71 Awesome Tried & Tested Backpacking Hacks & Travel Tips and Tricks

71 Awesome Tried & Tested Backpacking Hacks & Travel Tips and Tricks

On the topic of backpacking hacks, there’s an awful lot that can be said for ‘finding out how to do things the hard way’. Yeah, the past 5 ½ years of travel have been a learning curve, and well over 50 countries later I’m still figuring out better ways of doing stuff.

So, you could muddle your way through finding out the best travel hacks by yourself, follow a travel checklist or take the lazy-hassle free option and skim through this list to find out the best backpacking tips; the easy way!

While you’re on the topic of travel tips and backpacking hacks, you might also be interested in things you can do now to help you travel stress free.

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In my orginal article this list of backpacker hacks consisted of a measly 23 tried-and-tested ideas for packing. It’s expanded somewhat since then to a pretty extensive list, so there’s no excuse not to pack like a pro!

Disclosure: Some of the links below might be affiliate links, meaning, at no extra cost to you , if you click one of them, I may receive a small commission (for which I am deeply grateful) but it helps me create more awsome stuff like this post.

TRAVEL TIPS & BACKPACKING HACKS ON GADGETS

1. Keep your cables in a sunglass case

No doubt you will be taking electronic items with you which means the potential of having to carry lots of different cables. A top backpacking hack and handy way to keep these organised is by packing them into a sunglass case (either the hard case or soft zip-up pouch). You’ll always know where they are and this will stop them getting tangled up and damaged.

2. Invest in a pair of noise cancelling headphones 

I’m rubbish when I don’t get enough sleep, whether it’s on a plane because of a baby screaming, or in a dorm room with what sounds like King Kong snoring the place down.

Earplugs are one option, but I don’t like the feel of something inside my ear. So a better choice is a pair of noise cancelling headphones. Hellloooo peaceful sleep. So, I was a sceptic at first but after 5 nights of disrupted sleep courtesy of my roommates on a trip to the Baltics last year.

I invested in a pair of Sony WH-1000XM3 Noise Cancelling Wireless Headphones. I can 100% vouch for these bad-boys and I’m an absolute convert. I don’t travel without them! Don’t believe me? Check out the reviews.

3. A portable charge bank is a must

This is invaluable as a backup plan for every gadget owner to have an emergency power source.  Not all aeroplanes or buses have charge points and sometimes at an airport, all the charge points are in use or you just don’t have time to wait for charge.

There are loads of charge banks on the market, but it’s best to go for a power bank with a high capacity with multiple charge ports.

4. Download offline maps such as Maps.me

There are loads of off-line maps out there, heck, even Google does it. But my personal favourite is Maps.me for any overseas navigation. It’s free and super easy to use, just download the app on your phone in a wifi area, add the maps of the specific area you are going to, search for and then drop your pins on places of interest. You can even add personal notes to pins you drop. I’ve used this app so many times when I am outside of a Wi-Fi area, it’s been a lifesaver. Give it a go!

5. Go for a Worldwide Travel power adapter with multiple USB sockets

Every seasoned traveller’s been there. A dorm for 8 people, but with only enough power sockets for 4! Thankfully, lots of the newer hostels are cottoning on to this and if you’re lucky you’ll get your own personal socket next to your bed. Backpacker Bingo! However, with multiple things to charge, it’s a ball ache only being able to one thing at a time.

To get around the problem of lack of sockets, purchase a worldwide power adapter with lots of USB charge points on it, so you can plug multiple items in at once.

6. Use a mini-tripod to help get the perfect shots

The majority of my travel is solo. This has meant that I’ve had to perfect the art of the selfie to get my snaps. But if I don’t want my arm in the photo, then what? If there is someone else about to take a photo, then easy, ask them. If you’re on your own, makeshift props using a bag, a wall, rocks etc, has to make do…or not.

A great backpacking hack is to use a portable tripod with bendable legs like the JOBY GorillaPod.

This super portable and strong mini tripod holds up to 3kg and has felxible legs which you can wrap onto any surface, it’s so versatile. Twin this with an app linking that links your camera to your phone, and voila, who needs a photographer?!?

 

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Gorillapod by Joshua Case on Unsplash

7. Use a clothes peg to stop headphone cables getting tangled

I’ve still got old-skool style headphones with the cables on them. Yes, I know they aren’t super cool but, bear with me, they are perfect to take to the beach, or anywhere near the sea, So I don’t mind them getting covered in sand, saltwater and suntan lotion. Plus, no one’s going to nick a pair of old skool headphones if I leave them lying about.

My biggest pet hate with them is that the cables get tangled. A super simple backpacking hack to wave goodbye to those tangled up cables is a single humble clothes peg. Clip the ear-bud section into the peg, wrap the cable around the peg, and then clip in the jack. It’s the perfect solution to keeping them tidy!

8. Take spare SD cards

I love my adventure sport, and soon realised that travelling with a GoPro, recording every scuba dive, white water rafting, a climbing experience that my SD cards were constantly out of space. My only option back then was to buy a new SD card every time it filled up. After two months in Costa Rica, I’d filled over three SD cards. Buying them at airports cost me a fortune.

