10 Backpacking Essentials: A Hot List of the Top Ten Essentials For Backpacking Europe

Now, let me just say one thing, this list is obviously my personal opinion. I am limited to 10 essentials for backpacking Europe, and I’m not allowed to go over this (although I may be sneaky and list a few other ‘recommendations’ at the bottom of the page).

These are the things I personally consider to be absolutely essential if you are planning on backpacking through Europe.

Now for the sake of this list, I’m not going to be including clothes here, I’m sure you can figure out what clothes you would like to bring based on what time of the year you’re heading over to Europe. I won’t belittle you by listing things like ‘underwear’, ‘socks’ and ‘t-shirts’.

Let the list begin!

Help, I'm trapped on a touristy pier (in Brighton).

 

1. The Right Backpack For Europe (Not The Wrong One)

I list this here, because it’s important that you actually get the RIGHT backpack for your trip, not just any old backpack. One day soon you will stay at a hostel that is 15-20 minutes walk from the train station. Why would you waste Euros getting public transport or a taxi when you can simply walk there? This is much more difficult to do if you have a suitcase with wheels, and it’s also difficult to do with a backpack that doesn’t sit right on your body shape and frame.

Book available on Amazon

You will need to know a few things. How long is your trip going to be? Are you going in summer months, or for a full year? Do you want something ultra light, or something that can carry a heavier load? Get an idea in your head of what you want out of your backpack, and then you’ll have a better idea of the sort of model that you will want.

Tips to get help you get a cheap backpack:

  • Wait for the store to have a mega sale. I know for example that the Kathmandu stores in Australia have ‘super sales’ like three times a year. That’s where I got my backpack, and I haven’t had one problem with it in five years. Backpacks are often discounted 40% and more during these sales. I have absolutely no idea why anyone pays full retail price at that store.
  • Another thing you could do is go and try on a few backpacks, get help with the fitting of it and learn how it operates, then say you’re still deciding if it’s the one you want. Then go home, get on the Internet and order exact model for a much cheaper price. It’s a little bit sneaky, but if you’re on a bit of a budget, I condone it.


 

2. Backpacking Money Belt – Because Every Backpacker Has One

Yes, it’s another big ‘must-have’ item in the backpacking world, the old money belt. I’ll be the first to tell you that I don’t wear mine all of the time whilst backpacking, but I do consider it an essential backpacking item and I’ll tell you why.

You’re about to get on a busy train from Paris to Barcelona. This is going to be a long train ride, so you settle in and get comfortable. You have your passport and cash tucked securely into your day pack, which you slip underneath the seat near your feet. Hours pass and you fall asleep…… You awake, and are thirsty. You reach down to grab your water from your bag, and it’s gone…

I use the money belt when I’m physically travelling and it’s likely I’ll stop paying attention to bags at my feet or above my head, or maybe it’s an overnight train or bus and I’m going to go to sleep. The money belt is perfect in this situation, as you can secure your passport, cash and bank cards against your body underneath your clothes.

In a hostel with lockers, I’ll normally just lock it away and not take it out with me, but on long bus and train trips it shows its uses. In my opinion there is no need to get fancy with it, just something simple made of canvas or silk is fine.


 

3. A Simple Flashlight to Earn Backpacker Karma

Don’t most hostels in Europe have lights though, Tom? Why, yes they do, you intrepid traveler you. But when you’re in a 15 bed dormitory and you’re getting up at 4.30 in the morning after a big night out to get an early flight (it was much cheaper than the ones leaving at 10am), your fellow backpackers are really going to appreciate it if you DON’T turn on the giant light in the room and wake them up.

Behold ye simple flashlight! Suddenly it’s filled with uses, one of them generating backpacker karma to follow you forever more. Treat your fellow backpackers as you wish to be treated, and the fun times will follow.

All joking aside though, I do find a good quality yet simple button on/off flashlight pretty handy in a whole variety of situations. It’s also good for camping too of course, if that’s on the agenda (definitely worth doing in the summer months!).
 

