My top travel items to pack when you set of on an adventure

My 8 Must Pack Travel Items

Over the years of backpacking across different continents I have gathered a small assortment of travel items that I now always pack. Each item has earned their place as increasingly invaluable, they are multipurpose, light and easy to carry, and maybe there is a little bit of superstition attached to them as well…I have never had a bad trip with these by my side. These are my must pack travel items.

The quick dry towel

This is probably on every list you have read on packing for a backpacking trip. Moral of the story – get one. And not the small half size ones, the big one that you can actually dry yourself with.

  • Drying yourself
  • Can be used as a sack to carry washing to the Laundromat
  • A curtain to hang beside your bunk bed for a little bit of privacy
  • A pillow on train journeys
Swiss army knife

I actually have one of the Swiss army knife cards that fit into your wallet card slots. It is amazing and there has been more than one occasion when it has saved the day. The only problem is that if you don’t have checked luggage you can’t take it with you, which makes me very sad.

  • Great for cutting cheese on a backpacker picnic
  • Pulling out splinters or thorns
  • Cutting stray threads or annoying bag straps
  • Opening packaging while on the previously mentioned picnic or any other time plastic packaging seems to be defeating you
  • Filing and cutting nails

My top travel items to pack when you set of on an adventure

Moisturiser with sunscreen

This one isn’t just for the ladies, everyone should moisturise. If you get one with sunscreen in it that is a bonus especially on days where it is over cast and you think you don’t need sun screen – UV is always there people!

  • Protects your skin
  • Keeps your skin moist especially in changing climates or dry atmospheres (like planes)
Black pen

Oh it seems so obvious – but how many times have you been sitting on a plane and the air hostess has handed out the arrival forms, and suddenly you have to ask your neighbour if you can borrow their pen. Always have one on you

  • Filling in arrival cards
  • Writing post cards
  • Writing directions on your hand
  • Writing thank you notes on receipts when leaving a tip

You can always spot an Australian abroad, they are the ones wearing havaiana’s and sunglasses. We come from a country where the sun is bright and full of glare so we have evolved to always carry sunglasses with us. But protecting your eyes from the sun isn’t the only thing a pair of sunglasses can do.

  • Hide the circles under your eyes after a long day/night or travelling/partying
  • Hold the hair up out of your eyes when super windy
  • Hide your from people as you secretly people watch

My top travel items to pack when you set of on an adventure

Rubber thongs/flip flops

I am not going to apologise for calling them thongs, I am after all – Australian. And flip flops is such a ridiculous and childish name. They are practically part of the Australian dress code so I think it is totally acceptable that we call them this… England stop sniggering you have been caught wearing socks with sandals way too many times to have an opinion on this matter.

  • Great for easy removal in tropical and beach climates
  • Protects your feet from fungus in the shower… and then dries quickly
  • By wearing your thongs in the rain or in wet situations you get your feet wet, which dry quickly. Instead of your shoes which can take days to dry and then will smell funky for weeks.
  • Can kill most creepy crawlies… cockroaches usually take a couple of slaps though
Hair ties/rubber bands

The great thing about hair ties is that they can double up as rubber bands, if you don’t have long hair and therefore don’t need hair ties I do recommend stowing away a couple of rubber bands for emergencies.

  • You can use them to seal up packages when you have left over ingredients to pack
  • They can help keep documents all together
  • You can use them to roll together some clothes that you are taking to the beach

I don’t actually carry a torch with me when I take my smart phone as that has a torch built in. But some people forget that their phone has a torch – never forget this.

  • Help you find your clothes in the dark so you don’t have to turn the light on in your hostel room and wake up 7 other people
  • If you are doing any sunrise hikes can be used to guide your way
  • If you drop an earring on the floor it can be used to help find it
What travel items do you never travel without? Tell me in the comments below as I am about to start packing for my next trip!



  1. Pingback: 2 trips, 10 years apart - How I changed in Europe - The Lite Backpacker

  2. I have the worlds most amazing toiletry bag from Kathmandu, never leave without it. I also always take duct/gaffa tape which is great for fixing your pack or your shoes in an emergency. I quite literally have gaffa taped the sole of my boot after a volcano hike wore them through! And finally a needle and thread to resew buttons/clothes if the need arises!

    1. Author

      Gaffa Tape is a great one. I also always take a needle and thread but have not yet used it… I often use safety pins instead! Great tips will be sure to pack the gaffa 🙂

  3. This is a solid list of easy to pack essentials.

    We also bring a couple of small plastic bags which can be used for rubbish, laundry, buying fruits or food in a market, hold clothes in a hostel shower or keep items dry when its wet or raining. Another easy to pack item that has many useful functions is a simple, sturdy clothes line string.

    1. Author

      Great idea – and so true. You can always find a use for a plastic bag – great for storing fruit and veg in as you move to your next hostel as well!

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