Order them from your home country in before your trip. I use a Class 10 SanDisk 128GB memory card with an adapter so I can use it in any of my cameras which means I don’t have to worry about running out of space.   

9. Become a magnet for free Wi-Fi

International go-to’s (and the only time I’ll step foot in there) are Starbucks and MacDonald’s. You’ll learn fairly quickly that most big hotels, town squares, cafes, museums has equally decent Wi-Fi – in fact, lots of places actively advertise it, they know we are like moths to a flame when it comes to Wi-Fi access. If you really are desperate to have cell phone access all the time, then make sure you look into the best international SIM.

Hey you! Why not check out some of these other great articles?

TRAVEL TIPS & BACKPACKING HACKS ON FOOD & DRINK

10. Book hostels or accommodation with a kitchen

This top backpacker hack is great for anyone with dietary requirements, as well as saving you a mini fortune. Cooking your own meals takes a little bit of planning, but think how much money you’re literally devouring each day. For long term travel, you’ll become a whiz in quick, cheap nutritious meals.

11. Take a Tupperware! And some travel cutlery

If you are travelling long-term, one of the best ways to save money is to cook your own food. There’s nothing worse than being stuck out on a day trip or on a long journey with overpriced uninspirational stuff on offer. If you are staying in a hostel/ apartment/ accommodation with a kitchen, a top money-saving tip is to make a double portion the previous night and pack the remainder into a Tupperware container and your own cutlery to eat it with for the next day’s lunch. Perfect!

I’m actually a little bit in love with this beautiful 7 piece rose gold travel cutlery set, not only does it come with a knife, fork and spoon but also a pair of chopsticks, and 2 reusable metal straws and a brush to clean them with all in a snazzy little carry case.

Seriously, take a look, this is one super cute reusable cutlery set.

12. Caffeine addict?

If, like me, you’ll understand the NEED for your daily caffeine fix before you’re even capable of facing the day.

If you’re lucky, your accommodation might supply you with some sachets of brown granules they call ‘coffee’. Frankly, it tastes like piss and certainly does nothing towards hitting the spot.

I’m happy to admit that I’m a bit of a coffee snob and I’m ok with that.

This amazing invention of a travel coffee press intergrated into a cup solves my caffeine woes.

This portable coffee maker by Bodrum is a must for if you want fresh coffee on the go.

13. Eat the street food

IF you do eat out, weasel out cheaper food places. A good indicator is to eat where the locals eat, these are often slightly out of the tourist areas (look for small restaurants and street food vendors). Restaurants will always have a premium price on them, but you can get just as good, and often more authentic food at a fraction of the price if you eat like a local. The main worry is ‘is the food safe’, overall – yes! It’s cooked right in front of you, so it’s not had a chance to sit about and fester if there are a lot of locals eating there, it’s also a good indication that the food is cheap, safe and tasty.

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I can never resist the amazing Street Food markets in Asia! Photo by Adli Wahid on Unsplash

14. Pack a water bottle with an intergrated filter

The world does not need more plastic waste, however, this can be difficult in countries where you can not drink the water. You’re often limited with the fact that you have to keep buying new bottles of water. A perfect solution to this is to invest in a water purification filter bottle.

Not sure what this is? then take a look at this filtering water bottle which filters out 99.9% of waterborne pathogens and allows you to drink the water from taps or freshwater sources like rivers!

It’s also great for the environment as using a water bottle with an intergrated filter stops so many regular disposable bottles going to landfill. Pretty awesome right?

15. Take some Herbs and Spices with you

Hostel kitchens can be basic. Sometimes all you’ll find is a few old pots n pans, a chipped plate and a bent fork. If you’re lucky you might find an old box of salt to add some seasoning. To be frank, you’re more likely to find a lump of unicorn poo in a hostel kitchen than some decent herbs and spices!

There’s only so much bland food I can tolerate on a long-term trip. A handy trick is to put some spices and dried herbs into little pots or zip bags. A bit of basil or chilli powder can turn a bland dish into something super tasty.

16. Carry your Dietary Requirements Information on you

Whether it’s an intolerance, an allergy or a dietary requirement, it’s handy to have the phrase ‘I cannot eat……’ written in the local language, ask the staff at your accomodation to help you if you are struggling with Google Translate.

Alternatively, pictures of items you cannot eat with a cross through (a bit like a road sign) can also be really useful if you are unsure of the language and want to avoid certain items.

17. Hunt down the local Booze store

Backpackers love to drink. However, drinking out at bars can be expensive, unless you can find a decent bar that does happy hour.  A great backpacking hack is to suss out the local shop and drink elsewhere like the sunset on the beach. Just remember to check street-drinking rules for the country you are in! Don’t forget to pack a little bottle opener too!

18. Stay at hostels that offer free breakfast

Everyone likes free food right? Some hostels offer amazing breakfasts, others are minimal (white bread or toast, bland jam and watery coffee). Sometimes, there is a small fee for a really decent breakfast and cheaper than anything you’d get elsewhere.

