Top 10 Things You’ll Probably Forget on Your RTW Trip

If you’re anything like me, you have a list of what to pack for your next world-wide adventure before your plane ticket is even purchased.  I always find myself double-checking my dental floss and extra underwear only to arrive kicking myself for forgetting woolen socks.  Although you can often buy forgotten items overseas, and the first rule of packing is LESS IS MORE, there is no point in spending your traveling precious cash on items you have lying around at home.

Remember: When you’re living in a hostel, you won’t have instant access to everything you’re used to having at home.  Simple items are often the most coveted.

Here are my Top Ten Important Items you DO NOT want to forget:

  1. Headlamp – Avoid pissing off your dorm roommates by keeping the main light off and your hands free to dig through your bag when you arrive (or leave) at 3am.
  2. Tape—It’s funny how handy and necessary it is to have a roll of tape with you – for baggage tears, small cuts, and packing,
  3. Quick-dry Towel— These fantastic cloths can be found at any camping store.  They are generally small and can dry in under 10 minutes.  Fair warning – they tend to get smelly quickly.
  4. Soap— To wash your towel, clothes, and hands.  Hostels don’t always provide soap in bathrooms (and they rarely ever provide towels).  If you wear contacts and are headed somewhere that water is not sanitary, bring hand sanitizer to keep bugs out of your eyes.
  5. Nail Clippers— Yet another household item we all take for granted.  Finger nails grow at an average rate of 3mm/month.  Even a week-long trip requires some scissors.
  6. Tupperware— When you cook dinner in your hostel, make a little extra and save it in a container to take along for lunch the next day.
  7. Spork— To eat your delicious leftover’s on the go.
  8. Universal Adaptor—While you can buy small, individual adapters, this big boy will have you covered RTW – just in case you end up in a different country then originally intended.  Remember: An adapter is for fitting the plug-ins; a converter is for converting wattage   If you want to use a hair dryer or flat iron, you’ll need both.  For laptops and most electronics, you’re good with just an adapter.
  9. Lock— To secure all of your important belongings in the dorm-room’s handy lockers.
  10. Waterbottle with a Clip— To strap onto your purse/backpack and carry with you everywhere.  Clean water will keep you healthy and hydrated!

I hope this list is helpful—it has certainly been an aid to me!  Your packing list will depend on where you’re going, how long you’ll be gone, and – of course – what you want to accomplish there.

While packing, also consider including some playing cards, a bottle opener, and a lanyard.  

I always bring a mug with photographs and letters from loved ones along.  I like to take a little bit of home with me everywhere I go.

Please mention any other items you consider a necessity.  And, as always, happy travels!


  1. I share your love for travelling as a backpacker, therefore I have nominated your blog to the Very Inspiring Blogger award. If I can add something to your list, an eyes-mask and hear plugs, they help to sleep better

    • Thank you so much! That’s very sweet of you.

      I agree with your items, although I usually fall asleep with my headphones in and quiet music playing to drown out the noise of my dorm-room mates 🙂

  2. I definitely recommend the head lamp. It can be extremely handy when in a hands-free zone! Reading in trains with no lights or walking dark streets, even in the hostel bunk. Crucial. Nice list, thanks for sharing!


  3. Hi Alison,
    My name is Kyle Owens, I’m a college student and I love to travel! While cruising the internet, I found your site and really enjoyed reading your posts. I have been to countries all over Europe with just my backpack and a camera. Since I am a college student and I have significant bills, it can be difficult to find ways to travel the world. However, I have done this several times, with less than ten pounds of luggage and while on a college dime! I’m hoping you will be open to allowing me to share my tips and tricks with your readers. I put a lot of time into my traveling and would love to share my stories, mistakes and triumphs. Please let me know what you think!

    -Kyle Owens

  4. I would recommend half a squash ball! Makes a fantastic sink or bath plug. I also don’t know what I would do without my quick drying towel!

    Love the blog, Kind Regards, Si

    ps. We would love to invite you to TheDepartureboard’s Most Travelled Club it’s FREE and fun! Details here: A great opportunity to promote your site as well!

  5. What about earplugs? It is very high on my list to pack! Snorers in the dorms, loud bus journeys etc. Earplugs take so little space, but are so powerful thing for backpackers! 😉 The other thing I always take is a sarong. I can use it as a beach towel, dress, scarf, in South America I had 3 of them. That is probably a bit too much but I love them.
    I definitely agree with the quick dry towel. They are so small and dry quick, but as you said if you don’t wash them for a while they smell more than me after not showering for a few days 😉

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