The lighter you pack the further you can go.
This is my mantra.
What I Pack:
I have one packing list which I use for all of my trips all over the world. I developed this for my journey “around the world in 89 days” which involved countries/climates ranging from Fall in central/southern Europe to Early winter in Norway to hot & humid Thai Islands. No matter the climate, I bring the things on this list. Here’s the trick: NOTHING more! (If I’m ONLY going to the beach in summer, I might swap the insulated jacket for a lighter one) Minor adjustments only, no excess = the key to success!
Patagonia Black Hole® Backpack 25L
I used to use their “MLC” but this one is even smaller and I love it!
I pack all of my clothing in a compressible packing cube & aim for athletic fabrics whenever possible because they dry faster and can be worn more than once.
I pack the following in one cube and plan on doing laundry about once per week/two:
7 underwear (highly recommended: Knixwear) & 2 (soft) bras + 2 swim suits
2 pants (jeans, black pants), 1 black tube skirt, optional: 1 shorts
1-2 dresses (short, long)
6-7 tops: 2 tanks (light, black), 2 tees (light, black), 2 long sleeves (thin, thick) optional: shawl
black leggings, athletic tank
1 leather jacket, 1 compressible down jacket, 1 compressible rain jacket
1 blanket scarf
1 wool/nylon compression socks (I love VIM & VIGR) + 2 reg socks (athletic fabric preferred)
Phone (this is my camera) & charger(s), adapters, headphones
In my “important stuff” folder: All tickets, reservations, etc. printed + copy of passport photo page & visa (if applicable) & any medication/prescription forms. All just in case.
(Toms) Flats/slip-ons (with Superfeet insoles) + light tennis shoes (for hiking & long touristy walking) + (dressier) sandals and flip flops + (optional) 1 pair wedges/booties
optional: silk sleep sheet (Cocoon), eye mask & earplugs (or noise canceling headphones)
Snacks: Pro Bars- Meal bars/Clif Bars, starbucks via packets (instant coffee)/tea, reusable water bottle, multi-vitamin
Compressible backpack/bag for daytime use (think reusable shopping bag)
toiletries: (solid) shampoo & conditioner (lush brand Godiva), face/body lotion/oil, chapstick, sunscreen, dry shampoo powder, DEET wipes, face/body wipes (see notes), deodorant, 2 travel toothbrushes & toothpaste, face makeup (BB cream + mascara maybe concealer, bronzer), meds: pain/anti inflam, allergy, pepto, fem products, cold/sinus (optional), vitamins, dramamine, nail clippers & file, tweezers
a couple of medicated bandaids…
Then pick a couple of “glam” goods, maybe a tube of red lipstick or a tiny hairdryer
I purchase jewelry as souvenirs along the way.
Thats it! That is all I’ve ever needed in 30 countries & counting… and I find that after each trip I take one or two more items off the list. The lighter the load the easier you move, that’s my philosophy.
Note: bringing a travel size Fabreeze spray is a great way to maximize time between washes, feminine wipes make great makeup removers/full body spot “showers”, throw a dryer sheet into your packing cubes and the dirty laundry pocket of your bag, having decent coffee when hostels don’t provide it is exceptional (as are meal bars at overpriced airports), compression socks change everything on long flights, tiger balm always comes in handy for aches and pains associated with carrying a backpack around. I’ve only every used a backup battery pack to help charge a stranger’s phone at an airport- but having one (which was $5) isn’t a bad idea. Emergen-zzz is a great sleep aid + vitamin blast for red eye flights. Hand wash your socks and undies whenever you have a private room and a full day to dry things.