Before venturing out on your first solo backpacking trip, research your destinations and make lists of everything you might need. Traveling solo is not easy – it can be lonesome, so you must be extremely savvy in order to succeed. We have an

essential travel checklist

for you, culled from seasoned backpackers and travelers. We hope you find it useful. Travel

Research Destination(s) Thoroughly

Create a research travel checklist for a solo trip with the destination names, planned itinerary, destination customs and mores. Put together a tentative budget and keep some money or credit available, just in case. Embark on a fitness scheme and get yourself in fighting the fit condition. Best of luck on your solo backpacking adventure!

Checklist for Destination Research

  • List local travel norms, health facilities, medical conditions, local customs, do’s and don’ts
  • List mobile networks and Wi-Fi access at the destination
  • Compare near airport hotel fares on,,
  • Look up airport transfer and local transport facilities
  • Note down tourist centers, organized tours and tour guide info
  • Check out what essentials can be locally bought
  • Research custom laws regarding prescription medication
  • Look up special seasonal discounts or freebies offered at hotels/hostels
  • Look up affordable eateries near hostels
  • Find out if you need a local phone connection
  • What To Do Before You Leave
  • Make a travel checklist and tick each item off as you complete it before you leave.
  • Preparing To Leave
  • Set up an email autoresponder
  • Pay bills in advance
  • Empty refrigerator, unplug appliances and turn off taps and heaters
  • Lock all doors and windows and set up timed light system
  • Store valuables safely
  • Make a list of personal essentials
  • Obtain necessary vaccines and treatments
  • Arrange for care of pets or kids
  • Go over bank statements and credit reports
  • Book two nights’ accommodation in advance
  • Download good apps for budget planning and accounting, world map and compass

Documents And Cards

  • Check the expiry of passport and drivers’ license
  • Travel organizer – passport, visas, tickets, boarding passes, personal ID, travel insurance, health
  • insurance, hotel or tour info
  • Wallet or purse – Frequent flyer card(s), hostel membership cards, cash and credit card(s)
  • Doctor’s prescriptions – in carry-on and checked luggage.
  • A small book with emergency contact information
  • Pic of Driver’s License, Passport and Flight Details on the smartphone, printout in luggage
  • Note contact numbers of hotels/hostels
  • All documents and cards in carry-on
  • Pic of hostels on the map
  • Visiting cards with your name and number
  • Refresh your prescriptions for the travel duration
  • Give itinerary and hostel info to family and friends

What To Pack

Here’s a list of what to pack for your travel. Since you’ll be traveling solo, take only what you need – leave valuables behind. You can buy the most necessary items at your destination.

Clothing And Accessories

  • Clothing according to local climate and customs
  • Walking shoes for hiking
  • Waterproof warm jacket
  • Sunglasses
  • Sewing kit/clothing care kit

The Toiletry Bag Basics

  • TSA-compliant 100ml quantities of necessary toiletries
  • Hand sanitizer or wet wipes
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, mouthwash
  • Hairbrush and hair accessories
  • Deodorant, Shampoo, and conditioner
  • Sunscreen, Makeup, Face wash, Lotion
  • Lip balm, Personal hygiene items
  • Mirror, Hair products
  • Shaving kit and extra razors
  • Scissors nail clippers, and tweezers (in checked luggage)

First Aid

  • Bandages, burn ointment, gauze, adhesives
  • Personal prescriptions
  • Pain and fever relievers
  • Thermometer
  • Cold medicines and throat lozenges
  • Diarrhea/laxative medicines
  • Allergy medicines
  • Antibacterial cream
  • Multivitamins
  • Sunburn relief
  • Insect repellent
  • Motion sickness pills
  • Eye drops

Technological Items

  • Mobile device and charger (the kind that works at destination)
  • iPad or e-reader
  • Headphones
  • Camera, memory card
  • Electrical converters, adapters, and chargers for all devices
  • Travel journal and pen
  • The cheap sturdy mobile phone as a backup

Travel Packing Guidelines

  • Get a light backpack built to hold more and weigh less
  • If hiking, pack a butane lighter, map, and compass, candle, ground insulation, extra clothing, extra water, first aid kit, whistle, knife, a tarp for shelter, headlamp or flashlight
  • Keep necessary toiletries in carry-on and in check-in luggage
  • Pack duct tape to repair backpack if needed

What To Do When You Arrive

  • When you arrive, maximize every minute you have to experience your destination.
  • Write down hostel information and contact info of other travelers in book
  • Make daily itineraries of sights and things to do
  • Draw up a daily spending budget so you won’t go overboard
  • Get to know the hotel staff
  • Confirm amenities and check for freebies
  • Check for organized tours and tour guides
  • Look up charging points for tech devices.

Safety Precautions

Solo travel can be dicey, whether you’re male or female. For women, the dangers are more apparent. It’s best to make a list of necessary safety precautions before leaving. Make this list after studying blogs by other travelers – you’ll soon find out how safe your planned destinations are and what precautions to take.

Checklist for Safety Precautions

  • Don’t tell strangers where you’re staying
  • Don’t leave drinks unattended
  • Obtain a local guidebook
  • See if you can join up other travelers for sightseeing
  • Appear confident in public; don’t let locals know you’re confused
  • Learn some form of martial art if possible to defend yourself
  • Write down the numbers for all local emergency services
  • Don’t wander off alone away from crowded places
  • Always check if you’re being followed when alone
  • Be wary of pickpockets in outdoor markets
  • Keep your money in your front pockets, not back
  • Talk to someone next to you when you’re out so you don’t seem alone
  • Keep your cash, cards, and passport in a money belt under your clothing


Travel is exciting, especially when you decide to go solo! Make all the checklists in the world and follow them, but don’t forget to be spontaneous at times and enjoy yourself. Always keep spare cash hidden in your luggage, just in case. Keep valuables close to your body, so they don’t get lost.

Aanchal is a writer by profession and an avid foodie. She loves travelling, exploring and adding cherished experiences to the book of life.

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