4. Concentrated Travel Detergent To Wash Smelly Underwear

It’s a reality of backpacking that you may need to wash some socks and jocks and hang them off your dorm bed – unless you want to keep wearing them, over and over again……

Either way, some concentrated travel wash is great for hand washing some clothes to keep you going until your next big ‘proper wash’ (at the expensive Laundromats, no thanks!). You can also just use a bar of soap if you’re on a budget, but concentrated travel wash is just so much cooler.
 

5. Anti-Fungal Cream For Possible (probable) Skin Thingies

No-one likes to think that the world can be a dirty place where you could get Athlete’s foot or ring worm, but unfortunately it is true. If you start getting a weird rash or itchy skin and it doesn’t look like a bite, then whip out the old anti-fungal cream and it should be clearing up in no time.

Of course, if the problem persists, go see a doctor. Unfortunately we can’t rely on anti-fungal cream for every ailment.
 

6. Combination Padlock – Because No-One Likes Keys

It’s always a good idea to lock your backpack before train trips, bus rides and whilst staying at large hostels with no lockers (although that’s pretty rare in Europe these days). Three small combination padlocks is normally enough to secure any large backpack, you just lock the two zips together at the backpack entry points.

If you’re stuck for ideas on a combination choice, just use the last three or four numbers of your OLD mobile number. See, I’m full of ideas!


 

7. A Journal To Record Your Adventures

Record the little things, and years down the track you will be pleasantly surprised. I’m always thinking things like, ‘Oh wow, I really have to remember that amazing fact!’, and guess what, the next day I’ve completely forgotten! It happens all the time (or maybe it’s just my bad memory?), but writing those small experiences and facts into a Journal every night is a fantastic habit, and will be the perfect thing for your grandchildren to read (if you’re not still backpacking, that is).

Don’t forget to bring a pen, and make it easily accessible too (my girlfriend is an artist and always has her pencil case buried in her backpack – it’s no good when you need to fill in those pesky arrival cards on the plane).


 

8. Camera For Those Who Love Photography (And For Those Who Don’t)

Yes, I know many fellow backpackers would disagree with this one. But remember, this is my personal opinion list (feel free to disagree with me in the comments – I love a mass debate [get it?]).

There’s nothing more fun than getting back home and having a whole bunch of cool and awesome pictures to show everyone. It’s also the perfect opportunity to develop your photography skills (if you’ve ever thought about doing that).

Remember, lots of photos can go from looking average to fantastic thanks to Photoshop, so there are lots of chances to snap a winner that you can blow up and put on the wall. Free art!

Plus, everyone loves showing off on Facebook, let’s be honest.

Hot Tip: Don’t forget more than one SD card. You will want to switch them as you travel, the only thing worse than losing your camera is losing the SD card inside it with all your photos of Paris or Budapest.

My girlfriend and I use a Canon 450D at the moment, and we also have a Panasonic Lumix (one of those shockproof/underwater proof cameras) and it’s great fun when we go swimming!

For those on a tighter budget, these last two on the backpacking essentials list are for you. All the hostels you visit will have sheets and towels, but often they will charge you for the privilege of using their luxurious fabrics (normally it’s about 2 Euros).
 

9. Backpacking Travel Sheet

A simple cotton travel sheet can save you a bit of money whilst backpacking Europe. Instead of opting for those hostel sheets, just whip out your own travel sheet and you’re good to go. You’ll want something that also has a section to cover a pillow (most will).

So bring along your travel sheet, and snug into it in the dorm at night, happy with the knowledge that all the other suckers paid for their linen!


 

10. Backpacking Micro Fiber Travel Towel

These towels dry super fast, and can be fantastically useful for hostels where they charge you for towels. Just don’t put them on the ground or use them at the beach (I did that once), because the sand and dirt will stick to these things like glue.

It may feel a bit fuzzy and weird, but it will get the water off you quick smart and dry faster than an open bar at a wedding. If you keep them for use in the hostel and dry them by hanging them off your dorm bed, you will be right as rain!

So there you have it, the Backpacking 10 Essentials List!

