What’s in my backpack?

In between studying and the holidays, I felt it was time to write another post. In July I backpacked for three weeks in the USA. It was something I had never done before. The key for me was to pack light, very light. I can’t carry a lot of weight around for long, so I wanted to stay as mobile as possible. 

Choose a backpack that’s not too big.

The smaller your backpack, the less you’ll pack. First I thought about picking out the biggest one, easy to fit everything in. But soon I realized that the space is an invitation to packing more. So don’t, choose wisely, and ‘force’ yourself to stick to a compact space. I bought mine in Decathlon. The volume was 50+ 10 liters, which was more than enough. Also make sure to put the heavier stuff bellow and the light stuff on top.

(source+ online webshop)




I always like to consult lists to check whether I forgot to pack something or not. Basically there are only a limited number of things you really need. All the rest you can still buy!


  • ID and passport
  • Cash money (I like to limit this, the less you have on you, the less you loose)
  • Credit card(s): in the USA you can’t use the bank card I have everywhere, make sure you got an extra like Visa or Mastercard, these I could use everywhere. Often cards have a limit amount each week/month, in case you would go over it, you still have an extra to consult.
  • Student card: gave me discounts both in stores and ‘attractions’.
  • Medical cards/information: I brought my blood group card with me, just in case.
  • Camera: something I once forgot to bring!
  • Phone
  • Airplane tickets


I packed for 10 days. Which is more or less half of the days I went. In Providence I then washed my clothes. Like that you save up a lot of space and weight! As a general rule, bring clothes that are easy ‘maintainable’. You aren’t bringing an iron with you, so make sure the fabric is easygoing and everything is fit to walk comfortably in all day long.

  • Underwear: 10 panties, two bras and 1 sports bra (which I find comfy to wear during the flights)
  • Socks: I think I brought 4-5 pairs, since I wasn’t always wearing shoes that needed socks. I bought them in Decathlon (what can I say I’m a fan), they were made for hiking so they were perfect to wander around all day long.
  • Shoes: 3 pairs- my Nikes, my sport shoes, and espadrilles. Actually it is more than enough to just bring two, I didn’t wear my sports shoes one second.
  • Top: 3 black tops (it was going to be hot temperatures)- 2 black t-shirts. Why black? Because I like it, you can combine it with anything, and it’s sweat-proof.
  • Bottom: 1 hiking skirt (super comfy!)- 1 pair of jeans- 1 sorts-1 jumpsuit- and I bought a long skirt there 🙂
  • Rest: Bikini- Sunglasses- Rain jacket- Jeans jacket- Fleece




A.k.a. the things I exaggerate with.

  • A toiletry bag you can hang: essential in hostels and camping’s!
  • Quick-drying towel: easy to pack and well it dries quickly.
  • Shampoo, Conditioner and soap: no need to explain these. For my curls I also brought my leave-in conditioner.
  • Toothpaste and brush
  • Deodorant
  • Make-up:  I don’t wear it, and ladies, we don’t really need it!
  • Sunscreen+ protection for your lips: also your lips need to be protected against the sun
  • Hand sanitizer: this could be just me, but I really need these in the city.


First-aid kit

Also here I exaggerate, I often have an upset stomach, and since I don’t know what pills they have across the ocean, I like to bring my own.

  • If you’re taking any prescribed medication: don’t forget them!
  • Painkillers
  • Ginger gum (natural remedy for nausea)
  • Buscopan (against pain in the stomach)
  • Pills for motion sickness (plain/boat/bus)
  • Band aids: in case you hurt your feet
  • Immodium: in case of diarrhea
  • I also brought pills for a sore throat


Let me see… what else?

  • A backpack/purse for the day: i brought a small backpack on the plain and used that one to carry my stuff and lunch in.
  • Travel guide: I would suggest to leave this at home because of the weight, but it was useful anyways.
  • A water bottle: to refill
  • Laundry soap: to wash your clothes so you can go another 10 days (or more)
  • Make copies of your passport and other documents! Always useful in case you lose them.
  • Plastic forks/knifes/spoons
  • Charger: I couldn’t use mine in the USA, luckily I could always borrow someone else’s.

I think that’s it! (if I forgot something tell me 😉 )


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22 thoughts on “What’s in my backpack?

  1. Great suggestions! Since I’m from the USA, I’ll add a couple “local’s tips” 🙂

    – On the medication, walk into any drug store such as CVS, Rite Aid, Walgreens, or similar, and you’ll be presented with a dizzying array of over the counter medications for all sorts of ailments, so chances are if you forget your medications (unless they are prescription), you’ll be ok. 🙂 On that note, a lot of these kinds of stores (especially CVS) often have miniature “clinics” in the back where you can see a nurse practitioner without an appointment for a whole array of minor ailments such as flu, allergies, sinus infections, etc. and get prescribed medication which you can pick up at the in-store pharmacy. If you’re not from the U.S., you won’t have insurance that will cover this, but prices usually aren’t too unreasonable even if you just pay for it (expect around $50-$130 per visit, depending on what you’re doing, plus the cost of medicine prescribed). It’s always lame when you get sick abroad, but this is a much more affordable, convenient option for travelers who might not be able to navigate the medical system (and MUCH cheaper than if you end up at an urgent care or emergency room). US-based travelers can usually use their insurance here.

    – Travel guides are great, but I like to buy digital travel guides to use on my Kindle or even my phone so I can free up weight and space in my pack.

    – On credit cards, the U.S. is very much a credit card-based economy. There are still places you’ll need cash, but even I get surprised when something is cash only (and usually walk away muttering unhappily because I couldn’t get the coffee I thought I was going to get). If you have Visa or MasterCard, you can go basically anywhere and do anything…except riding the bus! Carry cash for that. Exact change.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great list! I agree, the more space you have in the pack, the more you will fill it. One thing that I would add is a light (but large) cotton scarf. It addition to being a clothing accessory, it can serve as a blanket when you are cold and a mat when you are sitting in a park. I even used it as a pillow on trains while in Europe 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love that hiking skirt! I’ve been looking for something to hike in (I still use running leggings) and was debating between skirts or shorts. The skirt though is just so much cuter. 🙂 Thanks for the post!

    Liked by 1 person

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