To Contain Things27 Liter Backpack
YOU DO NOT NEED A 90 LITER PACK! You may not even need a new pack. Above all, a great trip means not carrying unused, easy-to-buy-later stuff.
I've written in-depth reviews of
shows you how much stuff fits in different sized bags.
And here's my tutorial on
While your bag is important, don't agonize for hours weighing pros and cons of superfluous features. The size of bag (small!) provides 80% of the comfort and convenience.
Your vertebrae will be disgusted with you if you get too big a bag. So will your wallet, emptied by the extra stuff you bought to fill it. In hundreds of instances (like ) I've sung the praises of my smaller bag.
Could you use a bag you already have? Yes! For years I carried the 1999 North Face Borealis I already owned pre-travel. The school bag's organizational features came in handy. I'm now carrying that a friend gave me 24 Liter Messenger Bag
Having a super-lightweight expandable bag is clutch on any packing list. If you hate , consider a lightweight nylon backpack like . It allows you to sprawl out at your destination but transit compactly. I've replaced mine a few times, but getting a light, expandable bag remains one of my top five packing tips!
Update 2018: I'm still carrying my 2014 thrift store score almost identical to . Definitely don't get anything bigger. I rarely fill it - even when I'm toting around a huge stash of food. Mine has a strap that allows me to carry it like a messenger bag. If you're not lucky enough to find one at a thift store, you could combine with the to acheive the same setup. Nylon Stuff Sack
Much like the collapsible messenger bag or folding duffel bag, having on your packing checklist allows you to spread out as needed. I fill it with dirty laundry and strap it to the bottom of my pack. It's dark-colored, so it blends in. For years I just used a heavy duty plastic shopping bag, but the black nylon is a bit less "hobo." Reusable Nylon Shopping Bag
You can see a theme here on my RTW packing list: get the best of both worlds - the option to expand, but the foundation to pack light and travel light. My keeps my shower items sequestered, makes a fantastic beach/outing bag, and is even used for market shopping when I rent apartments or stay in one place for several weeks, etc. Travel Vest
Airlines are really starting to crack down on weight restrictions - especially in Europe and Asia. Ten years ago, I got away with filling a 27L bag (easily meets carry-on size restrictions) until it felt like a bowling ball. Today half of my nine flights this year had me chewing my fingernails about weight on the way to the airport.
I've tried jackets that aren't purpose built, but they've been bulky, awkward to wear, ugly, and stuff fell out of the pockets. They required laboriously moving valuable electronics and small, heavy items from my bag to jacket, checking in, dealing with an awkward pile of stuff until boarding, then moving some stuff back to my bag once on the plane. Repeat ad infinitum.
On my next RTW trip, I will absolutely bring a vest-as-carry-on. My research says I'll buy (which often goes on sale ), but will get a size up so it fits well when full of ipad, book, phone, camera, etc. The only people who don't like have complaints about style.
If you're a sexy Spanish man, you can probably pull off . And this is so beautiful and perfect for travel, it makes me weak in the knees, but the price might make you weak in the knees. Toiletries Case
My is nice for keeping contacts, fingernail clippers, etc. sequestered.
I didn't like the "" kind. The bag was hard to keep dry, got everything in my toiletries bag wet, and the hanging flap always got in my way. However, minimalist traveler Julie loves hers. She reckons it creates a place to set your stuff, keep clothes and towels dry, and prevents her from forgetting shower items. Shoulder Bag/Purse
When I want to go out for the day, is often busy keeping anti-air-con sweaters handy and carrying food items. Additionally, it's too big when I just want a notebook, waterbottle, camera, and to-go snack. I use at almost every destination. In transit, it's rolled up and packed in my backpack. Quart Zip-Lock should be on every travel checklist to get your 100ml/3oz toiletries through airport security. Get the freezer/durable ones. Plastic shopping bags You know... what groceries get put in? You only need one or two. Plastic is not hard to come by. Overused and rampantly available in almost every part of the world. You'll put your wet beach clothes in one, you'll fill one up with rubbish on a long bus ride, you'll use it to take your dirty clothes to the laundry shop where your reusable nylon bags will often mysteriously disappear... Travel/Money Belt
It's handy to have an "important stuff" container. Even though I don't actually wear my
anymore, it's still on my packing list: I use it to organize.
