backpacker banter birthday travel blog

This month marks the 2nd birthday of Backpacker Banter and I’m super stoked!

Over the last 2 years the site (which I’d been blogging on for about 18 months previous to rebranding it as Backpacker Banter) has gone from strength to strength thanks to all you amazing guys and girls reading it.

backpacker travel blog rtw gap year

Hard At Work!

It’s afforded me some amazing opportunities and I’ve met heaps of incredible people through it. It’s helped me keep a record of all the cool things I’ve done on the road over the last few years…and looking back on the stuff I’ve ticked off my travel bucket list makes me smile ALOT!

You guys have been epic too – I’ve had loads of awesome emails, comments, tweets (I’m @bckpackerbanter) and comments on the Facebook Page – and I hope that I’m inspiring some of you to head out and explore the world and lending a helping hand to those of you already planning a gap year or backpacking trip!

I’ve been on the road this time around for over a year now and 2013 has some epic plans in the pipeline which I’ll be announcing shortly so the site will be even more jam packed with stories, pictures and advice to keep you entertained at work!

In case you are new to the blog I’ve also given it a makeover, making it easier to find the info you’re looking for and also alot more pretty on the eye!

My new site Top 5 Travel has also just launched which will I’ll be packing out with bitesize chunks of backpacker advice from my travels and a whole heap of guest bloggers too – so go check it out when you have the chance.


backpacker travel apps ipad iphone

Travel and Tech – My Two Passions Combined!


Anyway – with all birthdays there’s a celebration and presents, and this one is no exception.

I’ve teamed up with the amazing guys at and we’re giving away an iPad Mini to one lucky reader!

It’s no secret that I’m a massive Apple geek at heart and my iPhone 5, Macbook Air and iPad are some of my most prized and useful travel kit. Whether it’s shooting pics, keeping in touch with friends or family or blogging away they’re my top travel tip!

For me the iPad Mini is an amazing little gadget, with heaps of battery life for long haul flights, millions of apps to download and keep you entertained and productive and even better it’s compact and light, making it ideal as a backpacking companion.


So how can you win this shiny bit of Apple tech?!


It’s simple as…


    1. Head over to the Backpacker Banter Facebook Page and hit “like” …and do the same on the Top 5 Travel Page too
    2. Sign up for the monthly newsletter 
    3. Then once you’ve done that tell me what your most prized travel item is and why. Is it that blow up neck cushion? Your immodium tablets? Or just your cuddly toy from home?! Whack it in the comments below…


And that’s it!


I’ll pick my favourite/funniest/most random entry and BAM Apple goodness will be shipped asap! I’ll also put together a blog post of all the amazing stuff you guys travel with!



**NOTE – COMPETITION NOW CLOSED** backpacker accommodation

Competition closes at midnight on 21st March 2013

I reserve the right to alter any part of the competition

Winner will be picked by me (Chris Stevens) and my decision is final

Prize is a 16GB iPad Mini (black or white) 

No cash alternative will be offered

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44 Responses

  1. Turner

    I gotta love the mac air or the iphone…but since is it is just one. Iphone. It can do your pics, wake you up, find your bed in the dark, drown out the sound of people having sex in the bunk next to you. Short of doing my taxes for me and the occasional back massage, it is the perfect companion.
    Turner recently posted..Finding an Apartment in BangkokMy Profile

  2. Elliott Percival

    My favourite thing I travel with, the most valuable, is my journal and pen.

    They go with me everywhere and have a record of everything I’ve ever done, every where I’ve been, everything I’ve thought about a place and it’s people and hold little bits of memorabilia in it. As when I fit down to write, it lets me appreciate and remember the amazing things I’ve done.

    Best of all though? When the travelling’s over and I’m back in rainy Wales, I can relive everything. Every bus/train/plane, every sunset viewed, every relationship made. A paragraph at a time.