Here’s a few other items you may want to consider bringing along though:
 

Other Recommendations:

Small Nail Clippers – Don’t let those nails grow long and yellow!

MP3 Player – Music can be an awesome way to pass time on those long bus trips.

Alarm Clock – Not good at getting up early? Well there’s your answer.

Mobile Phone – I take my iPhone with me these days (it is the future, guys), it’s great because it can access the Hostel WIFI, and act as an MP3 player and an alarm clock too.

Thanks for reading, if you agree or disagree with these backpacking Europe essentials – or just feel like saying Hi. Well, don’t be shy, leave a comment.

Have fun backpacking!
Tom

51 Responses to “10 Backpacking Essentials: A Hot List of the Top Ten Essentials For Backpacking Europe”

  1. great site and content!

    i personally have all these except for the flashlight… my phone doubles as that. i remeber a time when i forgot to bring a nail clipper… the horror. now i have the consciousness to lug it with me wherever i go. 🙂

    cheers!

    • Tom says:

      Hey, thanks for the salutations and contribution 🙂

      Nail clippers are always a must-bring-item 😛

      You make a great point about the phone being a flashlight too. Hmmm… I’m just not sure I can give up my trusty flashlight though!

  2. Alex says:

    Hey Tom! I was wondering if a sleeping bag works instead of a travel sheet? Will hostels be ok with that?

    • Tom says:

      Hey Alex. Most hostels will be ok with it (but not all). It can be a good idea if you’re on a budget, but if you’re travelling in the summer that might get pretty hot!

  3. kelly says:

    Why are some hostels against sleeping bags? What if we are traveling in the fall months? Will we need more than the travel sheet (switzerland, Italy, germany, France).

    • Tom says:

      Hi Kelly,

      Some are against sleeping bags as they prefer you to use sheets to protect the mattress. Every hostel will be fine with you putting down sheets and then using a sleeping bag for extra warmth (but all hostels in Europe will have heating and/or extra blankets for the colder months). It really does depend on the hostel. I personally tend to only bring a sleeping bag travelling with me if I plan on camping during the trip.

  4. Clint says:

    Hi Tom, quick question, when a hostel has say a price of 20 euros a night then 4 euros for sheets, does that pretty much say you’re paying 24 euros for a night if you don’t have a sleeping bag with you? I.e. a travel sheet won’t suffice and doonas are provided as part of the 20 euros? Cheers, Clint.

    • Tom says:

      Heya Clint, hmm, depends a little on the hostel. Normally if you have your own travel sheets you can just say you don’t want sheets. Generally there are blankets available if this is the case so you can get away with just your travel sheet to save a few extra Euros. In some hostels sheets and a doona just come with the price and they don’t charge you extra at all. It can even be that sometimes they charge you extra for sheets but make it mandatory to get them anyways!

      The listings on the popular hostel booking engines generally advise if they charge for sheets or not.

  5. DianeMargaret says:

    I was SURE a multi-tool would have been on the list. I take my Gerber multi-tool everywhere that requires me to pack a bag (even if it’s not backpacking/camping)!!! We even have one in every vehicle!
    Of course, I wouldn’t leave home with our a crochet hook either (& YES, I have one in every vehicle too!). So, maybe it’s just me! LOL

    • DianeMargaret says:

      That was suppose to be WITHOUT a crochet hook…stupid auto speller!

    • Tom says:

      A gerber multi tool is generally not needed for backpacking Europe 😀 It does depend on what you plan on doing though of course. If you’re thinking less hostels and more sleeping outdoors and doing it super rough then could come in handy!

  6. Krystian says:

    Great article! Thanks for the good read.

  7. Carol says:

    You know who should read this? All those people who go on “The Amazing Race”, the television reality show where people travel around the world with only a backpack. Pointing out the differences in backpacks was great. A person can spend a lot of money on one backpack and if it is the wrong one their travel adventure can be a negative experience.
    Great list Tom for sure a person should also have a first aid kit or basic first aid supplies. You never know when you might need something like that. I like the flashlights that you can wear on your head for hands free!
    Great blog Tom.

