When I first sat down to compile a packing list for my travels, I had NO idea where to begin! Although our trip is potentially going to take a minimum of three years, two of those years will be in Australia and New Zealand where we will be working. Therefore, I planned to pack for just the first ten months, which will be full time travelling from Budapest to New Zealand, and everywhere in between! We are covering a wide range of countries – from warm summers in Europe, to chillier nights in Mongolia and Russia. I would need beachwear for Thailand, but would need to be more covered up when exploring bigger cities like Moscow. I couldn’t get my head around how I was going to pack everything I would need into a bag on my back!
After hours of researching and reading through pages and pages of blogs belonging to people who had also quit their jobs to travel long term, I actually decided to downsize my 75 litre rucksack. The idea seemed crazy to me, but apparently the longer you are away, the smaller your bag needs to be! A smaller bag forces you to choose wisely when it comes to packing – if there is a space in the bag, chances are you’ll fill it.
I went for the Osprey Farpoint 55 litre rucksack; a lovely, compact rucksack with a 15 litre daypack that can zip on to the back of the rucksack and clip into to the front if you’d prefer your day pack on your front. I keep all my valuables in my day pack, so I always have it on the front. The clips are super useful as it saves the double strap issue with hooking a normal rucksack over your shoulders when you are already wearing a backpack. It also has a roll out piece of fabric that covers all the straps and zips up neatly, making the bag more like a suitcase. This is perfect for planes as you don’t have to worry about your straps getting caught in anything!
OK, so what did I actually manage to fit inside my bag?? Quite a lot actually!
Using a number of different websites and blog posts, I compiled a list of everything I needed to take with me on my travels. Luckily, everything fit inside my little Osprey rucksack – although it’s safe to say I don’t have much room for souvenirs!
All my clothes are packed inside packing cubes. If you haven’t discovered them already, you definitely need some in your life!! You can squeeze so much inside them and it makes unpacking so much easier when everything is so organised.
Underwear x6 (I packed 5 lacy briefs which I find really comfortable but more importantly they dry really quickly unlike thicker cotton briefs. I packed one pair of ‘granny pants’ but they were also made from a light, seamless material which makes hand washing much easier)
Soft bra x 2 (much easier to wash than underwired bras and they also fold up really small)
Hard bra x 2 (for the times I can’t get away with a soft bra!)
Socks x6 (I thick pair for my walking boots, 3 black ankle socks and 2 pairs of ‘invisible socks’)
2 nicer tops for wearing out in an evening
11 t-shirts/ crops (I packed three cropped tops as they fold up really small, a couple of light vest tops and a couple of thicker t-shirts). You could definitely get by on less t-shirts – I packed a few more than I probably should have…
1 low back leotard (goes with everything and can jazz up day shorts into an evening outfit)
1 long sleeved top
2 cardigans (one in black, one in cream to go with as many outfits as possible!)
1 rain jacket
1 pair of swim shorts
2 pairs of loose, ‘traveller pants’ (super comfy, great for when you are moving about/ on transport)
1 pair of leggings
1 casual day skirt
2 skirts for wearing out in the evenings
1 pair of smarter trousers to wear out in the evenings
3 playsuits (2 casual, 1 for wearing out in the evenings)
2 longer day dresses
1 pair of beach shorts
1 pair of black denim shorts
1 light, thin pair of PJ shorts (comfortable and easy to wash/dry)
1 multi-purpose headscarf (very versatile – will come in handy as a face mask when I’m in the Gobi Desert!)
Woolly hat (still not sure I’ll need this, but I’m yet to see how cold Mongolia gets in the evenings…)
1 pair of Flip Flops (for beaches or scabby hostels)
1 pair of walking boots
1 pair of comfortable trainers
Toiletries bag (I have a bucket style bag which I love. Squishy bags can work well as you can squeeze it into gaps in your bag. Waterproof is a bonus. You can also get the ones which fold out and have a hook at the top and a mirror inside – I’ve never found I’ve needed one like this though)
Shampoo & conditioner
Shower gel (mini)
Salt stick deodorant (they last forever, are not full of chemicals and are vegan friendly. If you don’t get on with the salt stick, I’d recommend another type of roll-on, rather than an aerosol). I have this one – it’s the smaller of the two sizes but lasts months!
Suncream x 2 (one large bottle and one smaller bottle to take out during the day). I used Superdrug’s own brand as it’s cheap and vegan 🙂
Sheewee (for the Trans-Siberian train as they can lock the toilets for hours on end! Will also come in useful when staying in the dessert). I have this set as it comes with a little plastic storage box too.
