Top Packing & Safety Tips for Backpacking

Backpacking can be a fun and exciting way to see many of the countries in Europe. Whether you’re staying in a hotel or hostel, you’ll want to get the most out of your experience.  Here’s a list of useful items to pack and several safety tips to help you have an enjoyable trip. 

Items to Pack
  1. Backpack – Probably the most important item you’ll purchase for your trip! To make accessing your items easy, purchase a pack that zips all the way around. This will prevent you from digging through your entire pack to locate something. Look for packs that have padded straps or backs which will make them more comfortable to wear. Not all packs feel the same, so try each one on before you buy to be sure it fits your body comfortably.

  2. Mini-Backpack – Sometimes referred to as a “day pack,” ; these are great to load with just what you’ll need for the day while leaving your heavier, main backpack at a locker, hostel or hotel. 

  3. Alarm Clock/Watch – Keep track of time while you’re sleeping, or set it to remind yourself of your next important departure. 

  4. Sleep Sheet – Carry a sleep sheet with you (thin cloth sleeping bag). This comes in handy if linens are not available at the hostels. 

  5. Towel - Pack a towel that is small but also ultra-absorbent and dries quickly.

  6. Address/Phone Booklet – Many times your contacts are already stored in your mobile phone or other device. Take a printed list just in case your device runs out of battery or stops functioning. 

  7. Money Belt – Carry all of your valuables and safeguard your passport with a money belt that is worn under your clothing and hidden from view. 

  8. Plastic Bag – A useful item for storing wet or dirty clothes and a handy device to carry clothes to the laundry. 

  9. Laundry Detergent/Bungee Cord/Drain Stopper – Small pre-measured, travel size packets are a great way to handle full laundry loads, but also work nicely to clean socks and underwear when there is no laundry service available. A drain stopper works well if you need to wash your clothes in the sink, and the bungee cord can be easily secured to act as a clothes line. 

  10. Sandals/Flip-Flops – Be sure to pack flip flops with you if you plan on using a public shower or rinsing off after visiting the beach. Wearing sandals will help protect you from athlete’s foot. 

  11. First Aid Kit – Basic supplies to treat cuts such as band-aids, antiseptic and sanitizing wipes. 

  12. Plastic Ziploc Bags – Useful for saving/carrying food for a later time, carrying spare change, laundry detergent, storing liquid bottles and much more. 

  13. Combination Lock - Useful to secure your luggage to an overhead rack if you are traveling by train; this helps ensure you can sleep without your bag being stolen.

  14. Waterproof Pullover – Will keep you dry if you are caught in wet weather. 

Safety Tips
  1. Keep your luggage within eyeshot at all times. If you need to rest or sleep, secure your luggage to a nearby luggage rail post with a padlock or combination lock. 

  2. Separate out your valuables and wear them close to your body in several locations.  This will make it harder for thieves to find them should you be in a large crowd and become a target for pick pocketing.

  3. Make copies of all your valuable documents and store them separately from the originals.  Leave a copy at home with a friend or relative you trust in case of emergency. If your hotel or hostel has a safe, you can also place a copy there for safekeeping. 

  4. Avoid large crowds if possible and although you are a tourist, try to blend in. 


US Travel Insurance Association (UStiA)
UStiA is a national association of insurance carriers, third-party administrators, insurance agencies and related businesses involved in the development, administration and marketing of travel insurance and travel assistance products.