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Smart Things to Pack in Your Backpack

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When you travel a lot, for work or for play, there are some things that just make sense to have in your backpack. Everyone knows that the carry-on luggage needs to be like a Mary Poppins bag. Small in size, but enormous in capabilities. 

What to Pack in a Backpack

Here are some things that are just smart to have in your backpack or carry-on as you travel. 

what to pack in a backpack
Photo by Arnel Hasanovic on Unsplash


Instead of carrying multiple charging wires, swap for a single charger with multiple wire options. They are referred to as octopus chargers, and there are many brands that now have them for sale. These save on space and reduce the number of wires you need to remember: one wire, many options. 


There are a few things that you can use, and it will depend on the style of trip that you are taking. A collapsible water bottle is a must in most cases. They save space, and you can fill them as and when possible. These are ideal for short city trips.

For more active trips, like skiing, for example, grab a hydration pack too. They aren’t bulky, and you’ll thank yourself when you can grab a drink with ease all the time.


You should have a copy of all of the documentation you need with you. Not only that, but make sure that you have also given a copy to a trusted friend or family member (not traveling with you).

It is also a good idea to take a scan of the documents and send them to your email address. This covers most bases and means you have everything you need in terms of documents. 

Put them all into a document wallet, so it is easy to find in your bag. 

Socks and Underwear

If you are pacing super light, then a change of underwear and some socks can fit in your bag and take up hardly any room. This tip can also come in handy if there are delays or issues with more oversized luggage being lost. Having them handy can keep you feeling fresh. 

Freshen Up

Speaking of freshening up, keep a travel tube of toothpaste and a travel toothbrush in your bag. A clear plastic ziplock is the best place to keep these, just in case your bag happens to get squashed.

Facial wipes or body wipes are also ideal if you travel for multiple days; they are quick to use and will remove that plane cabin smell. 

Quick Snack

When you are traveling between time zones, there are times you are going to be a bit hungry. Oat bars, pretzels, dried fruit, and even a bar of chocolate can be a quick pick-me-up between destinations, and they don’t take up much room in your bag either.


Your backpack can be a one-stop-shop for everything you really need on your trip. When you get really good at cabin bag packing, you may never need a more significant luggage booking again.

Knowing how to pack a backpack for a long trip isn’t easy. Of course, it really depends on what kind of trip you’re about to embark on whether it’s trekking a mountain, or inter-railing Europe.

Remember: Heavy stuff at the bottom, stuff that leaks goes in plastic bags and things you’ll need as soon as you arrive at your destination (like toiletries) at the top.

Also remember, all liquids must be in containers that are no bigger than 3.4 ounces or 100ml, and all containers must fit in a clear, one quart sized zip top plastic bag. You are not allowed to use a bigger bag for your liquids. Containers that are bigger than 3.4 ounces (100ml) are not allowed even if they aren’t full.

There are some great guidelines online that can help you pack your cabin bag like a professional!

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