This can be a tricky one, knowing what to pack and what not to pack. When planning for an extended trip it can be quite a daunting prospect packing your life for the next few months into a backpack. My number 1 tip for this, is not to fill your bag to the brim. If you’ve managed to cram everything you think you can possibly need into your pack, and still have space, leave it! You need room to put all the weird and wonderful things that you acquire on your trip and you will be thankful for losing that extra little bit of weight when lugging your bag around for hours in the heat.
So, let’s get down to it. What should you pack? Like most things travel, it all depends on your destination. Think about what season you are heading into and pack accordingly. On my recent trip to Asia, I mastered the art of packing only what I really need. I packed my bag at least 3 times, each time shedding more and more unnecessary bulk.
Ultimately, my packing list consists of:
Passport – blaringly obvious and always at the top of the list
Important documents – including a few spare passport photos & a copy of the passport itself
Shorts – 1 or 2, lightweight pairs suitable for pretty much everything
A lightweight dress or 2
1 small cardigan/jumper – if on a bus or train with freezing air con you will be thankful for this
Sarong – useful for covering up in temples, for use as a beach towel or a lightweight blanket
Underwear and swimwear
A little travel towel
First aid kit
1 pair of slightly sturdier shoes
A few (3 or 4) t-shirt/vests
And that is really about it. Oh, and a good guide book.
I also have a little backpack that zips off the main pack, and I have a compass, notepad and pen in there. And usually a stash of edible goods for long journeys.
My backpack is usually about half full, or a little more. I leave plenty of room as I know I will buy plenty of stuff. The markets in Asia are amazing so I would hate to have to turn something down due to having no room!