  3. Jimbo

    Duct Tape – It simply is the one.
    Whilst travelling my bag split – duct tape fixed it.
    Misses lost her luggage for 3 days whist transferring – I made her clothes out of my own with some some stylish duct tape alterations!
    I cut myself and the misses had used the plasters to make her shoes more comfortable! Baby wipe and duct tape fixed me up!
    On one trip I met a boy who makes stuff out of it- including wallets, bracelets and flip flops. So on my travels I started making presents for people that I met!

  4. Leah

    My Camera of course! Whether it’s taking photos of the amazing Montanita sunsets, jungle rainstorms, or party nights so I can remember the amazing people I’ve met along the way. Then I get to relive it all again reviewing the photos when I’m home and get a little travel-sick to get back on the road.

  5. Sindy

    OMG, I have to have my “Bill”. Bill is a small Gnome that travels everywhere I do! If I am traveling and send home a pic WITHOUT Bill my family goes crazy like I lost him or something, LOL I sent pics to a local elementary school for their geography lessons and once I did not send a pic with “Bill” and the entire 3rd grade thought I lost him and collected money to send me another “Bill”!!
    Needless to say, “Bill” and I are attached by my pocket no matter where I go, LOL.
    “Bill” have been scuba diving, zip-lining, repelling, kayaking, chasing Holler Monkeys and just chilling on the beach. He is a very well traveled man indeed.

  6. Naomi

    I travel with a photo of my parents and a short, cute note from my mom for my first solo journey to Thailand two years ago. “Have fun, but please take care of yourself. Be careful of crocodile on the streets.” A week prior to leaving, in the news they broadcasted a crocodile running loose in Thailand. Never saw that crocodile, thank goodness.
    Naomi recently posted..16 Quick Ways to Be Instantly HappyMy Profile

  7. albediny

    I can not travel with out my Samsung Galaxy nexus it has every thing I need maps booking apps E-mail u name it every thing u need to keep u efficient at your travels that’s it don’t hate me for not being an apple fan I don’t have any thing against that rotten fruit :P .

  8. Keri

    I have to travel with my mom , and my chihuahua her name is snookie I love her! Best dog ever she will lick you to death lol. I also can’t travel without skateboard! Never know when you will find a place to skate!

  9. Drew Allison

    I bring a picture of my Grandparents that is cut out so it is just the silhouette and hold it close to the camera so it looks like they are actually there while taking pictures in various places. Then I take those photos and make my Grandparents a photo album of the pictures. They can’t really travel much so it’s kind of a fun way they can say they travel.

  10. Laura

    I cannot be without with my music or ipod. I had a situation when I was backpacking and staying in a hostel where it was a couple guys and myself. One of the guys came back with a girl and they were giggling and tripping over things. I thought, really? so rude. Anyway, this guy and I shared a bunk bed, I was on the top and he was the bottom. Him and this girl decided to have sex and they were not discreet about it whatsoever, so thanks to my handy dandy ipod I was able to tune them out, couldn’t do much about my bed rocking back and forth though haha!

    Its not just for rude freaky roommates but I love having my music with me, it keeps me at ease when I need to relax or for those long travel days. It also reminds me of back home and is a bit nostalgic when I’m missing some pieces of home.
    Laura recently posted..Hurricane SandyMy Profile

  11. Alyssa

    My favorite “thing” to take along with me while I travel is friends. While I fully enjoyed my nights out in Spain with fellow backpackers, the nights I had abroad with my best friends from high school are ones that I will never forget.

  12. Tanya

    My favorite thing to travel with is my Pacsafe 20L Personal Safe! Things may still egt stolen BUT I feel a lot better about leaving my mac and associated goodies locked up inside my room…. please let me win an ipad mini so I can use it and lock it up in the pacsafe when I am not using it!
    Tanya recently posted..Ubud, Bali For Long Term Travellers Like UsMy Profile

  13. Stephen S.

    My most prized travel item is a headband. Yep you read that right.

    This special headband was giving to me by an elderly family friend on my first backpacking trip 9 years ago. Every year when I travel I take a few photos at tourist spots i.e. The Leaning Tower of Pisa, The Eiffel Tower, etc… and send them back to her.