  8. Diego says:

    Great blog! Excellent tips that i will use on my eurotrip on july!! Your other articles are really good also! Thanks for all the advice very useful information and as you said it’s not junk information.

    Best Regards from Bolivia!

  9. yogi says:

    Hello!

    I love your blog!!! Always wondered about backpacking but the logistics seemed like it wasn’t worth the trouble until I read your blog. However, I’m going on a trip to Africa and am considering flying up and backpacking in Europe after. I was wondering if you could list the hostels you stayed at by any chance (only if you don’t mind, of course)!

    Thanks!

    • Tom says:

      Heya Yogi, that might take a bit of compilation as I’ve been staying in hostels since I was 18! If you have an idea of what countries you want to visit in Europe I’m happy to give you some personal recommendations!

      • yogi says:

        Thank you!! I was planning on flying into Rome, then by train to the following: Milan, Berlin, Frankfort, Paris and London. Any hostel recommendations you have for these cities would be much appreciated!

        • Laura says:

          Me and my bf are interrailing this summer and we already have a few recommendations but if you had any good hostel recommendations for zurich, venice, vienna and/or somewhere near lake bled that would be fantastic and very much appreciated! love your blog 🙂

          • Tom says:

            Hey Laura, I don’t have any specific hostel recommendations for those places, but definitely check out hostelworld/hostelbookers, look at the top reviewed (and what sort of hostel you’re after). Might also be worth it to check out Airbnb/Wimdu since you’re with your BF, might be able to get a decent apartment deal to mix in with the hostel stays to keep things interesting.

  10. Julia says:

    Hey Tom,
    You said that you bring your iPhone with you but I was wondering if that would be super expensive to use since you’re overseas and all. Your phone company didn’t charge you for using your phone in a different continent?

    • Tom says:

      Hey Julia! My iPhone is not locked on a contract, so I just use pre-paid when needed. I rarely get an overseas SIM card for my phone, I just simply use the phone in Wifi spots and to take some Instagram photos, write the odd note – that sort of thing. If you ARE on a contract make sure you are turning off international data roaming or put your phone on airplane mode (but activate wifi – it’s possible).

  11. Rachel says:

    What is the difference between a travel sheet and a regular sheet?

  12. Anna D. says:

    Thanks for this list! I have two questions real quick…I think I heard once that sewing up a regular sheet makes it work just as well as a travel sheet. I don’t really understand what a travel sheet is, but this seems like a cheap way to get one. Would that work or is there a difference? My other question is about the backpacks. I’ve heard that the smaller the backpack, the better. I was wondering if it’s possible/recommended to try to go with a carry-on size only, or if the real-deal mega backpacks are worth the hassle (my trip will be about 6 weeks through Europe).
    Thanks!!

    • Tom says:

      Hiya Anna, thanks for stopping in. Sewing up a normal sheet sounds like a good idea, it might not be as compact as a travel sheet though in terms of packing it up – give it a go and see what happens 😀

      Hang on though, what is a travel sheet? A travel sheet is enclosed, so you can slip into it and then your body touches nothing else but the sheet, you’re sort of “cocooned” in. They are often used as liners for sleeping bags and for added warmth, but they can also be used in hostels to save you having to pay for sheets (some hostels charge a few Euros for this). It’s definitely not mandatory to travel with one, in many hostels these days having clean sheets is a given and you won’t even be charged for it. If you’re only going to Europe for 6 weeks and not doing any camping (and just staying in hostels), I don’t think there’s a real need to get a travel sheet… but they’re fun to have and will save a few Euros here and there at some hostels – so totally up to you 😉

      Now, the second question about backpack size. This is always a topic of much debate. Sure, smaller is better if you want to pack light and carry less. Travelling light can be fantastic but it ALSO means that you will be hand washing underpants and shirts washing every night or second night. If you’re going for the European summer then you won’t be needing any warm clothes so it’s a lot easier to pack light.

