Packing Smart! 10 Tips on How to Pack for a Trip


People often ask me how I fit 2+ months worth of gear into my small 40 Liter backpack. And I get it. With all the things you think you need to pack, it may seem like a completely impossible task to condense. However, keep in mind that you’re not going to look instagram-ready every day. There will be days where you’ll repeat outfits and will go unwashed. It’s just part of the fun! Use this guide to help you narrow down your packing list, so you’re not traveling around the world with a boulder on your back.

1. Only pack for 2 weeks worth of travel

It’s all you’ll be able to fit, and you’ll cycle through enough clothes so that you’re not wearing the same thing every day. Laundry makes this much more doable than you may think.

2. PPW (Passport, Phone, Wallet)

Everything in your pack is replaceable, except for your passport, phone & wallet. If you find you’ve lost some of your gear while you’re away, don’t panic. Short of those three, everything, including phone chargers and clothes, can be easily replaced locally.

3. Laundry will be available

Hostels often have deals with local laundromats. You can usually bring your laundry to the front desk and, for a small fee, have your clothes cleaned & back to you by the next day. If your hostel doesn’t offer that service, local laundromats are super easy to find and very, very cheap.

4. Keep liquids & gels to 3 ounces

American TSA regulations say that you can’t bring any liquids or gels larger than 3oz on planes. If you want to keep your shampoo, bug spray, sunscreen and more, be sure to buy them travel sized. You can always get more when you’re away.

5. Hiking shoes can double as casual footwear

Aside from flip flops, they’re the only other shoes I bring on my trips. Although you may not look like a baller in your sweet, sweet kicks, they're a huge space saver.

6. Invest in a collapsible daypack

I have one that shrinks to the size of an apple when not in use. This is a huge space saver and can be pretty cheap.

7. Microfiber towels are awesome

Microfiber towels are thinner, more absorbent and faster drying than regular towels. They roll up tightly and take up far less space than a regular towel.

8. Outlet adapters are not always necessary

Depending on where you are in the world, you may not need to bring one. And even if you do, hostels will occasionally convert their outlets to western ones, so make sure to check ahead of time to see if you need one.

9. Phone flashlights work just fine

If you don’t have/want to bring a headlamp, I always just use the flashlight on my phone and it works just fine. I would, however, only recommend this trick for a few days' hike, because that phone battery will otherwise die.

10. Toilet Paper = White Gold

One thing you may find out (probably too late) is that toilet paper is pretty scarce on long hikes. Make sure to buy a roll (or nab one from a hostel) before setting out on any hike longer than 2 hours. Believe me, this trick will save you immense discomfort if nature suddenly decides to call while you're out and about. Let's keep that bum clean!

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Written by AnxiousAndAbroad
Hi! I’m a 20-something backpacker with moderate anxiety, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and Hypochondriasis. I spent most of my life thinking that travel wasn’t for people like me, and when I figured out that it was, my life was changed. I now travel multiple times a year and rough it with the best of them. I’m glad to say I’ve managed to turn what I thought were negatives about my mental health into positives, and want to show other aspiring travelers that they can too. Check out my site for full information & guides!

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