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What To Bring With You When Backpacking In Another Country


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Verene Tullis



When embarking on a backpacking adventure in another country, being well-prepared is essential to ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip. From essential documents to must-have items, packing strategically can make a significant difference in your overall experience.


So, what should you bring with you when backpacking in another country? This comprehensive guide will walk you through the key essentials that every backpacker should consider before setting off on their journey.


Keep in mind that packing will vary depending on the destination, time of year, and personal preferences. However, there are certain universal items that every traveler should have in their backpack. By following these tips, you can be prepared for the unexpected and make the most out of your backpacking experience.


Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or embarking on your first international adventure, this guide will ensure that you have all the necessary items to stay comfortable, safe, and well-prepared throughout your backpacking trip.


Essential Documents

When traveling to another country, it’s crucial to have all the necessary documents to ensure a hassle-free journey. Here are the essential documents you should bring with you when backpacking:

  1. Passport: Check the validity of your passport and ensure it will not expire within six months of your planned return date. Keep a photocopy or digital copy of your passport as a backup.
  2. Visas: Research the visa requirements for your destination and obtain the necessary visas well in advance. Some countries have visa-on-arrival options, while others require pre-approval.
  3. Identification: Carry a valid government-issued identification card, such as a driver’s license or ID card.
  4. Travel Insurance: Purchase a comprehensive travel insurance policy that covers medical emergencies, trip cancellations, and lost or stolen belongings.
  5. Flight Tickets: Print or have electronic copies of your flight tickets, including any additional bookings for connecting flights or transportation.
  6. Accommodation Details: Have a printed or digital copy of your accommodation reservations, including addresses and contact information.
  7. Emergency Contacts: Carry a list of emergency contact numbers, including local authorities, your embassy or consulate, and any important contacts back home.

It’s essential to keep these documents organized and easily accessible. Consider having both physical copies and digital copies stored securely in cloud storage or email, in case of loss or theft.


Remember to research the specific document requirements of your destination country well in advance and ensure that you have all the necessary paperwork to enter and exit the country legally and hassle-free.


Money and Currency

Managing your finances properly is crucial when backpacking in another country. Here are some tips for handling money and currency during your trip:

  1. Currency Exchange: Research the local currency of your destination and exchange a sufficient amount of cash before your trip. Consider exchanging money at reputable banks or currency exchange offices to get the best rates.
  2. ATM Withdrawals: Find out if your bank card will work internationally. Look for ATMs at banks or reputable establishments to avoid high transaction fees. Inform your bank of your travel plans to prevent any issues with your card being blocked.
  3. Travel Cards: Consider getting a prepaid travel card or a multi-currency card that allows you to load and spend different currencies. These cards are convenient and can provide favorable exchange rates.
  4. Budgeting: Plan and track your expenses to avoid overspending. Research the average costs of meals, transportation, and attractions at your destination to estimate your daily budget.
  5. Emergency Cash: Carry a small amount of emergency cash in a separate location from your main wallet, in case of theft or loss.

It’s also important to be aware of common scams and pickpocketing in tourist areas. Keep your money and valuables secure by using a money belt, hidden pouch, or a secure backpack with locking compartments.


Lastly, notify your bank of your travel plans to prevent any issues with your card being blocked due to suspicious activity. Also, keep a record of important phone numbers, such as your bank’s customer service line, to report any lost or stolen cards.


By being prepared and managing your money wisely, you can ensure that you have enough funds to enjoy your backpacking adventure without any financial stress.


Clothing and Accessories

Choosing the right clothing and accessories for your backpacking trip can greatly enhance your comfort and enjoyment. Here are some essentials to consider packing:

  1. Appropriate Clothing: Pack lightweight, moisture-wicking clothing suitable for the climate of your destination. Consider layering options to accommodate varying temperatures and weather conditions.
  2. Comfortable Shoes: Invest in a sturdy pair of walking shoes or hiking boots that are comfortable and suitable for different terrains. Break them in before your trip to avoid blisters.
  3. Rain Gear: Pack a waterproof jacket or poncho, as well as a compact umbrella, to stay dry during unexpected rain showers.
  4. Swimwear: If you plan on swimming or visiting beaches, remember to pack swimwear.
  5. Headwear: Bring a hat, cap, or bandana to protect yourself from the sun.
  6. Sunglasses: Protect your eyes from the sun by packing a pair of sunglasses with UV protection.
  7. Reusable Water Bottle: Stay hydrated by carrying a reusable water bottle that you can refill throughout your trip.
  8. Travel Towel: Opt for a quick-drying, compact travel towel that takes up less space in your backpack.
  9. Travel Adapter: If you’re traveling to a country with different electrical outlets, bring a travel adapter to charge your devices.
  10. Daypack: A small, lightweight daypack is essential for carrying your daily essentials and exploring your destination comfortably.

