To date, my longest term of consecutive travel is just over 18 months.
As a result of living out of one 35-litre bag for this long, I have become pretty all-star at packing and wanted to share a few of my tips with you.
Start with the Right Equipment
Like anything in life, preparation is key and you best sort the basics before you sort the details. By this I mean the bag.
Personally I had massive fears about being pick-pocketed and losing my valuables so I spent a long time considering different types of bags; and honestly my bag is amazing.
So much so, I have encouraged at least another 3 people to buy the same one.
I use a Riut X35 and a Riut Crush.
The Riut Crush is a light day bag and the other is a proper rucksack.
The core benefit of these bags is that they are both very well made, the main X35 rucksack has a section specifically for laptop storage – but the key feature of all Riut bag models are the fact that the are designed with the access zips positioned securely against the wearers back to reduce the risk of being robbed while the bag is being worn.
I also highly recommend vacuum seal bags. I personally use VAGO bags but have long abandoned the air suction device and instead use my body weight to remove the excess air from the bag. Vacuum seal bags have a few advantages including freeing up more space in your bag as well as protecting your clothing form any liquid leaks.
My final piece of basic equipment is a padlock and key. Always handy to have either for a locker at a hostel or a safety box in a hotel. So long as you don’t lose the key. I wear mine around my neck.
Being a woman I found getting to grips with a small amount of liquids when traveling very difficult. But once I fell in love with Lush it became much easier.
You can swap out toothpaste, mouthwash, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, shower gel and even sun tan lotion for non liquid alternatives in the form of bars, tablets and powders.
Their in-store staff are super helpful and they operate a ‘try before you buy’ policy as standard in store; so definitely worth a look.
Buy a microfiber towel. They are so much smaller and lighter than a normal one, as well as drying in half the time.
It’s also worth noting that if you need medicine abroad you will likely pay allot more for it. It’s not as easy in a foreign country to pop into Lidl and get Ibuprofen for 13 pence a packet. Nor is it as easy to casually explain to a pharmacist what is wrong with you or what medicine you need so if you preempt there are specific medicines you are likely to need – take them with you.
For me, my hot tip if you are traveling from the UK to a country with Malaria risks, get a doctors line for malaria medicine; don’t buy it over the counter.
You will still have to pay for it but if you buy with a doctor’s prescription you pay around 12GBP for 100 pills as opposed to 72GBP for 100 pills which is a pretty massive difference.
Note, prices will have changed but you get the idea.
I am a great believer in planning for worst case scenarios.
In terms of travel these are most likely travel plan issues, loss or theft of belongings or health disasters. The easiest way to mitigate most of these is by having good insurance.
If you look into the details of your bank account you might actually find you already have a lot of these.
Personally I use a Curve Metal Card which attaches to my normal bank account and covers my travel and gadget insurance.
I recommend you pack multiple types of currencies. Take a range of different FIAT, a Trezor and hold a discreet piece of precious metal (like a gold chain). That way you will always have something which you can use, liquidate or pawn if needed.
As well as giving you another means to get cash if you end up losing your bankcard or being in a country that doesn’t accept your card payment provider; like VISA or Mastercard – which I can assure you is not a fun situation.
Maps & Language
Depending on where you travel; some places are incompatible with GoogleMaps like Japan and South Korea.
I tend to use both GoogleMaps and Maps.ME
GoogleMaps is good for traffic updates and public transport information– however it eats a lot of data which can be expensive when using a data limited foreign sim.
Maps.ME is the opposite. You need to download the maps for that region before you go then your device stores the map, and runs off your GPS; not your data.
Finally another handy one is GoogleTranslate, yes it eats a lot of data so make it inactive when you don’t need it. But I swear when you come to a foreign menu and no one speaks English or a warning sign, or even the departures board in a train station – the camera function on this app which translates anything on screen projected through the camera is beyond useful.
A common issue is power, plugs and multi-adapters and I’ve seen this approached a number of ways.
Some people take one international plug adapter and an extension lead with multiple plug sockets. That way they need only one plug to charge all their tech.
Personally I take one international plug, which I use to charge my laptop. Then I charge all my tech from my laptop USBs. My laptop then doubles as a power bank for desperate measures.
I also find carrying toothpicks and little zip lock bags useful. I use the toothpicks to swap over sims when entering new countries and the bags to organise the sim cards and stop them getting damaged.
My final closing note is to only pack what you need. Particularly when it comes to clothes and shoes. I pack for no more than 5 days – regardless of how long I am traveling. I also only pack one pair of trainers (which I wear when traveling) and pack a pair of flip flops or sandals.
Why waste space on nice high heels you will wear once.
So that’s my advice on how to pack.
I’m sure you also have some hot tips which I’d love to hear in the comments but for now, pack well!
Written for Trippki by Krypto Flamingo