Packing tips for your gap year

Flights booked, insurance bought, vaccinations dealt with… now it’s time to pack. Hmm. Just one thing—how on earth are you supposed to fit your whole life into one small bag?! Don’t succumb to Panic Packing Syndrome: use our useful gap year packing tips and you’ll be packing like a pro.

Take only the essentials

gap year packing tips
Nope, you stay at home Mr Yorkie.

Remember that other countries have shops too. Many of the things you think you need to pack (shampoo, flip flops extra clothes) will be available to purchase once you arrive. Only pack what you cannot possibly leave home without.

Choose your backpack wisely

gap year packing tips
Chewy may be cute, but he’s a sucky travel buddy.

Try and find a bag with a zip down the middle and at the bottom, allowing you to access things without unpacking everything first.

Smaller is better

gap year packing tips
Not too small though!

It might seem like a good idea to carry all those just-in-case items before you leave, but remember you’re going to have to lug this around with you. Backpacking can be hard work, so the lighter your pack the better. It will be easier to carry, and will attract less attention and make you look and feel less like a tourist. Remember: absolutely no one comes home wishing they’d taken more stuff. 

Take lightweight, breathable clothing

gap year packing tips
It’ll keep you safe but it’s a bitch to travel in.

Generally speaking, you only need three of each item of clothing. In other words, three tops, three pairs of shorts, etc.. Choose wisely, because you’re going to be seeing a lot of them! Pack a long sleeve top for sun protectionand something to smarten up (a shirt, or jewellery, for example). Don’t take chunky hoodies, buy thermals instead.

To sleeping bag or not to sleeping bag?

But this one it too epic to leave behind!

Different people will tell you different things about the pros and cons of travelling with a sleeping bag. We’re inclined to advise that it probably isn’t necessary unless you plan on doing a lot of independent camping. However, invest in a silk sleeping bag liner for those times you encounter dubious mattresses.

Most importantly: reduce it by a third!

Yes, you read right. A third.

Once you’ve gathered all the things you think you’ll need, reduce it by a third.

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