Remember to pack clothing and accessories that align with the local culture and customs. Additionally, consider the activities you have planned, such as hiking or visiting religious sites, to ensure you have appropriate attire.


Keep in mind that overpacking can be cumbersome, so choose versatile clothing items that can be mixed and matched. Plan your outfits according to the length of your trip, allowing for laundry or washing facilities along the way.


By packing the right clothing and accessories, you’ll be prepared for any adventure and feel comfortable throughout your backpacking journey.


Toiletries and Personal Care

When backpacking in another country, it’s important to prioritize personal hygiene and self-care. Here are some essential toiletries and personal care items to include in your backpack:

  1. Toothbrush and Toothpaste: Opt for a compact travel-sized toothbrush and toothpaste to maintain your oral hygiene.
  2. Shampoo and Conditioner: Consider using travel-sized bottles or transferring your favorite products into smaller containers.
  3. Soap or Body Wash: Bring a bar of soap or a travel-sized body wash to keep yourself clean and refreshed.
  4. Deodorant: Pack a small deodorant stick or roll-on to stay fresh throughout the day.
  5. Sunscreen: Protect your skin from harmful UV rays by applying sunscreen with a high SPF.
  6. Insect Repellent: Depending on your destination, insect repellent can help keep mosquitoes and other pests at bay.
  7. Menstrual Products: If needed, pack an ample supply of tampons, pads, or menstrual cups.
  8. Razor and Shaving Cream: If you prefer to stay groomed, bring a travel-sized razor and shaving cream.
  9. Contact Lens Solution: If you wear contact lenses, pack travel-sized contact lens solution and a spare pair of lenses.
  10. Basic First Aid Kit: Include band-aids, antiseptic cream, pain relievers, and any necessary prescription medication.

Try to minimize the amount of liquid toiletries you carry to comply with security regulations. Look for solid or travel-sized alternatives that are more convenient and take up less space in your backpack.


Additionally, consider any specific personal care items you may require, such as hair styling products, skincare items, or any specialized products for sensitive skin or allergies.


By packing these essential toiletries and personal care items, you can maintain your hygiene and feel fresh throughout your backpacking adventure in another country.


Electronics and Gadgets

While it’s important to disconnect and enjoy your backpacking adventure, having the right electronics and gadgets can enhance your travel experience and keep you connected when needed. Here are some essential electronics to consider packing:

  1. Smartphone: Your smartphone can serve multiple purposes, from navigation and communication to capturing memories with its camera.
  2. Adapter and Charger: Bring an adapter compatible with the electrical outlets at your destination to charge your devices.
  3. Portable Power Bank: A portable power bank can keep your devices charged when you don’t have access to electricity.
  4. Camera: If you’re into photography, consider packing a compact camera or a DSLR to capture high-quality images of your journey.
  5. Portable Speaker: A small portable speaker can enhance your travel experience by providing music and entertainment.
  6. E-Reader or Tablet: If you enjoy reading, an e-reader or tablet can allow you to carry multiple books in one device.
  7. Headphones: Pack a good pair of headphones or earphones to enjoy music, podcasts, or movies during long journeys.
  8. Universal Serial Bus (USB) Cable: Bring a USB cable that can connect your devices to computers, chargers, or other electronic devices.
  9. Travel Adapter: If you’re traveling to a country with different electrical outlets, bring a travel adapter to charge your devices.
  10. Electronic Organizer: Keep your cables, chargers, and gadgets organized and tangle-free with an electronic organizer.

While these electronics can enhance your travel experience, be mindful of their usage. Remember to disconnect and immerse yourself in the beauty of your destination.