Also, it’s so much more convenient to wake up, chuck something on, roll out of the dorm and get breakfast on site without having to wander the streets finding food.

TRAVEL TIPS & BACKPACKING HACKS ON GETTING ABOUT

19. Use incognito mode to get the cheapest flight deals

So Skyscanner my go-to for cheap flights. One backpacking hack that a lot of people don’t realise is to search in ‘incognito’ or secret mode. You know when you look at a flight and it’s one price, then go back later to check it and it’s going up – that’s because of the algorithm your device is sending to Skyscanner. Searching in secret mode stops this from happening.

20. Book flights at the optimum time

This is usually at around 6-8 weeks before departure, often on a Tuesday or Wednesday at mid-afternoon.

21. Avoid using taxis hailed down off the street

This is a sure-fire way to an expensive journey. Depending on where in the world you are, there is a multitude of ‘taxi’ apps, Grab (Asia), Bolt (Baltics) and Uber are all much cheaper than the regular cabbie. The three main advantages, the first being you know the price in advance, no getting screwed over or haggling a price, the second, you know it’s a legit and registered driver, not just some random off the street posing as a taxi driver. The third, the taxi driver isn’t going to drop you off at some random location because ‘his mate’ owns a bar/restaurant/hotel/shop and is after commission on dropping you there instead.

22. Share lifts with other travellers heading the same way

A great backpacking hack is to share the cost of travel. Put a notice in reception or check in desk, mention it to the staff at a hostel or ask other guests you see about if you can taxi share or better still if you’re lucky, someone’s got a car and they are more than happy to split the fuel bill.

It’s also more social to go with someone likeminded. Who knows, you might stumble across some off the beaten track place on your journey and with comfort in numbers, go explore someplace you’d never considered.

23. Use public transport

Sometimes the quickest and cheapest way to get around, especially if you’re heading from city to city. Withing crazy cities (like London) this is a no brainer.

Depending on which country you are in public trains and buses can range from basic to full-on luxury. It’s all part of the experience. Just be careful to keep an eye on your stuff on certain routes and using a secure bag.

Pickpockets exist everywhere, but an anti-theft backpack (this one even has USB charging ports!) can give you some peace of mind when you are using public transport.

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Yellow tram in Lisbon, Portugal. Photo by Brigitta Schneiter on Unsplash

TRAVEL TIPS & BACKPACKING HACKS ON MONEY

24. Notify your bank that you are travelling overseas

I had this happen to me on a trip to Australia. I know the bank was ‘trying’ to be helpful in locking my bank card when they saw various transactions happening from the other side of the world. It was annoying beyond belief having to call them to get it resolved. A big phone bill later calling back to the UK and I did manage to get my card unlocked but I could have saved myself the frustration.

25. Set a budget, and (try to) stick to it

Each region of the world will be different. In most of South East Asia, I could get by on about $20-30 a day (accommodation, food, travel, activities). However, in Europe I struggled with keeping within $50 a day limit.

It’s a sensible idea to set a daily or weekly budget before you go, and really try to stick to it. It’s great to have the credit card as back up for unexpected costs or the fateful impulsive purchases, but if you’re doing this over a long term just be aware of the mounting cost.

The worst thing after coming back from an epic trip is checking the dwindling bank balance and a huge debt to pay off.

26. Don’t be scared to Flashpack once in a while

For the bulk of the time, I travel on a budget – for food, accommodation, transport. If I can find a way to be thrifty, you can be sure I’m doing it.

Unless you’re fortunate to be able to work and travel or have deep pockets, most long term travellers are on a budget. BUT it’s exhausting. The long travel times on buses followed by a sleepless night in a dorm room with roomies snoring all night (see note about on noise cancelling headphones!) can equal exhaustion which is no fun place to be.

Just once in a while, you’ll feel backpacker burn out. It’s times like these when it’s ok to splash out a little bit and get a tiny bit of luxury in your life for a couple of days to recoup.

To keep in budget, offset your splurge days with a few days either side of spending next to no money at all. Chilling on the beach is a good way to achieve this 😉

27. Put a currency converter app on your phone

So, there are easy currencies to work with, eg Dollar, Pound, Euro, are all in fairly small denominations.  Then on the other hand, Vietnam and Cambodia, just HOW many zero’s on their bills?

I found it so confusing having to count up the number of zeros on the end of a number to discover it was actually only worth a couple of pounds!

But it’s this confusion, that makes tourists a prime target for being short-changed when instead of paying the equivalent of $2 for something, you pay $20!

A handy backpiacking hack is to make sure you use a simple currency converter app on your phone to stop this happening so you can keep track on exactly what you are spending.

28. Stash some emergency cash

It’s a good idea to keep a bit of emergency money (I take US Dollars) with you and keep it hidden somewhere safe in case of emergencies. You might lose a bank card, or be stuck somewhere with no ATMs.

29. Learn the art of haggling

As a tourist, regardless of how skint you think you are, a lot of the world will see you as a walking money bank. Basically, if you’re a tourist, you’re going to get ripped off. You’ll learn quickly that there is what’s known as the ‘local price’ and then the ‘tourist price’.

