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Today’s task is to share something useful with my readers. I honestly can’t think of a better topic than to talk about what a backpacker should pack in their hand luggage.
Blog posts and YouTube videos on the subject often display perfectly coiffed beauty gurus embarking on luxury holidays, pulling out a perfect lip balm or some deluxe healthy snack from a Chanel handbag.
However, what I need to know is what to take on a long haul flight, particularly from the point of view of being a long-term traveller and/or backpacker. Whilst I am sure that scented hand sanitizer is nice (the one time I took hand sanitizer in my carry-on it exploded all over my seat mate due to the cabin pressure…awkward), I follow one simple rule:
Pack what is most important to you in your hand luggage. (Hence Banana poking his head out of my backpack in the photo above!)
So here are my tips:
1. My most precious possessions. My hand luggage weighs 1kg and the majority of that weight is dedicated to my many paper journals. They are the most prized and irreplaceable possessions. Don’t put anything that you can’t live without in your hold luggage.
2. Contact lenses and liquids. I always carry my contact lenses in my hand luggage – imagine the hassle and cost of replacing them abroad. I put these in a plastic sealed bag with my contact lens pot and a small travel-sized bottle of solution.
“The one time I took hand sanitizer in my carry-on it exploded all over my seat mate due to the cabin pressure…Awkward”
4. Tablet/phone/MP3 player/camera + chargers. We need entertainment, people! (Oh, and don’t forget your adaptor!)
5. Sound-proof headphones. Essential for blocking out irritating noises and loud sounds such as babies crying in the seat next to you.
By the way, I swear by Panasonic’s in-ear headphones. They are THE BEST & CHEAP. I had my pair for a year before I went travelling and they lasted another year on the road. They survived being dragged in and out of my backpack, being dropped and stepped on, and they even lived to tell the tale after taking a dip in a pool in Fiji. I had a few pairs before then, and I have never been disappointed.
6. A pen and paper. Whether it’s writing down some great ideas in your travel journal or filling out immigration forms handed out on the plane, always have your pen on you.
7. Your important documents. Keep copies of any visas, hostel reservations and medical documents with you. You never know when you might need them!
8. The Overnight Pack. For long-haul flights, and also in case my hold luggage is lost, I like to carry a little overnight/emergency pack in a ziplock bag. Mine includes an eyemask, ear plugs, tampons, toothbrush and travel-sized toothpaste. (Don’t forget to put the toothpaste in your liquids bag at check-in!)
9. Water and snacks. I like chewy candies – f**k the healthy
cardboard snacks, we’re on holiday
10. Spare undies. As long as you can brush your teeth and change your underwear, you will at least feel a little better about things if your luggage is misplaced.
Happy packing, folks, and make sure you let me know any of your own tips in the comments below!