When you go on a nice holiday to a beautiful resort or a luxurious hotel you usually take other things with you than when you go backpaking. Ofcourse there are things you drag with you everywhere you go (like your phone, or a tablet or a camera). Yet during my travels through Europe I realised there are things I can’t go without when I go backpacking.
When you backpack you sleep in hostels a lot. And hostel rooms usually have a locker for everyone to store your stuff in. Something like that has to have a lock on it and although you can rent a lock in most hostels these days I don’t think that’s such a good idea. Why not? Well because you never know who has a key or a copy of your key and has access to your locker. Locks aren’t that expensive to buy and they have them with keys or a number combination. They take up very little space and aren’t too heavy. Ideal to bring yourself for a little extra security.
Or, when you don’t need your lock anymore you can hang it on a bridge. There are many places that have a whole range of locks collected in one place, but if you want to buy yourself a lock there to add to it, they charge you a fortune. A waste of your money really, because it can be spend on many other fun things along the way!
Sleeping Mask and Earplugs
Before I went backpacking I never thought about sleeping masks or ear plugs. I did doubt for a bit if I should bring ear plugs and eventually decided against it. STUPID STUPID STUPID. Maybe you don’t snore yourself, or the person who you travel with doesn’t snore. But your hostel roommates probably do! Ear plugs are no luxury. Besides no ear plugs I also didn’t have a sleeping mask and curtains in hostels are generally very thin, or (in pretty extreme cases) not even there. If there also is a street light in front of your window there is a lot of light. So I bought myself a set of earplugs and a sleeping mask early on. They don’t have to be expensive but cheap earplugs aren’t always very comfortable. Invest in a good pair of earplugs, you’ll enjoy them more because they’re comfortable to wear and stop the snoring.
This may not be a must-have for many backpackers. Or maybe it’s not that well known yet. But I can’t (and won’t) go without it anymore.
Your backpack is usually out of sight for a longer period of time during the day, when you’ve settled into a hostel or on a train for example. You don’t drag your big backpack along during the day, but you’ll most likely leave it in your room. On a train they usually have to be put in a luggage rack and they’re not always right next to your seat. And then what? Everyone can take something out of your bag then, (or put something in it, yes paranoid much). That’s why I bought a backpack protector. Mine is made by Pacsafe (I’m a very big fan of this brand) and it’s a steel mesh that you wrap around your backpack. This way others can’t get into your backpack that easily and it allows you to tie your bag to your bed in a hostel or to a luggage rack on a train, so others can’t take off with your backpack.
I did notice it’s fairly unknown still. Other than Sarah and myself I didn’t see anyone with it. It is a good conversation starter though, because a lot of people are curious about it. What is it, and where can I get it. I’m really happy with mine. It was an investment but being able to leave your bag somewhere without having to worry about it is worth a lot.
Of course there are more things I can’t go without during my travels, but the list will become very long. So I’ll make another “things I can’t go without, part 2” in the future.
What can’t you go without during your travels?