As a rule of thumb, don’t listen to the BS inflated price you first get offered at 10x its actual value. Learn the art of haggling and save a mint. Although it’s a good idea to haggle to get a decent price, just make sure it’s also a fair price.

An Ethical Note on Haggling

If you are haggling for something which has been handcrafted (as in it’s not been mass-produced in a factory and has a ‘made in China’ sticker on it) do take into account how much time and effort has gone into the piece.

As a traveller, you’re already better off finacially than a lot of others in the world.

Regardless to whether it’s a rug, scarf, bag, artwork etc. That extra dollar you are trying to bargain down could mean the difference between a meal for a whole family or not.

So yes, do haggle, just don’t take the piss.

30. Use money clips to separate and organise money

If you are on a multi-destination style trip you will come across lots of different currencies. To keep them all organised, use a money clip

I love these cute little stainless steep ones to help keep me on top of my money organisation game.

31. Make the most of free stuff in each location

Pretty much every city I’ve been to offer a free city walking tour. Not only a great way to meet other travellers, but also to get the lo-down on the layout of the city and some insider nuggets of information. These tours do operate on a tip basis, so if you enjoyed it or found it of some value then don’t forget to tip the guide! Look out for free museums, or public events happening. Hostels staff or the local tourist board (either tourist information shop, or online) are usually pretty good at divulging this type of info.

Want to find out other amazing travel hacks? Why not check out these great articles?

TRAVEL TIPS & BACKPACKING HACKS ON CLOTHING

32. Use Packing Cubes to keep stuff organised

Looking back, I don’t even know how I managed without the use of these amazing packing cubes

Not only do they add an extra layer of protection to keep your clothes clean and dry, but they are also amazing for keeping your stuff organised. They also have a handy zipper round the outisde which squishes everything down, so you can fit loads more stuff into your luggage.

If you take on board just one of these backpacking hacks and travel tips, then let packing cubes be it!

33. Roll your clothing instead of folding it

Rolling your clothes actually takes up less space than folding it, according to research it also helps to keep clothing more crease-free. A win-win situation!

34. Pack by outfit

If you are limited by how many items you can pack into your rucksack, then make sure you pack items with colours or patterns that can easily be mix and matched. Likewise, try and pack multi-purpose clothing; a casual beach dress by day can be smartened up for the evening by twinning it with a pretty shoal and strappy sandals. Accessories are also a good way to add diversity to a bland outfit.

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Colour co-ordinate your outfits. Photo by Felipe Galvan from Unsplash

35. Invest in a large sarong, and know how to use it

  • A large sarong is less bulky than a towel for trips to the beach, a sarong can be made into a quick fix sun dress to wear until you get there.
  • Temples often require you to cover up yor shoulders or knees, a quick fix is to tie your sarong over your shoulders, or wrap it over your shorts so it covers your knees .
  • On chilly flights and long bus journeys, your sarong can be used as a lightweight blanket.
  • If you are going camping, a sarong can be bundled up and used as an emergency pillow.
  • You can make a privacy curtain if you are staying in a dorm room on a bottom bunk.
  • A pretty sarong can be knotted, twisted and tucked in a multitude of ways to make a funky dress, top or skirt.

36. Know what’s culturally acceptable

This goes for guys and girls, do a little research on the dos and don’ts in a country. On my trip to Jordan, I packed clothes suitable for the middle east. Despite it being hot, it’s not as culturally acceptable to walk about in a middle eastern country in a mid-drift top and little denim shorts.

Likewise, in Thailand, you can not enter a temple unless you are appropriately dressed. I do get the argument some people have of ‘I can wear what I like’ which is fine, but you’re asking for unwanted attention, for the wrong reasons.

Wear what you like, yes – but just remember how you dress at home could be seen as incredibly disrespectful, or promiscuous to people in other parts of the world. 

37. Pack light - You don’t need as many clothes as you think

Before you go, lay everything you’re planning out on the floor. Go through it all with the aim of ditching at least 1/3 of it. If you can get rid of a 1/2 then even better! Ask yourself, do I really NEED 10 t-shirts, 4 pairs of shorts and 14 sets of underwear? The answer is probably no.

Be strict with yourself. Having to lug a 15kg backpack about, when it’s a 30minute walk in the scorching heat, you’ll regret the extra baggage.

38. Use shower caps to put over your shoes

So, I’m not sure who uses shower-caps for their actual purpose BUT they are fabulous for wrapping around the bottom of a pair of dirty shoes before packing and keeping the contents of your back muck free.

TRAVEL TIPS & BACKPACKING HACKS ON HEALTH & FITNESS

39. Make a basic loo kit

Lot of places around the world, public amenities such as toilets aren’t up to our standard here in the west; especially on long road trips in lots of Asia, Africa and South America. I highly recommended you keep a little ‘loo kit’ in your day bag – toilet paper, wet wipes and hand sanitizer – you’ll thank yourself when nature calls.

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Loo with a view anyone? Photo by Ibrahim Rifath on Unsplash

40. Keep hairpins in an old tic-tac container

Like at home, these little buggers get EVERYWHERE. If hair clips or bobby pins are part of your daily hair routine, then keep them in an old Tic-Tac container or mint tin.