Ten years ago, my passport came with me EVERYWHERE. This isn't a bad idea. Just ask tourists who weren't in their hotels when an earthquake/tsunami/flood hit and were left identity-less, cash-less, and far from home. But I finally decided the discomfort and constantly looking like I'm pregnant wasn't worth it. So now I place my trust in fate, secure my hotel room/locker, and hope it will all be there when I return.
Brain StuffPocket Notebook
I make lists, store important info, keep emergency USD$ in the secret pocket, and use the magnetic closure to keep business cards, tickets, and receipts from fluttering away. I really like . Composition Notebook
Great for keeping big lists (life goals, future job ideas), journaling when my computer isn't a sensible option. Taped in lists of phone numbers and addresses for postcards. Made a multi-year calendar in the back for keeping track of birthdays and planning. Also doubles as a storage place for all 8.5x11 documents folded in half. Not every RTW packing list needs one, but I really like having a Pens
I like writing. And it's fun to have different colors for postcards
MacGuyverPassport Clearly this is the number one item on the ultimate packing list. Not even the world's most hardcore problem solver would be able to get on an international flight without one! If, like me, you think souvenirs are a hassle and clutter your life, you'll still have the stamps and affixed visas when friends ask, "What did you bring home?!" Travel Insurance I'm not a privileged schmuck who says, "If you can't afford insurance, you can't afford to travel."
That said, if you care about your , at least get a - a month policy.
For a quick primer on travel insurance, read:
If you're a newbie, also check out:
For RTW travel insurance, I use and recommend:
- the best coverage for money ratio. If, like me, you don't know where you're going, World Nomads doesn't care.
If you're from the UK/EEA, consider: .
For a decade I've covered shorter trips (90 days or less) with policies found on - my favorite comparison site.
Update 2018: Reader Jacob's World Nomads pro-tip: buy a policy in 6 month increments to save money! (I also recommend buying World Nomad policies in month-blocks. If your trip is just shy of, for example 4 months, buy a 4 month policy anyway can knock several $ off the price! Flights I don't advocate RTW tickets: . But I will admit they're a good . I've flown around the world three times for .
I do advocate If you're American and have at least a few weeks before departure, get your bum on the free flight bandwagon before you leave! U.S. Cash Stash This is the currency of the world, at least for now, so an emergency stash of greenbacks should be on your packing list whether or not you're American. I carry three twenties for emergencies. I carry two fifties because /0 bills get a better rate when I just need a few days worth of the local currency (stuck, passing through, etc.) and want to avoid ATM fees.
Have a few small bills kept in separate places/bags for:
1) visas sold only in USD
2) visas that offer a better rate for USD (sometimes HALF PRICE!)
3) scammy border officials who will tell you they don't have change for a large bill Yellow Fever proof If you know your travel plans from start to finish, you may not need it (read up on Google). If you're just setting out and seeing where the wind takes you, get the vaccine and carry proof that you have it. Many countries will ask to see your vaccine document at the border, especially if you're arriving from a known-risk country. Vaccines Your needed vaccines depend on your travel plans. Educate yourself and ask your doc. I've gotten some of my vaccines/boosters in Bangkok - hospitals there are gorgeous and cheap. I've traveled Asia, South America, U.S. North America, Australia, New Zealand, and Europe with: Hep A, Hep B, Yellow Fever, MMR, Polio, Typhoid, Tetanus Debit & Credit card If you don't have a credit card earning you miles, open one today. Seriously, right now. .
My biggest travel regret is that I had been traveling for ten years, telling myself my budget life would never earn enough miles to matter, before I got a card. My current card doesn't even charge foreign transaction fees!
For cash withdrawals, see if your bank has a way you can avoid fees. It's usually complicated - e.g. a high balance or multiple accounts. But if starting up a savings account could save you a few hundred dollars in fees, do it! Some countries (UK, OZ) have pre-paid cards.
Make sure you tell your bank you're going, consider increasing your withdrawal limit (generally better to pay a fixed fee on a bigger withdrawal). Try not to have a single bank account holding every last dollar to your name that you are accessing from sketchy ATMs all over the world. Driver's license Especially for RTW travel, packing lists should include your license, even if you don't think you're going to drive.
