10 Packing List Essentials for Travelling and Backpacking

10 Packing List Essentials for Travelling and Backpacking


I haven’t posted on the blog in a while and that’s because I’ve been fortunate enough to go travelling recently. Me and my fiance have not long come back from a 3.5 week trip around Europe where we visited the south of France, Barcelona, Croatia, Florence, Corsica and Rome.


Now I’m back, I’m armed with plenty of travel-related blog post ideas, so naturally, that’s what I’m starting with.


I thought I’d kick it off with my travelling essentials.


These 10 travelling packing list essentials work whether you’re armed with a carry on bag, a huge suitcase or if you’re backpacking, this list is designed for all. Think of it as a small packing checklist of those items you might not initially think to pack, but give you that “Why didn’t I pack…?” sort of feels.


Travelling from place to place means having to pack and repack your bags many times and I feel like this trip has given me a good indication of the essentials to take whilst travelling (especially with our small cabin bag allowance – read about how to maximise your cabin bag space in this article).


Here are my 10 travelling essentials:


  1. Microfibre Towels


We were staying in mobile home accommodation on our trip and had booked to have towels at each place. However, beach towels are a separate (& veryyyy esspensive) charge.


Before we went away we took a trip to the outdoor store of dreams (Decathlon, anyone else love this place?) and picked up some of these large microfibre towels. These ones are great as they fold up small and have an elastic attached to them to keep it all bundled together. Another plus is that they dry super quick, so perfect for travelling.


  1. Small microfibre Towel


If like us, you’re staying at camping villages, you won’t be provided with a tea towel most of the time. Therefore pick up a small microfibre towel to use for this. If you find you don’t need it for that purpose it’s a great additional towel to have on you as it takes up next to no space!


Halcyon Living Travel Blog Packing List Essentials  for travelling Raincoat Mini Backpack


  1. Dry Bag


Now this is a packing list essentials for the adventurers. If you like SUP’ing, canyoning or just generally walking through the water as a means of transport (yep, somehow this was actually one way we got about on our trip!), then a dry bag will be super useful for you. Relatively inexpensive, yet ideal for keeping belongings dry without having to risk leaving them out of sight. Also, doubles up as a laundry bag and takes up little room when folded up!


  1. A5 wallet folders


These small folders are perfect for sorting out travel documents for each leg of your trip. If you’re as weird as me when it comes to travel document organisation, then you’ll love how these folders come in handy for storing the documents for each leg of the trip, but also for keeping small mementos for each place too!


  1. Small backpacks


The most essential of packing list essentials. By far our best purchase for this trip, I highly recommend you get yourselves one of these! When looking at airline baggage requirements, some airlines allow you to take an additional smaller bag measuring 35x20x20cm, so we picked up these kids backpacks from, yet again, Decathlon!


It’s surprising how much you can fit in these bags. We would often pack our towels, a bottle of water, wallets, phone, keys, kindles and a change of clothes! Also, the size of these backpacks meant that we weren’t carting around a load of stuff we didn’t need as we didn’t have the space to throw in everything. However, the space we did have was more than enough.


Plus, for people with small shoulders like me, this was the best fitting backpack I’ve ever owned (this is sadly not a lie!). And no backache! Can’t complain for the small price of £2.49!


Halcyon Living Travel Blog Packing List Essentials  for travelling Flip Flops


  1. Flip Flops


Whilst most of you would automatically pack these anyway, I’m here to tell you why you should DEFINITELY pack them. I’m talking about throwing in a cheap pair of flip-flops that you don’t mind getting mucky and slightly wrecked. Great for the poolside, great at the beach, great for wearing in water as well as out, these aren’t going to be coming home looking the prettiest. But please spare your lovely new sandals!


  1. Travel-Sized Bottles


Packing a cabin bag to fit liquid restrictions can be a bit of a minefield in itself, so keep your eyes peeled for a post I will be writing about this soon! But airport guidelines do mean you need to be frugal with what you pack.


Invest in smaller travel bottles to put your must-have liquids in and restrict bringing things you know you can buy along your travels. Plus, you’re going to have to strip back on the skin and hair care for a bit if you want to save yourself the costly bag hold fares (trust me, it’s not as bad as it sounds, I promise!).

  1. Essential Clothes


You really don’t need loads of clothes. Trust me, this is advice coming from a recovering over packer (trust me, I needed this packing list essentials advice a longgggg time ago). We washed our clothes a few times when we were travelling and this meant that we didn’t need to pack much at all.


I would advise that you do pack a light rain jacket (this is similar to the one I have which folds up small) and a hoodie/jumper as rain does occur outside the UK unfortunately and evenings can get chilly. I actually wished I’d packed a pair of full-length leggings for when I needed a bit more warmth and comfort.


Halcyon Living Travel Blog Packing List Essentials  for travelling Essential Clothes


  1. Folding Brush


Hairbrushes can take up a considerable amount of room when you think about the small amount of packing space you have to work with. I picked up this small Superdrug folding brush whilst I was at the airport and it was great, it barely took up any room and it was a pretty decent brush too. Definitely going to be keeping it handy in my handbag from now on too!


  1. Carabiner Clips


Now, this is an item on this list we didn’t take with us, but my partner pointed out how useful they would have been. These can be clipped on your backpack straps to attach things like sandy flip flops or your cap, saving them getting squished in your bag and from getting sand on everything! These ones look like a pretty good purchase!


So, there are my 10 packing list essentials which I think have made travelling much easier and more compact! Do you have any others? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you!




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