41. Invest in solid bars instead of liquids

Bottles of liquid are heavy, take up a lot of space and can be prone to leakages. To solve all three of these problems, use solid blocks of shampoo and conditioner instead.

No chance of spillages, less waste from plastic bottles, and take up less room and weigh less than their liquid version.

42. Pack a mini first aid kit

Although most towns will have a shop that ‘might’ sell some basic first aid stuff, it’s just a pain trying to locate this. 

Keep a small selection of essentials for a basic first aid kit.  Then add a few extra bits including antihistamine, paracetamol/ibuprofen, diarrhoea (aka, the shits!) tablets & rehydration powder, bug-bite cream, and travel/sea sick tablets to give me a pretty comprehensive travel first aid kit.

43. A decent washbag with a hook

In most bathrooms I’ve used in hostels, at most you’ll only have a couple of hooks. Sometimes nothing. 

You’ll be tasked with the balancing act between your towel, clean clothes, dirty clothes and any toiletries you might be using.

To make sure nothing touches the floor use a handy travel toiletry bag with a hook to keep everything off the floor.

 

44. Go miniature with toiletries

Only take enough toiletries for a couple of weeks MAX! They take up a loads of space, are heavy too and can be prone to leaking. I talked earlier about solid shampoo and conditioner but what about other essentials you can’t solidify?

Transfer you essentials stuff over to a travel size bottles before you leave. If you are on a longer trip, then fill up your mini travel bottles as you go – often in Hostels you’ll find loads larger bottles of stuff left over for others to use, (left behind because they are bulky and heavy!), so fill up your miniature travel bottles here.

45. Pack a microfiber towel

So, when you stay at a hotel or Air B&B you can pretty much be sure you’ll get at least one towel.

However, staying in a hostel you can never guarantee having a towel provided. If the hostel does offer them you either have to rent them, or it’s the tiniest, roughest and suspect stained thing you’ve ever seen.

Regular towels are heavy and take up a lot of space, so be sure to invest in one of these quick drying and sand free towels.

Not only available in beautiful patterns, so they look amazing, they take up next to no space and are super soft on the skin. The perfect travel towel.

46. Use a bulldog clip over the end of your shaver

 Probably the most annoying of all cuts; shaver cuts on your fingers as you are rummaging about your toiletry bag. An easy solution either invest in one that has a detachable head and keeps the blade part wrapped up, or use a bulldog clip over the end of the blade. You fingers will forgive you. 

47. Use a multifunctional headscarf or bandana for bad hair days

Granted, there are going to be some days when your hair looks like you’ve been dragged through a hedge backwards.  Use a multifunctional headscarf to transform your bed-head look into something more presentable.

Messy buns and a headscarf, that’s backpacker chic you know!

48. Go minimal with the make-up

Humidity, sweat and makeup never bode well. Save the hassle, bulk and weight and just take bare minimal with you; a little bit of concealer, a neutral shade of eye shadow, waterproof mascara and lip balm is about all you will need.

No time to read the full article? why not Pin one of these pretty images for future reference

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71 Tried and Tested Travel Hacks Travel Tips & Backpacking Hacks to make your life easier, How to travel like a pro. Tips for backpacking and how to pack like a pro. Best packing hacks, best gadget hacks, best clothing hacks for travellers. #traveling #backpacking #travelhacks
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TRAVEL TIPS & BACKPACKING HACKS ON SAFETY

49. Always keep your day bag in sight

If you are walking through busy areas and have a satchel style bag or rucksack slung behind you, you are a prime target for pick-pockets. If you don’t have a very secure bag, be sure to keep your bag in front of you. Better still, invest in an anti theft backpack.

When you’re are sat at a table it’s often habit to hook your bag over the back of the chair. This is a big no-no where it’s easy for someone to walk past and snatch it. Whenever you are sat somewhere public, either put your rucksack on the floor and between your legs, with your own leg or a chair/table leg hooked through the strap, if it’s a smaller bag, keep it on your lap.

50. Hide your valuables on your body

If you’re out and about in a busy area and don’t want to take a big bag with you, then to keep your valuables safe, use a money belt or a hidden zip scarf.

51. Get a decent quality lock

Hostels usually provide a locker, on occasions with a key. Mostly, you have to provide your own lock. Buy a decent quality padlock before you go. Hostels will often sell them, but cheap nasty things as a hugely marked up price.

52. Don’t flash expensive stuff about

I’m always amazed by how much bling people take travelling with them. If you’re going to walk about looking like a jewellery shop or a designer clothes horse then expect to be a target to thieves. This includes if you have gone shopping and are walking about holding a carrier bag with a designer brand on it, you’d be a walking beacon that you have ample money to spend.

The same goes for technology, be sure you know exactly where your phone and camera are. Walking about with your phone in your back pocket and an expensive and beloved camera slung round your neck can scream temptation to thieves.

Don’t make yourself an easy target or a victim.

