What to Pack for Extended Travel
As a chronic over-packer, I'm learning to travel light and only take the necessities
...recently learned that high heels don't qualify as a necessity
Preparing for this trip has been a lot of work, but it has certainly been a labor of love. After browsing the internet and hearing recommendations from friends over these past few months, I feel like every other day I'm on Amazon Prime overnighting another order.
I think I've put together a list that's both practical and functional. I spent a lot of time choosing the right products that fit my budget, my needs, and most importantly fit in my bag. When you decide to live out of a 40-liter backpack for a year, you'd be amazed at all you take for granted at home.
Osprey Aura Backpack: I chose this backpack because it's not too big (I want it to be able to fit as a carry-on) and comes with a detachable top so you can make it even smaller. It has all the features you'd expect like a place for a camelbak, openings from the middle and side, and various slots and pouches for things. The biggest plus for me is how this backpack distributes weight- not only does it have a belt to put weight on your hips, it has this netting on the back that makes this backpack so comfortable to wear.
Raincoat- I'll be in very warm climates during my trip, so I need a raincoat that's lightweight and well-ventilated to wick away moisture when I'm active.
Teva Sandals- I got the original sandal from Teva because they're comfortable, durable, and good for water activities and day activities alike. Nobody said this was a fashion show...
Peter Thomas Roth Powder Sunscreen- A staple for me in my make-up bag, I'm bringing this product along because all it takes is a quick dusting and you're set on sun protection for your face. This powder is translucent and doesn't have a sunscreen smell, plus it comes in SPF 45.
Battery Pack- I originally wanted a portable solar or kinetic charger, but the more I researched those products, I saw that the technology simply wasn't there to make a powerful, effective, and light-weight product. The Innogie battery pack holds a charge for a while and can power up 2 1/2 iPhones and can fit into a small purse.
Universal Travel Adapter and Converter- I am so happy with this product, I would recommend this to every traveler! This little black box adapts to power outlets in over 150 countries plus it's a converter, meaning it also converts electrical currents and ensures the socket won't fry your device. It comes with 2 USB slots and a place to use two- and three-pronged ports. I could buy a device in any country and be able to use it anywhere- it's amazing.
Compressible Travel Pillow- I'm bringing an inflatable pillow from my air mattress set, but there are tons of products that you can inflate or press down to fit into your bag.
Quick-Dry Towel- As a former swimmer, I know firsthand how invaluable quick-dry towels are! These ones are large and moonlight as beach towels, shower towels, yoga mats, and a picnic blanket... at least, that's how I plan to use mine.
Speedo Bathing Suit- I wanted something durable enough for active swimming and scuba diving, but to be cute enough to wear on the beach. I trust the Speedo brand to perform and to fit comfortably throughout my trip.
Chromebook- I don't know how I would do this trip without a laptop, even though the functionality I really need is pretty basic. I wanted a Chromebook because my entire life is based in Google Drive and Gmail, plus the great thing about CBs is you store everything in the cloud which means it's less expensive and less bulky than most laptops. I went with Acer because it was inexpensive, around 2 pounds, and has a webcam. I also got it refurbished to save more money.
Fake Wallet- In case you're in a position where someone's asking for your wallet, I filled one of my old wallets with some gift cards and a few bucks that you could toss in lieu of giving away your real wallet.
Mosquito Net- Because you never know where you'll be. Mosquito nets in hotels and hostels can be old or torn, plus this way I can treat mine with deet/promethrin.
Cotton Travel Liner- Again, you never know where you'll be. Travel liners are like lightweight sleeping bags. Sheets can be questionable even in the best hotels, and it'll be nice to have something for long flights and car rides. Chose a liner that's silk- cotton liners are surprisingly bulky. The liner I chose is the size of a water bottle, is the size of a twin xl, and has a little pouch for a pillow.
Locks- Locks can keep your backpack secure when you're in transit or be used in communal storage if you're in a hostel. Pick something lightweight but not flimsy enough that someone with a pair of pliers can remove it.
Money Belt- Better safe than sorry, especially when it comes to things I can't easily replace like passports and credit cards. This one is slim-fitting and comes with an anti-RFID pouch.
Kindle- As much as I love actually holding a book, I can't see myself happily lugging a year's worth of books on my back.
Traveler's Journal- I plan to do quite a bit of writing during my trip, so a journal was very important for me to have. This journal from Moleskine is cool because you can tear out certain pages, paste in other info like printed emails or business cards, and there's space in the back to hold special documents.
GoPro- If ever there was a need for a GoPro, this would be it. I waited until the camera went on sale in a special package that included a floatie (GoPros do not float guys! One of my friends lost his in the ocean this way) and a little mount with which to hold it. For those adventures an iPhone just shouldn't go on, there's GoPro.
Steripen- We take clean, accessible drinking water for granted every day. I'm taking my Steripen because not only is buying water bottles wasteful, but there will be a lot of times where I'm in a remote enough place where I can't even find a store to sell them. The steripen is by far the best water purifier I've found because it eliminates bacteria, parasites, and viruses in a matter of seconds, not hours. My plan is to buy a camelbak bladder to keep in my backpack and use my steripen to purify water.
First Aid Kit- I'm stocking mine with bandaids, aspirin, and assorted meds the SF Travel Clinic recommended to me.