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Backpacking is a huge adventure. This is your opportunity to see life from a different perspective. I hope that you learn a few things along the way, but whatever happens, one thing you will need to take along with you is your trusty bag. So what should you pack for the ride of your life?

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At home, your closet is probably full of gorgeous boutique dresses , but none of these will be suitable for a backpacking trip around Southeast Asia or Latin America. The trick for a successful trip is to pack as light as possible. The less you take, the less you will need to ditch along the way.

All seasoned backpackers have discovered to their cost that they didn’t need the majority of the items they packed for their first trip. Some dumped unwanted items in hotels rooms along the way; others passed them on to friends they made. It is better to start as light as possible and, if necessary, pick up a few items as you visit new places. Here is a quick list of the five most essential items you should pack in your bag. Forget any of these at your peril!

Trek Towel

A full-size towel might be perfect for drying your body after a long, hot shower, but there is no way you will be able to fit one of these into your bag. Thick cotton towels also take ages to dry out when wet, so are likely to become very smelly, very quickly. Instead, pack a trek towel, as this are very absorbent, take up very little room, and should dry out fast.

Lightweight Clothing

You will not need lots of different garments. A couple of t-shirts, a long-sleeved shirt and some shorts should be enough. However, whatever you do decide to take, stick to lightweight fabrics that dry fast.

Waterproof Jacket

Rain is pretty much guaranteed in most places unless you are trekking through sub-Saharan Africa. A lightweight waterproof jacket will come in handy along the way. It is especially useful if you visit any countries during the monsoon season. Waterproof jackets can also act as wind barrier, which may be handy in some parts of the world. However, if space is tight, leave yours at home and buy a poncho locally.

Sleeping Sack

Staying in cheap hostel accommodation is good for your wallet, but if you need to hire sheets or a sleeping bag for your stay, the cost will soon add up. To keep costs down, take along your own sleeping sack. It should protect you from the worst accommodation and itchy, scratchy blankets.

First Aid Kit

Always pack a first aid kit containing antiseptic cream, plasters, some diarrhea tablets and decongestant cold/flu remedies. You might also want to pack some painkillers for hangovers and headaches, plus anti-sickness remedies if you are prone to travel sickness.

Backpacking is something everyone should do at least once, so start planning your dream trip today!

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