Essential and unessential items- how do I decide?
After traveling for such an extended period of time, I have learned through my experience (and sometimes the hard way!) that it is almost always better to pack less than more, and that a lot of the things we think we really need, we actually don’t. Here I will give you a quick overview on some of the things I would (and some I wouldn’t) take with me if I were just starting out on an around the world trip again.
Less is more
These days, I always aim to pack as little as possible. Normally my pack only weighs about 8 kg! First off, here are some quick tips to help you limit the amount of things you can even bring with you in the first place:
- Choose a small pack- the less space you have, the less space there is for unessential items
- Take less clothing- pick what you would bring, then take half of what that would be. If you would normally bring 8 shirts, choose 4 of them to bring.
- Roll your clothes- this helps save on space, especially if you use packing cubes to organized the rolled clothes
- Leave unessential toiletries- I only bring toothpaste, deodorant, and a small shampoo.
In addition to this post, you can find a list of essential backpacking gear on my resources page.
- 4 or 5 pairs of socks. Many people tote the need to bring only high quality, moisture wicking socks. I have found this unnecessary. You will eventually need to get some new socks along the way as it is, and plain cotton socks work just fine for me.
- 4 or 5 pairs of underwear. Same as the socks, underwear can be kept simple.
- 2 pairs of pants/ jeans.
- 1 pair of shorts
- 1 pair of boardshorts (this functions as both my swimsuit and a pair of shorts)
- 4 or 5 plain colored T-shirts. I like v necks
- 1 sweater or hoodie
- 1 scarf
- 1 long sleeve button up shirt (for going out!)
- 1 pair sturdy, comfortable shoes for walking
- 1 pair flip flops
- 1 rain jacket
- Day pack- 16-24 L. This will be the pack you take out when you are exploring during the day, leaving your main bag safely locked up
- Quick dry towel- this is one of the best pieces of travel gear. These towels pack down small and take up hardly any space in your bag. They dry quickly so you can shower in the morning and be on the road later in the day.
- Ear plugs- headphones work too. You never know when you will need them!
- Padlock- most places you stay at you will need your own lock
- Duct tape- rewrap some around an old chapstick container. You never know when this will come in handy while on the road.
- A small knife
- Zip loc bags
- A spoon
Although some people may travel with more electronics than others, I still wanted to include a list of items here so that people can get an idea of what things to bring on their next trip and pack appropriately according to their plans and goals of their trip.
- Rechargeable battery with USB hubs- you never know when you might need to charge your phone while on the go. This thing has helped me out numerous times while I have been on a long bus journey and my phone ran out of juice.
- Your phone- the most essential piece of gear for the modern day traveler!
- A proper DSLR camera- for those photographers out there
- Camera accessories- make sure to bring a tripod!
- Laptop computer- for anyone wanting to work while traveling
- Universal outlet adapter- if you will be in countries where the plugins are different than your home country
Small first aid kit
- Antibiotic ointment
- Medical tape
- Antacid tablets
- Motion sickness tablets
- Imodium anti diarrhea tablets
- Ciprofloxacin and other antibiotics from your doc for emergency situations
- Pain medication like ibuprofen