1. Backpack. I found that a sports back, slung over the back using the
handle straps worked great, since I could carry more in one. The straps might
cut into your shoulders if you have to walk a long way, so you'd have to pad them. However, a big backpack will do well for those who don't like sports bags or will walk too far for a non-backpack.
2. A Waist Ski Pack For when you are wandering around in a city, You will want something to hold your wallet, camera, maps, etc. when you leave your backpack behind. This is very important not to forget.
3. Travelers checks Obviously. get £20 cheques, and spread them throughout my backpack, and waist pack. Girls, don't bring a purse.. use some kind of wallet thingy. It'll be less cumbersome.
4. Camera, music, Sunglasses, etc. - If you are in another country, the film will probably be expensive so bring a FEW (not too many) extra rolls.I also brought a CHEAP (expendable) walkman with a mix of favorite songs. Don't forget a watch...not an expensive one either. You might also want to consider a small little CALCULATOR , probably a really cheap one :)
I didn't need this, but I'm more adept in math than others. Your choice.
5. ESSENTIALS - PASSPORT, Drivers Licence, Credit cards! You might also want to take a little card w/ emergency phone numbers on it so that you (or someone else) can call in a tight situation. - Make sure that your visa card is a high limit (to get you home) and
a bank card that will let you withdraw. The usual fee is £1.00 or so.
** Alarm Clock. You can't realize how important this will be.
6. Bathroom stuff:
1. toothbrush (put in ziplock bag to keep clean)
2. soap (also put in ziplock bag to keep clean)
3. toothpaste 4. shampoo
5. shaving stuff 6. flip/flops (sandals for showers)
7. towel (small as possible) 8. aspirin, etc. (girls--you know what!)
9. hairbrush (gel if you use)10. SMALL mirror if you need one.
11. Toilet paper (and/or tissue paper) You'll find this there though.
12. Deodorant (small) 13. Pain Killer Kit (aspirin,etc.)
7. Book/reading - I took a large book, and it saved me a lot of wasted boredom when riding for hours on a Eurorail train, or flying on a plane for a long time.
8. Maps, Books, etc. Your Hostel guide, a map of the current city and country
that you are in, as well as where the nearest Hostels/ hotels are.
9. Hat (scrunchy) - my ballcap saved my butt so many times
10. Clothes - If you are state to state traveling, or going Abroad, you'll want to bring ONE nice outfit.. just in case you go to a nice restaurant. 1 or 2 Jeans, (bar clothes), one sweatshirt, a RAINCOAT and the other regular stuff.
11. Shoes - I took one pair of nice shoes, and one pair of walking shoes. Make sure that your walking shoes are COMFORTABLE. Don't take too much literature when backpacking to other cities/states/countries. You'll be able to get it all there.. pamphlets, etc. at the Hotels/Hostels
Believe it or not, you CAN fit all of this in a backpack/sportsbag.