Some countries will accept a foreign license, some "officially" will not. Often times the cops look the other way. Do whatever you're okay with. One guy I met made several color-copied, laminated "licenses." The corrupt foreign cops didn't know the difference, and it kept him from having to bribe them (they just confiscated his license. Over and over.)
On the other hand, some car rental companies will not accept anything but an "international license" - basically just your license translated into a million languages. It's hard to obtain this from abroad, especially while moving on a tight schedule. If you think you might rent, this may be the best you ever spent. Collapsible Water Bottle
A woman who couchsurfed with me in Croatia gave to me. She wasn't using it, but I think it's GREAT. I often buy several gallons or liters of water when I'm in one place for a few days/weeks. Then I carry just the amount I need in my reusable, collapsible bottle that only takes up space when in service. It saves money and tons of one-use plastic bottles. Also fits perfectly in a seat-back pocket on planes/buses. In countries where I can't fill it with airport tap water, it generally slips through security because the agents don't recognize the liquid-containing shape.
including on your packing list. Cards & Duct Tape are great for entertainment. Fun icebreaker with new friends, pass the time with a travel buddy. Wrapped about three feet of duct tape around the outside. Great for pack repairs, flip-flop repairs, blisters, etc. Duct tape - just a few feet - should be on every RTW packing list. Safety Pins
I recommend a small for every long-term travel packing list. They've come in handy in myriad ways. I store mine by using them to secure a strip of cloth that covers the brand patch on my bag. (Covering it makes my bag look less pristine which helps me blend in. The bag's age helps, too.) Keychain LED flashlight Sure, you could use your phone's flashlight in the dark at hostels or walking home on an unlit island path late at night... if your phone still has battery life. I use my keychain light occasionally, but won't replace it when it dies/breaks.
Reader Ale says she adores her : hands free, better than a headlamp, good night light, long lasting battery, "best thing i ever bought haha." Batteries for LED light My light required Energizer CR 2016 batteries, which are really light and worth packing around. Travel lock and key
I rarely use my , but it's good for peace of mind. If I leave my bag in luggage storage for the day, I put all my electronics, etc. in the main compartment of my backpack and lock it. It won't stop a determined thief, but it will deter an opportunistic one!
When I lose or break the ones I have, I'll probably go with that can double as a backup for when my heavy duty lock won't fit the locker or door hasp. Keychain carabiner I think is handiest for organizing lock keys, room keys, rubber bands, hairties, etc. Oh yeah - and opening the beer your brought back from the 7-11!
I use the to clip my bags together if I can't keep a close eye on them (makes them awkward to grab and run with). One packing passionista argues that clipping a carabiner through your bag's zippers is a better thief deterrent than an actual lock because a lock screams "VALUABLES!" The World's Smallest Washing Machine Whether or not belongs on your RTW packing list really depends on where you're traveling and your travel style.
If you're traveling slowly (4+ days in each place) and in places where laundry service is cheap (Asia, India), you don't need this.
If you're traveling quickly or in countries where laundry service is expensive or non-existent (I once spent an entire day trying to do laundry in Sao Paulo, Brazil), having this 5oz/150gram miracle is a lifesaver. It will work with any soap, and tests proved it washes clothes as well as a home washing machine in 30 seconds, as well as an industrial machine in 3 minutes. Even hardcore minimalist travelers who travel with just two sets of clothes might prefer this over scrubbing out each item individually in a sink at night.
You can't wash your entire wardrobe in one go, so if you have a ton of laundry and no patience, you're better off just slowing down your travels and coughing up the cash for laundry service or a laundromat (if you can find one!). If you hate scrubbing and can spare the luggage space, reader Rachel recommends - a teaspoon in a sink-full of water for 15 minutes is supposed to be absolutely brilliant.
15 ft. parachute cord
This will have you stringing up drying lines in a hotel room, tying up mosquito nets, tying up a hammock... If you are a creative problem solver, this needs to be on your RTW packing list.
Says reader Jason in the : "...I arrived back in the US after an epic round the world trip that lasted 167 days. Your travel advice helped me with my packing choices and you are right, parachute cord is handy." Rubber door stop
Great for peace of mind when sleeping alone. Didn't work well on a bamboo floor, and most doors have deadbolts/chains/etc. I like having it. Probably don't need it.
