Before Kim and I began traveling, I spent countless hours researching what stuff we should carry with us. This task fell to me because I have a habit of over-researching almost everything we purchase. This research consists of reading way too many product specs and reviews, checking out other travelers RTW packing lists, and various other online time sucking activities.
I found out two important things when doing our pre-trip research: 1 – there are online debates on what kind of clothes to pack when traveling long-term (jeans vs. travel pants, quick drying underwear vs. normal underwear, and the like), and 2 – I spend a lot of time gathering useless information, like the benefits of quick drying undies vs. cotton undies.
Kim and I have been on the road for a while now, so some of the items I originally set out with have been sent home, lost, stolen by dogs, etc., but I have compiled this list to match what I filled my pack with when we set out on our trip nearly a year ago. The items that I have sent home, lost, etc. are crossed out in the list below.
Also, if you are like me and enjoy over-research things (quick drying undies are super light and offer SPF so your bum doesn’t get sunburnt!) I have included as many links as possible so you can get more information. Ok, enough about my underwear, here is my RTW packing list:
1 day pack
2 pairs shorts
1 pair jeans
1 pair hiking pants
1 pair running shorts
Soap container (w/soap)
First aid kit
Travel meds (azithromycin, ciproflacin, Doxycycline)
1 Travel towel
Copies of passport and passport photos
1 water bottle
50 feet rope/clothes line (now approx. 35 feet)
Buddha – my good luck charm
SteriPen. Even though we only used our SteriPen for 4 months before it was lost/stolen, it still paid for itself by not having to buy bottles of water. Added bonus: you don’t contribute to the ever-increasing plastic bottle problem many less developed countries have.
Kindle. Reading = happy brain.
Packing cubes. If I could recommend only one thing for people, packing cubes would be it. I now consider them a necessity. I think of my pack as my dresser, and my packing cubes are my drawers. They keep all my clothes organized, which means not pulling everything out of my pack and cursing up a storm because I am searching for my last clean shirt.
Leatherman. It’s a knife, needle nose pliers, wire cutters, 4 screwdrivers, and, most importantly, a bottle opener all in one handy-dandy tool. When you only have one tool in your life (well, Kim has two: me and the leatherman), make sure it does lots of stuff.
What I would do different:
Clothing. I started out with too much clothing and ended up sending some of it home and dumped some as well, and I still probably have too much. I also realized just how many times a shirt can be worn before it needs washing. The answer: easily a dozen, and close to twenty if you’re careful. (Are all travelers this dirty, or is it just me?). The old idiom for packing clothes holds true: set out what you think you need to take, then cut it in half.
Shoes. I have been carrying one too many pairs of shoes for far too long. If I had a mulligan, I would carry one pair of shoes that could double as hiking and running shoes. (Un)fortunately, while in Goa, the neighborhood dogs stole one, just one, of my running shoes and ‘solved’ this problem for me.
iPad. I will preface this by saying that I really like my iPad. However, I have been writing much more than I planned (i.e. starting a blog), and the iPad just isn’t designed for lots of writing. Also, the built-in limitations (seriously Apple, you STILL won’t support flash!?!?) get really old when the iPad is your only computer. Still, if you are looking for something to surf the web, update Facebook and email pictures, the iPad is a great travel choice due to its small size and weight.
My unwanted advice:
Don’t over think the stuff you want to take with you. Research your pack, computer, camera, or any other large-ticket item, but don’t sweat the small stuff. You can easily get/replace everything you need on the road because, believe it or not, people do brush their teeth in India and wear shirts (and sometimes even pants!) in Peru.
Also, don’t spend a lot of money on sunglasses. Traveling, by its very nature, requires too much movement for sunglasses to last long before they become lost or broken. I have already gone through 7 or 8 pairs in less than a year. Just buy some cheap shades and don’t get too attached to them.
If you have a question on anything, or just want some pointers, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org