Abroad in a Backpack: My Complete Packing List for Cappadocia, Turkey
Updated: Jan 5
As promised in my previous blog, here is an exhaustive list (with some links!) of every item that I took on my solo journey to Cappadocia, Turkey 😊 I hope this list is helpful and can help to alleviate some questions about what one might need to travel abroad in a backpack!
LARGE PACK/CARRY ON BAG (the easily replaceable stuff went in here) Osprey Kestrel 48 pack: I use a men’s pack because I have wide shoulders. 48 liters is a good size – I had no trouble fitting everything, but it can be strapped down small enough to easily fit in any overhead airplane bin. They never even bat an eye at the ticket desk. Osprey also has a guarantee that if anything on the pack breaks, they will repair for free, for life. They’re a bit pricey, but I think it’s worth it.
I also prefer a pack because Goreme has a lot of cobblestone roads. Watching travelers struggle up and down the street with 2 large rolling suitcases that were heavy and tipping everywhere made me thankful for my easily-mobile, reasonably light backpacking pack. https://www.osprey.com/us/en/product/kestrel-48-KESTREL48S19.html
Osprey packing cubes (great for organizing): https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B06VVVMYC6/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o03_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
Clothing – one outfit to wash, one that’s drying, one you’re wearing, and something to sleep in https://www.megarawiild.com/post/cappadocia-turkey-10-questions-i-asked-myself-before-my-first-solo-international-journey) Keen trekking sandals Salomon hiking boots (These are bulky and heavy so I wore them through the airport. Wrap the laces around your ankles a couple of times and keep them loose. They slip right on and off through airport security but still secure enough to walk in.) Here are a couple of outfits that I wore while out around town, as well as to hike in. Raincoat Sunglasses
Here are some example pics of what I wore:
Water bottle with filter: I was advised not to drink the water in Turkey, but instead of purchasing multiple liters of water per day, I opted for a reusable filter. This filter pretty much covers everything, whether it’s chemicals, bacteria, protozoa, viruses, etc. It’s not super easy to drink through, but I still find it tolerable, and most importantly, it has been rigorously tested and works. Epic Nalgene water bottle: This bottle comes with the “urban” water filter. https://www.epicwaterfilters.com/collections/bottles/products/the-epic-nalgene-og-water-filtration-system High grade purification filter: I purchased the “outdoor” filter replacement and took with me on my trip because of the higher level of purification. https://www.epicwaterfilters.com/products/epic-outdoor-adventure-bottle-filter
Amazing Grass greens packets: On 2 of my international trips (to Italy and France) I got terribly ill both times… I’ll spare you the details, but since then I’ve always taken my health a bit more seriously. You’re travelling really far and spending a considerable amount of money to get to your destination. Don’t waste time being sick! I brought these greens packets because I’m a big believer that your immune system will always be your first line of defense. Travelling is stressful and it can really take a toll on your body and immune system. At the same time, you’re coming in contact with people from EVERYWHERE in the world. It’s really a perfect storm. I brought these little guys to help make sure I was getting some additional nutrition. There ended up being TONS of wonderful, healthy food in Turkey, so I likely would have been fine. But I diligently mixed my little greens packet with a glass of water every day, held my nose, and chugged it down, just to try to give my body a little bit of extra immunity style boost. It doesn't taste great, but I appreciated having them! https://www.amazon.com/Amazing-Grass-Superfood-Digest-Packet/dp/B01N65NTFR/ref=sr_1_2?almBrandId=VUZHIFdob2xlIEZvb2Rz&fpw=alm&keywords=amazing+grass+green+superfood+packets&qid=1571933272&s=wholefoods&sr=1-2
SMALL PACK/PERSONAL ITEM (the important stuff that would be difficult/impossible to replace): Osprey Ultralight Stuff Pack: This little pack holds about 18 L but also condenses down to the size of a softball. I carried this everywhere once I was in town, and it was absolutely indispensable. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00RZV7WKS/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1
