My first solo travel wasn’t just my first solo travel but also my FIRST BACKPACKERS experience.
I never thought of doing something so ‘crazy’ before, it was a very far far idea for me thinking of travel from one place to another carrying all the time your backpack, namely your entire luggage. I’ve always seen backpack as a very unwieldy and impractical way to travel, maybe because I’m a woman and I’m not different from all the others…I always think that the room in my luggage in never enough; or maybe because think about having to carry everything on my shoulders, wasn’t tempting.
Willy-nilly it came the time to decide how to transport all my stuff for my Solo Travel, a sling bag and a BACKPACK! Yes, after a reflection’s moment I understood that taking my little carry-on luggage (the one I usually use as a hand-luggage for flying) was only a stupid and kind of dull idea.
WHY TRAVEL AS I USUALLY DO?!?
I’m not SO mad and apart of the willingness of trying something new and unknown there were also some practical motivations that led me sort out BACKPACKAGE, as: staying in hostel means that most of the time you’ve to leave your room at least at 10 in the morning and so I’ll have to push your carry-on luggage all around the city till the bus stop or the train station that is (usually) at the other end of the city while, having your backpack on your shoulders is way more easier and wise -also considering the weather in Ireland- with an umbrella you can cover yourself and your rucksack from the rain.
HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT BACPACK?
As my solo travel also back packaging was a leap into the void, so I started checking on Internet and asking to some very good friends who had already experienced this kind of travel which type was the right backpack, how many litres are ideal, if take it with laces or zips.
A friend of mine describe the 30l-40l capacity as a 3 days backpack, do not take that words wrong as I did first, it doesn’t mean what you think but that you can survive in the middle of nowhere without any amenities, beds, water or food for 3 days! If your planning a backpack travel like mine, don’t think that ‘big is better’, I’ll regret your choice as soon as the extra weight of your rucksack will begin to be felt.
After being in all the shops my city offers, I finished with this in my hands: a 35 l Regatta flashy blu backpack with 2 main rooms, laces on the front and 2 other little bottle spot on both sides and after all I can swear it is a really good and valid travel companion.
WHAT I PACKAGED FOR ONE WEEK (around Ireland , in the middle of November)?
I had 4 kg of backpack and almost 1.5kg of sling bag. I took:
-2 pair of shoes (1 heavy boots and 1 trainers)
-4 pairs of socks (2 short and 2 long)
-2 tank tops
-2 t-shirt with long sleeves
-2 light sweater
Then I also had other 2 little purse, one with electronic devices (earphone, charge plus a travel charge) and one with toilet and make-up stuff.
[Advice: GIRLS, please! …Leave home almost everything, I’ll be amazed of how little make-up you really need! Don’t bring your hairdryer, all the hostels have one, for free you can hire it, is not worth to carry yours.]
HOW TO PACKAGE?
An easy but clever thing to do is roll up all your clothes to prevent from crumple in a short time and also because you will be shattered by the space you can save rolling up instead of folding your outfits. Put the extra pair of shoes on the bottom and then going up arrange your staff from the one you need least (as the pajamas that you’ll strictly use at night time) to the essential one on the top.
Remember to wear all the time for the displacements the heaviest clothes you have to make your travel lighter, take gloves, travel charge and tissues handy all the time. Make sure you have all your personal belongs such as passport, ID or credit cards in a safe and anti theft place like special money-belt or a fanny pack under your clothes. Prevention is better than cure so don’t take all your money in the same place, put only some quid in your usual wallet and separate the other.
WHAT IS INDISPENSABLE?
After my adventure I can state that your own TOWEL, a SCARF and FLIP FLOPS are the thing you will really need if you are staying in hostel while travelling in Ireland in the middle of November!
I’m not very squeamish but I’m not a fan of hire towels in hostel, having my own was so cosy. My scarf, oh bless my huge scarf! I bought it right before start my trip and now I can’t get rid of it. It was absolutely useful as scarf but not only, also as blanket and pillow.
FLIP FLOPS do not underestimate them, I’ll be grateful to have them all the time you’ll take a shower in an hostel [health comes first], how I know it? I did not have them! (I had to take the shower with my socks on, just one word: TERRIBLE).
Other useful things are PLASTIC BAGS take some with you, very convertible items, you will never know how you’ll use them next.
As last advice I’ll suggest to never package all your backpack leave at least a space for 2 t-shirts so if you’re going to buy some memorabilia you still have room.