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30 essentials for backpacking, neck pillow, portable charger, travel mirror, padlock

After 7 years of backpacking, I have explored the world and have made my fair share of packing mistakes. When you first go travelling you want to bring absolutely everything in your backpack, and you end up lugging around a lot of things you don’t use. So I have compiled a list of the 30 must have essentials for your next backpacking trip that will make your life on the road easier.

These 30 essentials are perfect must haves you need, whether you’re going for a short weekend or a long trip away. Everything I use and love is linked in this post for you, and you can also check out my Amazon Storefront for extra items I use travelling, including beauty and camera gear.

30 backpacking essentials for your backpacking trip

1. turkish towel

Turkish Towels are fast drying, compact, soft and just generally the perfect travel towel. The popular ‘go-to’ choice is the classic microfibre towel, however Turkish towels have all the same properties, but they feel a lot nicer to dry yourself with. They also tend to not smell as quickly as microfibre towels.

Buy the Turkish towel I recommend here

2. compression packing cubes

Once you start using compression packing cubes, there is no going back. Packing cubes keep your items neat and organised, and compression cubes let you fit more in your bag comfortably. These cubes have two zips, one for accessing your clothes and another to compress the packing cube nice and tight. An absolute game changer for your next trip.

This pack of 6 with varying sizes is perfect for your trips away.  

3. Portable charger

This portable charger is a life saver for long journeys or no access to electricity. It’s definitely better having a larger portable charger that can do a few charges. This one from Amazon is my go to and does 4 charges of my phone, which is great for those long all day/all night journeys. Plus I love the LED screen so I can easily see how much battery I’ve got left!

Check out the portable charger I use here.

4. blister plasters

Travelling usually means big days of walking and being on your feet a lot. On those big days of walking you definitely need some blister plasters on hand. These ones are the best and don’t fall off, which is ideal for big days out and even swimming. 

Buy blister plasters here

5. vpn

There are two main reasons a VPN is really important when travelling. Firstly, is to keep your information safe while connecting to public wifi. Secondly, so you can stream TV/films anywhere in the world (this is how I keep up with UK Love Island when I’m away!). The VPN I use is Surfshark, you can click here or use SHETRAVELLEDTHEWORLD for 83% off and 3 months free. You have access to 15+ Netflix libraries and most importantly, you can use it to save anyone hacking your information. 

Before using a VPN I’ve had both my Netflix and Spotify hacked after using public wifi, and now I won’t connect without connecting to a VPN as well. Protecting your accounts, especially bank accounts, is so important when travelling. 

Check out Surfshark here and get 83% off + 3 months free

6. LED travel mirror

More often than not you’ll have to get ready in bad lighting, which is why a LED travel mirror is an absolute essential when you travel. This one is great, with three different light settings that you can adjust and easy charging. It also stands up by itself, making it great for backpacking. The mirror is compact enough to fit in a makeup bag, ready for your next trip!

Buy your LED travel mirror here

7. combination padlock

Bringing a padlock is essential for your trips to lock away your belongings at hostels. Using a combination lock over a key lock means you don’t have to stress about always keeping the key on hand, and this one is sturdy and easy to set up. 

Looking for hostel recommendations? Check out my blog post with over 140+ different hostels, including a rating and review!

Buy the padlock I recommend and use here

8. travel wash

Travel wash is an essential for your long haul trips, especially if you travel with delicate items that you don’t want to be ruined in the standard laundry or you only have a few items you want to wash at a time. Having this saves you having your clothes accidentally shrunk (has happened to me many times) and it can save you a bit of money!

Buy Travel Wash here

9. filter water bottle

Getting ill when you’re travelling is the last thing you need on the road. A great way to avoid accidental sickness and an easy way to save a bit of money is by travelling with a filter water bottle. This one by LifeStraw filters your water for you so you can drink water straight from the taps and not rely solely on bottled water.

Buy a LifeStraw bottle here

10. birkenstocks

The absolute go to travel shoe is the humble Birkenstock. Durable, comfortable and fashionable all wrapped up in one, this shoe is great for travelling in every way. The style I have are the Arizona Birko-Flor Nubuck Mocha, which is a great dark brown that doesn’t show dirt too easily. Birkenstocks can take a little bit to wear in, so definitely get them comfortable before your next trip. However once they mould to your feet, you won’t look back! 

Check out my go to Birkenstocks here

11. flipflops

Another staple pair of shoes you need in your backpacking bag is a basic pair of flip flops. These are ideal shower shoes and can also be used for any wet activities or on the beach. I find flip flops rub a lot more than Birkenstocks, which is why these are a good ‘throw on’ shoe, but Birkenstocks are the best all rounder for backpacking.

Buy your pair of flip flops here

12. refillable toiletries bottles

These little refillable toiletry bottles are an absolute must have for shorter trips or when you’re travelling with carry on luggage. Creams, shampoos and your favourite moisturisers can easily be transferred into these refillable bottles to make your packing more lightweight or to keep your toiletries under 100ml for flights. This little pack of 4 are made from silicone and are perfect for travels!

Buy refillable toiletries bottles here.

13. sunscreen

Protecting yourself from the sun while you’re travelling is an absolute must and investing in a good quality suncream is essential. My personal go to is the Hawaiian Tropic SPF 50. Not only does it smell amazing, but it also rubs well into the skin (no white cast) and doesn’t rub off when sweating or going into water. Definitely recommend and you can find it cheap on Amazon!

Buy Hawaiian Tropic SPF 50 here

14. baby wipes

A pack of baby wipes can be an absolute godsend when travelling. A lot of toilets (especially in Asia), don’t have toilet paper and sometimes not even a bum gun. Having some baby wipes on hand can save you from a sticky situation that you definitely want to avoid. They are also great for wiping yourself down when it’s super hot or if you’re going off the beaten path and don’t have access to a shower! 

