We always hear about what we should pack, nearly all of us travel bloggers have done a piece to help you all out with what belongs in that tortoise shell of a backpack you’re going to wear for months. But what we don’t regularly do is dedicate an entire list on what not to bring (probably because we’re not a negative bunch). However, this is for those of you who are easily confused or just first timers and I shall be your guide into the wilderness!
Hairdryer and Straighteners
You do not need these. When travelling it’s best to go ‘au natural’ with your hair – a simple up do, or if you’re really suave a bun will do perfectly. If you see a girl looking perfect while away, she’s a model doing a photoshoot about backpacking. In reality we wash with shampoo, conditioner is saved for a special occasion and our hair dryers are distant memories only spoken about in hushed, reverent tones around the hostel dorms.
Every form of ID known to man
You have your passport. You don’t need other forms of identification because, frankly, if you’re anything like me you’ll lose them and have hefty fees to pay to get them back (well, £20 but when you do it three times... WHOOPS). As the passport is my ticket to freedom I generally don’t misplace it which is a good thing, and it’s more widely accepted around the world as ID to buy drinks with anyway which is lucky!
That Deal from your Phone Provider
All the mobile phone providers have these swell deals now that basically say ‘Hey! Spend an extra £5 in advance, and get 5 seconds of Wi-Fi each day when you’re in France COMPLETELY FREE.’ Well it’s not free is it, because you’ve just paid for it!!!! But, unfortunately they capitalize on our idiocy and belief that we cannot survive without that hunk of plastic or metal we hold so dear to us knowing that 90% of 18-29 year olds SLEEP WITH THEIR SMART PHONES. Us young folk actually sleep more with our mobile technology than we do with partners - I hope you’re just as concerned as I am that our phones get more 'in bed' action that we do these days! Every single hotel, hostel, B&B, cafe, restaurant, park, bus and even most airplanes have wifi available on them these days with more offering it for free than ever before. Utilise it - don’t make a fool of your bank because Kevin Bacon and EE tell you just how smashing this deal really is - LIES. If you need more tips on using your phone abroad just check this out.
No. Never, ever. Unless you are one of us travel bloggers you do not need it. Why would you want to lug around an item that simply screams out ‘STEAL ME, STEAL ME - I’LL MAKE YOU RICH’ to other hostel dwellers? These folks are 99.99% lovely and wouldn’t dream of touching it, but unfortunately as we all know, our world isn’t perfect unless you’re a dating Prince Harry or are able to smoke a joint with your boss each day on your lunch break. It’s not worth the hassle, take only the kit you need and try and not flash it about. I once asked a girl why she had her laptop with her and she replied to watch movies - you’re in Byron Bay sweetheart why the hell would you want to watch movies? You’ve spent years saving to get here, now go live the life you’ve worked so hard for.
Any Bag that Carries More Than 20 Kilos
I don’t care how long you’re going for - you really don’t want to be that girl (or guy) with the biggest backpack and being unable to carry it for long periods of time. Half the fun of backpacking is getting completely lost from the bus station to the hostel, spending 3 hours circling around, stopping for a coffee and then finally realising it’s been quite literally right in front of you the whole time and that’s why people kept pointing you back to the square when trying to explain to them in your broken Hungarian where you need to go. In this situation you don’t want to feel like your back is about to snap in two. Also, a lot of Asian hostels consist of a thousand floors without a lift. It’s one way to get super fit sure, but it will still get you pretty toned doing it with a bag that weighs 5 kilos less. A lot of budget airlines won’t accept bags that heavy anyway so you have to face parting with extra dollar to keep all your stuff or get rid of it anyway.
Filling Your Bag With Items In Preparation For The Apocalypse
So I know it’s crazy, but here’s a little secret - they actually use shampoo in South America too. Now, take a moment I know it’s a shock; it’s probably knocked the breath right out of you. But, you can even buy some of your favourite brands all around the world! I’ve just saved you so much space and lost you all the weight you were trying to remove from your pack after reading the above. You don’t need to take all 12 bottles of conditioner with you for your 8 month trip, if you can’t find your usual brand the regular stuff they have there will do just as well too - you may even like it. This is the same principle for all items of a similar calibre like makeup, hair bands, sun cream etc. Apart from condoms - only buy condoms you trust; a bad hair day result from a new product doesn’t have quite the same ramifications as a badly made condom...
I will allow you one Lonely Planet or Rough Guide. Choose wisely or take an eBook system. You can pick up the ones people have ditched in hostels along the way if you really can't live without them so you don't need to take a years worth with you. There’s another kilo or two I’ve saved you at least from the weight of your backpack - no need to thank me just send a virtual high five my way in appreciation.
No. Just no. You know why. If you don’t - YOU ARE BACKPACKING; TRY DOING THAT IN THE DESERT WITH YOUR BROKEN HEELS. Use the space for some nice, comfortable, dreamy hiking boots that feel like walking on air in comparison.
Now I’m sure I’ve forgotten something, so please get in touch if you don’t know if you should take it or not. As you can see, I will be able to offer you a very easy answer and reason why this is a good or bad idea!