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Don't be a target to pick pockets. Image by Olga Ozik from Pixabay

TRAVEL TIPS & BACKPACKING HACKS ON PACKING & ORGANISATION

53. Bring a small laundry bag

Any small, lightweight bag will do, but canvass shopping bags are perfect for keeping your dirty stuff together and squishing into your rucksack. Just grab the whole bag and drop it to the laundry.

54. Keep hold of plastic bags

I’m not a fan of single-use plastics, so keep hold of any plastic bag you see. For example, the ones that your blanket on the airline is wrapped in is perfect! You never know when you might have wet or muddy clothing to pack away, and it gives a second use to a would-be landfill item.

55. Use a travel organiser wallet with LOTS of compartments

Most things, thankfully come in a digital format now, although you will always have important documents which you’ll need to keep to hand, such as your passport. 

A cute travel organiser wallet is the perfect to keep all your hard paper copies of things in one safe place.

56. Take a foldable duffle bag to overflow into

If you’re planning on travelling long term, it’s only natural to have acquired a few bits n bobs along the way.

Ditching some items might not be an option so a great solution is to pack a lightweight squishable bag of some sort to use as an emergency overflow.

These compact and lightweight duffle bags also double up great if you need a pillow on a long bus ride – stuff it with a jumper and voila, you have a great place to rest your head.

57. Wrap tiny items in tin-foil and tissue paper

If you plan to take jewellery on your trip a useful way to stop it getting tangled and lost is to wrap each item in tin-foil or tissue paper before packing them. You could use cling film to do the same job, although tin-foil and tissue paper is much better for the environment.  Clingfilm is also useful to wrap any liquids in which might seep out during transit.

58. Pack your biggest & heaviest items first and smallest items last

 Bigger items like shoes, can be filled with smaller stuff before being packed. Pack the big items first, and then fill in the little awkward and annoying gaps with small squishable items.

59. Invest in at least one carabiner - preferably more!

These super little handy clips are worth their weight in gold and have a whole host of uses and will enable you to pretty much clip anything to, err…anything.

You don’t have to go for the really expensive heavy duty versions that are used for climbing, these super cute and colourful carabiner clips are just as good for clipping things to your bag while you are travelling.

TRAVEL TIPS & BACKPACKING HACKS ON BACKPACKING ESSENTIALS TO MAKE LIFE EASIER

60. Pack a length of cord

You might find yourself having to do emergency clothing wash or have wet stuff after getting caught in a downpour. Sometimes there is just no-where to hang your stuff up – a length of cord tied to the posts of your bed or between trees gives you an automatic washing line in these emergency moments.

61. Take fishing line and a basic sewing kit

For basic repairs on clothing or a surface tear in your rucksack, regular cotton is fine. However, for anything that’s weight-bearing you need something stronger. Fishing line is your answer.

From first hand experience, regular sewing thread hand stitching a shoulder strap on back onto my rucksack just didn’t cut it, fishing line worked wonders and lasted until I got back home.

62. An easily accessible small flash light and head light

You’ll most likely have a flashlight option on your phone but it’s super annoying when your phone runs out of battery.

A tiny pocket light is perfect for times like this or better still a head light. I’ve used my head lamp so many times when I’ve been scrambling about in caves or on night hikes.

Better still, pack both a mini flashlight as well as a head light.

63. Bring a small notebook and pen

As much as I love my phone and laptop, sometimes it’s nice to have an electronic detox and to be able to sit and write down my thoughts and feelings while I’m travelling.

If the idea of a totally blank note book scares you then why not go for a Travel Journal with sections and prompts to help you plan and document your whole adventure.

64. Do a tiny bit of research before arriving somewhere

I’m not one for planning much in advance. I love the spontaneity of exploring somewhere new. But it’s handy to know just a little bit about what’s in the region.

This is particularly the case if something needs to be booked in advance, or there are limited opening hours. So just give yourself a heads-up, literally, it takes is about 10 minutes on Pinterest to find some itineraries or information about a location.

65. Talk to the locals

You might get one token resident arsehole at a destination, (arseholes exist everywhere) but honestly, the vast majority of locals you’ll meet are absolutely lovely and want to show off and tell you about their country.

Rest assured that the majority of people in the world are decent human beings, so if you speak the lingo, or they speak yours, just be friendly. Who knows, they may tip you off about a delicious locally known restaurant, or somewhere that the tourists don’t venture too because it’s not advertised. Even just saying hello and a smile goes a long way.

71 Tried and Tested Travel Hacks Travel Tips & Backpacking Hacks to make your life easier, How to travel like a pro. Tips for backpacking and how to pack like a pro. Best packing hacks, best gadget hacks, best clothing hacks for travellers. #traveling #backpacking #travelhacks
Talk to the locals. Photo by Andrew Martin from Pixabay

66. Get a waterproof phone case

Having a waterproof phone case is super handy if you’re caught out in a monsoon-like downpour while using your phone for navigating. You can check out the best SIM for using your phone aborad here.

Also having a water proof case for your phone is a great little backpacking hack for slightly wet boat rides, days at the beach when you want to go for a smim or even taking pics while you’re snorkelling.

