This post is by Elana Zygman, one of our contributors. 

Planning a backpacking trip this summer? Going alone? Here are a few tips from our resident female backpacker, Elana.

10. A backpack: If you have separation anxiety from leaving those few extra clothes or makeup items behind, this is a must. Make sure you can carry its weight and that everything fits under flight regulations.

9. Nothing Irreplaceable: Pack clothes you won’t mind dragging through the mud, wearing for two nights and two days straight and can’t throw out after since you’ll never want to see those clothes again.

8. mp3 player and a book: Music can be a companion, distraction and great for ear plugs in noisy hostels or buses. Books kill time and are fun to trade in different cities.

7. Bug spray and suntan lotion: Mosquitoes are not your friends. Neither is a big nasty burn.

6. Anti-Bacterial Gel: Although a little dirt never hurt, sometimes that infested squatter toilet isn’t cute.

5. Micro-fiber towel: It’s super thin, easy to pack and dries 10x faster.

4. A notebook: You are going to want to write down directions, emails from your new friends and how to say delicious in the local language

3. A large SD camera chip or external hard drive: Taking pictures is sort of your job.

2. At least two ATM cards: Learn from my mistake where I left my only debit card in an ATM machine and had to be wired money for a month in three separate countries. Hidden emergency cash doesn’t hurt either.

1. A smile: While traveling, what can go wrong, will. Honey attracts more bees than vinegar and smiling is sometimes the only thing you can do!

Image via blueinfaccia‘s flickr stream

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