To pack or not to pack

When setting off on a backpacking adventure, all the planning and budgeting for your trip can get a little bit confusing. Many backpackers will head off around the world lugging unnecessary items in their backpacks. We’ve compiled a list of items you would be better off leaving at home…

Sleeping bag
Most guest houses will supply sheets and a duvet, so taking a sleeping bag is not necessary. A sleeping sheet is a good idea as it is lighter and can be rolled up to fit in your backpack, ideal for covering you on those long bus/train journeys.

Jewellery, hair straighteners and laptops are not essential items to take backpacking. The idea of backpacking is to pack light; you will soon become accustomed to living the ‘simple life’ and forget about luxuries.

Heavy cotton towel
If you’re planning on backpacking in a warmer climate then a heavy cotton towel is not needed. A lightweight travel towel will do the trick. Take a sarong to wrap around you on the beach which can double up as a towel and a skirt.

Many guesthouses will have pillows and most long-haul airlines will supply pillows for their passengers. For long bus/train journeys, a hoodie or sweatshirt will do the same job as a pillow.

Too many clothes
The trick is to pack light, so thin layers of clothing you can easily roll up and pack away are the best clothes to take travelling. Remember, light coloured clothing will reflect the sun and keep you cooler. Try to avoid taking designer items with you, this will attract attention to yourself and may be come a target for theft. Respect local laws and customs – especially when visiting religious places of interest, a requirement may be to cover your arms and legs. You will only need one pair of flip flops and a comfortable pair of worn shoes you can easily walk around in.

You can buy toiletries like shampoo and deodorant whilst travelling so no need to carry large containers around with you, taking up valuable space in your backpack. Soap is lighter and smaller than a bottle of shower gel and perfume and other scented lotions will attract mosquitoes, so leave these items at home.

Guide books
If you’re only travelling to one town or a few places within a country, there is no need to take a large country guide book. Not only will this take up unnessessary room, it will be heavy too. Instead, cut out the pages that will be useful to you and leave the rest of the book at home.

Don’t forget your cheap backpacker insurance!
You can purchase great value backpackers insurance direct at 24/7 travel insurance. For a 2-month trip in Asia, will cost you just £21.62* – a small price to pay to really enjoy your backpacking adventure all the more!

*Premium £21.62 includes Insurance Premium Tax based on an individual aged under 36 taking out a Standard Backpacker 24/7 travel insurance policy for 2 months in Asia. Cover details and prices are correct at time of going to press (March 2010) and are subject to change.