As I get ready to start my round the world trip, one of the questions that I’ve heard most is, “How are you going to pack for almost seven months in different climates?”
I’ve read tons of other blogs and articles about what people have packed for long-term travel, and I’ve already committed many of their “Don’ts,” including: don’t pack more than three pairs of underwear, don’t pack jeans and don’t bring more than two pair of shoes. I did however listen to many tips including pack carry-on size and bring a day pack for day tours and quick jaunts.
I think the thing to remember with long-term travel packing is that everyone is different and you should make sure you do what’s right for you. While I recognize that you can get by with three pair of underwear (one to wash, one to wear and one for a spare), I don’t want to spend my trip worried about cleaning my drawers! Besides, they are also one of the smallest things to pack, so I’m going to enjoy having a two-week supply. As far as jeans are concerned, I wear them often and I find them comfortable. I also don’t really wear “travel clothing” and want to be somewhat fashionable. With travel to Northern Europe in the cards, I know it will be a bit chilly. I also know that you can wear jeans many times before they need to be washed, so to me that is practical! Shoes were probably the hardest thing to cull down. Since I’ll be doing tons of walking, I knew I had to leave the heels at home, but given that my feet are tiny, I was able to sneak in a couple extra pairs that others might not.
So, what did I pack?
I debated between using a backpack and rolling trolley, but went for the trolley as I have a bit of a bum shoulder and am rather short (5 foot on a good day!). While they say the wheels and cobblestones sometimes don’t mix, I still think it will be easier on me than lugging a pack. I went for the Lippault international carry on, which should meet the carry-on standards for European airlines. I’ve had this bag for over a year now and have really enjoyed it because it’s lightweight and easy to maneuver. I also purchased an Osprey Daylite Plus daypack. Packed full, it’s a bit heavier than I’d like but It’s still rather compact.
In the trolley, I packed all my clothing and some of my toiletries and necessities. I am a big fan of packing cubes and used a combination of Eagle Creek compression cubes and one eBags ultralight large packing cube.
- 5 short sleeved shirts
- 4 tank tops
- 2 long sleeved tops/light sweaters
- 1 open cardigan
- 1 rain jacket
- 1 fleece jacket (this tends to go in my day pack since I’m freezing on planes)
- 1 packable down jacket*
* I added this at the last minute due to cold weather in NYC and I’m so glad I did. It doesn’t weigh much and I’ve used it every day here in NY.
BOTTOMS and DRESSES
- 1 pair of jegging jeans (which I typically wear on travel days)
- 1 pair of cotton pants
- 1 pair of lightweight quick dry pants
- 1 pair of dressy pants that converts into a two piece jumpsuit
- 1 pair of leggings
- 1 skirt
- 1 shorts
- 1 convertible dress/skirt
- 2 sleeveless dresses
- 1 scarf – this can do double duty as a scarf, pillow or blanket
- 1 bikini bottom
- 2 bikini tops
- 1 older one-piece – I’ll be swimming in the dead sea and heard it ruins your swimsuit, so I can leave this one behind if needed
- 1 black bra
- 1 nude convertible bra
- 1 bra to wear
- 5 pair of socks
- 14 underwear
- 2 pajama bottoms
- 1 pajama shorts
- Hat/gloves (for Iceland)
- 1 pair sneakers
- 1 pair mary janes
- 1 pair sandals
- 1 pair crocs water shoes
- 1 nylon cross body bag
- 1 leather small cross body bag
As I write it down, it seems like a lot, but I know some things will get left or lost along the way! I also value bringing some comforts of home. I hope I’ve struck a balance, but I also plan to reevaluate as I go and donate or send things home as needed.
TOILETRIES AND PERSONAL ITEMS
This was probably the hardest to pack. I packed, repacked, rebought and changed what I was bringing like 20 times.
With numerous allergies (food, skin, fragrance), it’s easier for me to bring from home than buy on the road. I have a crazy medicine kit, but found a great little pill pack to help me keep it organized. In addition to the usual suspects (Ibuprofen, Pepto, Immodium), I included Sudafed (for colds), Benadryl (for allergic reactions), meds for my evil stomach and antibiotics in case of stomach or respiratory issues. I also included first aid cream, band aids, bug spray and hydrocortisone cream.
