Budget travel is often associated with backpacking. Backpacks give travellers the mobility and flexibility that they need. You rarely see backpackers toting around laptop computers hence, you see a lot of them frequenting internet cafes. Even if you have one, why would you carry it around with you while you go backpacking around, say, Australia? Imagine carrying the added weight all the way over the Pacific Ocean? Remember all those theft issues in budget hostel accommodation? What if you drop your backpack and damage your laptop? Like what I said, backpacks give travellers mobility and flexibility. Toting a laptop would definitely be more of a nuisance. Some budget hostels in Melbourne, for example, provide computers for travellers; this means carrying around a laptop becomes unnecessary. You are much better off maximizing the space inside your backpack for things which you need and could really use during your travels.
Here are a few tips on what you should bring (yes, some of them are obvious):
Clothes. No, don't bring way too much. Instead, choose those which are appropriate for the weather of your chosen destination. Personally, I usually choose those which dries easily as I wash my clothes while I hop from one backpackers hostel to another.
Earplugs. Staying in hostels, trying to sleep at the airport or trying to sleep in a sleeper train could mean sleepless nights even if you are dog tired if you do not have earplugs.
Dental Floss. Apart from the fact that it will keep you cavity free, that little box could be your saviour, you know. Check out this site on 8 ways to use dental floss while you travel.
Swiss Knife. It should help get that inner McGyver out of you. Of course, this only applies if you have plans of checking in some of your stuff. Otherwise, forget it.
Padlock. It should help keep your stuff safe inside hostel or train lockers. Make sure that you do not get one that is way too easy to pick like what they have, for example, in most backpacker accommodation in Melbourne.
Plastic Bags. Organize your stuff. Keep the clean ones away from your soiled laundry. Just because you are backpacking, it does not mean that you will forget what you have learned about personal hygiene.
Photocopies of all your travel documents. Just in case something happens and you lose your, say, passport. It would be easier to get a new one if you have copies of pertinent documents with you.
Rain jacket. It's light and compact. Since you will be walking a lot to save on transport cost (and to discover more of the local scene), it's always best to have one to protect you from the unpredictable weather. This can also be used when you need to pack something wet, along with your dry stuff.
Sleeping-bag liner. Should come in handy when that budget hostel you booked scrimped by not hiring a cleaning staff.
Wet Tissues or AlcoGel. Keep those hands clean and the germs away. And if I were you, I'd leave those white training shoes (along with your laptop) back home.