Backpack checklist

I totally love backpacking. It is not just a way of travelling, but a lifestyle where you always have exactly what you need with you and nothing more. But of course, to define our ideal backpack may take some time, as we have to travel and learn from your own mistakes, but here’s where I wanna help.

After travelling in more than 50+ countries, mainly alone, I have my own checklist which should be ideal for almost any (woman) backpacker, no matter if you’re travelling for 2 weeks or 1 year with a 40l backpack. So give it a read as you may want to print it and use it for your next travel adventure.

Clothes & Shoes

While a summer holiday requires different clothes from a winter holiday, the principles are the same. But to make it crystal clear, I will write a common part which is valid for both seasons (or in between) and have dedicated sections for summer and winter, with their own unique items.

All seasons

  • First layer (8 is the magical number to cover 1 full week, allowing to do your washing on the 7th or 8th day of travel)
    • 8 pairs of socks
    • 8 pairs of underwear
    • 1 bra (the number should increase if you use one daily)
  • 6-8 tshirts / top (allocate 1 top for each day of the week; the number may vary if you pack jumpsuits or dresses, which covers the full body)
  • 2 pairs of long trousers (can be jeans, light summer trousers, hiking trousers, whatever you feel more comfortable in and is more suitable for your travel itinerary)
  • 1 hoodie (useful even during summer, especially for cold nights, overnight buses, flights, metro rides with powerful AC)
  • 1 running equipment (in case you like running or plan for trekking)
  • 1 set of pijamas (with shorts and tshirt for summer, long and cozy for winter)
  • Rain coat (especially if you’re planning to visit countries during their rainy season)
  • Microfiber towel, small or medium size (it has the advantage for drying very quick)
  • Shoes
    • 1 pair of sneakers
    • 1 pair of 3 seasons boots (especially for hikers)


  • 1 long dress (adjust the number with the tops based on your personal style; a long dress is useful especially during muslim countries visits where the full body must be covered)
  • 1 skirt (I almost never get one as it’s mainly unconfortable, especially while walking with the backpack, but can be added for a night out)
  • 1-2 jumpsuits (you may skip this one, but I find them very useful and comfortable, especially the long ones)
  • 2 pairs of shorts (the number can be adjusted based on the long trousers, dresses, jumpsuits, skirts)
  • 1 swimming suit (or 2, if you will intensively go to the beach; the 2 pieces is better if you wanna get tan, but the one piece is better for snorkeling, scuba diving)
  • 1 cap (very important item to prevent a heat stroke)
  • 1 pair of slippers (especially if you plan a lot of time at the beach)
  • 1 pair of sandals (with no heels)
  • Beach towel or mat (if you’re planning to often go to the beach)


  • 2-3 fleece hoodies / jackets
  • 1-2 pairs of insulated trousers
  • Middle layer clothes for insulation (buy a thin pair of trousers & blouse with insulated layers; you can find them in Uniqlo with the label “heattech warm”)
  • Ski equipment (trousers, jacket, goggles)
  • Gloves (one thin pair, touchscreen, can be very useful to take pictures without removing the gloves; one thick pair is useful if you’re planning to go skiing or snowboarding)
  • Hat
  • Face protection (the universal one that can be used as a hat, mask and neck warmer is ideal)


  • Passport (ensure your passport won’t expire soon, especially if you’ll be travelling for a long time; many countries ask for a minimum of 6 months validity to enter their teritory; check each country regulations on your ministry of external affairs website)
  • Cards (ensure you have at least 1 valid card while travelling; if you’ll be travelling for long time, ensure you have 2, just in case one gets stolen or damaged). My best bank travel companion is Revolut, which converts my money to very competitive prices no matter the country I’m in. Their basic plan is for free, and with my invite you’ll get a free card, so why not order yours straight away using my invitation here?
  • Cash (don’t leave home without some cash; in case your card is not functional in your country of destination, you need to have a backup solution; currencies like $, £, € are the easiest to exchange anywhere in the world comparing to others)
  • Visa requiremens (before even purchasing your flight ticket, check the visa requirements for the country you are planning to fly to; while save countries provide visa on arrival, some will require a visit to the embassy and months before a visa confirmation)
  • Pictures for visa (some countries will ask you for pictures in order to provide you the visa on arrival; be sure to have some in advance, to not overpay or struggle to find a photo boot)
  • Passport copy (always have 1-2 copies of your passport with you; leave one in your bag in case it gets lost and keep another one with you, separated from your passport, in case it gets stolen)
  • Money belt (one of the most important items to store all your valuables above)
  • Travel insurance (hopefully you won’t have to use it, but it’s better to have one in case something bad happens).