Additionally, prioritize the safety of your electronic devices by using password protection, keeping them secure in your backpack, and not flashing them in crowded or unsafe areas.


By packing these essential electronics and gadgets, you can stay connected, capture memories, and have a more enjoyable backpacking experience.


Medications and First Aid Kit

When backpacking in another country, it’s important to be prepared for any medical situations that may arise. Here are some essential medications and items to include in your first aid kit:

  1. Prescription Medications: If you take any prescription medications, ensure you have an ample supply for the duration of your trip.
  2. Over-the-Counter Medications: Pack common medications for headaches, allergies, motion sickness, and stomach issues.
  3. Antibacterial Ointment: Include a small tube of antibacterial ointment to treat minor cuts, burns, or scrapes.
  4. Band-Aids and Adhesive Dressings: Have a variety of band-aids and adhesive dressings to cover and protect wounds.
  5. Gauze Pads and Medical Tape: Pack a few gauze pads and medical tape for larger wounds or to secure dressings.
  6. Tweezers: Carry a pair of tweezers to remove splinters or ticks.
  7. Pain Relievers: Include pain relievers such as ibuprofen or paracetamol for headaches or muscle pain.
  8. Antihistamines: If you have allergies, pack antihistamines to relieve symptoms such as sneezing or itching.
  9. Insect Bite Relief: Bring a small tube of insect bite relief gel or cream to ease itching and inflammation.
  10. Rehydration Salts: Consider packing rehydration salts or electrolyte packets to replenish fluids in case of dehydration.
  11. Personal Medications: If you have any personal medication needs, such as inhalers or EpiPens, ensure you have them readily available.

It’s also important to research and understand the medical facilities and emergency services available at your destination. Carry a list of emergency contact numbers and the address of the nearest hospital or clinic.


Keep in mind that medication regulations and availability vary from country to country. It’s advisable to carry medications in their original packaging with clearly labeled prescriptions to avoid any issues at customs.


By packing a well-stocked first aid kit and essential medications, you’ll be prepared to handle minor injuries and illnesses, allowing you to continue enjoying your backpacking adventure without major disruptions.


Travel Gear and Equipment

Having the right travel gear and equipment can greatly enhance your comfort and convenience during your backpacking adventure. Here are some essential items to consider packing:

  1. Backpack: Invest in a durable and comfortable backpack that fits your body well. Look for adjustable straps and ample storage compartments.
  2. Travel Locks: Keep your belongings secure by using travel locks on your backpack and luggage.
  3. Compression Bags: Maximize space in your backpack by using compression bags to compress your clothing and other soft items.
  4. Travel Pillow and Blanket: Long journeys or overnight stays can be more comfortable with a travel pillow and blanket.
  5. Microfiber Towel: Pack a quick-drying and compact microfiber towel that takes up minimal space in your backpack.
  6. Sleeping Bag: If you plan on camping or staying in budget accommodations, a lightweight sleeping bag can provide added comfort and warmth.
  7. Portable Travel Clothesline: A compact and versatile travel clothesline can be handy for drying clothes on the go.
  8. Travel Cutlery: Consider carrying a reusable travel cutlery set for picnics or meals on the go.
  9. Travel Gear Repair Kit: Pack a small repair kit with items like duct tape, safety pins, and a sewing kit for any unexpected gear mishaps.
  10. Waterproof Bag or Cover: Keep your belongings dry during rain or water activities by using a waterproof bag or cover.
  11. Portable Washing Line and Sink Plug: For hand-washing clothes on the road, a portable washing line and sink plug can be useful.
  12. Travel Clothes Steamer or Wrinkle Release Spray: Keep your clothes looking neat and wrinkle-free with a travel-sized clothes steamer or wrinkle release spray.

Before purchasing travel gear and equipment, consider the activities you have planned during your backpacking trip and the climate of your destination. Pack items that will enhance your comfort, convenience, and overall experience.


Remember to assess the weight and size of your gear to ensure it doesn’t exceed airline or transportation restrictions. Travel light and only pack what you truly need.


By having the right travel gear and equipment, you can stay organized, comfortable, and prepared for whatever adventures lie ahead during your backpacking journey.


