This blog post was updated on July 8, 2019.

Be smart, pack light, and travel faster! Backpacking abroad to explore new countries and cities is an incredible experience. But packing your bag with limited space isn’t so pleasant; in fact, it’s quite difficult. Those who go backpacking typically book cheap international flights and leave for a lengthy trip, so overpacking is bound to happen. Realistically, you cannot take everything you want with you being that you’re traveling with ONE bag strapped to your back. But don’t fret — we’re here to sort your essentials from the unnecessary items. Keep reading to learn how to pack your backpack like a pro for your adventure!

For Comfort & Space: Choose the Right Bag

friends backpacking looking down from the top of a mountain

You’re going backpacking, so packing a travel backpack would make sense, right? Yes. But not just any backpack. Find a bag with a lot of pockets and plenty of space. Packing isn’t going to be easy and having a large backpack that fits comfortably on your back will work out in your favor. Think of it this way: if you’re uncomfortable walking around your home with the bag strapped to your back, it’s very likely it’s going to feel even worse as you walk through a city. As you begin to search for the perfect backpack to take with you, you’ll find a variety of different bags. There are hiking backpacks and there are travel backpacks. There’s no rule on which one you should choose; the decision is up to you. Our advice is to go with the most spacious, lightest, and most comfortable one.

Ready to get away? Find your cheap international flights now!

For Organization: Write a Backpacking CheckList

packing a suitcase

Think about what you’ll need. Make a checklist and start packing your bag. Do a trial run to make sure you’re not forgetting anything and to be sure that everything fits. Often, travelers feel the need to pack items they don’t ever use, such as a trendy coat that’s been sitting in the back of a closet. Instead of making the mistake of anxiously overpacking useless items, remove the things that you know you aren’t going to need. Repack the bag with the essentials. After that, you should be set with a properly filled backpack.

For a Lighter Weight Bag: Avoid Packing Liquids

small liquids for traveling

Shampoo, conditioner, body soap, shaving cream; whatever it is, be sure to leave the big bottles at home! You’re going to need some toiletries to wash up with, so pack a small travel-size bottle of 2-in-1 shampoo and body soap to hold you over. Compromise to save space and to keep the weight of your bag light. Once you get to where you’re going you’ll probably be able to purchase whatever you need. Also, don’t shove everything into your backpack. It’s important to pack strategically so that your bag doesn’t strain your back. For instance, shoes are usually the heaviest and bulkiest items, so place them in the middle section leaning against your back. This will give you support and keep the weight of the bag even.

RELATED: Have questions? Here are 5 International Travel Checklist Questions to Ask Before Your Trip and When to Ask Them.

For More Space: Be Exact with What You Pack

packing a bag for travel

It’s obvious that when taking only a backpack abroad you’re going to have to be cautious about what you take. Oddly enough, most travelers feel the urge to overpack so that they don’t forget anything. But we’re here to tell you not to do that! Refer to that backpacking checklist you made and cross off the items you think you won’t need. Once you’ve done that, start rolling your clothing – this will keep your shirts and pants from wrinkling and will save more space. If you’ve booked cheap international flights and plan to travel for a long period of time, pack for one week. It’s impossible to pack a different outfit for each day when taking only one bag, so pack a travel-size laundry detergent and you’re set!

 Have any other tips on packing for a backpacking trip abroad? Tell us in the comments below! 


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About The Author

If she’s not searching for the world's coolest destinations she has yet to explore, you can find her writing content at Fareportal or maybe even drooling over a foodies latest post. Shannon’s a Brooklyn native who enjoys good company, new adventures, and a great laugh!