Although most backpackers are incredibly fond of weighing themselves down with just about every piece of clothing they own, I have always preferred to travel light. After all, if you plan on traveling a lot as opposed to staying in a single city, whatever you decide to take with you is going to spend a rather large portion of your trip on your back.
There are however a few things that I consider well worth carrying. They are both light enough not to weigh you down but useful enough to really benefit you while on the road. For those reasons, I consider them to be essential items on every backpackers list of things to bring with them on their travels.
If you’re a big coffee drinker and you plan on staying at hostels, a travel mug should save you a dollar or two per day.
Most hostels provide coffee free of charge twenty four hours a day and when you combine such generosity with a travel mug, you shouldn’t have to purchase a single cup of coffee throughout your trip.
Considering the cost of Starbucks, even in cheaper countries, the savings made can quickly add up.
If you’re not a reader yet, wait until you haven’t watched an English TV channel for a few months. The absence of television can make just about anyone love to read. And if you are going to be reading books on the road, there is no better way of doing so than with a Kindle or your own personal choice of e-reader.
Although a Kindle is smaller than even a single paper back, you can carry with you, your own personal library at all times. And having access to a wide selection of books can make even the longest of train journeys significantly easier to bare.
Speaking of making things easier to bare, if you are not a fan of people snoring, screaming or shouting, you should purchase a pair of earplugs before checking into any hostels.
Although a number of hostels now provide them free of charge, the majority don’t. And when you have a room containing ten different people sleeping, odds are that at least one is going to snore like a farm animal.
Save yourself the hassle and the potential for heated arguments with a cheap pair of earplugs. I never travel without a pair.
Over the past few years, it appears to have become rather common for hostels to believe that they have the right to charge for the use of a towel.
And when your skipping a kebab to save on cash, having to spend that cash on something that should be free is frustrating to say the least. This little issue can be overcome by carrying your own towel, but not just any towel, the fast drying variety.
For as little as twenty dollars, these incredibly lightweight towels, can be thrown into your backpack every morning after as little as ten minutes in the sun. Don’t forget that even Ford Prefect believed that you always need a towel.
These incredibly light, but incredibly comfortable inventions are great for just about any long journey.
Therefore regardless of whether you will be traveling by train, bus or plane, you should shell out a few dollars for one of these pillows before your trip.
Although it ‘s certainly not possible to sleep on every journey you take, an airplane pillow should ensure that you are comfortable whenever you do manage to grab a few winks.
Another favorite for hostels to charge their guests for are padlocks.
Carrying your own not only saves you the cost of renting one, it prevents you having to use the flimsy excuses for padlocks that most hostels provide.
It’s also worth noting that if you’re the intelligent type, you’ll purchase a padlock with a combination rather than a key.
Lost keys are not only infuriating, getting your backpack stuck in a locker doesn’t exactly make you look or feel very cool.
Anything with Wi-fi
The final item on this list is probably the most beneficial as it can save you both a lot of money and a lot of time. Not only are internet cafes expensive in major cities, they are also frequently incredibly difficult to find when you first arrive somewhere new.
And with the advent of Skype and online hostel reservations, internet access is likely to be something that you will want on almost every day of your trip.
Any sort of Wi-fi enabled device will do the trick, whether it’s your netbook, your phone or your e-book reader. Provided you can pick up Wi-fi, you can get online in just about any city for the price of a cup of coffee.