    She has never traveled so it is my way of bringing the world to her.
    Stephen S. recently posted..The CountdownMy Profile

  14. Jessica Wallace

    Hair Toner! Releasing the inner flashpacker within me (pretty rare!!) but no one likes a blonde who’s orange..

  15. Sofie

    My favorite travel item must be my lip balm. I’m addicted, you see. Can’t go a day – what do I say? an hour! – without lip balm. I once read in a newspaper article that they actually put something in lip balms that makes your lips dry out faster so that you would use your lip balm more often.
    I’m sure that can be true, but it doesn’t change the fact that I NEEEEEEEEEEEED my lip balm.
    But I’d gladly rub my lips against an iPad Mini as well, of course.
    Sofie recently posted..Milan: Should I give you another chance?My Profile

  16. Charlotte Haselden

    I have to have at least one pen on me at all times when I travel. SO many times I’ve been filling out custom forms etc on planes and other passengers have asked to borrow a pen. And i’m always there to the rescue. Another reason is if you see someone famous at an airport or on your travels it would be handy to have a pen on you to get their autograph..not that it’s ever happened to me..but if that day comes, i’ll be prepared! And most importantly, If there’s a stalker on the plane like in that movie “Red Eye” with Rachel McAdams, then you can just stab him in the neck with it :)

  17. Leah

    I would say I can’t be without a hair tie and some bobby. I always have one or two hair ties on my wrist in case I need them for my hair or even to hold a deck of cards together when I’m moving around.

  18. Lauren

    I have to travel with several bikini options to cover me for any eventuality. I have had incidents where the strap has decided to rip off and float away into the ocean, leaving my boobs flapping around for everyone to see, where I’ve spilt drinks all over myself and been stained and sticky, where I’ve sat in the sea and stood up, not realising I managed to collect 5 tons of sand in my bikini bottoms until the weight pulled them down to my ankles… and, well, fishgate, when a fish swam into my bikini and hung out with my vagina for a while.
    Lauren recently posted..And Then She Went to AustraliaMy Profile

  19. Lizzie

    Mine has to be my iPhone. On soooo many occasions have i had to use it for, directions, booking rooms, calling home and as per a comment above, when a fellow traveller decides to get “busy” in the bunk below me, ill listen to my music!!!
    I, try, never to leave home without it…. although iv been know to leave it at home.
    An iPad wouldnt leave my side *promises*

    Happy Birthday Chris/Backpacker Banter


  20. Shannon Michelle

    Like others, definitely my iPhone. It’s the answer to getting lost, capturing memories, finding food…..I don’t know how I traveled before it!

  21. hazel rigazio

    mine is my camera so i can be reminded of all my lovely travels.

  22. Elle

    Happy birthday!

    My prized possession has gotta be my day bag. It just a simple black backpack but it’s the perfect travel companion. It’s handy in the city or on the beach. I’ve got a ton of use out of it!
    Elle recently posted..Top 6 Things to Do in Grand CaymanMy Profile

  23. Lynn Fancy

    Oh for sure it is my fold up toaster, or maybe my egg carrier, nope got it….

    It is Drum Roll……. My folding bowl! It is amazing from washing up in the tent to washing hair, having a wash or even washing through your smalls!! It folds to the size of a pack of playing cards and is well…bowl-icious!!
    Lynn Fancy recently posted..Up In Smoke!My Profile

  24. Sonya Miller

    Happy BirthDay Backpacker Banter!!!!

    I would have to say my Lactose Pills are my most prized travel item. Reason being is because I found out I was lactose intolerant while I was in the middle of a trip with my friends.
    We were in Texas and we decided we wanted to eat some burgers from a place called “What-A-Burger.” The hotel receptionist suggested the restaurant to us. I was all in. I had the double cheese burger with some cheese fries. The food was great. We went back to our hotel and we decided we were going to go to Six Flags in the morning. Well guess who couldn’t go and had to stay in the whole day….ME!!! I was so “gassy” I felt like I could blow up 100 air balloons. It was horrible if you can imagine! My friends always joke with me about it, making fart noises. I said within myself never again will this happen to me.