  • Phone w/ high memory card in it
  • Charger (preferably USB charger type, as you may easier charge it no matter the socket type)
  • Universal adaptor (it allows you to charge your phone or electronics no matter the socket type)
  • Portable battery (will help you recharge your phone / tablet on the way)
  • Tablet w/ charger (easier to carry than a laptop, as it’s way lighter; you can buy a bluetooth keyboard and mouse if you want to use it as a laptop)
  • USB / external hardrive / Google Drive storage (think of a way to store all your pictures and videos from the journey, as your phone may run out of storage sooner than you think). I recommend Google Drive, as it’s safe and all your information goes on the cloud. You can also give access to people back home to check your pictures in real time. They have fair prices for what they offer, so just chose a package that suits you. It’s way safer than relying on a USB or an external drive for storage, which can get lost, damaged or stolen.


  • Packing cubes & organizers (will help you better organize your luggage and quicker find what you need). For example, consider storing the socks, underwear, swimming suits, bras into one organier. Consider dividing the dirty clothes from the clean ones with another organizer. Keep all cosmetics in one place, same with the shoes, tops, trousers.
  • Day trip backpack (as you won’t travel with your big backpack every day, a small backpack will do its job and carry your daily belonging)
  • Backpack waterproof cover (to ensure you keep your belongings dry in any circumstances)
  • Agenda & pen (useful to take notes, write down important information and addresses in case your phone is out of battery, lost, stolen)
  • Travel guide & maps (in case you want to learn more about the places you’ll be travelling to)
  • Headlight (especially if you’re planning to hike, go inside forests)
  • Bell (to avoid meeting any bear on your way)
  • Locker w/ code (to secure your belongings in hostels)
  • First aid kit & tablets (nobody wants to use them, but you need to get them for emergencies)
  • Insects spray (for regions with mosquitos)

Cosmetics & accessories

  • Sun glasses and cap (to avoid heat strokes)
  • Watch (to track the time even without a phone)
  • Earings (just one pair for daily usage; keep them simple, tiny, to avoid attracting robbers)
  • Jewelleries (avoid taking any jewelleries with you, especially big ones that can attract attention)
  • Hair brush & hair elastic (as these are easy to get lost, grab 3 items with you)
  • Shampoo & conditioner (in containers under 100ml each)
  • Small mascara (if really needed)
  • Face cream 24h protection (avoid taking one for day / night, to save weight)
  • Solar cream (keep the sun away, it’s more dangerous than you think)
  • Lipgloss / lipstick (to hydrate your lips; can be extremelly useful in dried countries)
  • Roll on / deodorant (ensure it’s under 100ml to comply with the airport rules for hand luggage)
  • Mini perfume (if you really can’t survive without it, get a mini version of it of max. 30ml)
  • Face cleaner (you must clean your face every morning and night even if you don’t use makeup; you will be surprised how dirty your skin may get because of the polution in big cities)
  • Razors (just in case you didn’t went for full hair body removal before)
  • Panty liners (for daily comfort and protection)
  • Vaginal cup (an ideal replacement for the classical methods, way cheaper and eco friendly)
  • Napkins (in some countries like Japan you will even receive them for free on the streets, with some advertisement)
  • Hand sanitizer (back up solution for clean hands)
  • Tooth brush (avoid the electric one while travelling, as it’s heavier and you have to regularly charge it)
  • Tooth paste (ensure it’s under 100ml to pass the airport check)
  • Dental floss (I always keep one in my daily bag to avoid any discomfort for the day)
  • Nail clipper & file (keep your nails as small as possible during travels)
  • Tweezer (to take care of your eyebrows; can be also used to remove a thorn)
  • Earplugs (to ensure a good night sleep even when somebody is snoring)
  • Eye mask (useful for a nap in the public transportation, during daylight)


  • Check the vaccination requirements before travelling. Some countries or areas are more dangerous than others, so you should get prepared in advance.
  • Use the tourist information to get the latest information on POIs, opening hours, maps, discounts, events, local food recommendations, accommodation, transportation and so on.
  • Some cities provide free walking tours. Join one to learn more from locals and make new friends.
  • Track your expenses. This will give you a good understanding of your budget and help you optimize costs when needed.

And if you got to the end of the article, it means you’re ready to travel or at least well informed. I always got only what is mentioned above in my backpack and I never had any issues or missing something during my travels. Now of course, it really depends on your lifestyle, so you may want to remove or add some items. However, I hope you can use my list as a base and personalize your backpack accordingly.

Once you’re ready, get inspired from my travel adventures here.