Five Little Luxuries for Backpacking Travelers

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When you’re a backpacking traveler, you learn to let go of life’s little luxuries pretty quickly. Anything that can’t be shoved into your backpack and easily carried gets left behind for weeks, months, or years at a time. You learn to live without more than one pair of shoes, a hairdryer, your library. That said, there are a few little luxuries that always make into my bag because well…just because.

Wet Wipes
It would be nice to be able to shower all the time, but that’s not always a realistic possibility. I feel a little like my Grandma busting out wet wipes on the bus, but I also appreciate being able to wipe away a some of the sweat and grime from traveling.

Instant Coffee
I know, everyone just did a double take. Coffee is the one thing that you can probably find plenty of no matter where you are. From European cafés to aromatic cups of Turkish coffee and sweating glasses of Vietnamese iced coffee, the world offers a plethora of options to get your caffeine fix on. Except, sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes you’re traveling on a bus or in the middle of Uganda and all you can find is Nescafé. I hate Nescafé. So I pack a few bags of my favorite tea and, I can’t believe it I’m writing this, I usually slip in a few of those Starbucks instant coffee packets. I know. I’m sorry, but they’re better than Nescafé. Especially the iced coffee packets.

eReader
I am a voracious reader and the thought of trekking around for even more than a few days without a book at the ready makes me nervous. The thought of trekking around with a bag full of books, however, makes my back hurt. Enter the eReader. A kindle, a nook, an iPad…whatever. Having an eReader is so luxurious. You can pack as many books as you want without any strain on your shoulders. If you’re walking around and someone recommends a book, you can get it right then and there. If you’re using your iPad or iPhone, it also acts pretty well as a flashlight in a pinch. I think there’s an app for that.

Backpacking Pillow Sleeve
You can’t bring your pillow. You may want to bring your pillow, but you can’t. Sure, you can spring for a backpacking pillow, but even those take up unnecessary space. But a backpacking pillow sleeve? Now, that you can fit in. A lightweight nylon stuff sack with a fleece side, the backpacking pillow sleeve is a genius invention. When you’re sleeping, you can stuff a jacket or a sweater in there and voilà, you have a pillow for the train, plane, hostel, or airport floor. We’re not judging here. When you’re not sleeping, you can use it as a stuff sack to help organize your gear.

Silk Sleeping Bag Liner
If you’re traveling with a sleeping bag then obviously this isn’t as much of a luxury. Although it’s a lot easier to clean a liner than a sleeping bag. Just saying. I always stuff a silk sleeping bag liner into my bag. It’s small, lightweight, and can provide just that added touch of comfort on a long flight, bus, or train trip. In addition to being useful if you have to haul dirty laundry to a local laundromat, it’s also nice at hostels or if you have to camp somewhere unexpectedly. Like in a train station.

By Nikki Hodgson

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