Update: I only remember using twice in three years of carrying it around. But it's lightweight rubber. I often choose to sleep in situations many other travelers would deem "sketchy." You, too? And you're a woman? Consider one, then.
Some people use them in conjunction with , which still work when the door opens outward. Rubber bands x 5 A came in handy often in NZ for sealing up food in our van-pantry. Now I have them around for MacGuyver moments. Rubber bands are so lightweight, you'd be crazy not to have them on your packing list. Heavy duty lock & key Perfect for locking a locker or a door that comes with a lockable hasp. It's annoying that it's so heavy, but worth it when I go out and know that my passport, computer, camera, and sentimentals are safe from all but the most determined thieves. I picked Masterlock! Whether or not you actually need on your RTW packing list depends on your level of security consciousness, I guess. Twist ties x9 Awesome for peace of mind - securing zippers to deter opportunistic thieves from unattended baggage. And other MacGuyver applications. Sewing kit
I wouldn't recommend a full blown kit, but it is nice to have a needle and thread to repair bag straps or clothes. I picked mine up at a vegas hotel, have used it several times, and always toss it in when packing for travel.
You could easily assemble your own if you don't want to buy one . Roll of TP Don't bring this. But leave space in your bag. You can often pick up rolls at convenience shops/kiosks or take the rest from your hotel room.
In developing countries, I always carry a roll plus a few sheets in every bag/clothing pocket. Remember to check before dropping off or doing your laundry, or you'll be very sorry.
I've tried . Inevitably, I soak myself, don't feel clean unless I really scrub (and then sometimes there isn't soap with which to wash afterward!), and want to dry with TP anyway. If you can forgo toilet paper, more power to you! Bamboo or Plastic silverware
Nice to have when that bag of mango slices you just bought didn't come with a skewer and you haven't washed your hands for what feels like three years. Easy to obtain for free.
NB: You'll see below that I do NOT recommend a multi-tool for weight & low-use reasons. If you're going to carry one anyway, consider .
Garbage Bag Mostly for backpacking – the real kind. But the could double as a poncho or a backpack cover in the rain (If I remembered I had it in time. It's light enough and out of the way so it feels worth keeping around).
Update: I have never used this. I don't even thing I have it anymore. However, I still think it's worth having on an RTW packing list. I wouldn't include it on a general travel packing list.
This is one item I actually recommend buying. Some tropical countries provide a mattress covered in a fitted sheet with an unappealing blanket that's either too hot, made of an itchy material, or seems unwashed. Some hostels charge extra for sheets. Sometimes I'm freezing and it adds extra warmth.
is spacious, cool when you’re hot, warms you up in the cold, dries quickly if you wash it on the go, and doubles as a beach, airplane, and airport blanket! I like
My future's so bright... I always buy retail rack specials. I don't know how long are going to be on mega-sale, but there's always !
are a definite contender for a top spot on the ultimate packing list. Great for keeping out crowing roosters, karaoke, all-night bands, loud neighbors, squeaky fans, etc. Supposedly, your brain kind of .
I keep a few "single use" pairs stuffed in practically every pocket imaginable so they're always available. You roll them into a tiny cylinder and quickly stuff into your ear canal before they re-expand. I use each pair more than once (which is supposedly medically risky).
If you can't pick them up through a blue-collar friend, at a sports stadium, or from a library dispenser, I like this size - bigger ones hurt my ears.
Travel Bug Spray
I have a cavalier attitude toward carcinogens when it comes to itchy bugs. If you don't know that is seriously evil - cancer giving evil - educate yourself before you buy. It certainly doesn't belong on everyone's packing list. Sleep Mask
Kept my airplane freebie on a whim a few years ago. It came in handy so often, sleeping in airports, on planes, on buses, etc. that I finally bought . If you aren't sensitive to light, maybe you don't need one. But getting sleep in often uncomfortable situations hugely affects the quality of your adventures. Travel Pillow
I did fine for years using my fleece as a pillow (and sometimes still do when I'm lazy). I decided to test a travel pillow out in 2015 after being in numerous situations where I longed for one.
