Here’s a short list of items I can’t live without when backpacking. That was dramatic – I can certainly live without them, I just would rather not.
• Small bottle of Dr. Bronner’s soap – this soap works for everything, washing yourself, brushing your teeth, washing your hair, doing sink laundry etc. It smells great. It’s super concentrated, so the smallest bottle should last you weeks and weeks. And they have several scents so whether you love floral or herbal, there’s an option that will work for you.
• Head lamp – sure these are more for mountaineering style backpacking, but they’re super helpful if you’re staying in a dorm room with six other sleeping tourists and suddenly you have to get yourself to the bathroom or find something in your bag. They’re very small and they’re very handy!
• Vitamins – hostels tend to be very germy places where there’s very little escape from the germs and behaviors of your peers. So whether you take a once-daily multivitamin or an Emergen-C Immune Boost drink, bring something to help you stay well!
• Bandana – a bandana is just a great travel companion it has a billion uses: wiping sweat on a hot day, an eye-mask in a bright room or long bus ride, cover up your greasy unwashed hair, wipe your sunglasses, mark a spot for your fellow traveler, etc.