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Ciara O

Top packing tips for your gap year adventure holiday

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It can be hard deciding what to bring on a regular trip, let alone trying to pack for a long period of time away. We explain how you can travel light without forgetting the essentials.

Woman with backpack

When packing to go travelling, you can often feel like you need to take everything but the kitchen sink with you, just to make sure you’ve covered all bases. 

But really the key to travelling is packing light. 

Chances are you’ll be carrying your bag from airport to hostel and then on several legs of your trip, so the last thing you want is to be dead on your feet from carting round a heavy load.

While this list is by no means exhaustive, the following basic essentials should serve you well for the duration of your adventure.

The backpack

This is one of the most important purchases you’ll make for your trip. 

You should aim to choose a durable yet lightweight rucksack, which you’ll want to make sure has adjustable height straps so it sits comfortably on your back. 

Remember you’ll probably be wearing this for long periods, so comfort is key. 

It’s also good idea to choose a pack made of at least semi-waterproof material, this should ensure your belongings don’t get soaked if you get caught out in the rain.

You can expect to pay around £80 - £150 for a decent backpack. 

Walking boots

Walking boots

Having comfortable footwear will be one of the smartest decisions you’ll make.

Shoes take up a lot of space, so ideally you won’t want to take more than two pairs –  walking boots for the days you’re exploring, and flip flops or sandals for the more chilled out days.

Walking boots don’t need to be extremely pricey, you can expect to pay anything from £30 - £300, although we’d recommend investing in a quality pair if you plan on doing any serious trekking during your trip.

Multipurpose jacket 

If you’re visiting a number of different countries with varying climates, an ideal jacket will be something that is warm and waterproof, but won’t leaving you dripping in sweat should the temperature rise.

One of those outdoorsy jackets with different layers, such as a breathable waterproof shell and an inner, detachable-fleece, should fit the bill nicely. 

Quick drying towel

Rather than carry around a bulky towel that will struggle to dry if it’s shoved back in your bag, micro-fibre towels are a great space-saving alternative.

They may not be as soft and comfy as a fresh fluffy towel, but they do the job. You can find these in any sports shops or outdoors shops for around £15 - £20.

Clothing

When it comes to clothing, the trick is not to overdo it. You’ll be surprised at how little you can actually get by with, especially if you’re visiting somewhere warm.

A couple of t-shirts, a jumper, cardigan, comfortable shorts, long trousers/jeans, good quality socks, and a bathing suit should do the trick.

Chances are, you’ll buy some pieces along the way too, plus most hostels have laundry facilities, so you don’t need to worry about running out of pants! 

The bare accessories 

A pocket flashlight is a good idea if you plan on staying in hostels. You’ll want to avoid waking up the whole dorm room when you’re looking for something past bed time.

A journal is a nice way to record the details of your adventure. It will keep your mind occupied on long journeys too.

A padlock, an invaluable piece of kit while travelling, is particularly useful when you’re staying in hostels and shared accommodation.

You should also take along a few photocopies of your essential travel documents. Making copies of your passport and important travel papers, such as insurance certificates, can make your life a whole lot easier should the worst happen.

Remember, stay safe!

Safety is a priority when you’re backpacking or on a gap year or, especially if you’re going solo. You’ll be in new surroundings and often find yourself outside your comfort zone.

You can plan ahead with these helpful tips to keep you safe while you’re away.

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