Packing Tips for Petite Travellers

Travel in your gap year without breaking your back: the beauty of the handbag

Love backpacking, but hate the backpack? If you’re a littlun like me, whose back quivers at the mere thought of a lugging a heavy backpack through your gap year, fear not – there is another way.

Step One: Divide essentials from non-essentials, then stuff the latter into a small pulley-style suitcase. I’ve pulled a small suitcase around Africa, the Middle East, Southeast Asia; get one small enough, filled only with clothes, and even the littlest of littleuns will be able to lift it when flat roads aren’t around. If any gapper tells you you’re ‘not doing it right’, use your brand new handbag to swing at them. 

packing tips for petite travellers

Step Two: The handbag! The lifesaver, the Mary Poppins, the Things Without Which You Might Die. It should contain:

1. Hand sanitiser

When travelling the beautiful wide world, you’ll encounter many not-so-beautiful toilets. A necessity; only a few quid from Boots and lasts months.

2. Tissues

Lots of tissues. For reason above.

3. Guidebook, with map and printouts 

A happy traveller is an organised traveller. Don’t realise too late the world’s oldest kebab shop was only round the corner and you missed it – a little Googleing goes a long way.

4. Rain mac

The nerdy type, that you can stuff inside its own little bag. Unless you’re headed for the Sahara.

5. iPod 

For when you feel far away from home, your favourite tunes never fail to cheer you up. Don’t forget the pod’s charger and adaptor plug.

packing tips for petite travellers

6. Inflatable cushion

Now this might sound like Deluxe Travel rather than backpacking. But why toss and turn on a plane/train/bus when you can snuggle with your travel pillow? Same principle as the rain mac; fits deflated inside its own bag. (My bag is starting to sound like a bag of bags – it’s not weird I swear.)

7. Medicines

Take pill packets out of boxes, and fit neatly together in a drawstring purse or spare sunglasses case. Just remember to mark which ones are which.

8. Travel diary

To remember that weirdo you met on the beach, and how you got ripped off buying a rasta’s homemade mixtape (don’t ask).

9. Camera

I opt for little and light rather than fancy and clunky. But never find yourself in a beautiful sunset over a stunning beach with baby turtles hatching, and only your will-fail-someday memory to capture it.

10. Passport

But if you didn’t think of that already, give up now.

There – easy. Gone are the days of back pain, having to lean slightly forward all the time, and realising your urgently-needed item is at the bottom of your backpack. Your handbag should still be fairly light, and tucked beneath your arm is much less of a target for pickpockets than a backpack.

With the feminist weapon enabling solo travel for little people, you’re now set for pain-free worldwide adventures.