OUR TIPS TO PREPARE YOUR TRAVEL BACKPACK

Your plane ticket in your pocket and the departure date approaching, it is often at this moment that THE question comes in your mind “What the hell am I going to put in my backpack?”.
We’ll try to help you optimizing this important step in the organization of a trip.

What kind of luggage for which kind of trip?

As for the budget, first, you have to ask yourself the right questions. Indeed, you won’t make your bag in the same way if you leave for 2 weeks or for 6 months. If you go to Morocco or to Norway. If you travel in an adventurous mode or if you’re going to laze around the swimming pool of your hotel.

It will therefore be necessary to ask some preliminary questions:

  • Duration of the trip: a few weeks or a few months
  • The geographical area: cold or hot country
  • Your typology of traveler: rather backpacker or luxury traveler
  • The purpose of your trip: only for your pleasure or photo trip for example

Once these questions answered, you will know, more or less, if you have to take a backpack or if you need to send a container!

For a long trip, your bag can’t be made carelessly

We speak better of what we know. Then for this article, we will advise you on how to make your backpack for a rather long trip (more than a month). With an alternation between hot and cool places. In a rather adventurous mode. And with the aim of feeding a blog (thus with the production of photo / video / editorial content throughout the trip).

First, choosing a backpack is essential. We won’t develop this point here because it requires a whole dedicated article, as so many parameters are to be taken into account. (Link article choose your backpack later)

For us, the ideal for a trip of more than 1 month is to leave with a rather spacious backpack (between 50 and 70L). That will remain your main travel backpack throughout your trip. Of course, taking a lighter backpack (20L) stored inside your main bag will be a real necessity for daily outings.

Make your bag: the ultimate and essential list
for not forgetting anything

What you’ll find below is a list of what is, for us, the complete traveler kit to have everything you need without taking too much. Of course each person will feel the need to adapt this list to make his own personal travelling bag, according to his needs:

Essential documents

You should have a dedicated pouch with all the following items that you’ll have to carry with you EVERYWHERE.

TIP: Prepare a flash drive with copies of all these items that you will hide carefully in your backpack. Or send yourself copies of these documents on your mailbox or upload them on a cloud. Prevention is better than cure…

  • Passport with visas
  • ID card
  • Driver’s License / International Driver’s License
  • Payment cards
  • Assistance Insurance Card
  • International Vaccination Card
  • Blood group card
  • European Health Insurance Card
  • Transportation and accommodation reservations
  • Emergency number from abroad
  • Contact details of your banker (mail + phone)

Clothing

Prefer the so-called “multi-layer technique” to avoid carrying bulky items that you will rarely use during your travel. On the road, you will always be happy to have opted for quick drying clothes. Between rain and sweat, moisture will also be your traveling companion!

Your everyday clothes:

  • t-shirts (2 short sleeves / 2 long sleeves)
  • pairs of socks x4
  • underwear x4
  • 4 different pants (light pants / jeans / jogging / short)
  • night out/partying outfit
  • fleece jacket
  • hooded sweatshirt
  • waterproof parka
  • pair of running / hiking shoes
  • pair of shoes in which you feel comfortable

Clothes for cold regions:

  • 1 good warm jacket
  • hat/beanie
  • pair of gloves
  • scarf
  • neck-warmer and ear muff if you’re sensitive to the cold

Clothes for hot areas and beaches:

  • 1 swimsuit
  • 2 tank tops
  • pair of sunglasses
  • hat / cap
  • pair of slippers
  • sarong
  • Solar cream

If you are sure to spend a lot of time in the water / beach / boat:

  • Mask / snorkel equipment
  • Waterproof bag

First-aid kit

For these items, it also depends on the places you’re going to. Always ask your doctor for advice before leaving, he’ll tell you some valuable advices. In any case, you can always leave with the basic kit containing:

  • Essentials:
    • Small scissors
    • Tweezers
    • Cotton
    • Compresses
    • Bandages
    • Band-Aid
    • Antibacterial liquid
    • Physiological saline
    • Water-purifying tabs
  • In case of small digestion problems:
    • Diarrhea treatment (Imodium / Tiorphan or equivalent) => on doctor’s prescription
    • Constipation treatment (Microlax or equivalent)
  • In case of burns / sunburn:
    • Biafine or aloe tube
    • Sunscreen
  • In case of headaches:
    • Paracetamol (Doliprane or equivalent)
    • Amoxicillin => on doctor’s prescription
  • In the event of blows and muscle pain:
    • Arnica
    • Ibuprofen
  • In case of stings:
    • Insect repellent cream / spray
  • In case of chapping:
    • Lip balm
  • Contraception:
    • Pill
    • Condoms
  • To be quiet:
    • Earplugs
    • Sleeping mask

Hygiene kit

Many of the items in the hygiene kit could be found almost everywhere in the world. So if you forget something, no drama!

