These items saved me a lot of stress during my two week backpacking trip through Europe.
1. First-Aid Kit
No I’m not talking about the cutesy first aid kit from the dollar store (although you can start with that). You need to get a little more heavy duty than just some Band-Aids and an antibacterial wipe. I bought myself a mini first aid kit in a small plastic box and I added some vital items to it.
- Vitamin C- I took this every morning and before every plane ride. I refused to get sick on this trip!
- Melatonin- This sleep aide saved my life, because jet lag can be a drag.
- Advil- Carrying 30+ lbs on your back all day is painful.
- Benadryl- In case you are allergic to all of those foreign trees.
- Tums- In case your stomach is not fond of all of those foreign foods.
- Antibacterial Cream- If you get a cut, you don’t want it to get infected.
- Anti-Itch Cream- If you are traveling in the summer you are bound to get a few bug bites.
2. Two TSA Approved Luggage Locks
One for your backpack and one for backup! I bought a small luggage lock for my backpack, and I purchased a larger luggage lock with a longer neck. My bigger lock came in handy when hostels provided lockers but no lock. It also helped me if the hostel did not provide a locker, then I had the option of also locking my day pack.
3. Some Plastic Grocery Bags
I always pack my bulkier shoes into a plastic grocery bag when I’m traveling, this way mud and dirt don’t get on my clothes. I also packed a couple extra bags. These came in handy when I needed to carry my dirty clothes to the laundry mat, to carry my towel and sunscreen to the beach, and when I had to pack my wet swim suit in my backpack.
4. A Water Bottle or a Water Bag
Almost everywhere I traveled in Europe there were drinking fountains scattered throughout the streets. My travel buddy and I lugged a water bottle around to stay hydrated, but recently I have discovered water bags. A water bag is essentially a water bottle except it’s much less clunky, and when you drink all of your water you can roll the bag up, and put it in your pocket. Most of them also come with carabiners so you can clip it to your backpack.
5. Travel Towel
Many hostels I stayed in did not provide towels. Instead, they would charge you, or request a deposit and loan you a towel. Luckily I had come prepared with an extra absorbent, fast drying, tiny travel towel that folded into a ball the size of my fists. Don’t waste your money on a hygienic necessity!