I had the awesome opportunity to backpack through a bit of Central America (Nicaragua, Panama, & Costa Rica) this past spring and have frequented hostels in many of the 28 countries I’ve visited. From my travels, I kept a mental list to help others in the future.
You’ll quickly realize how important weight and key items are when you carry your closet on your back! These items made life easier on the road, especially after a long day of travel.
1. Pack your bag: then remove half the clothing and add double the undies!
2. Bring at least three pairs of socks. Clean socks after traveling are the best feeling in the world!
3. Bring a few packets of single serving instant coffee (or tea!). Not all hostels have coffee available. Not all hostels have mugs or kettles available either, but at least you’ll be somewhat prepared.
5. Add a small lock to your backpack or suitcase. For hostels that don’t offer bag size lockers (or even lockers for your laptop for that matter!) It’s key to have some things locked up a bit.
6. Carry a regular lock with you, not many hostels offer free lockers, most you have to either buy a lock or have one with you.
7. Have a few large (gallon sized) zip lock baggies, a few smaller sized zip locks, and a few regular plastic bags for all your toiletries that leak, random items, and dirty clothes. They are like gold on the road. I used my random plastic bag to put my purse in yesterday while riding a bike in the pouring rain.
8. Travel sized sunscreen, insect repellent (location depending), anti-itch cream, chap stick, band-aids, Neosporin, and hand sanitizer.
9. Those with long hair: Always more hair ties
10. Bio-degradable face wipes for those hostels without soap and towels. Perfect before bed after a long day! Also, some type of tea tree oil or astringent with cotton swabs to wipe excess dirt off your face. No matter how hard you wash in a hostel environment, you can’t get everything off your face. No break outs here!
11. Have a small to medium sized coin purse in your purse or bag for money, passport and important papers. Floaters in your purse will kill you (well, not literally)! Same with a small coin purse. Many countries use coins more than the US for example, and a little holder for those rascals is key!
12. Bring a key chain to keep track of the keys the hostels give you. I was so happy I randomly brought one. It made it so much easier to grab quickly in my bag.
13. Flashlights are great for hostel rooms, as well as flip flops for those showers!
14. Ear plugs and eye covers will save your life. Every time.
15. A lighter is key for many things, including the propane stoves most hostels use to cook from or incense for a smelly room!.