I pack super light. My backpack is international carry-on size, even when I’m gone long term. It’s the only way to go.
Because of that, everything I bring has to be useful and justify its place in my backpack.
Here is a ist of things below that I’ve found to be helpful and I hope you will too. Everything here I use and I’m recommending because it has made a difference to me. There a lot of things I’ve tried that didn’t make the cut because they weren’t useful enough. The list below are the items that stood the test of travel.
How to get there:
If you are looking for long-term travel on a budget, How to Travel the World on $50 A Day is the best how to I have found. It really helped me plan my 8-month trip around the world.
Ideas for re-designing your life.
If your goals are more long-reaching than travel alone, Designing Your Life helps! It guides you through different ways of thinking and creating a life that fits rather than choosing a career path and adapting to your job’s demands. I found it helpful and really appreciated the fresh perspective!
I think it is because I have been in an engineering community so long, but the gear research and selection is a really fun, sometimes too involved process for me. When I went to buy a backpack, I researched like crazy. I probably spent too much time on it because I know every backpack out there now and can pretty much spout off the facts of any backpacker’s pack from memory. That is crazy. Here’s the one I finally decided on this one from Tortuga:
I’m not a gadget person. I still haven’t really figured out my smart tv, however, these are worth getting a bit more excited about.
in mind, otherwise they will break and you will buy an overpriced version at the airport which will also break and you will not be able to use your travel blow dryer for six weeks. This one by Loop is awesome and it has the USB ports which are going to save you space by lessening the need for more plug-ins and adaptors.
I do not have cooperative hair. I know some hippy girls that look better and better the more they just let their hair go.
Mine needs encouragement. I find it worth it to carry this baby blowdryer for weeks on end in my backpack. It’s really cute, easy on your hair and dual voltage so you can use it in any country, and is also very powerful.
I don’t know any other girl that does this, but I also bring a mini straightener. I have bangs, it’s my style. they need to be in place because sometimes you need to look presentable at a rooftop bar in Shanghai even though you are living out of a backpack. This is also dual voltage.
The long term travel lifesavers.
On the same note, you will need to do laundry at some point between stops. Theselaundry detergent leaves are great for when you are washing your sock in the hostel sink. I know a lot of people also recommend getting the travel clothes line, but I personally don’t use mine much. Just get the detergent and hang your clothes to dry on your bunk like everyone else.
The fun stuff. Clothes that travel well and look good.
If you have seen my Instagram, you may have noticed I wear these shoes A LOT. They are perfect. They are so comfortable that I have taken them straight out of the box on my way to the airport and worn them for a three-day weekend in Disneyland (I don’t know where I would walk more than in Disneyland) and never had a single complaint; very happy feet. I have them in black and gray but I also just found out they come in powder pink after searching for this link! There are a ton of colors and fabrics so you can be justified in having several pairs.
I like really versatile clothes. I am one of those people that is always cold. I love having a cuddly hoodie to curl up in wherever I am. The trouble with packing light is that you need one that packs small, can layer and still looks
good in photos. I love this one. It’s got super long sleeves which is always a tough thing for me to find. If you are a little on the lanky side this is the way to go. Like all Patagonia gear, it’s also a bit pricey but they last forever.
I’ve also found through trial and error that the best way to pack for all seasons is to have a good mid layer and then a rain shell. On one trip I went from frigid cold in the Himalayas of Nepal to summer weather in Varanasi, India. With living in Portland and traveling a lot, I’ve been through a couple of these North Face shells and I wear them out. They are great and come in a ton of colors. I have a green one for work and purple one for travel.
“Back at it again with the green pants!” This is what a friend I met traveling messaged to me when I sent him a picture of me in front of the pyramids in my green pants. I really hate hiking pants that look like hiking pants. You need something more versatile. These skinny hiking pants look good in a coffee shop in Amsterdam or on Safari in Africa or hiking in Chile. Back at it again.
You can also get them in like, khaki or something but “Back at it again with the khaki pants!” doesn’t have quite the same ring.
The girly stuff.
I think my bag is half cosmetics and cosmetics are heavy. Therefore, everything must be multi-purpose and high quality.
This is the best chapstick/lipcolor I have found and I’ve tried EVERYTHING. It’s hard to get the right lip color but these are great in photos and protect your lips wether you are avoiding sun and windburn in the desert or trying not to get chapped lips on a 15 hour flight.
This lotion is great because it’s got SPF protection and is lightweight. I don’t know why all moisturizers don’t have SPF by now. My only complaint is that the bottle is glass and glass is heavy.
How to get around crazy TSA rules and have enough shampoo and conditioner for 45 days on the road.
These are really amazing products. They are a little spendy but they last so
long it’s worth it. Plus, the dry shampoo smells like jasmine and now every time I use it, it reminds me of my trip to Thailand where I first used it.
I think this conditioner lasted me six months. That’s nothing short of miraculous because my hair requires a ton of conditioner.
Also, if you are like me and tend to try to squeeze too much into a short amount of time and end up getting pictures in front of the Pyramids of Giza with three hours of sleep and no shower, dry shampoo might be a good option. Again, get the travel sized version. This stuff lasts forever so you won’t need the bigger bottle.
Lastly, smelling good is something of a luxury and perfume doesn’t travel like it should. I get these solid perfumes from Lush and they are a great pick-me-up. One time I went on an eight-hour bus ride in Colombia and then after a quick stop at the hostel went out dancing for night. I didn’t have time to shower so I put on some of this solid perfume and everyone kept telling me how good I smelled. I get in the Lust scent because it goes well with the Goddess Shampoo’s jasmine scent.