Learn to Pack Your Travel Backpack Like a Pro

I didn’t know much about packing lightly before my first backpacking trip. Was it really possible to pack all your belongings into a small bag and travel? The more I traveled, the more helpful tips I learned to make packing easier. Here’s how you can learn to pack your travel backpack like a pro!

Group of people wearing summer clothes on tropical beach in Indonesia

A group of backpackers I met in Indonesia.

1. Find a quality backpack

First of all, I did a lot of research before I found the backpack I liked most. I have a Kolon Sport Attack 40 L travel backpack in blue (a well-known Korean brand). Things to look for:

  • Does it have adjustable straps?
  • Does it rest comfortably on your waist and shoulders?
  • Does it open up like a suitcase for easy access?
  • Does it have water bottle holders?
  • Is it big enough to carry your belongings, but small enough to fit in carry-on?
  • Does it have a rain cover?
  • Does it have enough pockets / pouches?

2. Take only what you need

When you travel, you end up wearing the same clothes over and over, so why not bring less? I mean, do you really need that fancy clubbing dress you’ve worn once or those heavy jeans you can barely fold up? Just take the minimal and you will survive.

3. Don’t fold, roll

Folding seems to take up a lot of space, so roll your clothes and they will fit better. This will also make it easier to see what’s in your backpack and help you choose your travelling outfit of the day.

4. Bring your gadgets, but be selective

Okay, so it’s hard to go without some form of technology these days, but try not to bring every gadget you own along with you. If you’re not too keen on photos, then your cellphone should suffice. Otherwise, bring one camera (I travel with my GoPro Hero for great action shots). Maybe bring a tablet over a laptop if you can, or go without. Unplugging when you travel is actually super relaxing.

5. Think compact

Along with that cellphone, you need a charger, and wires are not so easy to roll up. So, use an old pencil case or makeup pouch to organize all your chargers / adapters. They’ll be easier to find as well.

6. Take only carry-on size products

Not to sound like an anti-Maybelline commercial, but maybe you should show what you’re born with. Meaning, you’ll realize how little you’ll need makeup, hair gel, etc. when you travel, so again, pack less and in small sizes. This way, you also never have to check your bag in.

7. Leave room for gifts / impulse buys

Even if you’re not that into souvenirs, something will end up catching your eye that you might want to take back for your family or yourself. Especially if it’s super affordable. I’m not a big shopper, but the deals at the local markets always get me.

8. Don’t forget your refillable water bottle, light jacket, and good shoes!

  •  Invest in a sturdy water bottle that you can refill as you go. I found BottleWorx at a tradeshow, and it’s an awesome bottle for travel!
  •  A light, water-resistant jacket comes in handy more than you think. It’ll protect you a bit in rain, or keep you warm on a cool evening. I use a Kolping jacket (another Korean brand).
  • Your feet are super important, so buy some good travel shoes! Waterproof-ish and comfortable. I either travel with my Columbia boots or my Teva sandals (super versatile!)

For more info, check out our video on how to pack your travel backpack like a pro!