Packing for a backpacking adventure is different from your standard family holiday or week away with the girls. You need to pack your hostel survival kit. The 10 backpacking essentials you must not forget to make your stay in a hostel that much easier.
Some people love staying in a hostel. Others grin and bear it because the people you meet and the experiences you have are worth it. I’m somewhere between. If the hostel has some of the little luxuries that are important to me and the people in my room are nice then I love it. But a poor internet connection or a dirty bathroom can make me want to spend all my money on a night in a private hotel room.
For my rundown of the 10 things to consider when booking a hostel check out my recent post.
This article lists essentials that will make hostel life a much better experience. So let’s jump in.
My darling sister told me I would need these bad boys but I stubbornly refused. Partly because I was lazy and didn’t want to go hunting for some. Partly because I didn’t like the idea of having things in my ears at night.
I have fallen asleep with my apple earphones in before and it is not a comfortable experience.
As much as I hate to admit it she was right.
I was lucky on my tour, I was staying in all-female rooms with people who liked to sleep. After the tour, I was staying in rooms with people coming in at all the hours of the night and making strange and annoying noises. If only I had some earplugs I could have slept through the night!
2. Eye Mask
Another sleep essential my sister told me to bring and I ignored.
Again I didn’t think I would be comfortable with something on my face. But, when your roomie comes in and turns the light on in the middle of the night, you need something to protect your eyes.
I took a blanket from an overnight train during the tour and this has doubled up as an eye mask on some occasions. But when in sunny Australia having a blanket over your face its not pleasant.
My advice is, invest in a comfortable eye mask. Combined with those earplugs you have more chance of getting that all-important sleep.
3. Giant Microfibre Towel
And I mean GIANT. I bought a small microfibre towel with me. It great, it drys quickly, it just about drys me and it’s easy to pack away. But the size I got barely covers my body. Get a giant one so you can fully wrap yourself up in it. You will need it for the communal showers or even just in an ensuite dorm it would have come in handy.
Most hostels do have towels to rent but not all give the full deposit back. I have been taking advantage of the hostel towels where possible. But a bigger towel is on my ‘when I find a job I want to buy a…’ list.
4. Travel Pillow
Not only very handy for the flights and long bus rides. But a travel pillow is also something you may be able to use in the hostels too. Not all hostels have a nice plump pillow. Some are not worth bothering with they are so thin.
I have heard a handy tip from other travellers is to put your travel pillow inside the pillowcase to plump it up. Since hearing this my pillows have not been alight so I haven’t tried it. But I have used my travel pillow a lot on the looooong greyhound bus rides around Aus.
5. Water Bottle
Staying hydrated is essential to life and it’s even more important when visiting hot countries. Australia is pretty good for having free water fountains everywhere. This is probably due to how hot it gets in the summer (soon to experience this for myself).
Make sure to bring a reusable water bottle with you so you can take advantage of the free water. And help the environment by not opting for single-use plastic.
6. Slim Line Power Adaptor
One thing I have noticed that is kind of frustrating is that most hostel rooms have just one area to plug in electricals.
My first stop, Wake Up in Sydney, spoilt me. We each had our own plug socket and light by our bed so there were no issues. But as my travels have progressed I discovered unless you are paying for the more expensive hostels then this is rare.
I have subsequently realised the plug adaptors that I bought are rather chunky. This often means that when my stuff is plugged in the plug next to mine cannot be used. I have seen others with really compact adaptors, particularly the USB adaptors. So when getting yours look for something slim.
7. Power Bank
This has been a lifesaver. Particularly as an owner of an iPhone that is over 2 years old now my battery does not always last the day. When you are taking pictures and videos of the amazing sights on your adventure, you don’t want your phone to run out of battery just as the UK wakes up and you want to share it with them.
Bring a tried and tested power bank. My mum gave me hers and it works really well. It’s one that she found on amazon here is a link to one that I think is the same as what she bought for me. It’s the same make as mine, I have it in blue.
8. Padlock &/or Lockable Case
Mum bought me a selection of locks, with the intention of stringing up all the zips on my backpack to lock it. On the tour this was impractical. It was hard enough getting in and out of the backpack to find stuff as it is.
But the locks do come in handy when you have a lockable space in your room or hostel. Hostels provide you with the lockable spaces but not the locks so I was very glad I had mine.
When I upgraded to a suitcase I bought one with a TSA lock embedded in it. This meant that I could use my suitcase as a giant locker and it was very useful when I was in rooms without lockers. I was able to keep all my valuables in the case if I was going out for the day.
9. Hand Sanitiser
Another thing that surprised me about hostels is that not all of them provide soap. I ended up buying my own cheap soap from the supermarket whenever I was staying in place for a week or more.
It’s the same with public toilets, so I was very glad I had a few bottles of hand sanitiser with me for use on the go. They are useful things to have regardless of travelling. You never know when you are going to need to disinfect.
10. Dry Shampoo
Many female travellers best friend! This stuff is great when you have been out of range of a shower for a couple of days. I personally have to wash my hair every day and there have been very few occasions so far where I have not been able to wash my hair. But I know for a lot of girls this is essential in their luggage.
So those are my top 10 backpacking essentials you must not forget. Please bear in mind I have only travelled to Australia.
If you have travelled to other places and feel there should be some other items on the list please let me know.
For a more comprehensive list of ideas of what to pack why not download my free printable ’The Ultimate Travel Checklist’