In my book, Backpacker’s Practical and Spiritual Guide to the Universe, you will find the essential list of items that I found helped me to enjoy my trip. I still live by this most of the time, even for short trips. There are many great websites that have a ‘basics’ list then you can build on that. You may want to take some ‘luxury’ items such as a plastic wine glass or that special pair of high heels that make the evening outings or sitting around the lounge in a hostel a bit more special.
The first priority is to choose the container for your belongings. Is it going to be a backpack, a backpack on wheels or a suitcase on wheels? Either way, you will want compartments and bags that help you to sort your items.
These bags are going to include- waterproof bag for electronics, (chargers and extras), waterproof bag for toiletries, (shampoos etc tend to leak under pressure in the undercarriage of a plane. The waterproofing here is to protect the rest of your gear during travel and from the dampness after you’ve showered), a mesh bag for undies, socks and tops and a plastic bag to store dirty shoes or clothes in.
If it’s a backpack you’re going for then you need to consider some important aspects. Make sure you go to a store where someone can advise you on best fit your body. You need to consider the size of it – you will want to fill it so keep it small. Remember – you have to carry it. You may want compartments for your hiking boots and outside pockets for phones etc. You might also want to make sure that it zips wide open so you don’t have to take everything out to reach something in the bottom. Backpacks are a great way to keep your hands free for getting on and off transport but ask yourself if you’re going to be doing much hiking with the need for a backpack and if not, then maybe consider other options that you don’t have to carry.
If you’re going to be sailing or travelling in a van with others, you may want something collapsible that will be able to be tucked away somewhere so it may need to be soft and squishy.
I like the combination of a backpack and wheels as this can be carried on our backs if necessary but not for a long time. It’s not the type of case that you would want to take on a long hike. Sometimes we have gone to a hostel on the outskirts of a town and Thomas has needed to carry our bag on his back. Otherwise, the wheels are over sized and can handle a bit of a rough terrain.
If you have any sort of problem with your back, then you may just immediately opt for a good suitcase on wheels.