Whether you’re backpacking for a couple of weeks, months, or even for a whole year – one of the biggest challenges you’ll face before you head to Oz is deciding on what to take with you.
If you are planning your first backpacking trip in Australia it’s good to know that how much you take with you can really shape your trip – trust us, over packing and lugging around 30kg will become pretty annoying, pretty quickly.
To help you with your trip preparation, we’ve created a handy packing checklist that you can print off and use to check items off as you put them in your backpack.
Remember that whatever you bring with you could be stolen or damaged, so avoid packing your favourite t-shirt you’ve had for years or that dress you saved up for weeks to buy.
Consider packing items that can be used for multiple purposes, like a sarong that can be used as a sheet, pillowcase, skirt and something to lie on when you’re on the beach.
One of the best things about Australia is that it is really easy to pick up many of the same items and brands that you would find at home. So, unless you are going to the middle of the outback, you won’t be far from getting hold of what you need.
Your backpack will be home to all of your belongings for the next couple of weeks or months, so choose carefully – 10–12 kg is ideal. The bigger the backpack, the more tempting it is to keep adding things in there.
Seasoned travellers work on the “wear one, wash one” theory. While this might seem a little extreme for your first backpacking trip, try to think about whether you really need to bring 10 pairs of shorts and 15 t-shirts.
When you are putting things in your backpack, ask yourself these three questions:
Debit / credit card (Have you notified your bank you are going abroad?)
Travel insurance documents
Photocopies of passport (if you lose your passport this can be helpful)
Driving license (if you’re planning on hiring a campervan or car while you’re out in Australia you will definitely need this).
Mobile phone (preferably unlocked so you can use it with an Aussie SIM card)
Student card – get access to some great discounts on tourist attractions
Pro travellers work on the “wear one, wash one” theory. Laundry is regularly lost, damaged or taken at hostels and launderettes, so don’t pack your favourite items of clothing.
Short sleeve t-shirts
Long sleeve t-shirt (cover up from the sun)
Swimwear – couple of bikini’s or swimming trunks
Socks and underwear
Shorts / pair of trousers / leggings
A thin water / wind resistant jacket (for cooler nights or the air-con during bus or plane journeys)
Some parts of Australia get pretty cold during the Southern Hemisphere winter, so think about bringing a warm jumper / cardigan / fleece jacket
Flip Flops (Thongs)
A pair of smart shoes or sandals
2 x Microfibre travel towels (1 for showering and 1 for the beach)
Prescription medicine you need from home
Small travel mirror
Ear plugs and eye mask
Spare glasses or contacts if you wear them
Brush or comb
Don’t bother to bring any heavy bottles of shampoos or shower gels, you can easily and cheaply pick these up from all chemists in Australia.
Basic first aid items; plasters, antibacterial cream (nasty bites or scrapes)
Things you may need to pick up when you arrive:
Antihistamine cream or tablets
Suncream is very affordable in Australia
Baby wipes and hand sanitizer
Kindle or tablet
External hard drive – if you are an avid photographer, don’t forget to bring external memory so that you can clear out pictures from your phone or camera if needed
A thin cotton sheet can come in handy if you spend some time in hostels
A pillow case – this can be used to cover hostel pillows, or can be stuffed with a towel to create a makeshift pillow for long journeys
A journal / notepad
Consider bringing an item that you can hide some emergency cash in. Get creative and make your own from some common items, such as a makeup container or a tube of sweets. Fold up some cash and keep it in the bottom of your backpack for emergencies.
Set of playing cards
Day bag – for carry-on luggage and big enough to carry things during the day
Is there anything not on this list that would make your essential backpacking checklist? Let us know in the comments below!
Bastian is the Sales & Marketing Manager here at Travellers Autobarn. He holds a Master of Commerce in Marketing and International Business Management, and 20+ years experience in campervan hire, road trips and travel.