      If you want to test yourself and bring something very small that’s under 10kgs then absolutely go for it – you will have to be ruthless with how much clothes you bring and you won’t be able to bring any items that aren’t allowed onto carry-on (liquids over 100mls, pocket knives etc). I personally need a bit more space (I also have my laptop etc with me for travel blogging), so I have a day pack that I bring as carry-on (and can use for day trips around cities) and a larger pack that becomes checked luggage.

      My recommendation is this: have a small day-pack to use (and that will be your carry-on), and then get a larger pack around the 40L range (that’s L for Litres). This is a medium to smaller sized backpack. Definitely don’t get something that’s more than 60L. A 40L pack you will find very manageable and you can still pack it light if you want.

      Let me know if you have anymore questions, and have an awesome trip!

      Tom

  13. TJ says:

    Curiosity got to me again and instead of paying attention to my college professor I am reading these blogs. Question: What hostels would you recommend in the following countries: The United Kingdom, France, Switzerland, Italy, Greece, Austria, Hungary, Germany,Netherlands, Belgium. Thanks,
    TJ

  14. nick s says:

    Tom, I’m wondering if there are any places in europe that you’ve found to be a little over hype… Such as going to Venice, other than the romantic aspect of a gondella ride, what else is there to do? How many days would be ideal for Venice?

    • Tom says:

      Hi Nick! You’re opening up a can of worms here, as everyone has varying opinions about how long to stay in each city 😉 Some people LOVE Venice and others think it’s a dirty tourist trap. All the big cities can be a bit like this, in Amsterdam you have the Red Light District, in Barcelona you have “Las Ramblas”. They’re fun to see for a few hours but best avoided for the remainder of your time, as you’ll really miss what a city is all about if you remain in those areas. If you’re unsure about a city, but it’s a “hyped” city, 3 days is a good place to start. Aim to spend 3 days there and see if you like it or not. Many cities are hyped for different reasons, only you can decide if the hype is worth it!

  15. Mark says:

    Tom,

    great article, lots of info. Quick question for you, is there some sort of restrictions on backpacks when traveling? like the straps have to be able to be secured inside a pocket out of the way for what ever reason.

    Just in the process of buying 2 for my kids who are visiting Switzerland, Austria and Germany at the end of the year.

    Cheers
    Mark

    • Tom says:

      Hi Mark, nope, there are no restrictions on straps or anything like that. However many backpacks do have a flap on the bottom back that can be rolled out and then zipped over the entire back of the backpack (thus securing all the straps/loose ends), this means you then cannot wear it, but it’s good for loading it onto buses/flights etc.

      I have this on my backpack, and it’s a nice feature – it’s not mandatory though or anything! Hope this helps Mark, and that your kids have an awesome trip!

  16. Alex says:

    Hi Tom,

    Thanks for all the info. I had a quick question about camping. I’m organizing a camping trip through Europe and wondered if it was ok to take a knife as they can come in handy for all sorts of things? Especially if we have no choice but to wild camp at times. Not a machette or anything Rambo like but i’m not sure what each European countries rules are on such. It wouldn’t be on my person but in my backpack, with pots and first aid kits and other useful things.

    If your not sure, do you know any good sites i can check out countries laws on this in English?
    Thanks
    Alex

    • Tom says:

      Hi Alex,

      If you want something for camping, having a small pocket/utility knife (like a Swiss Army Knife or something) is fine. Every country in Europe has different laws, but if the knife has a small blade and you don’t carry it on your person you won’t have any problems. You won’t want to take anything bigger then your standard 3″ blade pocket knife. The other thing you need to remember is to keep it in your main backpack (checked luggage) for when you fly, if you forget and it’s in your carry on – it will get confiscated as you go through security!

  17. Dalton says:

    Hey Tom, I’m 16 years old and live in the US and my friend and I are in the middle of planning a 45 day Euro trip for the summer after we graduate. I wanted to thank you for all the blogs and articles, coming from a guy who has been in a similar situation to mine your ideas are very useful. Anyway, I just wanted to say thanks, and also you should post more pictures, I absolutely love seeing them!

