Before each one of my backpacking endeavors, I would always think I had everything packed. I'd double-check my list and look around the room to see if there was anything I forgot.
Yet still, on every trip, I somehow got into trouble for not having some necessary item with me.
So, I decided to create a list for every wanderlusting youngster who is ready to hit the road and experience life abroad.
These small, easy to carry items can save you from food poisoning, keep your valuables protected and help you avoid any other stressful situation:
In many cheap hostels, they have lockers, but you need your own padlock. Bringing one with you can secure your luggage while you're on the road, and it can keep your stuff safe in lockers at a hostel.
You can also clip a small padlock on both zippers of your backpack so it's more difficult to open. You'll definitely sleep a little bit better during that long train ride.
2. Extra wallet
If you're traveling through multiple countries with different currencies and you have some money left, don't leave it in your wallet. This will create confusing situations, as coins or notes might look alike.
The people you're from will be more familiar with the money, and they will recognize this immediately and think you're trying to rip them off (I've been there).
Second of all, for some of us, looking at your wallet and seeing a lot of money means spending a lot. If you see 100,000 Indonesian rupiah in your wallet, you might think you still have quite a nice buffer to exchange, even though it's worth less than $10.
3. Extra debit or credit card
While we're talking about extra wallets, you should always bring an extra form plastic, and you shouldn't keep it near the card you always use.
You can lose your card or it could get stolen, and if that happens, you should always be prepared with some sort of backup. It's an easy way to avoid a possibly trip-ruining situation.
4. Copy of your passport
First of all, don't take your passport everywhere. Losing a passport can cost you a lot of money and time.
However, if you get arrested, book a hotel or a flight or have to prove that you're actually over 18 to get into a bar, you'll need a form of ID.
And since you listened to the first sentence of this section, you don't have a passport on you everywhere you go.
A foreign driver's license isn't always valid in every country as identification, but a copy of your passport is usually accepted. Take plenty of copies and put them everywhere, including your wallet, your extra wallet, your bag, your other bag, your friend's bag and your jacket pocket to be sure.
Write down your memories, sketches and phone numbers, and ask other people to write you something sweet. This might sound cheesy, but I'm so happy I started doing this.
If you travel often, eventually everything starts to become a big blur. Keeping a travel diary keeps your memories together and lets you relive them again.
6. Cutlery or chopsticks
If you're able to eat with chopsticks, great. They've saved me from going hungry many times.
I've often been in situations where I was handed food, but not any tools to eat it with. If your hands are dirty, you can either risk it, find a river or pool to clean your hands in or take out your own eating gear if you brought them along.
A knife is nice to have as well to peel that piece of fruit, make yourself a bow for hunting your own food or to spread your peanut-butter on your bread.
Extra tip: Don't keep these in your hand luggage if you're flying because they're not allowed onboard.
7. Extra phone charger (also plug box)
This might be the most commonly lost thing among travelers, and that's why it's also sold everywhere.
However, the quality of cheap phone chargers is often very low. They might damage your phone and or battery, or they could take ages to charge your phone.
Also, if you're like me and often traveling with multiple phones, a laptop, portable chargers and more, you might want to take a plug box with you. It's a great tool to have if you're at the airport or your hotel room only has one socket.
8. Clear bag for your toiletries in your carry-on
You'll probably want to brush your teeth during your seven-hour overlay after your burger with onions. You can take stuff like toothpaste, makeup and other liquids in your carry-on if they are contained in a see-through bag, which can also be provided in most airports.
You can also buy smaller travel packages of shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant, etc. It will saves you some space and might even last for the whole duration of your trip.
9. Back-up food
Your airline doesn't serve food during your flight? You're lost in the jungle?
Some extra snacks will solve these problems. I prefer muesli bars or fast carb fruit like bananas (although unpractical in size and texture for travel) because they give you quick energy and fill you up for a while.
10. Pillow case
Pillows in hostels are often nasty. Some hostels give you a pillow case, but often, people are too lazy to put it on.
Take your own pillow case with you everywhere so your face is always resting on that nice, clean cotton fabric.
Pillowcases also serve another great function: You can use them to organize your bag.
If you have one of these backpacks that open only from above and below, this is a golden tip. Fill your backpack halfway, and then put in the pillowcase as if you're putting in a bag in a trashcan.
Then, fill your pillowcase with the remaining things.
Need something halfway? No problem, just lift up the pillowcase, remove the item and put pillowcase back in its place.