If a pillow is what it takes for you to get at least SOME sleep on overnight bus rides, add it to your packing list. You'll be in far better shape upon arrival. Save space with the inflatable kind. I have , and I love it. Ironically, I use it even more at hotels than I do in transit. When the bed pillow is too big, I inflate my travel pillow to the perfect height and fall right asleep!
FWIW: Unless you are a really picky sleeper, I don't recommend , now en vouge. Yeah, it's super cool. And yeah, it takes up TONS of space for occasional comfort only slightly better than than provided by an inflatable or your fleece. Hankie (aka Sweat Rag) Ew, gross, eh? Well, people often comment that Asians don't seem to sweat. Not true. They just think it's gross to make other people look at it. So they keep a folded cloth handy to dab up any perspiration on their faces. I finally adopted the practice a few years ago in Thailand. If you're headed for Asia, consider adding this to your packing checklist.
ElectronicsSmartphone I have not yet joined the pocket-zombie revolution, but y'all love your . I'll argue below (items weighing me down) why you might be able to do without it. If not, at least try the .
Phone Security Strap Reader Ale says something almost saved her skin. "This is one of those accesories that are not popular at all, but i have to say, the moment i took my phone strap off, my phone got stolen. So…there you go, i bought one, because im super clumsy and i was using my phone as a camera all the time near water and cliffs, so i would strap it to my jacket, belt or just around my wrist. I took the thing off in the last city i was visiting, because i thought my phone was not at risk anymore and it looked silly with the lanyard thing and it got stolen in the metro. Didnt even notice the pick pocketer." Solar Power Bank Again, reader Ale says, "im surprised you didnt mention in your list. For me it was a MUST. I have a nice one that works to fully charge 2 phones at the same time. I would strap the thing to my backpack during the day, and never had to deal with my phone dying. Specially since location apps drain the power of my phone." Laptop Computer
Bought my on sale at Costco. It's everything my wasn't. Incredibly fast, battery lasts ages, handles power use (a dozen applications open and a bazillion internet tabs). Geek speak: Windows 8.1, 8GB RAM, 256 SSD, i7 processor
If you just want something to check email and skype, you could get by on a smartphone and/or internet cafes. If you're committed do documentation in any way, a laptop is an almost-necessary packing list item. Otherwise, endlessly. A laptop is also a burden - one more valuable and one more reason you might shy from hammocking randomly on a beach somewhere. “The things you own end up owning you!”
Read more of my KIRAbook thoughts or Computer cord Plug it in, plug it in... Digital Camera
Obviously most people have smartphones to serve this basic purpose. If not, be sure is on your packing list.
Reader Dan says most digital cams under 0 are not better than your iPhone or Galaxy.
He thinks it can be worth carrying a more rugged digital camera. He has an that is waterproof and drop proof, great for the beach, rafting, caves, snorkeling, and food fights. He reckons a also works great if you want to spend a little more for something lighter.
Related: a common trick to avoid losing all your vacation photos is to bring several SD cards, swapping them out regularly in case of camera theft. Cloud storage is an alternative, but barriers include slow uploading speeds in your country of choice or data caps (like in Australia/New Zealand). Extra Long charger cable You'll recharge your electronics every day. In hotel room after hotel room, you'll be longing for a longer cable.
If you use micro USB stuff, is a MUST. It's the longest I could find, and it's great. Its braided sheath means it doesn't get tangled, banged up, or easily damaged. Color options make it easy to spot among all the other cables I have.
If you're an Apple baby, or both work for iPhone X/8/7/6/5 and a bunch of iPads. MP3 player I love music when I run and workout, which I try to fit in outside of tropical latitudes. When my dies, I'll probably buy this or . I also really like , too. We'll see!
If you're traveling with a smartphone, it can do double duty for music. Although I hate running with an enormous device... up to you!
iPod charger cord Is anyone else annoyed by ? Earbuds
My old Apple earbuds that came with my iPod were brutal. The rubber sheath was peeling, they killed my ears during long listening sessions, fell out when running, faded in and out, and then actually fell apart.
I was horrified to discover how much are worth, but they are excellent. If you love, love, love music or running with earbuds is a regular part of your life, I'd recommend splashing out. Otherwise, I'm sure cheapies will suit. You can replace them as they break.
mic/earbuds for skype
As a product, these are pretty cool. I don't think they're worth the dent they'd put in your wallet. That said, they are lovely on airplanes and buses, and come with a mic so I can use them for Skype when I'm in a noisy place.