Check out this pack of 60 for £2.15


Save your neck from pain and invest in a comfortable neck pillow for your next trip. Backpacking is all about long journeys and sleeping in (questionable) spots, so having a neck pillow can make your journeys a little bit more comfortable. The best neck pillows are memory foam that have a clip, so you can clip it to your bag when you’re not using it! Check out this one here that is comfortable and affordable.

Check out the neck pillow I recommend here


Lip balm is an absolute must when you’re travelling and it can be hard to find in some destinations, so having a tube or two with you will save you fighting dry lips during your trips. My go to lip balm is Lucas’ Pawpaw, which you can buy here. This is the best lip balm on the market and you can also use it for a variety of different other things like burns, chaffing, bites, rashes and more. 

Buy Lucas’ pawpaw here


If you’re a lover of jewellery, then you need this essential for your next trip! A compact travel jewellery holder is perfect so you can switch out your jewels on the go, without them getting lost or tangled. I am an avid lover of jewellery and this jewellery box is ideal for trips.

Buy the jewellery box I recommend here

18. lightning TO SD CARD READER

If you decide to bring a camera on your trip, however you don’t want to carry around your laptop, a key gadget that you need is an SD card to lightning reader. This little device allows you to connect your camera’s SD card to your phone so you can import your photos straight away, without the need for a laptop. This is perfect for any budding photographers or if you quickly want to edit something on the go. I can’t live without this when I’m backpacking!

Buy a lightning to SD card reader here 


Travelling can mean a lot of little accidents, so having a first aid kit on hand to solve any cuts, gazes, and other minor injuries is a must have in your bag. This little kit has 66 pieces of first aid equipment including plasters, burn gel, scissors, cleansing wipes and gauze.

Buy your travel first aid kit here


A passport holder is a great way to keep your passport safe and avoid any accidental damage to it when in your bag. This passport holder also includes a card and document pouch so you can keep all your valuables in one spot. As a tip, keep one of your bank cards separate to the rest of your wallet, just in the event you lose it or it gets stolen. This holder is a great place to store one just in case. 

Check out this cute passport holder here


Travel cutlery is a great addition to the bag, especially if you’re travelling places like Europe or Australia/New Zealand where eating out is expensive and cooking is much more cost effective. In regions like Central/South America and Asia where street food is cheaper than cooking for yourself, cutlery might not be as needed, but can be handy for any leftovers or on the go! These cute sporks are a 3 in 1 option and you can find this pack of 4 on Amazon for a reasonable price.

Buy this travel cutlery set here


Whether you want to bring up the vibes or make friends at a hostel, bringing a portable speaker on your next trip is definitely needed. This mini speaker from JBL is perfect for throwing in your bag and all those ‘on the go’ occasions. 

Check out the perfect JBL portable speaker here


Money belts are the best way to keep your valuables safe and hidden away. A lot of countries and big cities are known for petty crime and to avoid this it’s best to invest in a money belt. Money belts sit on your stomach under your clothes. They are great as they lay flat and are incredibly discreet, which is ideal for exploring busy cities. This money belt has two different pockets that can fit some of your major valuables like phone, money and passport. 

Buy the money belt I recommend here


It’s no secret that travelling can be dirty work, so having some hand sanitiser on hand is a must to avoid getting ill. A lot of bathrooms around the world don’t have soap at hand, so it’s super important you come prepared and bring your own. Also in case you didn’t know, you can often come across ‘fake’ sanitiser that is either diluted or just straight up not real. So don’t forget to pack your own!

Buy hand sanitiser spray here

25. foldable day bag

Whether you’re hiking, running to the supermarket, going for a day out adventuring or just too lazy to unpack your regular day bag, you definitely need a foldable day bag in your essentials. These compact neatly down into a easy to carry size and works perfectly for those days out. And avoids you having to unpack the rest of your belongings!

Check out foldable day bags here

26. hanging toiletry bag

Some bathrooms don’t give you a spot to put your things, so a hanging toiletry bag can save you from putting your things on the floor and give you some extra room. This hanging toiletry bag comes in two different sizes and can fit all your essential toiletries in one place. 

Check out the hanging toiletry bag here

27. laundry bag

Don’t get your dirty laundry mixed up in your clean clothes and make sure that they are neatly hidden away ready for your next laundry day. This laundry bag is waterproof and perfect for dirty clothes, especially wet ones from any water activities. There is nothing worse than your whole bag smelling bad, so don’t forget to invest in some laundry bags for the road.

Check out this pack of two laundry bag set

28. ear plugs

Snoring in hostels is almost inevitable, so don’t forget earplugs. These silicone ear plugs stay in your ears a lot better than the cheap foam alternatives, and also feel a lot more comfortable in the ear compared to alternative options. Make sure you get a good sleep by investing in some quality ear plugs for your backpacking trips!

Buy silicone ear plugs here

29. eye mask

Being on the go can mean sleeping anywhere, at any time. An eye mask is a great addition to your packing and can help you get a few extra hours of sleep! I personally prefer silk sleep eye masks as I feel like they are more comfortable, so this is the one I recommend.

Check out an eye mask here

30. waterproof phone case

You’ll definitely want a waterproof phone case for your next trip. This one from Amazon is a step up from the classic waterproof pouches that you can get. Instead, this case has a hard back and front and feels a lot more sturdy, as well as giving better photo and video quality in the water. I’ve used this waterproof case a few times and really love it, so can definitely recommend. Plus it comes with a wrist strap too. 

Check out my go to waterproof phone case here

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