Before I left for my trip I must have looked at about 20 websites that listed hundreds of things that you could take on holiday. Here is my recommendation for what to take - with nice pictures to look at!
- A specially designed-for-travel towel (available at hiking shops - my personal favourite is Countryside) is a real space saver and not too awkward to use.
- Clothes packing system by Eagle Creek. This is intended only for keeping a few dress shirts flat, but it works just as well for keeping everything in. I carried my entire wardrobe in this little pack which made choosing clothes and rooting around in my backpack much easier.
- One hoodie. For cool evenings, going up mountains, use in conjunction with an umbrella in the rain etc.
- A bag for daytime use
- A foldable hat
- A pair of sunglasses in a nice hard case
- Pair of flipflops or other shoes for when it's too hot for your trainers
- A little battery-operated fan
Toiletries - Ones you only need at a hostel
- Little Compact Mirror
- Dental Floss
- Tweezers (good for splinters too)
- Toothbrush (with case is a good idea)
- Shower Gel
- Hairbrush (you can get small foldaway ones)
Toiletries - Ones you may need during the day
- Face/hand wipes
- Trainer freshener
- After sun
- Sun cream
- Body spray
- Foot spray
- Shower cap (didn't fit in my other bag :o))
- Period stuff
- Hand hygiene gel/alcohol hand rub - essential, especially in not-so-hygienic public toilets and/or lack of time between meals.
- Travel washing line (intertwined elastic with bungee hooks)
- Travel washing detergent (decanted, here)
- Travel basin plug (youth hostels don't have plugs in sinks to prevent flooding - you must take your own if you want to hand wash clothes)
- Small sewing kit: white cotton, black cotton, needles, safety pins. If you don't want to take a sewing kit, take the safety pins at least.
- Document folder to keep souvenirs pristine
- Plastic plate (makes a sandwich feel like a proper meal)
- Child-sized cutlery
- Plastic container
- Water "bladder" (collapses when emptied)
- Umbrella (instead of coat)
Travel First Aid Kit
- Surgical tape
- Antiseptic wipes
- Plaster strip
- Wound dressing
- Antiseptic cream
- Blister plasters (I recommend Compeed)
- Calamine and Glycerine cream (for stings, rashes etc.)
- Travel tablets
- Allergy tablets
- Menthol crystals
- Decongestant tablets
- Nasal inhaler
- Sore throat sweeties
- Ear plugs (very important!)
- Sleeping tablets
- Caffeine tablets
- Anti-Diarrhoea tablets
- Re-hydration treatment
- Any prescription medicine (take a photocopy of your prescription as a precaution)
- Any things that might make you feel more comfortable: eyewash, eardrops, laxatives (funny travel diets...)
Most youth hostels have lockers but not all. This came in handy many times; both for using on a cupboard and for locking the rucksack to the bed (just in case..) where lockers weren't provided.