If you will talk often to people back home, having a headset is a dream. My RTW packing list will always have one, but you know yourself. Maybe cybercafes and smartphones will meet your needs. google voice account Google voice currently offers an amazing service to U.S. Citizens FOR FREE. You need an American IP address and an American phone number, so this one is tricky to take care of if you’re not on American soil. Not everyone has Skype, Facetime, Viber, Whatsapp, or even a smartphone/laptop/tablet. But I’d guess most people you know have a phone. If the number is American, Google voice allows you to call them for free! FREE! The rates to numbers outside America are super competitive.
A google voice account definitely belongs at the top of the ultimate RTW packing list. If you're not American, consider trying to find a way to make it work for you! Plug Adapter Kit
Every international travel packing list needs . The best kit I ever found had four very small, lightweight adapters. The kit came with a converter, which I junked. Heavy, and probably unnecessary as cameras, laptops, etc. come with built in converters these days. If you need your blow dryer or razor, you might need a converter, too. 16G USB
is great for backing up my computer occasionally, grabbing files from travel mates, and the occasional internet cafe usage (look out for viruses!).
Given it's weight (none) and the number of times I've used it in the last several years (lots) I'd recommend it for any RTW packing list.
To Put on My BodySports sandals are the most versatile type of traveling shoe, in my opinion, and the only footwear you need. Good for heat, water, walking long distances, hiking, and can adjust straps to fit gargantuan layers of wool socks if you go somewhere cold. I've worn Chacos in Bolivia with temps well below zero, slipping and sliding on a three day jungle trek in SE Asian mountains, and hustling though multiple airports and cities.
are also popular. Barefoot aficionados like
Readers have written in liking more fashionable drop-in-heels with washable soles and easy-to-dress up or down laceless ,
Consider just one pair of shoes for your personal RTW packing list. If you end up hating it, you can always add as you go! There have been times I've had more than one pair of shoes. However, the convenience was tempered by the annoyance every time I repacked and struggled to fit the pairs I wasn't wearing into my bag. Underwear x 15
has awesome, deep, built in pockets. If you're a lady, you know how clutch this can be even when you're not traveling.
Although I have more, 10 pairs is plenty, even for an RTW packing list. Women can get away with having extra, but your small clothing stash will require frequent washing. Therefore, undies never run out.
When my knickers wear thin, replacing them makes for a fun souvenir. (e.g. It broke my heart when my favorite Brazilian pair had to be let go.) Bras x 4
Wish I would have bought something that would or neck-halter tops. Two white and two black have given me plenty of versatility. Shirts x 6
Most people in the world wear (not tank tops), and I like to blend in. DON'T BRING MORE THAN FIVE! Adding to your supply or replacing stained/stinky/torn shirts will give you automatic souvenirs. My current stash contains two shirts new within the last month, one new within the last three months, and I've gotten rid of two I packed originally.
has great, quick drying, non-stinky, durable t-shirts. Pants x3
If you can afford them, these make my heart beat faster... that's how awesome they are. You couldn't custom-make anything this good. The traveling friend who turned me on to them likes that he can wear them to work, and that they're made from stain and tear resistant material - "also awesome for hiking and to keep things from falling out during a hike."
I originally only packed two pairs of bottoms - and which made laundry day challenging.
Jeans are nice for temperate countries, but tend to go unworn in the tropics.
I mostly skip shorts to blend in and to minimize being denied entrance to places like Angkor Wat temples. Even those in capris are often turned away .
I really like or travel pants that allow me to have shorts when I want them. Fleece Pull-over
Even if you are going to an equatorial desert, your packing list needs . In warm places, when you pay for A/C, you GET A/C. Buses, airplanes, grocery stores, movie theaters, shopping malls, lobbies... all absolutely frigid. Since my REI fleece shrunk, I've picked up all of mine second-hand - usually in skiing destinations.
