The list author says: "Greetings, fellow travelers! This list contains the essentials for traveling internationally for an extended period of time, backpacking through multiple countries, staying in hostels, or even studying abroad.
MONEY: The best way to obtain local currency abroad is to use your debit card at an ATM. You don't incur a currency conversion fee from the ATM, although your home bank may charge a small fee.
CELL PHONE: If you already have an unlocked/quad band cell phone, just remove your SIM card before going over. Once you've arrived, buy a prepaid SIM card at a cell phone store; you'll get a local phone number and a set number of minutes/texts. Another option is to buy an inexpensive phone once you arrive.
PACKING: A good strategy is to set out everything you want to bring, and then take away half. Remember that you can easily get by with 2-4 pairs of quick-drying undies and socks (they're the most easily washed items). Also, bundle your clothes to maximize your bag space (the One Bag Girl blog has a great video showing how to bundle: http://www.onebaggirl.com/bundling-101-a-one-week-business-trip/). You'll thank yourself for packing light once you get off that plane and put your backpack on.
OTHER: Call your bank and credit card company before you head over. Make two copies of your passport, driver's license, and credit cards; bring one copy, and leave one copy at home with family or a trusted friend. Leave jewelry and any other irreplaceable items at home.
PS -- I've purposefully avoided adding money belts to this list, as I find them annoying and inconvenient. I keep my docs in a wallet-style holder, and I've never had any problems. Money belts are only really necessary for those venturing to countries with a travel advisory."
"Sporting/outdoors shops usually have a good selection of backpacks. Some good, reliable brands are Osprey, Arc'teryx, Gregory, Lowe Alpine, and Kelty. Also check out Amazon's Backpack Buying Guide: http://www.amazon.com/Seasonal-Sports-Outdoors/b/ref=amb_link_230989822_3?ie=UTF8&node=15308561"
"A lightweight, collapsible nylon tote bag is a lifesaver in a pinch. You never know what you might need it for: groceries, laundry, shopping, etc. Make sure to get one that zips closed in case you need to use it as carry-on luggage back home."
"I love my retractable cable lock -- I have this one in black. Use it to secure your luggage to a heavy piece of furniture or add extra protection to your hostel locker. Combo locks are best because there are no keys to lose."
"Some hostels might have lockers; some might not. If someone really wants to get in your bag, locks aren't going to stop them; but they will stop the casual pickpocket from rifling through your possessions. Again, combo locks are best."
"Hostels don't have clocks in their rooms, so this is an absolute essential. This clock has been my trusty companion for many backpacking excursions because it has everything I need: 12/24-hour clock, temperature (FÂº/CÂº), date, and an alarm with snooze button. (Acclimating yourself to the 24-hour clock can make your time abroad a little easier.)"
"Indispensable! This credit-card sized 'tool box' has everything: scissors, pen, blade, tweezers, magnifying glass, light, nail file, etc. Remember to put it in your checked baggage, or airport security will take it."
"This booklet folds out into a huge 'map' of pictures of virtually every item you could ever eat, drink, use, wear, etc. A great tool for travelers who don't want to bother with translating: just point to what you want."
"For those gadget-loving travelers, this is a great tool. Twelve languages spoken and written: English, French, German, Spanish, Dutch, Italian, Russian, Portuguese, Swedish, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, and Turkish. (Or, you could always just download the translator app on your iPhone.) ;)"
"This is a great tool, but remember to get a voltage converter if you plan on bringing any appliances that can't convert. Nearly all laptops/netbooks and some cell phones can run on anywhere from 110-240 volts."
"Flip flops are a non-negotiable must-have for hosteling, since you'll be using communal bathrooms/showers. Make sure you get a pair before heading over, though, because you'll be hard-pressed to find flip flops overseas, even in the summer."
"Whether you buy a pre-made kit or compose your own, make sure you bring some basic first aid supplies. Include some backup birth control, if applicable. And remember to bring a mini bottle of hand sanitizer."
"Loud trains, planes, and hostels require earplugs to get some critical ZZZs. These are my favorites because you can sleep with them in (they're foam) and reuse them. Toss them when they get nasty and whip out a fresh pair."
"A neck pillow is another essential item for getting some sleep while traveling. I recommend an inflatable one (so it can be stored compactly) with a removable cover that can be washed, like this one."
"An affordable, super-absorbent pack towel will take up virtually no room in your bag and will air-dry in 1-2 hours. This size (L) will suffice as your primary bath towel. It comes with a little multi-purpose mesh bag that also facilitates drying if you're on the go."
"Don't let these fool you; they're multi-purpose. These hangers fold up flat and take up almost no space. They're great for air-drying clothes, and in a pinch can be used as neck/lumbar support pillows."
"Use these amazing soap nuts to hand-wash your clothes. They come in a little travel pouch and can be re-used. Grown on trees, no harsh chemicals, 100% biodegradable and natural. Don't bother with the Woolite packs -- be a true citizen of the world and use a product that's better for you and the Earth!"
"If you want to pack lightly, you should consider getting some lightweight, air-drying undies. Wash them at night and hang them to dry while you sleep. Using this method, you could easily get by with 2-4 pairs for your entire trip. ExOfficio and Patagonia are two great brands quick-drying activewear."
"My fellow ladies, don't waste precious packing space with tampons or pads; get a reusable cup. Several brands are popular in the US, including the Diva Cup, Moon Cup, Lunette, and Miacup. I cannot stress how indispensable this is, not only from a space-saving perspective but also from an economic and environmental perspective. Love, love, love my Diva Cup."
"Here's another one of my travel must-haves for my fellow ladies. As a backpacker, you never know what the bathroom situation will be. This device is also great for cramped bathrooms on planes, trains, and buses."