Going on a long term trip, for multiple months, or even a year? When we planned our first multi-month adventure, our friends and family kept asking us “how do you pack for a trip like that?” Our answer: “Well… uh… I have no idea!”
Now that we’ve done it a few times, we know how to answer that question. And we’re not the only ones. We’ve assembled some of the best packing list items and advice from people who have actually survived their trips.
We’re looking beyond the obvious, here. Everyone knows that you need shoes and underwear (everything else is optional). We wanted to list the things that you might not have thought of if you’ve never been “backpacking” or traveled on a minimal budget, or never visited a developing country. Below you will find a list of items that may have never occurred to you to throw in your bag. The items on this list come from experienced travelers who have been there and done that.
The number one piece of advice from all travelers is to pack light. So, don’t feel like you must take any or all of these things. Keep in mind where you will be going and what the situation will be like.
Without further ado, what to pack:
- Universal sink stopper for washing clothes (or hair)
- Shirts that are made from a nylon wicking material – they dry faster
- Mosquito net (depending on where you’re going) – and something to hang it up (tape, string, etc) – Many travelers debate this item. Some say you can buy it on the road (you can in some places), others say it’s a life saver. On our trip it was a life saver, but we were in Africa at the time. You won’t need to take your own in SE Asia.
- Money belt
- Playing cards – the best way to get to know the locals!
- Pocket knife – strong enough to open a can of food
- Plug adapter set – assuming you have anything electronic
- Towel – small and super-absorbent
- Hand Sanitizer – antibacterial “waterless soap” (small bottles!)
- Flashlight/Torch – very very small, keychain size
What NOT to pack:
- Toilet paper – buy it on the road
- Too much medical stuff (bandaids, etc) – instead, only pack a few critical items
- Travel pillow – it’s just too big
- Snorkeling equipment – too heavy, you can rent it anywhere you need it
- Electronic language translator – total waste of time, weight, and money – and these days you can get an app on your phone for this!
Let us know how it works out. Or if you have a suggestion, please post a comment!
Bryan has visited exactly one more country than his wife, and she won’t let him forget it! Also an avid photographer, he enjoys entrenching himself within the local culture in order to learn more about the people of a place. He is the co-founder of Budget Your Trip and loves a good adventure, an exotic meal, or a passionate conversation about global events.