A or will take up less space and maybe be warmer, but can't really double as restaurant outerwear... unless you're a weirdo who doesn't mind breaking custom and eating dinner in your parka. If you tend toward outdoors instead of hors d'oeuvres, consider rocking the down. Long-sleeve Poly Pro
If you're into button-down and you don't have (and you're willing to $pend on good clothes), consider It's "Nature-Like Nylon," which I actually like more than polypro both for its softness and no-stink-factor.
is great for me as an outdoors lover (polypropylene dries quickly when compared to other fabrics - especially cotton... key in hypothermia prevention on the trail). Comes in handy on the bus when I want to use my fleece as a pillow but still need protection from the A/C. Gym Socks x 1
Light, are easy to carry, great for warmth on busses. I've never regretted having a few pairs of socks on my RTW packing list. Wool Hiking Socks x 1
is handy in cold places (occasional mountain towns) where you wear everything you own. Also great on busses. I like . Dress with Sleeves
While I am NOT a type of woman, I also hate wearing clothes. A dress I bought at a market in Cambodia was the perfect answer. I roll out of bed and throw it on to pay visits to shared bathrooms. It doubles if I need something nice.
Water baby! Waiting to buy a until you're on the road is risky. I found out that suits at your destination may not fit at all, and can be cut in a style outside your comfort zone. Given my experience, definitely put your swimsuit/bathers/togs on your packing list.
Buying something online will allow you to pick a top and bottom that actually fit if, like me, you struggle with pre-matched bikinis.
Personal CareContact Lenses I like to see. I try to carry at least six months of my Acuve 2 & Oasys, and I try to refuel in Asia where I don't need a prescription to buy. (NB: contacts are the same general cost around the world. To consider: no optometrist in Bali carried my 8.4 curve.) Contact solution
I keep full-size bottle of solution in my bag and re-fill a travel bottle as needed. If you need this on your packing list, know this: unless you're going really far off the beaten track, you'll be able to replace it as you go for same or cheaper than 1st world prices. Contacts Case Supposedly you need to change the like you'd change a toothbrush. If you care about this, maybe add an extra one or two to your packing list. Rimless Glasses Come in handy when I don't want to wear my contacts. You can order cheaply through Zenni Optical. I had a great experience, but lots of other reviewers didn't. [Organic Cotton] Tampons
are hard to come by in some countries. I started out with six boxes of 20, back when I knew I'd have a car in NZ for a year. Despite my feelings on carcinogens in bug spray, I strongly prefer not to use mainstream rayon-and-chemical-laden tampons. Which, if they're available at all, are all you'll get in a developing country. I like
If this is an item you use already, read up on availability in your first destinations and definitely put a few months worth on your RTW packing list. Shampoo Available at roadside shops, 7-11, everywhere in 100mL (3oz) sizes - perfect! You can also buy sachets a lot of places, which ultimately seems more wasteful and is definitely more expensive.
I know y'all are going to think I'm a total crazy-pants... (I am!) but you could consider a hair routine that doesn't require shampoo. Sounds insane, I know. Here's , while still looking normal. Conditioner see shampoo Face Wash - Baking Soda Give it a try. is a bit gritty, so it exfoliates. I either mix it with water to form a paste and store it in a small bottle or dip my wet fingers in a little container of powder. I don't know how it works with makeup. Baking soda does triple duty as shampoo and deodorant, not to mention battling shoe stink and other travel smellies. Deodorant - Baking Soda "Normal" (chemical-laden) deodorant is available everywhere - 7-11, pharmacies, roadside stands, etc. No reason to bring extra.
I've been using baking soda for 18 months, and I love it! I never ever, ever have B.O. Ever. And I couldn't have said that at any point during the last few decades of my life. Travel Towel - medium
Some places provide towels, some don't. I'm committed to keeping on my RTW packing list, despite having adopted a slower travel style that sees me using it less and less. If this is your first big RTW trip, I think it really pays to have one.
These things are notorious for stinking and needing washed often. I'm glad I have a medium so it takes up little space. If you don't get , I'd recommend a washcloth. It won't dry as fast or provide any coverage, but it shouldn't get as irreparably raunchy. Forget about using a sarong or t-shirt. See for my reasoning. Compact Mirror
Sort of belongs in the MacGuyver category. Good for eyebrow plucking. In terms of frequency, I don't use this enough to justify having it on my packing list. BUT, when I do use it, I'm really glad I have it!
is spendy, but has a light that could be a great back-up in dark hostel rooms. Sunscreen
I think Solbar is the best sunscreen you'll ever own. Amazing if you genuinely want to keep the sun off. Read more , or see it . I have this on my packing list because I've found even mediocre sunscreen to be quite expensive in other industrialized nations. In Asia, it's almost impossible to find it without "whitening" ingredients.