67. A pack of cards

As much as I am rubbish at playing card games, they are a universal way of interacting with other travellers you meet.

There’s nothing quite like bringing a group of strangers together than a pack of cards. Great for long journeys, drinking sessions at the hostel or staying in the middle of the jungle (yes, I played drunken card games after a day of hiking in the Sumatran jungle to spot Orangutans).

The more silly and simple the card games are, the better it is at bringing a group of people together. Good ol’ fashioned entertainment.

68. Invest in a sleeping bag liner

Sometimes, hostel bedding isn’t quite up to scratch and the cleanliness can be questionable.

I’ve slept in my fair share of manky beds! A sleeping bag liner can be a lifesaver here for when suspect stains on the sheets and bedding look dubious.  Having an emergency bed liner at least makes sure there is a barrier between you and what every rank things are on that bed.

69. Don’t skimp on travel insurance

I know it’s an added expense, but it really is worth it, partly for peace of mind of your valuables, but more importantly the medical side of it. If you were to have an accident abroad, do you have the funds to pay for the potentially expensive treatment you might need?

Never go travelling without fully comprehensive travel insurance and make sure you spend time shopping about. I’ve used TrueTraveller several times. They only charge you for the cover you actually need, so you can easily tailor-build your insurance to suit your specific needs.

70. Take a universal sink plug

I know it’s not very exciting, but a simple item like the humble universal plug for the sink can feel like a luxury commodity in some countries. Often, they are non-existent. If you plan on being on the road for a long time and need to wash clothes, you’re probably going to need a universal sink plug.

71. Don’t forget your sense of fun and adventure

For many, the chance of travelling the world is a pipeline dream. If you are privileged enough to be able to travel, make the most of every opportunity. Head off the beaten track, try new stuff and open your mind to every new experience possible.

WOW! That’s a pretty epic list of backpacking hacks! Most likely, a year from now I’ll be adding even more to this list.

You might be interested in some of these other great travel articles

Pin it for later

If you found this post useful, or know someone who would, then don’t forget to like and share it.

Are there any other awesome travel tips or backpacking hacks that should be on this list?  I’d love to know, comment in the section below.

71 Tried and Tested Travel Hacks Travel Tips & Backpacking Hacks to make your life easier, How to travel like a pro. Tips for backpacking and how to pack like a pro. Best packing hacks, best gadget hacks, best clothing hacks for travellers. #traveling #backpacking #travelhacks
71 Tried and Tested Travel Hacks Travel Tips & Backpacking Hacks to make your life easier, How to travel like a pro. Tips for backpacking and how to pack like a pro. Best packing hacks, best gadget hacks, best clothing hacks for travellers. #traveling #backpacking #travelhacks
71 Tried and Tested Travel Hacks Travel Tips & Backpacking Hacks to make your life easier, How to travel like a pro. Tips for backpacking and how to pack like a pro. Best packing hacks, best gadget hacks, best clothing hacks for travellers. #traveling #backpacking #travelhacks
71 Tried and Tested Travel Hacks - Travel Tips & Backpacking Hacks to make your life easier, How to travel like a pro. Tips for backapcking and how to pack like a pro. Best packing hacks, best gadget hacks, best clothing hacks for travellers. #traveling #backpacking #travelhacks
71 Tried and Tested Travel Hacks - Travel Tips & Backpacking Hacks to make your life easier, How to travel like a pro. Tips for backapcking and how to pack like a pro. Best packing hacks, best gadget hacks, best clothing hacks for travellers. #traveling #backpacking #travelhacks
71 Tried and Tested Travel Hacks - Travel Tips & Backpacking Hacks to make your life easier, How to travel like a pro. Tips for backapcking and how to pack like a pro. Best packing hacks, best gadget hacks, best clothing hacks for travellers. #traveling #backpacking #travelhacks

71 Awesome Tried & Tested Backpacking Hacks & Travel Tips and Tricks 1

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Becki from Meet Me In Departures

Adventure travel blogger with a big addiction to the World. An ex-rat-racer who was fed up with sleep-work-eat-repeat materialistic mentality that plagues modern living. I love anything to do with off-beat travel, abandoned places, temples & ruins, street art, wildlife in its natural habitat, adventure sport.....basically anything but the 9-5!

This Post Has 20 Comments

  1. I agree with packing. Very good post. How many times, I’ve been during trip and guys didn’t pack properly.. I don’t even mention about over 100 ml liquid in hand baggage..

    1. Thank you. I’m glad you liked reading it 🙂

  2. These are some really great tips and obviously from experience, I particularly like #5, #18 and #22. I already do a few of them such as numbers 3 and 4 so that made me feel good! 🙂 I always feel like I pack too much and trying to conserve space stresses me out before trips so these are some handy tips for sure! Thanks!

  3. I’m leaving on a monthlong trip in a couple of days. These are swesome hacks and I will be using most of them! Bulldog clips are genius! Thanks for the great list!

  4. Great tips~ I am already doing a few of these things and my fav – using mint boxes for hair clips or earrings (perfect), packing by outfit and using packing cubes
    Next time, I will try separating the currencies like you mentioned ?

