Packing for a round the world trip can seem like a stressful event for many people, but it really doesn’t have to be!
Questions always crop up, such as ‘what do I pack?’ or ‘how many clothes do I need?’ and ‘what if the weather turns bad?’ The truth is, there is no ‘one suitcase fits all’ model when it comes to packing your bags and rather than ‘copying’ someone else’s packing list in detail, you need to ask yourself what is important to you on your travels?
This blog will try to educate you on what is important, depending on the type of travelling you plan to do. Lets start!
Things to consider:
1. Figure out what kind of trip you are doing. This is important! Are you backpacking and staying in hostels or camping? Or are you taking the luxurious route and staying in hotels with a wheelie suitcase?
2. How long will you be away for? Having a rough idea of your time away is always a good idea, meaning you can research the climates you will be travelling in and therefore decide on what clothing and accessories are necessary.
3. What type of person am I? Ask yourself honestly, how and what do you do to feel most comfortable? Do you need the best gadgets, are you a designer clothes person, are you happiest dressed in casual clothes, can you wear the same clothes two days in a row? etc etc.
If you are a luxury traveller, then watch this space and see my future blog on this type of travelling. If you are a ‘backpacker’, then read on!
Now, from personal experience only, a ’round the world’ trip is best packed for in a large rucksack, 70+ litres in size, which can be converted to a closed ‘duffel’ type bag to check into the luggage hold at the airport. The key is to pack as light as possible!
Rucksacks can often be smuggled onto flights without the excess baggage costs (sometimes, not always!) which is an added bonus. Plus they can sit on your lap on busy public transport. They are heavy at times and carrying them on foot can seem like a nuisance, but the practicality of rucksacks over a wheelie suitcase is second to none (think stairs instead of escalators…)
I used a ‘5 day only’ mentality when I was packing for my round the world trip, and it worked a treat. The rule being, take enough clean clothes for 5 days before needing to do laundry. First, think of the basics and break your packing down into segments. I always start with clothing, and work from the ‘inside-out’ principle. Start with underwear, socks, and swimwear/bikinis.
Next move onto your base layers, such as vests and t-shirts (remember, 5 of them!). It’s then your outer layers, such as trousers, shorts, dresses and jumpers. Finally it’s the outdoor ‘weather’ clothes, such as coats and hats/gloves.
Shoes come next. For this you need to honestly ask yourself what type of activities you’ll be doing. If the answer is ‘everything’ then, as a minimum, pack a pair of 1. flip flops/beach sandals, 2. comfortable hiking shoes/boots and 3. A smart pair of shoes for going out in. Anything extra is a waste of space and weight on your back!
Next, how are you going to document your travels? A camera, phone, notebook, and pen are the bare basics. How ‘techy’ you wish to go is up to you (video camera, i-pad, kindle etc) but remember, it all adds extra weight!
Then I would move onto toiletries, but ONLY pack enough toiletries to get you through the first 5 days of travelling. And pack the most essential toiletries only, such as shampoo, shower gel/soap and baby wipes. YOU WILL BE ABLE TO BUY PRODUCTS IN YOUR NEXT COUNTRY!
I would then think about sleeping/night gear. Do you need a sleeping bag and pillow? A head-torch for camping? A sleeping mat? Ear plugs? Will you wear thermals and a fleece to bed? (no one ever wears PJs when the travel…) The best options for these items are camping and travel shops, or online.
Lastly, you need to ask how would you like to fill your time when you are ‘travelling’ ie on the plane, train and taxi side of things. Many hours can be taken up by travelling to different destinations, and it’s a good idea to know what you like to do to pass the time. Reading, games, sending postcards and journal-writing are all good starting points. Books are heavy and space consuming, so invest in an ‘e-reader’ so you can pre-download your travels guides and books before you go.
My suggested kit list:
- Clothes: 5 x underpants/knickers, 5 x pairs of socks, 5 x vests/t-shirts, 2 x shorts, 3 x trousers, 2 x fleeces, 1 x ‘pack-away’ coat, 1 x raincoat, 1 x head torch, 1 x sleeping bag, 1 x travel pillow, 1 x sleeping mat, 1 x micro fibre towel, 1 x flip flops, 1 x hiking shoes, 1 x smart sandals, 2 x bikini/swim shorts, 1 x woolly hat, 1 x gloves, 2 x buff’s.
- Toiletries: Shampoo, shower gel, face wipes/baby wipes, moisturiser, deodorant, sun cream, lip balm, ear plugs, hairbrush, essential medications.
- Electronics: Camera, spare SD cards, charger, spare batteries, E-reader, phone. Miscellaneous: Notepad, pen, lucky charm, sleep mask (used a lot on flights), hand washing powder/gel.
- (For the ladies)…. Sanitary items (enough for two cycles just to be safe), 2 x bra’s, bare minimum make-up, hair ties, Kirby grips.
My top tips summary:
- You will want to buy souvenirs! So… DO NOT OVER PACK. Less is more when it comes to packing for a long trip, and you will be forever cursing if the weight of your rucksack exceeds 15kg from day one! Plus you’ll end up wearing clothes for more than 2-3 days in a row if the weather is dry. And if not, there is always time for laundry!
- Research your climate. Tailor you packing based on the elements you expect. It’s more important to be comfortable and warm/cool then to ‘look good’.
- Do not pack anything that you haven’t worn recently. This is a big point. Many people buy new clothes for travelling, but they end up sitting in the bottom of the rucksack wasting space. You need to take clothes that you are already comfortable in (or wear in your new clothes before you travel).
- Don’t pack the un-necessary items. Hairdryer? You won’t need it. Beach cover up? Use a t-shirt. There are so many items we use daily that can be omitted when travelling, plus, it’s a great achievement to live off the bare basics! And remember, if you are desperate for it, you can buy it when you’re out there!
- Don’t forget the important things! Passport, insurance, travel vaccinations, flight booking confirmations, travel money etc. Spare copies are essential in case of emergency (email them to yourself if possible).
www.facebook.com/marketplace (for cheap second hand travel gear)
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I wish you all success in your Life.
Co-Founder of Fantabulous Life
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