When we were preparing to leave on this adventure people asked me how we were planning to carry all of the stuff we would need for a year and I said, “A backpack” and they said, “Oh.” Maybe they didn’t care what we were bringing or it was too overwhelming of a question to ask. But if you are planning to ever travel long term or if you are curious about what one packs for a year long trip around the world, here is what is in my back pack.
t-shirts (3) – just the cheap $5 Faded Glory Walmart brand tees.
When we spent 6 weeks in Southeast Asia in 2012 we bought special non-cotton t-shirts and while they dried quickly when we washed them by hand, they were not very comfortable and seemed to make us hotter than cotton t-shirts, although it could have been just because it was really hot there…
tank tops (2) – from Walmart and Old Navy, for sleeping in, wear under stuff, or by themselves if it is blazing hot and culturally appropriate to wear alone.
other shirts(1-2) – thin, button up thrift store finds
fleece – Alpine Design from Sports Authority.
We will be mostly traveling in summer or warmer climates, but it is always good to have something for the cold A/C on buses, trains, etc. and it may be cooler in the mountains in Laos and Nepal
cardigan – already owned, from Target.
I probably would be just fine with the fleece, but it has already been nice to not have to pull something over my head on planes and buses. And it looks nicer for evenings out.
Jeans – there is a big debate about whether to bring jeans for round the world travel. They are bulky and they take forever to dry. But… they don’t need washed often and you can wear them when you want to feel normal and not like a dirtbag backpacker. Also, they will come in handy if it is cooler in some areas. It was totally worth it to bring jeans especially once we got to Europe.
Pants – Tan, capri style. Alpine design from Sports Authority. I like that they are cooler than long pants, but not as casual as shorts. I only wish they had a zipper pocket.
skirt (1-2) – I packed one navy striped maxi skirt that I got from Ross and plan to get as least one more along the way.
Surprisingly skirts are great for traveling, especially in hot climates. They keep you cooler and you look more respectable. Maxi skirts are great because they are long enough for going into mosques etc. My oldest daughter figured out a way to pull hers up on the sides to make a shorter skirt to keep her legs cooler and then untucked it when we went in to a mosque in Singapore. I unfortunately was wearing a shorter skirt that I borrowed from my middle daughter and had to wear a heavy polyester button up robe (It was very hot!)
*The awesome thing about traveling with teenage daughters is that we can share skirts. We each brought one skirt, but we have four skirts that we can alternate wearing.
comfy pants – I bought a pair of gypsy pants the last time we were in Thailand. I never wore them at home, but they are great for travel even if I do feel like a dirtbag backpacker in them, but sometimes that is a good thing. Plus, they are comfy.
sport shorts – running shorts, whatever you call them, already owned from TJ Maxx.
These are great for sleeping in or lounging around the hotel/hostel on hot days. I was seriously tempted to wear them out sightseeing in Melaka where it was 90 degrees, but felt like 110. In some places, it is not culturally appropriate to wear short shorts, but so far in Taipei, Singapore, and Melaka, it seems to be OK. I don’t wear short shorts in regular life, but the heat in Southeast Asia is making me wish I had a non-sports pair.
underwear (6+) – I think I ended up bringing 9 pair of Hanes microfiber undies
bras (3) + sports
walking sandals – Chacos.
I debated and debated about whether to spend $50 on shoes. In Hawaii, I just wear flip flops everyday. And I only brought flip flops and tennis shoes for 6 weeks in Southeast Asia and did just fine. But so far I am glad I have them. It has been nice to alternate with my flip flop when I get a hot spot on my foot. And they are very sturdy. But bulky and heavy, so I have to wear them on travel days. It was nice to have sturdy walking shoes. I don’t know if I would go with Chacos again (they broke shortly after returning home)
“nice” shoes – again, I spent a long time deciding on what to bring. I ended up choosing a pair of Patricia wedge style crocs for their cushy bottoms and ability to get wet without being ruined. These were terrible. The plasticy material made my feet sweaty. I gave them away when we were in India. Next time, I will bring something like these
flip flops – for showers and everyday wear, from Old Navy. They are surprisingly sturdy for costing only $2
sarong – I didn’t pack one because I plan to buy one along the way.
scarf – again, scarves will make great souvenirs, so I didn’t pack any, but have already bought one from a night market and will certainly buy more ‘cause scarves are pretty and fun.
belt – I lost my belt in the frenzy of getting ready to leave. Luckily, it was easy to pick up one for cheap at a night market.
makeup – Yes, I brought makeup. And yes, I wear a minimal amount pretty much everyday. Mascara makes me feel normal.
feminine products – I brought a Diva cup upon the recommendation of many female travelers. It has its good and bad points. Maybe some day when I feel like oversharing, I will write a post about it. While menstrual cups are not perfect, it was totally worth not to have to hunt for and carry tampons or use pads
allergy eye drops
nasal spray decongestant
grocery bags – collected along the way
locks and cable
alarm clock use phone flashlight use phone
liner sheets – I planned to buy these in Southeast Asia. They were in every market in Vietnam. So far I haven’t come across any. Never did find these. There were only a few times when I wish I had them. I would order these ahead of time if I knew I would be staying at cheap lodging
umbrella – we have already bought and lost one
packable day pack This was super useful. I brought this one.
mosquito net Never used this. Regretted lugging it around.
book light/headlamp usually read on phone/tablet
power strip/multi usb charging hub
rechargeable batteries and charger memory card(s) card adapter
travel power adapters
wireless card/usb reader