  5. The pictures in this post are hilarious! What a great way to remember the backpacking hacks! I completely agree with the scarf point – keeping a few scarves in my bag has saved my bacon a few times when I needed to cover shoulders or my husband needed to cover his knees! I’ve never considered taking a length of cord away with me before, but it’s a great idea

  6. Such a detailed and informative post, I especially love the tip on never underestimating the value a scarf/shawl as I use mine all the time while travelling especially in countries with lots of religious sites.

  7. Fab travel hacks. Isnt it funny how you learn these things on the road. I absolutely LOVE packing cubes, esp if you have big rucksack as finding clean undies in a dark bag can be a nightmare. haha. Fab list – have pinned

  8. These are excellent tips and I love how simple and doable they are. I really need to invest in some packing cubes. My clothes are all over the place. You are so organized. ?

  9. These are great tips, I have never back packed and these tips are very useful. Some of the things I haven’t used but should incorporate is : shower cap for shoes, length cord, sarong as an outfit and clips for earbuds. All others I have utilized and can attest to that work.

  10. These are such handy tips even if you’re not backpacking! I find sarongs and scarves incredibly useful because their use are so diverse. I also love love love packing cubes! Keeps things nice and organised. And totally agree with rolling instead of folding. Love these tips!

  11. These tips are all great; I’ve been using most of them myself for years. Particular faves are the sarong (I would never dream of leaving home without one or probably 2!), the laundry bag (I have a number of different lightweight cotton bags with handles you can tie together; so many shops eager to show their eco-consciousness practically give them out for free nowadays), rolling clothes (always) and a couple of spare plastic bags.

    I’ve got 4 extra tips which I would like to add to this list:

    1) Bamboo towel. I have a wonderful light sarong-type thing which is made of bamboo and is actually designed to be a towel! Bamboo is impossibly lightweight and soft, and feels and looks just like cotton except it absorbs tonnes more water. It also dries out quickly too. I used to always use the synthetic blue Trek Towels and although they are very efficient, I don’t much like the feel of them and also knowing they’re synthetic and will never biodegrade. I much prefer my bamboo towel now. It takes up less space, is all natural and is pretty and light enough that it can pass or double for a scarf or shawl. That reminds me – you haven’t mentioned what you normally use for a towel while you’re travelling?

    2) Bungee cord for drying washing: You mentioned taking a length of cord for a washing line but what do you do for pegs? There’s a better solution to this – take a bungee cord especially designed for this purpose. It’s like 2 lengths of elastic cord, twisted together and with a big hook at each end. You can hook it to whatever you want to, it stretches pretty far, and the twist in the cords mean you can tuck in the ends of whatever you want to dry (like socks, underwear) without the need for any pegs. It’s genius!

    3) Travel Wash! You haven’t mentioned travel wash. I always take a tube or bottle of liquid travel wash (soap) for hand-washing clothes on the go. Then use said bungee cord to hang them up ?

    4) Sink Plug! Speaking of hand-washing ….. another ESSENTIAL is a rubber universal sink plug. I actually saw you mentioned it in another post. If you’re planning on roughing it a bit and staying in cheap places, this can be invaluable when their isn’t a plug (and you want to wash your grubby socks and underpants in the sink Lol).

    5) Because it’s 5 now ? You mentioned bulldog clips…. I never thought of that but they’re quite bulky. My solution is those thin metal hairslides, you know the brown or black or blond ones with the crinkles down one side. I group notes together and keep them together by using these hairslides like paper clips. I’m rather smug and proud of myself for making this one up myself haha! (That said I expect hundreds of people discovered this before me!). It’s helpful for keeping track of your money and for keeping currencies separate, like you mentioned.

    So maybe come to think of it these aren’t ALL ‘hacks’ per se (like the travel wash) but for me these are all on the ‘essentials’ list so I though I’d share them.

    Ooh! One more use for the sarong! If you’re sleeping somewhere less than salubrious and are doubtful about the cleanliness, you can cover up your pillow with your sarong doubled up, then you have the comfort of knowing at least your face is sleeping on something familiar and ‘yours’ and cleanish. I find that very comforting anyway. Gosh Sarongs have hundreds of uses and I’d never even think of packing a backpack without at least one!

    Sorry this post has been so long…. I’m known for being a bit wordy …… I’ve got so many more tips I could share but it’s not like you need them haha!

    1. OMG Vanetia, you’re fab 😀 Would you like to write a whole guest post for me on what you do for travel. You have so many fab ideas – I love it 🙂 Thank you so much for your massive contribution. I’m liking the Bamboo Towel suggestion particularly, I’ll have to look into getting one of those.
      Thank you so much again for posting all these fab suggestions ? x

  12. So many great tips here. Thanks for sharing!

  13. Oh great tips, thank you for a good read!
    Cheers from Sweden ?

  14. Great information and great work in putting it together

  15. Such great and practical tips for packing. I am heading out for a week and going to come back to this post.

  16. Loved the hacks, Most of them are must for travellers to consider. It will surely make the holiday amazing.

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