Are you the type of traveller who stays in hostels, takes public transport, and doesn’t mind squishing themselves onto a budget airline to save some cash? 

Then I’ve got the list for you on essential items to pack to make your travels easier or more comfortable.

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Top 10 Items to Pack if You're a Budget Traveller

#1. Eye mask and neck pillow

You’ll need an eye mask and neck pillow to help you get some sleep on planes. Eye masks are also a must for hostels to block out light when your fellow bunk mates decide to turn on all the lights at 1am!

#2. Earplugs

On the hostel theme, earplugs are also a must – for when your dorm buddies decide 1am is the perfect time to have really loud, drunken conversations. The silicone earplugs that are actually designed for swimmers to prevent water getting in their ears are my favourite. This is because they mould into your ear and don’t hurt like the hard rubber ones.

#3. Hard drive or USBs with entertainment

If you’re a budget traveller then you’re likely going to be taking long bus or train journeys or flying on budget airlines with no TVs. If you’re taking a laptop with you, keep yourself sane by having movies or TV shows saved on a hard drive or USB.

These are also handy to back up photos from your camera.

#4. Battery pack

Bring a battery pack to keep your phone or laptop charged up. A battery pack is especially handy when you have long transits and are watching movies that can drain batteries in a few hours. It’s also handy when you’re out and about and using map apps that can quickly drain phone batteries.

#5. Hand sanitiser

Ewww germs! No one likes being sick, and it’s especially painful when you’re travelling. Make sure you use hand sanitiser after using public transport or public toilets to lessen your risk of getting sick.

#6. Packing cubes

Used correctly, packing cubes will make a backpacker’s life much easier. Place similar items into these cubes so your backpack is easy to pack for that early morning flight - and it’s also easier to find stuff. For example, keep your T-shirts all together, or your warm clothing.

If you’re travelling with a backpack, it’s best to buy one that opens from a zip at the front as well as from the top. It will make finding stuff easier because you may not have to pull out everything to get to the item you want at the bottom of your bag.

#7. Zip lock bags

Zip lock bags always come in handy. You can put your toiletries in them in case they explode on the plane, they’re good for snacks, and can be used as laundry bags, or as a dry bag in a pinch. They weigh nothing and barely take up any space so I always travel with a zillion of them.

#8. Dry and/or compression bags

A sodden camera or laptop is really going to ruin your holiday so guard against it by carrying a dry bag or two to waterproof your valuables. You can also get compression bags that also double as a dry bag. Use them as a compression bag in your backpack when you’re not protecting your possessions from rain.

#9. Microfibre Towel

Not all hostels provide you with a towel, so rather than renting one, I bring my own. A microfibre towel takes up far less space than a normal towel and also is quicker drying to reduce the chance of having to pack a damp towel.

A towel is also useful to put down on bus seats if they’re the plastic kind that stick to your legs in hot weather.

#10. Shampoo Bar

The shampoo bar from Lush is perfect for travellers. It lasts a lot longer than liquid shampoo and has no risk of exploding in transit. The best way I’ve found to store the bar is in an empty Lush moisturiser tub (not the tin which is really hard to open when it gets wet!).

Use this handy blog as a checklist for your next overseas adventure. Do you want some extra information about how to manage your money for you trip? Find out the tips our travel blogger Elyse provided here. Safe and happy travels!

Travel tips for budget travellers

Check out the video below as a Cover-More case manager provides some of his best tips for travelling as a backpacker.


Lisa Owen is a pint-sized Australian following her dreams to travel to as many places as she can, and loves to share her photography, travel hacks, hiking adventures, and food discoveries along the way. At last count, she has travelled to more than 70 countries in between working in public relations and discovering hidden gems in Australia's great outdoors. Instagram: @thelittleadventurer. Facebook: The Little Adventurer Australia.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by the author and those providing comments are theirs alone, and are meant as travel inspiration only. They do not reflect the opinions of Cover-More Insurance. You should always read the PDS available from your travel insurance provider to understand the limits, exclusions and conditions of your policy and to ensure any activities you undertake are covered by your policy.