoes away from your juicy blood.
  • Vests x3: Because sometimes it’s too hot for sleeves of any kind.
  • Shorts x4: Includes Swimming shorts.
  • Trousers x2:  Jeans for going out + fast drying khaki type things
  • Underwear x5: Or you could do the front, back and inside out trick?
  • Socks x5: I like fresh socks.
  • Jumpers/Hoodies x3: One larger hoodie and two light throw-overs.
  • Lightweight Coat x1: Just a thin coat to keep the rain off.
  • Hats x2: Obviously to wear backwards & look awesome.
  • Sunglasses x1
  • Footware x3: Flipflops, trainers and hard wearing shoes for hiking.

Top Tip: Packing cubes are great for organising your clothes and electronics

Toiletries & Medical

  • First Aid Kit: Also include antibacterial wipes/cream
  • Painkillers
  • Suncream
  • Aftersun
  • Shower Gel/Shampoo
  • Condoms: Obviously for water-balloon wars.
  • Girly stuff: for you girls out there
  • Razor(s)
  • Nail clippers/scissors
  • Microfibre towel
  • Toothbrush/toothpaste
  • Laundry bag
  • A clear liquids bag
  • Mosquito spray (deet)
  • Malaria Pills (if applicable)
  • Antihistamines

Top Tip: Ensure to keep all liquids under 100ml size or they wont make it through security.

Electronic goodies

  • Phone
  • Spare phone
  • MP3 player
  • Headphones/earphones
  • Laptop
  • Camera with Camera Bag
  • Tripod/Selfie stick
  • Action camera / GoPro
  • External hard drive
  • USB flash drives
  • Power bank(s)
  • Travel Adapter

Top Tip: Ensure all electrical devices are fully charged before boarding.


  • Padlock: keeping your valuables safe in hostels/hotels
  • Notepad: For making notes and keeping a travel journal.
  • Daypack 10/20 liter: Handy for taking all your bits & pieces on the plane as hand luggage.
  • Duct tape: You never know when you might need it!

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance is a must regardless of where you’re going or how long for. Best case scenario you haven’t needed it and you’ve spent a little money. Worst case scenario, you’ve fallen ill or injured yourself abroad and now you have to pay thousands for your medical treatment. For peace of mind, I’d always travel with travel insurance, don’t take the risk!

Top Tip: If you’re from the UK an you’re travelling through Europe, make sure you pick up a European Health Insurance Card before you go, It’s free!

There are many travel insurance companies out there. I chose as they were competitively priced and I was able to tailor my quote to my needs.

I’ve also heard excellent things about!


Don’t forget your Travel Apps! 

12 essential appsCheck out my Essential Travel Apps for Backpackers.

Do you think I’ve missed anything vital? Please feel free to comment below!


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