Don't forget to repackage it into a 3 oz. container if you're traveling carry-on only. Lotion I always need lotion after a shower, no matter the humidity. Fingernail Clippers
Also potentially belongs in MacGuyver category. I use
all the time, and they double as scissors for many situations. I recommend them for every RTW packing list! Toothbrush You don't need
- just replace as you go!
Update 2016: After reading , I'm considering getting he recommends. No voltage hassles as I jump from country to country.
Update 2017: I love it! Battery-operated electronic toothbrush is where it's at! Toothbrush cover
A toothbrush case is overkill unless you're a germ-a-phobe, but a I think a toothbrush cover belongs on the ultimate packing list. Your toothbrush will be constantly subjected to questionable surfaces. I love my - keeps the ick off and makes me happy! Travel Toothpaste
Toothpaste takes a long time to use up and is widely available.
is a good size. Floss x 2 Also a MacGuyver tool. Electric Hair Trimmer & Batteries
As a person not obsessed with shaving, my battery-operated trimmer is way faster than razors when I finally get around to ridding myself of body hair. is on my current packing checklist, but when it dies (hasn't in five years!), I'm switching to .
Helps dudes go a few more weeks without a haircut by trimming up sideburns/around the ears and neck. Also wonderful for all those times that he goes days or weeks without shaving. Blush & Mascara I hardly ever wear makeup, but occasionally I want to decorate my face. Chapstick x2
If you don't already use
you probably won't start. I like to have it around. If in doubt, leave it off your packing checklist: buy when you're sure you want it. Q-tips Wearing earplugs will make you feel the need to clean your ears, so consider for your RTW packing list - even if this need doesn't already arise in your current life.
Bobby pins x 8
MacGuyver. And great in a pinch to keep your hair out of your face etc. Hand Sanitizer
keeps getting dumped on me, but it has come in handy. i.e. Long bus trips when your mango snack didn't come with a skewer and your hands are filthy, etc. Don't get the scented or gel kind - leaves your hands feeling sticky and tasting like perfume.
Unless you already use the stuff, I'd say wait to buy it until you experience a time you wish you had it. Large Hair Clip When I had really, really long hair, was always on my packing checklist. No need to tote a back-up around as it will probably get broken before you ever get a chance to use it, and replacements are widely available. Hair Ties x 4 Used for securing my hair when I go swimming. Also a MacGuyver tool. Drugs - pain /acetaminophen/paracetamol have come in handy on multiple occasions. Add a small stash to your packing list - it can be replenished easily and cheaply on the road. Long bus rides, dehydration headaches, hangovers, long jungle treks, miles of swim/snorkeling... you'll eventually want this stuff. Drugs - other You know yourself. My immune-system-of-steel leads me to recommend against having your own, personal pharmacy - even for an RTW packing list. I threw packets in at random, and my travel partner ended up using them for digestive troubles.
If you regularly take any over-the-counter meds, throw in a few (labeled!) doses. Generally, you can get OTC meds as needed in any country at any pharmacy. The internet will help you. Bandaids x 10
I never use in my normal life. But in the tropics things get infected more easily, so I always add these to my RTW packing checklist. A past travel partner was accident prone and used most of my stash at the time.
Unique to My LifeDiving Credentials I decided to get certified finally, with CMAS. I love the water but could never justify adding a 0 ticket item to a ,000 trip. Now that I'll have plenty of opportunities to use my certification, I went for it. It's an expensive sport, but worth it. Just don't make . Workout Routines I picked workouts that can be done without equipment. In tropical countries, I barely use them at all. Most are just torn out or printed from the Women's Health website. Rather than a having these as a physical item on your packing list, consider an app. Photos to Mail I like to send photos as postcards. I brought along prints from family gatherings. I use them to write home so my nephews don't forget me and my family is reminded of all the fun we have together and how much I love them. I'd rather remind them of our times together than send a postcard of our time apart (the place I'm in). The slowly dwindling stash also doubles as something to share with new friends.
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