Life on the road definitely sounds exciting. But the weeks and perhaps months leading to Day 1 of your journey of a lifetime gets a little scary and daunting --- especially packing. What do I bring? How much clothes do I bring? Should I bring my laptop? These are just some of the questions you have to think about. But there is really no “best” packing list. It all depends on the kind of trip you are doing, where you are going, and for how long for. We have rounded up a packing list that covers the basics and a little bit more so you have a hassle-free and an amazing long-term backpacking experience:
This is totally dependant on your style and the places you are going to but packing lightweight, quick-dry clothing items are essential. They keep your baggage light as well as allow you to wash your clothes easily when laundry in a remote town is impossible to find. A good pair of pants with pockets is also a must for trekking or hiking, stretchable jeans for day-walk and shorts for lazy days in the hostel or when hitting the beach. A week's set of underwear is also ideal.
Again, this depends on your trip. But a cross-trainer should be something on your packing list. Especially the new designs being made now. Cross-trainers are fashionable and could be worn during the day, when eating out, or even hitting some bars. And of course you need them for hikes and treks. If you’re hitting Southeast Asia, South America, or anywhere with beaches and islands then a pair of flip-flops and open-toe sandals are a must. They are comfortable and are perfect for a hot day out.
Other important travel gears and items
We’ve covered the most basic items you need to pack. Here’s a list of other items which you might tend to overlook but are definitely must-haves in your backpack:
- Money belt or purse to store your passport, travel documents, mobile phone, and money. Belt bags or sling-types are ideal.
- Day pack to store your essentials, an extra set of clothes and gadgets on a day-hike or trip to the temples.
- Reusable water bottle makes you a responsible traveller. Refill water instead of buying plastic bottled water everywhere you go and leaving it behind as trash. You can also save money.
- Medicine, prescription copies and first aid kit are literally lifesavers. You’ll never know what could trigger your allergies when abroad so better pack those antihistamines. Include eye drops, pain relievers, rehydration tablets, band-aids and burn relief in the kit.
- Extra eyeglasses and contact lenses as intense activities and adventures might break your glasses or you may lose those lenses.
- Micro-fiber towel comes in very handy as they are usually lightweight and most importantly, quick-drying.
- Luggage lock protects your bag from potential thieves and could also be used for lockers in hostels which don’t provide free locks.
- Travel adapters that have a complete set of outlet types for different countries and definitely those with a USB port.
- Power bank that can fully charge up your phone or cameras up to two to three times.
Sewing kit especially with safety pins will be your best friend on the road. They'll come in handy!
- Earphones for that music trip as you spend hours and hours on the plane, bus, or ferry.
Insect repellants to guard against insect bites or malaria.
- Baby wipes to quickly and easily clean what is supposed to be clean. Not all toilets around the world are well-maintained and smelling like lavender.
- Waterproof/shockproof compact camera to document all the amazing scenes you will see whether above land or underwater, without the bulk and weight of DSLRs.
- ZIPLOCKS! For your wet and smelly clothes, for your toiletries, for your chargers and wires, etc. The list goes on and on so thank ziplocks in advance.
Again, there is no single ideal way to pack for your long-term backpacking trip. It all depends on your itinerary, length of travel and personal style. But the golden advice is less is more. You can pick up some things in the destinations you are going to. But the items in the list above are definitely the things you should be stuffing into that backpack. Happy travels!