10 Items Every Backpacker Needs

If you’re getting ready to backpack anywhere in the world, you should know that your life is going to be so much easier AND cheaper if you’re traveling with a carry-on only. 

First and foremost, I want to tell you about the backpack I personally have used throughout 23 different countries around the world. The Osprey Porter 46L Backpack has proven its worth and reliability over the years, and I wouldn’t dare to choose any other backpack. First of all, it opens like a suitcase which means you don’t have to worry about digging through to find anything. Osprey is a super reliable brand, and this isn’t sponsored (I wish lol). 

All right, now that my wonderful backpack is out of the way, here are my TOP travel necessities for backpacking:

Quick Dry Towel

All right – I know this isn’t super exciting, but these microfiber towels are a must for traveling because they dry fast and fold up small. I actually brought two with me after realizing I am not the type of person who can shower with only one towel – one of them is an XL, which is a pretty standard size for a towel, and one of them is a size “medium,” which is pretty small but large enough to dry my hair. They do come with a little carrying case which is cute!

TSA Approved Refillable Bottles

These refillable travel-sized bottles come in handy and reduce usage of plastic! They have pre-set labels that you can change (shampoo, conditioner, lotion, sunscreen..) and it came with a carrying bag and lanyard if you’re in a shower without a shelf. These were super useful because whenever I was in a hostel or hotel with bulk shampoo or shower gel, I would just fill mine up from their supply (sorry hostels!). They’ve never leaked, and I’ve been traveling with them for 6+ months.

Anti-Theft Bags and Purses

All right – I absolutely LOVE “travelon.” I have this amazing purse by them and it’s small enough to fit an iPad Mini but big enough to hold a small waterbottle. It’s slash proof, RFID protected, has a little flash light on the inside, and the zippers lock which make it pick-pocket proof. This purse has lasted me through major and small cities throughout both Europe and Asia, and I absolutely love it.

Compression Packing Cubes

Okay – I’m sure you’ve heard of these or something similar. For such a small backpack, these are SO necessary! I put all of my tops and dresses in one, bottoms in another, and underwear in my third one. I personally have used these Gonex ones for the last few years and genuinely like them a lot. They fit perfectly in my backpack!

Sim Card Holder

Okay, this might be one of the nerdiest things I have ever purchased… but it was so worth it! You do NOT want to lose your Sim card from back home if you ever plan to return and keep the same number, and I never lost mine thanks to this little case. I found this very handy in Asia because I was able to reuse the same sims when I returned to some countries. This makes it a lot easier to keep track of them all! I kept this little thing in a pocket of my wallet and never lost it.

International Travel Adaptor


Okay, this thing has been absolutely amazing. I still use it on a daily basis now that I’m living in Vietnam, and it works like a charm. It has 4 USB ports, which means I can charge everything at once. You can also use it as a powerstrip and plug something directly into it! This thing is a game changer, and you don’t have to worry about any extra pieces getting lost.


Whether you’re staying in a hostel, AirBnB, or hotel, it’s always good to have a pair of ear plugs available. You never know when you might need them!

Eye Mask

You can say whatever you want about me using a silk eyemask to go to sleep, but at least you know I’m comfortable! I need total darkness to fall asleep, so these work like a charm.

Inflatable Neck Pillow

Am I the only person who gets seriously grossed out seeing people hang their neck pillow onto their backpack? Exposed to everyone’s germs? I wanted one that was accessible on an airplane, so I got this inflatable neck pillow. It’s honestly super comfortable and really soft.


There were some occasions that I checked my bag, and small luggage locks like these gave me peace of mind that no one was going through my stuff. These locks fit on most hostel lockers as well in my experience, but I also carried around a bigger one.

These are definitely my top 10 travel necessities, but I know there are more. What’s something you NEED to carry when you backpack?

Thanks for reading!

Until next time,

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