Tampons (can be difficult to come by, depending on where you are going)
Exfoliating sponge (I feel like I can make my shower gel last much longer with one of these! They are light, dry quickly and don’t take up much room)
Makeup (I packed a mini eyeshadow palette, one mascara, one liquid eyeliner, 1 mini eyebrow kit, one bronzer, two brushes, two lipsticks and 1 concealer)
Face wipes (or another kind of make up remover – I prefer these to liquids as you reduce the chances of a leak in your bag!)
Toothbrush, toothbrush head cover & toothpaste
Hair bands and grips
Bandana (I got a super cute pineapple one from vegan brand Tantamount Apparel – I love their stuff and not only are they a vegan brand, they also donate a portion of their earnings to homeless people in Vancouver)
Bite / itch gel
Toner (this probably won’t stay in my bag too long as I’ve yet to bother using it, but it depends how rigorous your beauty regime is!)
Lip balm (I went for a Hurraw lip balm in vanilla – a natural, vegan balm made from cold pressed oils)
Moisturiser (I love Neal’s Yard’s orange blossom face cream as it’s super light and lasts months!! I poured the contents into a squeeze travel bottle)
Travel towel (I hate them, but they fold up small and dry really quickly). I have this one.
Hair dryer (a bit of a luxury and probably not necessary for most!)
Universal sink plug (You’d be surprised how many hostels/ hotels don’t have plugs. If you are going to have a go at hand washing your stuff, you are going to need a plug! Like this one).
Jewellery (pack the basics – I have three rings, one bracelet, two necklaces)
Straighteners (again – another luxury and probably not something I’ll use whilst I’m in hot places!!)
Face towel (Tiny version of the full size travel towel. The one I have is supposedly ‘antibacterial’.)
All necessary chargers
Power charger (charges my phone around 5 times – it’s amazing and perfect for travelling when you might not always have access to a plug socket). I have this one.
Adapters x 2 (round and straight pronged)
Multi purpose/ Universal travel adapter (can do any plug socket and also has space for two USB wires). We got this one and are very happy with it!
Memory cards x 4 (I doubt I’ll use all of them, but it’s definitely useful to have spares)
Kindle – You can pick up a Kindle Fire pretty cheaply these days and it’s much better than carrying books around!
Card reader (in case I need to make any bank transactions that require the reader)
Small calculator (for using in markets where English is limited. Much better than whacking your iPhone out every time!)
Sleeping bag liner (a life saver for questionable hostel beds or overnight trains – like this one).
Door lock (hooks on to the inside of ‘normal’ doors and prevents it being opened from the outside. Could be used if staying in your own room, but not a dorm!). We got ones like this.
Travel pillow (I have a blow-up one as it folds down much smaller than the softer ones)
Spork (like this – I’ll use for the Trans-Siberian train journeys)
Colouring postcards book (like this – it’s not something everyone will want/need to pack but I plan to colour in postcards whilst on the trains, to then send home!)
Mandarin book (because my Mandarin is POOR and I will be spending 6 weeks in China!!)
Fold down water bottle (like this – although not sure I’ll need it…)
Waterproof small see-through bags, including one with a strap to go around my neck (great for beach trips when you don’t want sand in your valuables. Also means you can go in the sea with your phone if you really wanted to!)
Waterproof bags/ Dry bags – like these. Super useful for all sorts of things – keeping stuff dry, or keeping wet laundry in when it hasn’t dried in time!
Glasses/ contact lenses
Passport (pretty obvious one!)
Money (a little cash for the first few places you are visiting)
Cards/ travel cards (I have taken my Nationwide credit card as there are no overseas fees for chip and pin spending. I’ve also taken a Revolut card which has no charges for spending or cash withdrawals, a Supercard which is crap for cash as it charges 3% but is free for chip and pin. I ALSO have a Norwich and Peterborough account which is free for both spending and cash withdrawals. Four cards is probably overkill, but I’m prone to misplacing cards and I’m away for a long time!)
Waist wallet (like this – so I can keep my passport safe when travelling around more dubious places. Especially useful for Russia where you have to have your passport on you at all times)
Passport photos (countries where you can buy a visa on arrival will often request a passport photo. E.g. Cambodia and Laos)
Padlock x2 (for hostel lockers or locking your bags on transport)
Padlock with wire x1 (for the times small padlocks won’t do! I got this one)
Travel laundry wash
Head torch – Like so
Travel mug (like this – for the Russian trains)
Small torch – like this
Fold out rucksack (great for beach trips, taking to the markets, or for packed lunches – folds up super small!)
Contraceptive pill (or any other prescriptive medicine you may have)
Malaria tablets (I’ve got Doxycycline as I have had it before and didn’t have any problems)
Cold and flu tablets
…and that’s it 🙂
Everything I own in a rucksack on my bag for the next few years! I was surprised how much actually fit into the bag in the end – I didn’t have to leave anything behind which was good. I hope this comes in useful if you are also planning to go travelling!
Have I missed something out?? If there’s anything else you think I have missed off the list, please let me know!
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