  18. Nathan says:

    Hi Tom! I have been very busy reading your site- there is a lot of good information. I am planning a short backpacking trip, only 3 weeks, and plan on visiting as many cities as possible. I do have one question that seems to be unanswered: I am a 26 year old gay male- and I am wondering if I should have any safety concerns in any particular countries/cities? Thanks in advance!

    • Tom says:

      Hiya Nathan, thanks for the kind words! To generalise, I would put it like this – Western, Central and Northern Europe definitely pose no problems for gay travellers. I would recommend acting with a bit more discretion in some of the countries in Eastern Europe. Here’s a good, fact filled article I found that should help out:
      http://www.ricksteves.com/plan/tips/gay_travel.htm

      Have an awesome trip Nathan! I reckon after 3 weeks and a rest back home, you’ll want to do it all again!

  19. Jierda says:

    Hi Tom, thanks for the info! a few questions, a few of my friends and I are planning on backpacking through a lot of europe from September til November next year, what will the weather be like (how hot/cold it will be roughly)? and and what are you reccomendations for a group of about 7?

    • Tom says:

      Heyhey Jierda, September –> November it will start getting colder in upper Western (Netherlands/Belgium etc) and Northern Europe. Definitely bring a jacket! If you have a group of 7, definitely look into mixing up hostels or perhaps even booking your own rooms/spaces here and there to see if you can save some cash. Communal meals at hostels will save loads of $$ – and you won’t have any problems getting a party started!

  20. Ellie says:

    this is Really good although I cant use a lot of it due to the fact I’m only doing a week (not the worlds longest backpacking time I’m sure) and a a couple of ppl in my mini group not wanting to get anywhere near a hostel (still trying to work out why they want to come). but the stuff to bring on these trips is really useful as well as how to workout where to go.

    Thanks you have made my life a lot easier 🙂

  21. Jessica says:

    I am in the very early stages of planning a month trip around Europe. And I am a little overwhelmed in terms of figuring out an agenda (especially since some of the places I would love to visit are at opposite ends of the continent). I initially thought the best way to get from country to country would be by train. But after looking at how expensive a euro train pass is, I was wondering if you would recommend a more economical approach. Would it be easier to use buses and flights (i.e. Ryanair)? If so, would I have to book these flights months in advance? How do you go about planning your itinerary? Coming from the US, is it easier to fly INTO and depart FROM the same city and circle around to the different destinations? or is it recommended to have different points of arrival and departure? Keep in mind too much spontaneity is something I struggle with.

    Lots of questions, I know. Thanks in advance! 🙂

    • Tom says:

      Hi Jessica 😀 Great to hear from you! Nothing wrong with having questions.

      1) If you want to save money, buses definitely win out over trains. In terms of ease of use though, trains are the clear winner. Flights can be had pretty cheap on RyanAir/EasyJet even only booking a few weeks before flying. If you want the “super” specials you sometimes need to book a month/s ahead.

      2) If you’re worried about NOT planning your itinerary, I have a suggestion. Plan the first HALF of the trip by booking accommodation etc so you feel comfortable arriving and getting started. Then you can book-as-you-go for the second part of the trip, leaving you a bit of room for spontaneity.

      3) Doesn’t matter whether you’re coming from the US or not, flying in/out just depends on the flights you can get. There are huge airports in Paris, Amsterdam, London, Berlin etc. You certainly have options if you don’t want to fly in/out of the same city. HOWEVER doing a “loop” can often work quite well also, and makes it easy to get a good deal on a return flight. Just depends on prices of 2x tickets from different cities versus return ticket at one. Check Skyscanner, Kayak and a best quotes from a couple of travel agents.

      Hope this helps a bit!

