Travel Essentials – Things To Take On Your Next Trip

Travel Essentials


When going through your packing list for an extended trip away from home, it’s easy to over-think things. And even worse, it’s easy to over-pack. The best advice is to pack light! Almost everything you need you can pick up on the road, and sometimes for just a fraction of the cost of what you would pay for a similar item in your home country. But that being said, there are certain things that might skip your thought process which we consider to be travel essentials. So here is a list of travel essentials that should always have a home in your backpack!

1) Duct Tape

Duct Tape Travel Essentials
The miracle tape with a million and one uses! Use it to fix rips in your clothes. Bandage up your feet if you get blisters. Tape a bunch of loose items in your bag together so you don’t lose them. Repair a tear in that mosquito net over your bed in the $7 a night bungalow on the beach. Strap your drunken, snoring hostel roommate to their bunk bed for a good old laugh. The possibilities are endless! And if you feel a whole roll of duct tape is both cumbersome and consumes too much space, then simply wrap a couple of metres of it around a pen!

2) Multi-Tool

Multi Tool  Travel Essentials
I couldn’t begin to fathom the amount of times I have used my Leatherman while we have been gallivanting around the globe. From fixing zippers to cutting up fruit and sawing off firewood and of course repairing our motorcycles! This magnificent tool has always been in a readily accessible pocket of my backpack. I still cannot believe I haven’t lost it over the years, and I would be devastated if I ever did!

3) Toilet Paper

Toilet Paper  Travel Essentials
It seems a little strange to pack a roll of toilet paper, but you’ll be amazed at how rare it is to come across in public bathrooms in third world countries. You may be forced to use the much-feared bum-gun! Sometimes there is a sweet old lady sitting out the front smiling and handing out a few squares for when you enter. The thing is she expects payment once you exit feeling much more relieved. Save the awkward transaction by carrying your own! Also can be used to pack out your shoes if your feet are sliding around in them.

4) Sleeping Bag Liner

Sleeping Bag Liner Travel Essentials
Backpacking with a sleeping bag is one of the age-old debates, filled with staunch followers on both sides of the fence. But one thing that is usually pretty universally agreed upon is the importance of a sleeping bag liner. They come in either silk or cotton (we recommend silk) and weigh next to nothing. They pack down to the size of a child’s fist and can make the difference between a comfortable night’s sleep and a shivering, painful nightmare which results in your body being bombarded by those most hated of all cheap accommodation companions – bed bugs! Use them!

5) Carabiners

Carabiners Travel Essentials
Not just for rock climbers, these extremely useful accessories can be used to hang an assortment of objects off and around your backpack and room. Sounds a bit obvious, but it can be great to have an easy place to clip your boots to the outside of your bag. Or somewhere for your daypack to hang off your front without you constantly having to have your arms through the straps.

6) Rope

Rope Travel Essentials
Now, I‘m not talking about a whole spool of nylon rope to moor your backpack to a bus seat. I mean a few metres of small diameter rope which you can string between two fittings in your hostel room to hang wet clothes off, or tie loose objects together. And if you get bored, you can sit there and learn knots. Because let’s face it, knowing how to tie knots is an essential skill that every person should have!

7) Safety Pins

Safety Pins Travel Essentials
What would you use safety pins for? You can use them to fix holes in your clothes when you can’t be bothered sewing them. Shorten your waistband on your pants when you’ve lost weight on the road and don’t want to spend money on a new pair. Or throw in a new facial piercing when you’re in Myanmar and want to fit in with the punk rock scene!

8) Zip Ties

Zip Ties Travel Essentials
If you’ve never used zip ties before, you’re living life wrong. Makeshift padlocks for your backpack. Put a new handle on broken zippers. Create daisy chains where you need them. We’ve used so many of them over the past few months. They are always coming in handy for something. Just don’t forget to have your multi-tool handy to remove them!

9) Plastic And Ziplock Bags

Ziplock Bags Travel Essentials
Clothes will get wet. Sunscreen will explode in your bag. Carrying 12 mangoes can get awkward. But store them in a plastic bag, and eliminate the hassle! We store all our liquids in ziplock bags to give added protection from unwanted messes in our backpacks. Don’t throw away the plastic bags that everyone gives you at little convenience stores – reusing and recycling is awesome!

10) Ear Plugs

Ear Plugs Travel Essentials
Some people are heavy sleepers, others aren’t. Sometimes even the slightest noise from a small insect can keep you up for hours. So imagine what it’s like with a snoring roommate, chanting coming from the mosque next door  druandnken backpackers singing Wonderwall outside your dorm! Throw in these small, foam disposable plugs and sleep the night away, awaking the next day refreshed and ready to climb mountains!

What do you think of our list of travel essentials? What should we add? What travel essentials do you never leave home without? Leave a comment below and let us know!


  1. alley bates says

    a few of those items have come in handy over my years of traveling. love the articles guys. keep em coming!

  2. Zoe Lines says

    A pegless washing line, for the girls a shewee has been used loads for some privacy and so u dont have to stray too far from a bus and it takes off without u (seen this), ruc sac cover to protect ur pack from dust on a bus and to secure it when its left at a hotel, expandable cup for tea or packet noodles, i always have at least a travel fork which u can pretty much use to eat anything even yogurt. bed protector to use to try and avoid bed bugs, i recycle empty plastic bags for loads of things and keep a stash at the side of my ruck sac, sewing kit, ive used dental floss as a washing line b4, bed sheet if no bed protector some beds look a little unsavory, antibiotics can come in useful for tooth infection or stomach problems (only prescribed form your doctors), i also use a hydration keyring which is good for measuring salt to sugar ratio. Just a few ideas from simple things. Im going to try out the new filter straw next to see if its good for filtering water.

    • says

      Thanks Zoe! Those are some great tips as well. We travel we everything you mentioned except the ‘shewee’, antibiotics and the hydration keyring. Be sure to let us know how the filter straw goes. We’ve heard some good things about them. Cheers!

    • says

      Thanks Maria! We also use packing cells. Since we bought our most recent top-loading backpacks having all our gear in these compartments makes such a huge difference packing and unpacking. Don’t know how we went so many years without them!

    • says

      Oh man ear plugs have saved us so many times! Howling dogs, beeping tuk-tuks, roosters going off at all times of the morning! We’d be lost without them. Cheers for reading Dale. What is your biggest travel essential?

    • says

      Thanks Katie. Good call on the candles! Hand-wound and solar-powered torches work as well. We’ll be backpacking and camping across China, Mongolia and Central Asia next year and will definitely pack some candles now. Cheers for the tip.

  3. Debbie says

    Great tips, and definitely things I would take on my next trip! We stayed in the rain forest area of the East side of the Big Island of Hawaii recently, and the waka waka solar powered flashlight/charger was INVALUABLE. I got one for myself and family for gifts last year, and my dad uses his daily at work. I recommend this as a necessity on the road. (By the way, I do not work for nor get any sort of reimbursement from them, I just love their product.) When you buy one, they donate one to a needy area :)

  4. says

    Zip ties were the absolutely essential item on our bike trip, followed closely by duct tape. You can fix anything if you have those two items. Conversely, we carried a coiled of rope with us for 2 years, and the first time we used it was after we came home.
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  5. says

    Great list! I pack really light but I am going to add some emergency duct tape and a few cable ties to my next bag. One other thing I love is a reusable dry sack instead of ziplock bags. It’s sturdier, feels a little more eco-friendly, and I trust it more for electronics.

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