Snacks and Food

When backpacking in another country, having a stash of snacks and food can be a lifesaver, especially during long journeys or when you can’t find suitable options. Here are some tips for packing snacks and food:

  1. Non-Perishable Snacks: Pack a variety of non-perishable snacks like granola bars, trail mix, nuts, crackers, or dried fruit. These snacks provide quick energy and are ideal for munching on the go.
  2. Instant Meals: Consider bringing instant meals such as noodles, soups, or dried pasta dishes that can be prepared easily with hot water.
  3. Reusable Containers: Carry lightweight and collapsible containers to store leftover food or packed meals.
  4. Food Bags or Wraps: Have a few food bags or wraps to pack sandwiches, fruits, or snacks for day trips or picnics.
  5. Utensils: Pack a compact set of reusable utensils to enjoy your meals or snacks without relying on plastic cutlery.
  6. Reusable Water Bottle: Stay hydrated by carrying a reusable water bottle and refill it whenever possible to save money and reduce waste.
  7. Spices and Condiments: If you enjoy adding flavor to your meals, consider bringing small amounts of your favorite spices or condiments in travel-sized containers.
  8. Local Cuisine: Embrace the local cuisine by trying local snacks and street food. This allows you to immerse yourself in the culture and save money on dining out.
  9. Research Dietary Restrictions: If you have any dietary restrictions or food allergies, research the local cuisine and ingredients to plan accordingly and ensure you have suitable options.

Remember to be mindful of any customs or regulations regarding bringing food items into another country. Some destinations may have restrictions on bringing certain types of food, particularly fresh produce or animal products.


Having a stash of snacks and food not only provides a convenient and cost-effective alternative to eating out all the time but also ensures that you have sustenance during long travel days or when you’re in remote areas with limited food options.


By packing a variety of snacks and suitable food items, you can fuel yourself while backpacking and keep your energy levels up throughout your journey.


Entertainment and Travel Guides

While immersing yourself in the new experiences and surroundings of your backpacking trip is the main focus, having entertainment options and travel guides on hand can enhance your journey even further. Here are some suggestions for entertainment and travel guides to consider packing:

  1. Books or E-Books: Carry a couple of books or e-books to enjoy during downtime or long journeys. Choose genres that interest you or guidebooks for your destination.
  2. Travel Guides: Pack a travel guide specific to your destination or download travel guide apps to access valuable information, maps, and recommendations.
  3. Language Guidebook or App: If traveling to a non-English-speaking country, having a language guidebook or app can be incredibly useful for basic communication.
  4. Playing Cards or Travel Games: Bring a deck of playing cards or compact travel games to enjoy with fellow travelers or pass the time during long waits.
  5. Journal and Pen: Keep a travel journal to document your adventures, thoughts, and memorable moments. It can be a great way to reflect on your experiences later.
  6. Music or Podcasts: Create a playlist or download podcasts to listen to during your travels. Music and podcasts can provide entertainment and be a source of relaxation.
  7. Offline Maps: Download offline maps or use map applications that work without an internet connection, allowing you to navigate even without a data connection.
  8. Camera or Sketchbook: If you enjoy photography or sketching, bring a camera or sketchbook to capture the beauty of your surroundings.
  9. Portable Speakers: Carry small portable speakers to enjoy music or create a vibrant atmosphere during social gatherings with fellow travelers.

Remember to strike a balance between being present in the moment and engaging with your chosen entertainment options. Use these items as tools to enhance your backpacking experience rather than relying on them excessively.


Additionally, consider embracing the local culture by participating in local activities, attending cultural events, or interacting with the locals. These experiences can often be more enriching and memorable than any form of digital entertainment.


By packing entertainment options and travel guides, you’ll be prepared for moments of relaxation and have valuable resources to navigate and explore your destination more effectively.


