Must-haves in Your Travel Backpack

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Must-haves in Your Travel Backpack

Must-haves in Your Travel Backpack


If you are going on vacation to the Canary Islands or if you have decided to spend a month in the Andes, you would pack and take with you entirely different things. But we have learned what items are truly necessary for a lengthy and diverse trip when each gram on the back can be felt. Now we can share what things did we bring along for our seventeen-month-long journey.

1. A portable hotel that would fit in a carry-on bag

To put it simply – a tent. Taking a tent allows you to save money and enjoy sleeping outdoors every once in a while. Now it is easy to find lightweight tents, ours did not exceed the weight of 1.5 kilograms. But it wasn`t the best quality, and now we know that for such trips an especially durable and waterproof tent is needed. The tent should also be dark-coloured or camouflage in order not to attract any unnecessary attention. However, even if our tent was bright orange, occasionally soaked and sewn, became our small, beloved house that saved us a number of times.

If there is a tent, sleeping bags are needed as well. We did not have any sleeping mats for softer dreams as those would only be a hassle and take up much space. Sure, it`s possible to fasten the mat on the outside of the backpack as it weighs close to nothing, however, it becomes troublesome the moment you step on a plane or get into a local bus.

2. Things that can save you from rain

You should always be prepared for a rainfall – durable raincoats are handy; umbrellas, on the other hand, are impractical and unsuitable for such a journey. We used our raincoats to cover the tent, and managed to save the situation quite a few times. We also had waterproof pants and backpack covers, but also these items must be durable, you should not save on them. It is crucial to protect from the rain if nights are spent in the tent and traveling goes by hitchhiking. No matter if it is hot or cold, it`s possible to move forward, but if it rains – everything stops.

3. Health comes first

The most necessary medication that can disinfect an open wound and soothe sudden pain should always be carried along. While visiting exotic countries activated charcoal can be useful, for example, Sorbex. We have to mention that medication differs from country to country and local remedies might be more suitable for the given circumstances. Insect repellent sprays, adhesive bandages, and hand sanitizers always come in handy. But when we caught a cold, we used some stronger drinks to manage to get on our feet quickly enough.

4. Something to cover the back and feet

When going on a journey like this, proper clothing and shoes should be there. While walking great distances, even the high-end hiking shoes sometimes show imperfections, certainly, in this situation you shouldn`t save on well-fitting and durable shoes. And there should be two pairs of good shoes – when maintaining a fast pace and going through wild trails anything can happen to boots or trainers. If you have only a pair of shoes that gets wet or comes apart, finding a well-fitting other pair of shoes while traveling can be hard.

It is not a necessity to bring several layers of clothing along because clothes are easy to wash and it`s not too time-consuming, so it`s not needed to fill the bag to the brim with T-shirts and pants. But the swimsuit could be useful.

5. A piece of homeland in the pocket

In other words, some souvenirs. We carried small souvenirs from Latvia with us, including small paper flags and flag printed ribbons. This gave us a chance to thank those who helped us along the way. Such small things can really bring smiles to people`s faces.

6. Money in the deepest pocket

First of all, you should always have some cash. ATMs can break down and debit cards can be lost – and then the real adventures start. But cash can save some trouble. It is advisable to keep it in a secret pocket, for example, sewed it in the underwear. If thieves had an intention to rob you, they most probably would check everything, including your socks, however, we don`t think they would strip you bare. And the best is taking another wallet along – it should contain some valueless shopping cards and some cash so that thieves would not consider it a fraud. At least it wouldn`t be sorry to give this wallet up in case thieves was threatening, though smiling during the robbery also wouldn`t be recommendable.

7. Those technologies

We carried a mobile phone with us and one was enough for us both. We captured pictures and videos with it, we also used it to write a blog for 527 days in a row and to publish our stories on the internet. No doubt that it would be nice to take as good-quality photos as possible – who knows when there will be an opportunity to travel the world again – but any professional photo gear would be hard to carry and would attract too much attention, so it was enough with that one phone.

And here it`s important to remember to take charging devices and adapters – sockets around the world differ! Another handy gadget is a portable charging device or simply known as a power bank. It can be fully charged when there is a chance, later it`s not necessary to bother about keeping the phone “alive”. But these gadgets should also be studied. We had to throw out our first two power banks and get a valuable lesson not to buy electronics on the street.

USB flash drive is useful to save valuable information. We had gathered materials about Latvia including various pictures, which we could present when there was no internet available.

And let`s not forget about the selfie stick that allows taking pictures together without asking for help from strangers that could run off with our precious phone. Pictures are quite important – they can freeze the moments and preserve at least a small part of the emotions felt at the time.

8. Bring the paper

On the paper, it`s possible to “save” the same plans and notes as on the phone. And that gave us some safety. Also, it is important to have all the necessary documents without which it`s impossible to get anywhere further. It`s good to take into account that the passport can run out of pages to put visa stamps on if traveling goes far and wide.

A vaccination passport is of some use if a vaccination during the trip is necessary. We have to add that before going on our journey we vaccinated only against tick-borne encephalitis and AB hepatitis as taking all the recommended vaccinations would only make the confused organism collapse. Of course, some countries require mandatory vaccination against certain diseases and it`s good to find out about that before the trip.

Small size passport photos are useful as some try to take overpriced photos for visas in a couple of countries. Driver`s license is helpful as there can be situations when you`d need to drive. And, of course, debit cards, and all the passwords written in some secret code system.

And then, the toilet paper is “a must” as well.

9. Snacks for the hungry

Sometimes we were the hungry ones, other times those were animals we met on our way. We could never know where in the jungle we might end up or what kind of teary-eyed, food begging creatures might come across the way. For this purpose, it`s always good to keep some snacks in the backpack, as well as drinkable water.

10. Tools that always come in handy

If you need to set up a tent, take a flashlight. We had two of them, but during our travels, we gave one away to a Bulgarian driver, whose car broke down a couple of times and it was nearly impossible to fix it without a flashlight. A needle and thread can be bought if necessary, but they can also be taken from home as these items do not take up much space. The most valuable of our possessions was a portable burner and small gas cylinder, we also carried two small containers for food and foldable cutlery. This is how we were able to cook cheap food almost anywhere – well, of course, it wasn`t too healthy as it mainly consisted of instant noodles. Knives are useful not only for cutting but also for self-defense. We carried a pepper spray with us all the time, until on one of the flights it turned out that it cannot be carried in the checked luggage as well.

And a survival kit consisting of a toothbrush, toothpaste and shampoo allowed us to look at least decent.

11. What else?

We always keep the nice words our loved ones say, as well as their up-building thoughts. There is no need to carry those in the backpacks – carry them your heart!