25 Essential Tips For Backpacking Around The World Like A Boss

1. Skip the miniature spoons, shot glasses, and random tchotchkes and go souvenir shopping at the grocery store. Get your friends unusual flavors of potato chips (prawn cocktail in the UK, mint in India) or interesting candy instead. Wrap them up in local newspaper and twine if you want to get all Pinterest about it

2. Backup your photos as you go (hello, cloud drive)

3. Pack like you’re playing Tetris: Use all available space. I’m talking stuffing your shoes with fragile items

3a. Bonus packing tip: put cotton balls/pads in the inside of your compacts to make sure they don’t crack. Also, prevent liquid from spilling by unscrewing any bottles and putting a small piece of plastic bag over the top before screwing back on the cap

4. Never purposely miss a night of sleep before a long flight in an attempt to sleep better on the plane. This never works and you only end up being up for two nights rather than one

5. Set yourself up for sleep on planes, trains, and automobiles: bring earplugs, eye masks, and an over-the-counter sleep aid. I also like hoods and sunglasses for when you want to sleep without making it obvious

6. Email yourself and someone at home a copy of your passport and any important travel docs

7. Make sure you have a physical copy of your return ticket on your person as you go through border control. Sometimes they’ll ask for it. Also, have your accommodations written down as you often need to provide this information on your landing card

8. Have an ICE card on you

9. A carabineer and bungee cord/lock is useful to secure your backpack to the luggage rack on trains and buses. Often times the luggage racks of trains are near the door, so if your bag is locked down, you won’t feel the need to jump up and watch it at every single stop

10. Toilet seat covers, a mini pack of tissues, and hand sanitizer should always be on your person when visiting bathrooms

11. Learn these six words/phrases in any language and you will be surprised how far you’ll get: hello, one, please, thank you, excuse me, bathroom

12. Consider a backpack that zips open like traditional luggage. Top-opening backpacks get annoying

13. Go to Sephora for all your travel-sized beauty needs. Not only do they have a good selection of teeny tiny products, but they can make you a sample of nearly anything. (I’m still using a sample of eye cream from four weeks ago)

14. Multiuse makeup products are a girl’s best friend (lip and cheek stains; a shampoo and body wash in one, etc.)

15. Dry shampoo

16. Consider beauty pretreatments that will make your life easier. Sure it sounds high maintenance but getting a keratin treatment before a multicounty trip abroad made my hair dry faster and easer to manage with fewer products. It saved me time and made me less troll-doll like in snapshots

17. Makeup remover face wipes. Because after a long night out, that unisex hostel bathroom is just too far away

18. Less is more: It’s tempting to want to hit up 30 countries in your 2 week trip to Western Europe but resist the urge. You’ll only wear yourself out

19. Don’t go shopping for new clothes (or God forbid shoes) before a big trip. Stick to what you know is comfy and awesome and layer-able and basic enough to wear over again via mixing and matching

20. Bring your student ID and consider getting an ISIC card. Discounts galore! Even if there’s no sign advertising, always ask

21. Smile

22. Tell your bank you’re going to be travelling so they don’t freeze your account. If they do, there are usually instructions on how to call them collect on the back of your card. Write this stuff down

23. Sunscreen, people

24. Watch Before Sunrise

25. Don’t watch Hostel or Taken. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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