      All the best with the trip – have an awesome time 😀

  22. Keith says:

    Hey Tom

    We are at the other end of the life cycle to most of your respondents – I am 70yo, and my partner Paul is 60yo. While we are commonly called “flash packers” (and often in a derogatory way by younger people we meet along the way as if, having money is very sinful!) we combine all types of accommodation and travel. Now that we are retired we are able to stay longer in each place and always rent a local studio (gasp! Isn’t that expensive??) … well not really. On our next trip (for 8 months) we have 1 month in South Korea, 2 months in Russia, and weeks in Bulgaria, Macedonia, Albania, Slovenia, the Italian Dolomites and finish up with a month in Turkey. The most expensive studio/apartment anywhere on this trip is AUD$50 per day. If you take into account that we can make breakfast in the studio, prepare lunch and take it with us, and also cook at “home” this is much cheaper than even mid-range hostel situations. Every studio is, btw, in the centre, never i out of the way places – so travel costs are often minimised. Many studios reduce the cost if you stay longer. In 2009 we stayed in the 3rd district in Paris – so central and so convenient – and because we stayed 6 weeks ti was reduced to 32 Euros a day! Bargain!! It is also a great chance to live locally and get to know the name of the greengrocer or butcher as well. You do need to be independent and well prepared since you will not get the day-to-day cameraderie and knowledge swap that you find in hostels. You also need to have a semi decided itinerary. Just wanted to share these economics of “flashpacking” with your readers.

    Here are some of our own must have tips.

    1. A camera is not a choice. We travel everywhere with a compact latest model Lumix – great. The GPS in most cameras also means that you always have permanent record attached to your photos in your photo manager.

    2. Do not worry with SD cards – most internet providers allow storage in the “sky” (e.g. ICloud). This also does away with the need to carry an external HD to back up your photos.

    3. Always take your IPhone. Why?

    a. Download Google Translate before you leave home – so helpful when you are in the middle of Russia wanting to book a train to be able to point to the Russian Text and even “speak” it via your mic. b. Also download an APP like “flashlight” that converts your IPhone camera flash to a torch, or if you have an early IPhone (such as 3G) converts your screen to a bright enough torch to get you out of trouble.
    c. Download SKYPE to avoid costly calls. We turn off International Roaming and just use Skype and wifi.

    Pack light! Listen to Tom!!! On our last trip (from Tibet down river on the Mekong) walking, hiring small boats and so on for 8 months until we popped out at the Delta in Vietnam we carried a total of 10kgs in our one, and only one 30 litre pack. We had no camping gear, bed sheets and so on. Our only thought looking at the weight that many backpackers carry – on their backs, on their fronts and in separate hand luggage is – whew!!!! We speak to many other travellers and usually ask “Have you ever used that bed roll, small tent, cooking gear?”. Most often the answer has been No. Toss it and hire what you need – cheaper and easier. In Moscow you might want to go to the Bolshoi and get dressed up. Cheaper to hire a suit in Moscow than carry a good pair of trousers across the world for a single wear! Travel light, travel slow, enjoy.

    • erin says:

      Hi Keith,
      Just wondering where you book your studio apartments through. My partner and I and travelling for 5 months through UK/Europe and are looking to mix and match with hostels/apartments. We have been searching through Air bnb and have found some great deals so far. 🙂

      -Erin

  23. candy says:

    Im leaving Australia in may 2014 and am going on 3 guided tours with Topdeck, European tour 36 days Turkey 12days and Africa for 7days also passing through Dubai several times and staying their for 5days, my main question is about a Backpack. I have been told a bag with wheels a bag with no wheels, a small size a large size, im so confused, i have been looking at packs around 50 litres.. I see you have some good advice wondering if you could let me know what you or anyone else thinks is more ideal.

  24. Kiera says:

    Hi Tom
    Great article!!
    I am wondering if you could give me an idea of a good itinerary for Europe. We will be there for 2 months and want to start and end in London.
    We want to visit the following: London, Ireland, Scotland, Germany, Spain, Paris, Tuscany, Greece, Sweden, Switzerland, and maybe some more.
    But as a first time traveller to Europe I have no idea where to go after London and what sort of itinerary to follow. We will be backpacking, looking at hiring cars, travelling by plane and rail and basically doing it as good and cheaply as possible. Any advice you have would be greatly appreciated. 🙂

  25. Monika says:

    Thanks for sharing this Amazing blog with us.

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