I heard all about Lush’s solid shampoo and conditioner bars and found a shampoo bar that I liked (Copperhead) but decided to go with normal conditioner. I also brought solid soap to cut down on the liquids (carry-on!). I had my toiletries in a zipper case and a clear plastic zipper bag, but my friend (thanks Eryn!) got me a great little lightweight Rume zipper container that’s TSA approved, and I switched to that last minute. In all, I packed:
- 1 solid shampoo
- 2 oz. conditioner
- 1 soap bar
- 1 toothpaste tube (2.7 oz)
- 1 toothbrush
- 1 oz. moisturizer
- 2 mini deodorants (1 oz)
- 4 oz. contact lens solution (and case)
- 3 oz. lotion
- 2 oz. sunscreen
- 1.7 oz. face sunscreen
- 1 oz. hand sanitizer (on my day pack)
- 2 oz. hair gel (I’d be miserable if my hair looked terrible)
- 1 oz. hair spray
- 1 travel straightener (again, I know people say not to travel with these, but… I’m still a girl who wants to look as good as possible!)
- Small zipper case of feminine products
- Small scissors
I brought a tiny makeup case that includes eyeshadow, lipgloss, concealer, eyeliner and mascara. Don’t leave home without it!
Since I’ll be blogging, I need to bring tech items with me. I’ve got a very lightweight PC, an iPad mini, phone and compact camera. I also have a universal travel adapter and a few spare converter plugs. I’ve thrown in a few charging bars, charging cords and a pair of headphones. I carry this in my day pack.
How’s It Working?
On my first few days in NYC, it’s working pretty well. I’d like to have one more long sleeved top (which I’ll plan to get once I’m in Europe) and to lighten my day pack (but I’m not sure if that will happen). If I think I may have to check my bag, I put most of my toiletries in my day pack. I also then bring an extra pair or two of underwear and another top to wear in case my luggage is lost.
I plan to re-evaluate periodically and will let you know how I’m doing.
Let me know what you think of my list (except if you’re telling me I packed too many underwear 😉).
I’ve seen your bags and there’s no way you have all that in there!!!
Ha ha! I actually am worried there are things I didn’t capture :). Packing cubes rock!
I’m just impressed you fit all that in those two bags. If you need some emergency supplies maybe we can wish them to you in a parachute like the Hunger Games 😉 I think you did great, it’s so hard to not over pack.
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Interesting to see what you actually packed after having discussions with you about it. Just a note that my swimsuit survived the Dead Sea, but I’ve heard that others weren’t as lucky.
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Love it! Sounds like a plan :).
WOW! My one recco for Iceland and perhaps other colder places is a camisole (with built-in-bra) or long sleeved tee from Uniqlo’s Heat-tech line. I actually wore the camisole, top, tights and socks during my November visit. They are very thin so easy to pack, but really do help bit off the chill.
Great tips, thanks! I’ll check out Uniqlo in London or Paris.
Interesting to see what you packed after having discussions over the past few months about what you may/may not take.
My swimsuit survived the Dead Sea, but I heard others weren’t as lucky.
Good to know! Thanks!
i might be in iceland in june so any recommendations as far as places to stay, food, etc. will be most helpful. good luck on your travels! 🙂
I’ll be there in July, so I won’t have any recommendations until later, but staying at the Hilton Canopy on points, so looking forward to not having to pay Iceland hotel prices! If you go in June, let me know what you think!
points will definitely help.
the cost of everything is what may prevent me from going. but we shall see, i’m trying to make it work.
The flights should be cheap, so hopefully that will help!
Well color me impressed on the pack job! It will be interesting to hear what was perfect and what wasn’t. Something I only learned recently about hot hair tools is that if you have a dual voltage one, you do not need a converter, you need an ADAPTOR. Maybe you already know this but this tidbit has rocked my hair travel world. Can’t believe constant frustration and lugging around of hair tools I ultimately couldn’t ever use was this simple. ADAPTOR. Love your new blog page and can’t wait to keep reading about your adventures. Buon viaggio, amica mia………
Thank you! I invested in a travel straightener last year and it’s the best… although I haven’t felt like using it yet here in Israel! Hope to see you on the road!
This is a great post! I am actually going to be preparing for a 5 month stay abroad (3 months in Canada and 2 months in Southeast Asia) and I have struggling about thinking what to pack – I kind of want to go ahead and pack to see if the time will go by faster lol!
Yay! Good for you! It was so much fun planning my packing. I wrote my list over and over again. Just kept updating things and favorites on my iPhone note application. It definitely helped me feel like it was coming. When do you leave! #gltrocks
Love your packing philosophy… packing things that work for you. Great list. Enjoy your trip.
Where and when did you do laundry?
Hi Tuula- I went to laundromats in about 8 countries! Probably every two weeks. I also did a lot of sink washing in between laundromat visits.
Were you able to carry on everything or did you have to check your bag? How was the weight? Was it difficult to lug onto trains, busses etc?
Most times I could carry on planes but some of the low cost carriers have limits. The bag was about 12kg and pretty good to go on trains. Since I blog, I have a computer which adds extra weight to my daypack. Ideally I’d like to have even less but not sure I’m willing to give up more comforts :).