The travel bug. The most contagious desire to throw away your reading lists, pick up your passports and move to Peru indefinitely. Backpacking is one of life’s greatest gifts, but a lot can go wrong if you’re not fully prepared (trust me on that, sorry about the malaria mum!). Here are your 5 holy grail backpacking items:

(Disclaimer: No I’m not referring to a real ‘travel bug’ but rather the irresistible impulse to leave Luton forever, change your name and wear hippie pants for the rest of your carefree life.)

Duct Tape

What are you going to need duct tape for, right? You’re not travelling on a plumbing apprenticeship..Wrong! If you think you can survive backpacking without this sacred item you are mistaken! Yes, I know I sound like your father, but it really does have 101 different uses. Seriously, this sticky little bad boy will work miracles on ripped tents or as it was in my case when you rip the bum out of your knickers… I had to learn the hard way, you don’t have to!

A satellite phone

They are bigger than the 90’s Nokia! (if that’s even possible) but it is the most important thing you will take with you! A sat-phone means that even if you’re in a rural area you can still make an emergency call, which is just what you need if you get caught in the Melbourne Outback.

The legendary pants conundrum?!

The experts will tell you that you only need three pairs of pants. They may be experts, but they have clearly not had Deli-belly! As soon as they start rationing your knickers, put at least 5 more pairs of the biggest Bridget Jones knickers you own. Thank me later, you won’t regret it when you’re washing them out in the manky sink in your hostel.

Travel washing line

Your friends will mock you incessantly for this buy at first, but when their glamping honeymoon period is over, they will come crawling back with a soggy pair of socks and favour for you!

Biodegradable washing powder

This is something I didn’t take with me on my travels but I wish I had! Not only will it actually CLEAN your clothes (unlike shower gel and soap) but you can also use it foryour spontaneous Spanish shower in a waterfall. It may not turn you into the herbal essences girl, but at least you won’t smell like sweaty feet.

The travel bug however does have some deadly side effects, the most severe being excitement, so take a few breaths and make lists, otherwise you’ll end up trekking through the hills of Malaysia wearing a ‘splash mountain’ poncho and yes laughter is the same in every language, they will not hold back!

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