Backpacking around the world is a good time, no matter what you bring or how you bring it. Nobody should stress too much over how to pack or what travel gear to bring. Unless you’re scaling Mount Everest, chances are you’ll survive. But there are a few items that are designed help you stay light and mobile, which means you’ll spend less time dealing with life’s basics and more time making new friends and creating new adventures. So here are the five best travel accessories for backpack travelers:
First: A Travel Backpack
By far the best accessory you can bring is also the most basic – a backpack designed for travel. Of course, any backpack will do. But if you want to grab your stuff quickly and easily and keep everything organized, a travel backpack is the best way to go. The main advantage is travel backpacks open like a suitcase. Traditional backpacks open at the top with a drawstring. So if you need to grab something at the bottom of a traditional backpack, you have to take everything out first and then repack it. A complete hassle if you’re in the middle of a train station. With travel backpacks, you have all the same features, but you can open it from the top or side and have access to all your stuff quickly and easily.
Second: Quick-Dry Travel Underwear
Nothing can ruin a trip faster than a little fungus in your nether regions, if you know what I mean. Stuffing damp, cotton underwear in your pack is a recipe for mildew, fungus and odors. With quick-dry, anti-bacterial underwear, you can just wash it in the sink, hang it to dry and it’s ready to pack or wear by the time the next bus arrives. And it’s anti-bacterial coating helps fight fungus between washings.
Third: Packing Cubes
I didn’t even know what these were when I first started traveling. Now, I don’t pack even for a weekend without them. Packing cubes, or compression packers, are essentially mesh or nylon squares into which you pack all of your gear before putting the cubes in your backpack. Not only do they keep everything organized, but they allow you to pack way more stuff in the same space by compressing the materials before putting them in your pack.
Fourth: International Plug Adapters
It’s a wired world and you have to stay plugged in. Each continent, essentially, has its own electrical wall outlet configuration, so you have to bring an adapter to fit it if you want to plug in your electronics. There are a couple of ways to do this. If you’re going for a worldwide trip, or aren’t sure where you’ll end up, bring an all-in-one universal adapter that will fit no matter where you go. If you’re going to be in only one continent, you can also buy an adapter set that includes individual pieces, so you can bring only what you need.
Fifth: Travel or Luggage Locks
I hate to break the positive travel spirit by mentioning security, but you’re a long way from home and it can be a major hassle and time-eater to replace things that are stolen while traveling. So you want to take a few precautions. The best type of locks for backpackers are travel cable locks that include flexible cables to reach multiple zippers. These locks allow you to secure your pack and exterior pockets while in crowded places prone to pick pocketing, or when you are separated from your pack. Some locks with longer cables also let you secure your pack to a chair or other fixed object. Travel locks are small and lightweight. They aren’t going to prevent every theft. But if someone has just a few seconds to pick through a few backpack pockets, these locks will make sure they don’t pick through yours.
So, remember, travel should be low stress and great times. No need to get bogged down in too many how-to guides. You’ll have a blast no matter which travel accessories you bring. But with a few key accessories you’ll stay light, mobile and have more time to spend exploring the world.