Safety and Security Items

Prioritizing safety and security when backpacking in another country is essential. Here are some safety and security items to consider packing:

  1. Travel Insurance: Ensure you have comprehensive travel insurance that covers medical emergencies, trip cancellations, and lost or stolen belongings.
  2. Money Belt: Invest in a discreet money belt or hidden pouch to securely store your valuables, cash, and important documents.
  3. Padlocks and Cable Locks: Use travel-sized padlocks and cable locks to secure your backpack, luggage, or lockers at accommodations.
  4. Personal Safety Alarm: Carry a portable personal safety alarm that can emit a loud noise in case of an emergency or to deter potential threats.
  5. Doorstop or Portable Door Lock: For added security in accommodations, consider packing a doorstop or portable door lock to reinforce the door.
  6. Whistle: Carry a whistle to attract attention and seek help in emergency situations.
  7. Emergency Flashlight: Pack a small, compact flashlight or headlamp with extra batteries in case of power outages or when navigating in low-light conditions.
  8. Emergency Contact Information: Keep a list of emergency contact numbers, including local authorities, your embassy or consulate, and any important contacts back home.
  9. Self-Defense Items: Depending on your comfort level, consider carrying self-defense items such as a personal alarm, pepper spray, or a portable safety whistle.
  10. Travel Safety Apps: Download safety apps that offer features like emergency assistance, real-time tracking, or local safety information.

In addition to these items, it’s crucial to stay alert, trust your instincts, and be aware of your surroundings. Research the safety situation of your destination and follow any local safety guidelines or travel advisories.


Blend in with the local culture as much as possible, be mindful of displaying valuable items, and avoid walking alone in unfamiliar or dimly lit areas, especially at night.


By taking precautions and packing these safety and security items, you can have peace of mind and minimize risks while enjoying your backpacking adventure.


Miscellaneous Items

In addition to the essential items mentioned above, there are a few miscellaneous items that can come in handy during your backpacking journey. These items may not fit into specific categories but are worth considering:

  1. Universal Sink Plug: A universal sink plug allows you to wash clothes or personal items easily in sinks, even if they don’t have a built-in stopper.
  2. Ziplock Bags: Pack a few ziplock bags in various sizes for storing snacks, keeping small items organized, or preventing leakage of toiletries.
  3. Travel Sewing Kit: Bring a compact sewing kit with basic tools like needles, thread, and buttons for quick repairs on clothing or gear.
  4. Multi-tool: Consider carrying a small multi-tool that includes features like a knife, scissors, screwdriver, or bottle opener for various tasks.
  5. Earplugs and Eye Mask: Earplugs and an eye mask can help you sleep better, especially in noisy or bright environments.
  6. Reusable Shopping Bag: A compact and reusable shopping bag can be useful for carrying groceries, souvenirs, or laundry.
  7. Extra Cash in Local Currency: Keep a small amount of extra cash in the local currency for emergencies or situations where credit cards may not be accepted.
  8. Swiss Army Knife: A versatile Swiss Army Knife can be handy for various purposes, including cutting, opening bottles, or tightening screws.
  9. Travel Adapters: Depending on the electrical outlets in your destination country, carry a few travel adapters to charge your electronics.
  10. Laundry Detergent: Bring a small travel-sized packet of laundry detergent for washing clothes during longer trips or when access to laundry facilities is limited.

While these items may seem small or insignificant, they can make a difference in the convenience and functionality of your backpacking trip. Consider the specific needs and requirements of your journey to determine which miscellaneous items are most relevant to you.


By packing these miscellaneous items, you’ll be equipped to handle unexpected situations, stay organized, and make your backpacking adventure more comfortable and enjoyable.



As you prepare for your backpacking adventure in another country, packing the right items is crucial to ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey. By considering the essentials discussed in this guide, you’ll be well-prepared to tackle any situation that arises during your trip.


Remember to have all the essential documents such as your passport, visas, and travel insurance in order. Pack appropriate clothing and accessories to suit the climate and activities of your destination. Take into account your personal care needs by packing toiletries and medications.


Bring the necessary travel gear and equipment to enhance your comfort and convenience. Consider packing snacks and food for the times when you can’t find suitable options while on the go. Bring entertainment options and travel guides to keep you entertained and informed throughout your journey.


Ensure your safety and security by carrying key items such as travel locks, personal safety alarms, and emergency contact information. Lastly, don’t forget miscellaneous items that can come in handy in various situations.


To optimize your backpacking experience, pack strategically, keeping in mind the limitations of your backpack and the specific requirements of your destination. Traveling light is recommended, so carefully consider each item before adding it to your backpack.


With the right preparation and packing, you’ll have the freedom to immerse yourself in different cultures, explore new surroundings, and create unforgettable memories during your backpacking adventure. Safe travels!