Tips on packing a BACKPACK for travelling

Packing for a 2 week holiday can often be stressful but wait until you need to pack your life away in a bag for over 2 months and you’ll know stress. I’d like to think of myself as a well travelled person with packing skills so good I could become a professional or at least pop it on my CV! I’ve been around the world when I’ve regretted every piece of clothing I brought with me and I’ve also travelled forgetting to pack any shoes. I’ve had the disasters and now I want to share my top tips with you for how to pack for an around the world trip. I’m going to divide the tips up with my top ten tips. I’ve included some pictures of outfits I wore in Central America. It’s hard to look glam all the time while travelling for many reason; you’re always on the go, washing is limited, the weather is too hot and somethings your favourite outfit just doesn’t fit in your bag. As you can see from the photo below my bag is nearly as big as me.

  1. Every item of clothing you bring must have a purpose & must go with at least 3 other things in the bag. Think ‘where will I wear this’, ‘what is the purpose of this skirt’.Think of a scenario of where you will wear this item. If you bring a skirt that can only be worn with 1 other top then don’t bring that outfit. You will wear outfit combinations that you never would wear at home but that’s ok because no one judges clothes while you travel.
  2. Anything goes fashion wise! I remember packing for my first backpacking trip and my mum said I should pack ‘sensible’ clothes aka boring hiking pants. Personally they are just not my style and I just wouldn’t wear them so I brought gym leggings which are far more practical for hiking, being on a bus and in the evenings. If in doubt wear your activewear!
  3. Look up the climate and weather of where you are going. This sounds silly and obvious but I’ve done it before where I haven’t looked up the weather and presumed it was going to be sunny. You need to know will you need a jacket in the evening. Look for the humidity, for example when I was in Belize the less clothes the better as the heat was so heavy in comparison to Costa Rica.
  4. Layers are everything. Bring a light rain jacket, a hoodie and a light cardigan. I only bring one of each with me so I’m always sorted when it comes to the weather and if it turns out to be freezing I wear all 3 layers. T-shirts are essential too as they go with everything and you might go through a few a day if it’s really hot.
  5. Baggy & loose clothes will be your best friends. I packed a lot of flow skirts and dresses because I love being comfortable when I travel. I also brought dresses that had patterns or prints on them to dress up my outfits. Just because you are backpacking doesn’t mean you can’t be stylish at the same time. Don’t bring you favourite dress because you know there is a huge possibility that it will get destroyed when you bring it to be washed.
  6. Get a wheelie backpack. They are expensive but after seeing so many girls with these bags on my last trip I really want one for my next trip. I’m not going to lie, I hate my current bag. You need to be skilled to pack it and it takes ages to fit everything in. Keep an eye out for deals but trust me, it will be the best investment ever! Amazon have great deals!
  7. Toiletries, the bane of any girl travelling. Where to draw the line on what to bring is tough. My top tips is bring all the medication you need for upset tummies, headaches etc. When travelling on your own it’s not fun feeling unwell trying to find a pharmacy, especially if you can’t speak the language. Bring lotions & potions to help with bites, skin rashes and irritation because that will happen at least once while your away. Bring mini shampoo, conditioner don’t bring a large one because they are both so cheap to buy in super markets. Bring a non scented roll on deodorant (Michum is my fave!) as you can also use this on your legs if you get chafing as it’s a life saver! Suncream is something that you should bring a lot of because it was the one toiletry that was crazy expensive, it was 30 US dollars in some places. To save on space and the amount of suncream you need to bring I’d recommend P20 sunscreen as you only need to apply it every 10 hours. For 6 weeks I brought 3 bottles of P20 in Factors 50,30 & 20 and I didn’t have to buy any suncream. Because my skin is so fair and I burn easily this was the best option for me and it’s waterproof so perfect for an action packed holiday! 100% bring a nail file and manicure set because your nails will look manky while travelling. also bring 2 shades of nail polish because your feet will need them!
  8.  Packing cubes (I didn’t have these but everyone on my trip had them and they are brilliant when using a backpack). I was envious every time I watched others packing using these. They really just make your back more organised and then any space you have between you can fit your random items of clothes.
  9. Washing whites. If you decide to be brave and bring some white items of clothing I would highly recommend bringing the likes of vanish and wash the item yourself. Laundrettes while backpacking are cheap but don’t do your white bras any favours.
  10. Underwear. Bring lots of it! I found it crazy when some people only brought 7 pairs. You get so sweaty when you travel that theres nothing nicer than having a lovely new pair to put on after a shower! I brought 30 pairs with me, but you know what I never ran out of pants or had to worry about getting them washed. In terms of bras I would bring sports bras and comfy bras for days when you are travelling around. Bring bras that can be easily washed because you will need to hand wash them. Bralettes (I think that’s what they are called) from the likes of Primark are perfect for when you need a strapless bra.
  11. Swimwear. I brought 3 bikinis and I really wish I had brought more because I got 2 destroyed in  yucky water! They are expensive in most places you go to and you will wear them for all water based activities and time by the beach. Again keep these practical, comfy and easy to wash.
  12. Makeup. Pack it light! My top makeup picks were light foundation, face powder (essential), brow products (essential as my brows are blonde), mascara and lippy! A pop of lippy made me feel really girly and myself so it was essential for me. Don’t bother with eyeshadow and liner as it will melt off your face!
  13. Shoes. I nearly forgot these when I was packing! They take up the most room and are a pain. Get a decent pair of flip flops because you will live in them and need support for your feet. One pair of runners, nice sandals, hiking boots (only if you need them) and really that’s all I brought. Comfort is key when packing shoes for any trip.

I’ve included some of my photos of clothes I wore over and over while travelling and you can check more out over on my instagram @katekellyk.

Safe Travels,




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