You’re going away for a long period of time. If you’re like me, when it comes to packing it’s always better to be safe than sorry; you never know what you’re going to need so why not just take everything you own?
I can tell you now, that is not the answer! I spent 6 months backpacking last year around South Africa, Australia and Thailand and can safely say this strategy does not work. Not only did I seem to have every item of clothing with me that I’d ever bought, but even had all the survival essentials which, although Bear Grylls may deem necessary, never once came into use (a prime example being 2 meters of rope).
Even though it’s easy to vacuum pack as much as possible and shove it in to the depths of your rucksack, the reality of it is that, if you don’t take that extra pair of shoes, you won’t miss them. So follow these top five rules for packing to avoid making all the errors that I did last year; I can guarantee that if you do, travelling and living out of a rucksack will be that much easier!
#1 Avoid packing an excessive amount of clothes
I was told this multiple times whilst I was packing, but yet still chose to ignore it. If you are planning on backpacking you will constantly be moving around, and there is nothing more annoying than frequently having to unpack and repack your rucksack just so you can fit all your clothes in. When packing, be strict, and ask yourself if you really do need what you’re taking.
#2 Only take 2, max 3, pairs of shoes
Taking too many shoes is almost worst than taking excessive clothes. It’s so easy to assume that you’ll need a range of footwear, particularly if you’re planning to do lots of different activities. Again, try to keep it simple; trainers/ walking boots, flip flops and one other form of casual shoe will easily be enough to get you through any long period of travel.
#3 Girls: don’t take too many cosmetics!
This is another packing crime of which I’m certainly guilty for. As hard as it seems, you don’t need to pack all of your make up, moisturisers, shampoos, conditioners, perfumes and lotions. It’s so much easier just to buy small travel size bottles of the really necessary things, and then if you do find you’re missing something, I’m sure you will easily be able to buy an equivalent wherever you are. Large bottles add unnecessary weight whilst increasing your risk of a backpack spillage- and no one wants that!
#4 Boys: Take more cosmetics
I’m sure this isn’t true for all boys but the number who I met whilst travelling who were extremely burnt due to their lack of suncream and/or aftersun. It is true that minimalist travelling is ideal but there is a limit! Do make sure that you have the things that you’ll need for heath purposes; it’s just not worth it otherwise!
#5 Don’t take any unnecessary expensive valuables
Whilst you’re travelling, there will be enough on your mind already about where you’re going next, or what the next plan is. This will only be made harder if you have to constantly worry about where your valuable items are; if you don’t need them, it’s best not to take them. In the case of expensive jewellery and watches, these will also attract more attention to you, so take the easy way out and leave them at home!
If you’re stressed about last minute packing, don’t panic! Oyster participants receive a great 10% discount with gapyeartravelstore.com, so if you’re a future participant get in touch with us to get your discount code!
This is our take on packing but, essentially, packing is different for everyone. What’s your number 1 tip for packing? We’d love for you to let us know by leaving us a comment in the box below.