  • Shower gel / shampoo
  • Toothbrush
  • Roll-on deodorant (⇒ wrap it in a zip bag because it could leak in the airplane)
  • Antibacterial gel
  • Wipes
  • Toilet paper
  • Moisturizer
  • Q-tip
  • Nail clipper
  • Razor + blades
  • Hand-washing gel
  • For women
    • Periodic protection
    • 1 small make-up kit (black pencil / lipstick)
    • Small format solvent

To stay connected (at least a little…)

  • Compact laptop + charger
  • External hard drive
  • Flash drive
  • Mp3 player
  • Camera + charger + backup battery + SD cards (more than one) + accessories
  • Film Camera / Go Pro + Charger + Backup Battery + Accessories
  • Flexible camera stand (tripod type, very practical)
  • Telephone + charger + digital guides (type Lonely Planet)
  • International adapter
  • Powerbanks (super useful external batteries)
  • Mini-speakers
  • All your cables with USB plugs

To camp

  • Sleeping bag (⇒ remember to check the temperature at night in your destination country to have a bag warm enough)
  • Light Tent
  • Travel cushion (⇒ a little less comfortable, the inflatable version occupies less space)
  • Meat bag (silk one are the best)
  • Travel mosquito net
  • Gas stove (do not leave with your gas bottle, it is strictly forbidden in planes!)
  • Compact kitchen kit + compact cutlery + durable cups
  • “Camelback” water pocket
  • Compact microfibre towel

To fill your free time

  • Travel diary + pens
  • Playing cards
  • Colored pencils / felt pens
  • Dice
  • Books
  • Crossword/Sudoku magazine

The (very) useful stuff:

  • Swiss knife or Leatherman (an essential to have in one tool, an opener, a corkscrew, a bottle opener, etc …)
  • Headlamp
  • Padlock
  • Zip bags (for hermetic packaging)
  • Waterproof pouch
  • Sewing kit
  • Trash bags
  • Binoculars
  • Rope
  • Paper clip (very useful to change your Iphone chip!)
  • Batteries for your headlamp and other things
  • Lighter
  • Rubber patches (believe me, it’s always useful!)

TIPS LEARNED AROUND THE WORLD

After too many times saying “I should have thought about that…”, “I should have done it sooner”, “If only I knew that earlier…”, we will share with you, lucky fellows, our little useful tips to prepare your trip.

1 month before, PREPARE YOUR PLAYLIST for the trip

It’s a point that takes a lot of time and which is very (often) forgotten. During holidays, you have suddenly a lot of free time. Which means more time to listen to music, a lot of music, especially if you’re on the road. There is nothing worse than listening only 5 albums you brought with you, again and again. Which, whatever how much you love them, might make you sick…

Moreover, when traveling, we often want to listen to something different than what we usually listening to. So prepare a playlist that will surprises you! Make sure you don’t forget to bring some music from the country you’re going to visit, it multiplies the immersion!

Same for movies. If you’re traveling with a computer, take advantage of your trip to watch all the great classics you’ve always swear to watch.

1 week before, start PREPARE YOUR CLOTHING

Packing your bag the day before leaving is not the best way to start your journey. Besides the fact that it is easier to forget stuff when you’re in the rush, thinking about his clothes at the last moment is the best way to ask the everlasting question:

  • “Honey, where is my favorite sweater?”
  • In the laundry basket.
  • Oh F***”

And yes, by preparing your clothes a little bit earlier, you’re sure to have your favorite t-shirt clean and tidy to go on holiday!

Because starting your trip with dirty clothes in your backpack is never very pleasant.

A watchword, PARTITIONING!

Having your life packed on your back requires a clear organization to avoid having to empty your backpack every time you look for a tissue. It is therefore necessary to partition your stuff. The easiest way is to group them in separate storage bags by theme. For our part, we divide our business like that:

  • Important documents pocket
  • Essential elements bag
  • Clothes bag
  • Technical textile bag (sport, hiking, cold …)
  • Camping bag
  • Hygiene / pharmacy bag
  • Multimedia pouch (devices, chargers, memory cards)

Of course, keep the elements you’re going to use the most near the zips of your backpack. It is much more practical.

To save space, the famous “FOLD AND ROLL TECHNIQUE”

Keeping a little empty space in your backpack at the beginning of your trip is always a good idea. Furthermore if you have in mind to come back with some gifts. For this, there is an irrefutable method, the “fold and roll”.

As the name suggests it, you just have to fold your clothes. Then roll them by trying to tighten them as much as possible to compact them a maximum. Once your clothes rolled up, it will be much easier to stow them in your backpack or storage bag.

Well, do not expect to wear freshly ironed clothes, but the saved space is well worth some folds!

The wallet multiplication

We have never been a big fan of the hidden pockets under the t-shirt technique. Or belts with hidden compartment to conceal your hard cash. We are rather adepts of the so-called “dual wallet technique”.

It consists in having a second wallet, more accessible than the wallet you actually use. In this one, you’ll leave a little money and some cards at your name that you no longer use. This will allow your potential trappers to leave satisfied with a little money as they won’t leave empty-handed.

Customize your backpack

It is not impossible to meet travelers who would have the same bag as yours. So to avoid any unfortunate misfortune, a small originality on your backpack will help you to never lose it.