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!

The Ultimate Guide to Sustainable Travel

If you love to travel, you’ve probably realized how each trip is unique and leaves you with memories that will always follow you around like a bright shadow. So how can you take your love of travel and make sure you do it right? Easy, by respecting where you go and what you do. Here are 10 tips from the ultimate guide to sustainable travel! Read more

The Ultimate Guide to Teaching in Korea

Teaching English in Asia has become considerably popular over the years. I think it’s a great opportunity to get out of your comfort zone and learn about a new culture. For me, it was a life-changing experience. Here’s the ultimate guide to teaching in Korea.

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Vegetarian Food in Korea

When you mention food in South Korea, you’ll get offered meat, meat and more meat. But don’t be scared if you’re a vegetarian – vegetable dishes can be found everywhere, too. These dishes are eaten as side dishes (banchan) with most meals and are a great option for vegetarian food in Korea. Read more

The Best Travel Backpack: Osprey Farpoint 70L

Backpacking is awesome. And having the right backpack for your travels is a must. I realized this after trying out a few bags and finally settled on what I think is the best travel backpack: Osprey Farpoint 70L. I absolutely love this bag, and here’s why. Read more

8 Things You Need to Know When Travelling to Korea

After taking an awesome tour with BAMtravels, I was shocked at how different the culture in South Korea was. It was my first time travelling to Asia and I didn’t know what to expect. Here are 8 things you need to know when travelling to Korea.

1. Shopping as a foreigner

Woman wearing gray shirt and black pants standing in busy shopping street in Seoul

Shopping in the lively streets of Hongdae.

Shopping in Hongdae, Seoul is perfect for all your gift and personal shopping because they have everything! And its cheap! The only thing is there is only ONE SIZE called “free size” as the majority of Koreans are petite. So if you have slight curves or any other body type, good luck trying to find anything that’ll fit. I even experienced workers tell me I cannot try on clothes, some would even put the items back on the shelf. LOL!

2. The friendly people & safety

South Koreans are very friendly people. At times, they tend to keep to themselves and pay you no attention. So, you can walk through Seoul alone after a night out partying and you feel safe because no one will try to approach you. Zero creepy vibes!

3. Nature, scenery, and beaches?!

Secluded waterfall pouring into clear blue water in forest

Beautiful secluded waterfall on Jeju Island.

When we left the city, I was not expecting the amount of nature surrounding Seoul. There are huge mountains, valleys, rice fields, and rivers. This made it perfect for outdoor activities such as bike riding, hiking, and ATV-ing. Also, we visited Jeju Island where we swam in the China Sea and dipped into an icy waterfall. Who knew Korea had this much to offer?

4. Clean environment

Clean streets and sidewalks with trees lining them in Seoul

The clean streets of Yeonnam-dong in Seoul.

Despite the smog, Seoul is a clean city. I have never felt less grossed out by public washrooms until I used the ones in Korea. The stalls feel like your own private bathroom, fully equipped with plastic around the toilet rim and a bidet (to keep you extra clean). Although there is a lack of garbage cans, there is surprisingly no litter and the subways feel clean.

5. Food – cafes, bars, restaurants

Cup of cappuccino on wooden table

Cappuccino at Cafe Ronin

I never thought I’d ever say this, but Korea by far has the best coffee ever! There are so many different cafes serving the most delicious coffees, hot or iced. Also, there are tons of different themed bars. If you’re not feeling the Korean cuisine, you can still have pizza, mexican, jerk chicken and more. Let’s not forget, there is no ‘last call’ at bars and public drinking is the norm.

6. Beauty standards

If you’re an ethnic foreigner, don’t bother entering make-up stores. You’ll only find extremely light shades from foundation, eye shadow, lipstick, and blush. Koreans consider light skin to be beautiful. Girls casually walk down the street with bandaged faces is not surprising as plastic surgery is popular.

7. Pollution

Girl with white tank top and shorts standing in front of Korean traditional palace

Hazy mountains in the background.

I was shocked when I landed as I was flying in clear blue skies and landed in a cloudy city. The pollution mainly comes from China and at times you can barely see anything around you. Sometimes I forgot that there were huge mountains in the distance as the smog covered them. However, it doesn’t affect how amazing Korea is.

8. Convenience stores

Colorful packages of noodles in Korean convenience store

So many choices!

Hence the name ‘convenience store,’ the ones in Korea offer the coolest things for on-the-go. They sell coffee in bags that you pour over a cup of ice. You can also get ramen noodles in cups that you can make and eat on the spot. I tried ice cream in a pouch so your hands don’t get all sticky as well. Also, their unique snack flavours are endless!

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