I just got back from just over three weeks in Australia. This was my first time backpacking for three weeks straight and my first time in Australia!

The most important things you need to remember if this is your first time travelling in a backpacker style is that nobody cares what you look like really, at the end of the day as in you don’t need eyebrows on fleek, perfect hair and nail extensions or glamorous evening wear, once you get past that you realise that stopping caring gives you a lot more time to care about important holiday things like enjoying yourself. You can’t wear makeup in in heat and humidity whilst trekking as it will just melt off anyway. Here’s what I suggest taking.



Backpacking by sarah-l-smith featuring a make up bag


1 x 55 litre back pack – remember you are the one  carrying this stuff, so the lighter the better) the Osprey Farpoint 55 is what I use and it’s perfect. This is designed for women and is a great buy. This does actually qualify as being a carry on bag, but I had liquids and big aerosols of Deet so have to check the bag, I use the day pack as my carry on.

1 x day  pack (moderately sized day pack for daily essentials….passport, purse, phone, camera, deet spray, sunscreen, sunglasses, snacks, water) mine came with the backpack and can be attached with a zip so it’s all one bag.

1 x very small over-the-shoulder handbag (for when you don’t want to take a backpack that can easily be accessed by thieves, small enough to easily fit into my day back pack). I bought a cheap one from Next. Must have a zip.

Fuji clothing dividers, packing cubes  I went for 1 Medium for tops and bottoms 1 Small for underwear and bikini and the other for tops. These are a lifesaver for backpackers as everything is so easy to find.

Toiletry Bag – I just used a clear makeup bag

Re-seal-able plastic lunch bags for airport carry on and then to be used for any medicines

Fold up Longchamp handbag, for when I had just had enough of using a backpack and looking like a traveller! Folds down to a very small square.



1 x comfortable walking trainers (Mine were just my regular converse)

1 x flip flops (go for a dark or bright colour as they will get dirty otherwise)

1x evening sandals,something flat but glittery or sparkly or a bit nicer



1 x leggings or yoga pants

2x shorts

I hate shorts but got some denim cut off’s made for me here as you can specify that they are made longer for taller
women or shorter if you are petite and they are made out of genuine vintage levi jeans. They are AMAZING! And really well priced.

2 x Maxi dresses – easy for day or evening and can be dressed up or down

1 x Skater dress –comfy and flattering for walking around town


1 x kaftan (over the swimsuit type dress)

4 x t-shirts or vests or a mixture (go for looser ones and nothing grey that shows up sweat!)

1 x long-sleeved casual shirt in case of rain or cold weather

1 x black cardigan (goes with everything)

1 x light hoodie or soft jumper (to keep warm onthe plane or on a cold day)

1 x waterproof jacket/ pac-a-mac (with hood) in the UK you can get decent ones from Matalan that aren’t expensive.


14 x knickers (I recommend small light ones that can be easily washed)

7 x pairs of socks (try and get special sweat wicking ones)

4 bras (including 2 sports bras for if you are hiking or have sunburn and don’t want anything digging in)


1 x PJ or nightie if you wear them

1 x large scarf or pashmina – these are the best I have found Mercato Gifts

1x swmming costume (snorkelling) 2x bikini

1 x microfiber travel towel (very handy)

1 x sunglasses 1 x sunhat or cap

Wet wipes

Shower pouff

Padlock for your backpack when travelling

Swiss army knife (has scissors so you can cut yournails too)

Nail file


Travel insurance details (print them off)

Passport and a photocopy

Tickets/booking confirmations

Toiletries and Medicine


1 x Insect repellent (with 50+ deet)

Shampoo, conditioner


Body wash, cleanser, toothbrush, toothpaste, razor


Travel wash

Buy sunscreen when you get there as it is much higher quality

Moisturiser (that can be used as after sun too)

1 x small make up bag – SPF 50 BB cream or similar, mascara, lip gloss, concealer, mini eyeshadow palette (I spent a lot of days makeup free but it was nice to look a bit better in the evenings)


Antihistamine tablets and cream in case you have an allergy or get any bites

Plasters and blister plasters

Any contraceptives

Re hydration sachets as it can get very hot especially if you are sailing or on the beach a lot


3 x plug converters
Memory cards

How to Pack Light

Stick to taking clothes in the same colour palette, I went for black, white and navy as usual.  Buy mini makeup items like mascara on ebay or get samples from counters.  If you are travelling with anyone you can save so much space and weight by sharing items like shampoo, toothpaste etc. or just wait until you get there and buy things like this at the dollar store to save time and carrying things!

‘Liberate’ mini shampoo and conditioners from hotels whenever you can and save them in a box for travelling.  Take a shower ‘pouff’ as it makes your shower gel last longer as you only need a tiny bit to create lots of lather.

Buy a lightweight backpack and get as small a one as you think you can deal with.  You can buy tshirts, sarongs, hats, shirts etc. etc. anywhere you travel so don’t worry about under packing.

You can, at a lot of hostels, use their laundry facilities to wash your clothes, try and take some travel wash so you don’t have to buy washing powder.

You don’t need a belt, or any jewellery more than some simple studs, you might want to take a watch, I would even think about only leaving on a plain wedding band and keeping any diamonds or precious stone engagement rings at home as imagine if you lost them when snorkelling etc. you would be devastated.

I hope this is helpful, it’s definitely more of a packing guide for women.  I loved travelling around Australia and if you get the chance then definitely go. If you’re interested in other packing tips then please let me know.