Toiletry case: Shampoo, body wash, deodorant: I used Ethique brand products. They are a plastic free, plant based, cruelty free, palm free, and sustainable company that basically makes all of your toiletries in bar form. For examples, their shampoo bar lasts 2-5 times as long as your traditional bottle of shampoo. What that means for travelling? It means all of your toiletries can fit into one little container. They’re low volume because all of that excess water-weight has been removed. And since they’re not liquid, no more needing to worry about that 3.4 oz rule in the airports! https://ethique.com/ Small bottle of bug spray Small bottle of hand sanitizer spray Toothbrush Small travel toothpaste Floss Small towel Roll of toilet paper (This came in handy. I promise. There is often toilet paper, but not always…) Neosporin and a few bandaids Makeup (with sunscreen) Tube of mascara Earplugs Plastic hair comb Razor Chapstick Basic OTC medicines (I like these that come in packets): https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07BBV2H7N/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o08_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 water purification tabs: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B06XPCCD4Y/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 (Most of my toiletry items could have been purchased there, or were provided by the hotel. It was more a matter of convenience to have them with, and I'm pretty brand-loyal so I really do prefer to have the items I'm used to. Once arriving, I wanted to go out an explore… not have to try to tromp around town trying to buy toothpaste. In Goreme, not all of these items are as readily available, and would have taken me a bit to find.)
Outlet adapter: Turkey uses round, 2-prong recessed outlets that are 220 volts (like the one below). This is an ADAPTER, NOT A CONVERTER! Do not plug a hair dryer into it!
Most cell phones, computers, or tablets have wall adapters that are dual-voltage, meaning they can convert from 120 V to 220 V. If it says Input: 100-240V ~ 50/60 Hz on the back in that microscopic little print, then you will know it’s dual-voltage. Don’t buy additional converters. For other appliances, this may not be the case, but if you’re trying to travel in a backpack, you’re not going to be taking a hairdryer anyway. Just leave it at home. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07L9KXS6G/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1 External power bank Phone charger and phone Kindle (I read 4 books on this trip. Pre-download just in case wifi is spotty) Kindle charger Headphones Watch and watch charger
Pack of gum Dried fruits, nuts, seeds, soynuts, rice packets and other airplane snacks: airport food is like 15x the normal price of anything. You can save a TON by packing low volume, high calorie trail mixes to get you through the airports. Instant coffee packets Life Straw Baby wipes: it’s not a shower, but after travelling for 2 days, wiping off in the airport bathroom can make you feel like a new human. 2 copies of all travel docs (passport, DL, credit cards, travelers insurance policy) Emergency Sheet (List of local emergency numbers, address and phone number of my hotels and exactly what dates I'd be there, addresses of all US Embassies in Turkey, info for my travel insurance, etc. Make sure to share this with friends/family back at home as well) Maps and compass
TRAVEL BELT (the “lose-this-and-you’re-completely-screwed” stuff): Travel belt (for in the airport) https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B018RGQC0A/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1 Travel wallet (for around town) https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B017BPNCU6/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1 Inside: Currency (~1300 TL and ~200 USD incase I needed to exchange more) Passport Kiwi.com E-ticket w/ all flight and reservation #’s
THINGS I WISH I BROUGHT: Lotion. Like I said, it was like a desert. Non-wireless earbuds (not provided on Norwegian Airlines… because it’s a budget flight so I had to purchase them.. and they were terrible)
This list worked pretty well for me. I ended up never using my map, raincoat, or scarf. The city is small and easy to navigate without a map. It rained for all of a couple of hours one day, so I never used my raincoat. You only need to cover your head if you are entering a mosque (which I didn’t on my trip) and was too hot to wear the rest of the time. With this packing list, I felt comfortable and efficient, there wasn’t a bunch of extra weighing me down, and still had enough room to bring home some souvenirs 😊