Anyone who is planning a trip longer than a few weeks will want to pack differently than if they were going on a standard vacation. Living out of your backpack long term is much different than packing a big suitcase for a short trip. Depending on what type of travel you plan to do, your travel packing list will vary in content. Below is our suggested travel packing list for long term round-the-world travel with a carryon sized (40-50L) backpack.
No matter how long you plan to travel for, you really don’t need much more than a week to 10 days worth of clothes. The trick is to pack items that you can mix and match to create a large variety of outfits. When choosing clothes, try to pack things that roll up small. This way, you can pack more items and have more outfit choices on the road.
You’ll want to pack a small med kit to have minor emergency items on hand. Everyone’s med kit will be slightly different, so pack what you think you’ll need most. Below are some suggestions of common medicines to include. We suggest only packing small amounts of standard medicines, and if you get sick buy the medicine you need in whatever country you’re in at a pharmacy or drug store.
Again, your travel packing list for a bathroom kit will vary hugely depending on what your skin and hair care routine is. The best suggestion we can give to save space in your pack is to be as low maintenance as possible. Below are the items we suggest and use when traveling, but you can tailor it and substitute them out to fit your own needs. Don’t forget that most products can be found all over the world, so unless you have a very specialized product that you can’t live without, standard bathroom items can easily be purchased.
There are some standard electronic items you’ll want to have with you, and some you’ll only need if you plan to photograph or video record extensively. Check out our post on the Top 8 Electronic Items for Travel for a more in depth review of the products below and links to our favorite travel electronics.
Now that you have an idea of what to pack, here are some tips on how to fit everything into your bag.
1. Roll your clothes instead of folding them
Rolling clothes instead of folding them will save tons of space in your bag. Almost every full time traveler we know packs this way – for a reason!
2. Use packing cubes
Packing cubes are the holy grail of things to have on a travel packing list. By putting your clothes and other items in cubes, not only does your backpack stay organized, but you can fit much more into your pack. We use and love these Ebags packing cubes.
Tip: Order a few sizes and experiment to see what fits best in your bag. When you pack, bring an extra cube or two – it can come in handy down the line for laundry, souvenirs, etc.
3. Lay out everything you plan to pack, then cut back
Before you put things into your backpack or suitcase, lay everything that you plan to bring out. Then start removing items that you don’t really need. When we first packed for our trip we had almost double of what we ended up bringing with us. Your back will thank you later!
4. Choose your backpack first
The best way to avoid overpacking is to not even give yourself the option. We bought our bags* before we even made a packing list, so that when it came time to pack we were limited to those constraints. We have no regrets using this approach and have never needed more space.
Tortura Backpack 44 (Greg’s backpack)
Osprey Farpoint 40 (Sara’s backpack)
We hope that this packing list was helpful, and if there are any items you love that aren’t in this list, we’d love to hear them! Comment below your must-have items for a world trip.