  25. lynne newton

    i never travel without baby wipes, they are perfect for wiping muck from hands, faces, arses, shoes, clothes, bags, cups, plates, cuttlery, toilet seats………….basically they clean everthing that needs cleaning.

  26. Gerald

    My iPhone. My 4S is getting kinda battered, but still ticking. Anxiously awaiting the 5S. I’ve read with great interest comments from others in this posting and have garnered some new ideas, thanks for that if I don’t win. Peace!

  27. Jay M

    I always bring a couple extra sticks of deodorant with me! Never leave home without 2 or 3! I once forgot to pack some on a trip and it was about 36 hours before I was able to get a hold of some. Almost lost a few friends that week!! Never again.

  28. Rebecca

    I can’t travel without Lots of spare socks!

    It’s the worst feeling ever when you have been walking all day, bag on your back and your feet and all sticky and smelly. If you don’t have a different pair of socks to put on the next day, not only do you risk real issues with you feet but also pulling on a pair of crusty socks is not the one!

  29. Rusja

    One thing I never travel without is my copy of my favourite book ever, ‘Into The Wild’. I’ve read it more times than i can count – all the corners are folded over and the margins are full of little notes and arrows, pointing to bits that inspire me or just have some sort of meaning. It’s all about the excitement of travel and meeting new people, and the freedom of being on the road.
    Rusja recently posted..A Few Hectic Weeks in Les Arcs (for Profile

  30. tiffany stone

    Got to be my iphone. Gives me the ability to take pictures, share pictures, ook up anything about anywhere and anything on the spot.. and fits in my pocket.

  31. Giselle Gonzalez

    One of the most important things I bring with me on trips is Ziploc bags. It’s a little weird but I find that it makes my travel experience a lot easier. I’m able to store fruits, granola or a bagel when I’m on an early tour. It protects my phone, notebook, passport, and camera from sand and water (getting stuck in a horrible downfall can suck!) I also them to divide out my accessories and throw dirty clothing / shoes in them. I’m always grabbing for some before I travel!

  32. Tim Borten

    With travel delays, lost luggage, sickness and bad weather, my sense of humour must never be left behind !

  33. Laura Bullivant

    My passport :-) other than that Matts credit card – always useful xx

  34. Olivia B

    My Sarong is my prized item! It can be used for a million and one things (ok maybe a slight exaggeration) but it’s so lightweight, can be used as a sheet, towel, skirt, something to sit on, cover head and shoulders in places of worship, protect me from heavy sun and is so lightweight.. i wouldn’t go anywhere without it! x

  35. Sammy B

    Sunnies and boardies. They are a must for me, the weirdest feeling getting home (in the snow!) and having to put jeans and socks on.

  36. Natalie

    My post prized travel possession is definitely my camera! I’ve been scrimping & saving and have finally bought a new DSLR for my upcoming 6 month backpacking trip (Can. Not. Wait!) and if I just had that, my passport and the clothes on my back I think I’d be a happy traveller :)
    I’d friggin love an iPad Mini too though, I have no idea how I’ll back my photos up along the way, so it would solve all my problems :)

    Happy Birthday!
    Natalie recently posted..365 Project: Week 11My Profile

  37. Jenny Whiteley

    My very favourite travel possession is by amazing husband Dan! We have just come back from a 5 month backpacking honeymoon through Southern Africa and I know from this adventure, all the ones we have had before and will have in th future, that no adventure would ever be as amazing without him :)

    “Don’t tell me how educated you are, tell me how much you traveled.” – Mohammed

  38. Chris


    Cheers for all your entries – I shall announce the winner next week once I’ve trawled through all your epic travel packing suggestions!

    Chris x

  39. Nilesh

    Ah!! missed it! but anyways, best luck to whoever participated.
    Happy Bday Chris :)

    • Chris

      awww gutted Nilesh – get over to the facebook page and hit like to keep in the loop :P


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