One of the most annoying things about backpacking is just picking and choosing between what to take along! Bring too much and you’ll want to set your backpack on fire for being too heavy. And getting advice from your friends is no use since they've all been to different continents at different times of the year. How about all the information online from Choosing Your Perfect Backpack to Packing Hacks? Overwhelming!

To make things a little easier, here’s a list of items you don’t need to bring just about anywhere in the world! These tips will help you travel longer and lighter.


guidebook travel packing

As sad as it is to see the slow death of the travel guide, those chubby books take up serious real estate inside your bag and weigh a ton! Instead, invest in a good smartphone or tablet where you can store all your books and travel guides. The iBooks app is free and has awesome pros as to reading an actual book like highlighting, note-taking and night-time reading capabilities.


mp3 player

Even though a simple mp3 player doesn’t take up much space, every pocket is precious whether you’re on a weekend getaway or a long-term backpacking trip abroad. Plus, the more stuff you have, the easier it is to lose track of it all. Store all of your music, books, contacts, etc. on one device, and protect it with your life (just don’t forget to back it up periodically).

3. MAPS or GPS

reading map travel

Not only are city maps widely available in hostels, these can also be found on your handy-dandy smartphone! Google Maps will work off-line if you have access to WiFi: in the morning before leaving your hostel or hotel, download the city you need on the Google Maps app and voila! Even without cellular connection, your Google map should function just like a paper one.


waterproof gopro surfing

GoPros are waterproof!

Hundreds of iPhone and GoPro photographers can’t be wrong: size does not matter when it comes to taking stunning travel photos. While it may not be the most budget-friendly, the GoPro captures unreal pictures and videos that you can cherish for years after your trip. For something a more versatile, investing in a good smartphone will also give you great pictures and video, but also carry your books and travel guides, music, maps and GPS (see numbers 1 – 3).


credit card

These ancient forms of international payment were once very popular with travellers, but are relatively unknown today. Unless you like paying the bank for no reason, just get a good travel credit card (or debit) and always carry emergency US dollars instead. Credit cards which allow you to gain travel points are an added bonus!


beauty products

Sure, a tube of eyeliner doesn’t weigh much, but who draws the line there (pun intended)? All that mascara, eye shadow, face powders and bronzer add up, not to mention day/night/eye/body creams, hair-dryers, straighteners and nail polish. Leave it all at home! Your skin and backpack will thank you.




Embrace your hair's natural texture when travelling!

With the ever-tightening liquid restrictions on airplanes, this is a good one you can live without. Every country in the world sells just about the same product for cheap. Leave yours at home and pick up a basic bottle whenever you arrive in a new place. Or opt for a shampoo bar like the ones from Lush, which are long-lasting (up to 80 washes!) . The same principle applies for soap, toothpaste and deodorant: buy it at your destination, or yep, they sell them in solid state as well!


woman sleeping

Those candy-coloured neck pillows might look nice sitting on an airport shelf, but they’re not very practical for bringing on the road! Just use other items like sweaters or towels or your bag to rest your head. Plus, all hostels these days provide their own pillows.


girl packing suitcase

Trust me when I say you need far fewer clothes than you think. Clothes will be the heaviest and bulkiest objects in your pack. Would you rather: carry around a sweater that you only wear once but kept for sentimental value rather than buy that beautiful Moroccan blanket? Pack only the essentials, not “just-in-case” items like dress pants or blazers. You’ll end up crying when you have to throw them out later on. Plus, if you’re suddenly in need of something, you can make it into a practical souvenir with a great story attached!


grumpy cat titanic meme

This could be the hardest thing to leave behind, but you have to do it. You’ll both end up being miserable and possibly destroy a great friendship. Better off branching out on your own and making friends as you go along! Taking a free walking tour is a great way to meet other travellers and get introduced to a new location!

Final note: The best advice is just to pack as little as possible. All you really need are some clothes on your back, a bit of cash, a passport and away you go!

What’s one thing you brought that you later found out you never needed?

Madeleine Lee