Trying to figure out what to pack for a long term trip can be vexing.
Space is limited and you can only bring as much as you can carry. You never want to over pack and then lug around pounds of useless clothes and items. Conversely, there are a few items that you certainly don’t want to leave behind, so finding and striking a proper balance can be tricky.
Here are our individual packing lists, based on our experiences. We’ve been on the road for just about three years now, and trust us, there is a lot of trial and error involved in discovering what was necessary, and what was simply taking up space. We have both discarded items that we left home with, and purchased new stuff we discovered we needed, while on the road.
We hope that the below his and hers packing lists help you prepare for your long term travel adventure!
Table of Contents
Randi’s Packing List For Long Term Travel
This was my first time planning and packing for an extended backpacking trip. My large backpack is 65 liters and I also have a 29 liter daypack. All of the items in my packing list are contained in these two packs as well as the items in the first aid list.
Items I have found to be highly useful include: flip flops (not just for the beach but also to wear in the shower at hostels), the headlamp, my hiking pants which convert into shorts have been invaluable while traveling from one location to the next because of the long zipper pockets…not something you usually get in women’s shorts/pants. The travel soap box is also very useful for hostel showers. The hoodie is good for flights and bus rides with strong air conditioning. Lots and lots of underwear is, in my opinion, an absolutely necessity for female travelers. For more on what to pack, check out our article on Essential Travel Items for Women.
- Sierra Designs Women’s Jubilee 65 Backpack (Ocean)
- Women’s The North Face Recon Backpack
- 5 tank tops
- 1 3/4 sleeve shirt
- 1 lightweight sweater
- 1 long sleeve hoodie t-shirt
- 3 pairs shorts
- 1 pair Capri pants
- 2 bikinis
- 12 pairs underwear
- 3 bras, 1 sports bra
- 6 pairs socks
- rain jacket
- 1 beach sarong
- hiking boots
- Converse sneakers
- toiletry bag
- shampoo and conditioner
- soap case
- travel toothbrush holder
- dental floss
- Argan oil
- razor/bikini trimmer
- toenail/fingernail clippers
- body lotion
- lip balm
- Kindle, case
- travel yoga mat
- debit cards
- notebook and pen
- dry bag
- roll of 100 yards shade cord
- LifeStraw water bottle
- sewing kit
- vaccine yellow book
- glasses and case
Michael’s Packing List
I like to keep things simple when I pack. Less is truly more. You don’t want to resemble a mule bogged down with 40 pounds of gear when you are walking around 90 degree weather in full on humidity (maybe you do, if you’re weird like that…or a Marine). I don’t think there is anything absolutely ESSENTIAL other than a headlamp and earplugs since you can buy most of what you need on the road. I have a 60 liter backpack and a 31 liter day pack. Inside the day pack I have a small 5 liter satchel for a bit of extra bag space on certain excursions. Inside the satchel I have 10 plastic zip lock bags, the sort with a lil zipper thingy. They can come in real handy in random situations.
Without further ado here is what I decided to bring.
- 60 liter backpack
- The North Face Big Shot Day Backpack
- 6 t-shirts, including one essential, to me, New York Knicks Carmelo Anthony t-shirt
- 1 pair of jeans (Levi’s in case I need to trade them for a mule or something. Seriously people overseas love Levi’s.)
- 2 pair hiking pants. I get the cut off type, and make sure I have at least one side zipper pocket for money and some cards. This is pretty key to my feeling secure in crowded areas where pickpockets like to operate.
- 1 pair board shorts
- 1 light weight hoodie
- 6 pairs of socks
- 6 pair various underwear
- rain jacket (you’re fine with a poncho, and you can buy them anywhere it rains for cheap)
- 1 Outer shell hiking jacket
- 1 Inner shell wind proof insulator
- hiking sneakers
- 1 pair sneakers
- 1 pair flip flops
- 1 Phone Charger w/ phone of course. I tested a lot of phones and am currently using a Galaxy S4, due to its incredible camera.
- Shock resistant lightweight laptop case
- USB Sticks
- 2 spare USB cables, various sizes
- Canon PowerShot Digital Camera
The Canon served us well for the first year of our travels. It’s a great little camera but we decided we had to upgrade to something professional that takes better images and purchased the Nikon D3200 SLR Camera. It’s a pretty basic DSLR with a very affordable price tag, and is a great intro camera into the art of photography.
- 1 Pocket knife
- 1 Leatherman Tool (incase I need to extract some of Randi’s teeth at some point. Or open up my laptop for repairs.)
- 2 Moleskine notebooks
- 3 Pens
- 3 Lighters
- 100′ roll of nylon paracord
- 1 3M Utility Duct Tape
- toiletry bag crammed with all the usual stuff (plus one can of the foulest smelling Axe Body spray for the times when you can’t get get the stink out).
First Aid Kit
- 1 box band aids, various sizes, waterproof
- 1 roll gauze
- 2 ace bandages
- 1 pair surgical gloves
- alcohol wipes
- triple antibiotic cream
- Emergen-C Super Orange
- 2 rolls oral rehydration packets
- 3 bottles DEET Bug Spray
- 3 bottles sunscreen
- 1, 500 count bottle of Ibuprofen
- 1, 24 count bottle anti-diarrhea tablets
Make sure to check out Randi’s Essential Travel Items for Women, including some more packing tips for the ladies!
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19 thoughts on “Packing Lists For Long Term Travel – His & Hers”
This is great, and so similar to mine! I’m wondering how you decided which water filter to get? I’m looking to buy my first, and there are so many variables, it’s hard to decide what’s best! Thanks for the help! (I’m also very tempted to get that iPad keyboard case!!)
In terms of additions, I like to carry a travel laundry line — it takes up very little space, and always seems to come in handy. Also, as a solo female traveler, I like to travel with pepper spray, although that means always checking my luggage. I’m also splurging on a solar charger to have just in case. Very excited for the flexibility it will offer!
Thanks for visiting our site. I’m glad you found the packing list helpful.
We picked to LifeStraw because of the small size, the fact that it doesn’t use any chemicals, and because you can drink directly from a water source using the straw.
I think the travel laundry line is a great idea. That’s just one of the many things we’ve used the nylon cord for.
What trip are you planning for? 😀
It is amazing see your pictures around the world. I always visit your page, but I never made a comment. Seeing you doing this things is like a fresh air in my day. I hope one day, I can travel like you.
Thank you for the comment and for following us on our adventure! Where do you want to go when you do set off on your own adventure? 😀
Could not agree more – less is more! I try to remember that every time I am going away, but I have a feeling that my luggage is growing during the way to the destination. I am not full time traveler, but I do travel as much as I am able to and still try not to over pack – well, not great results every time, but I will try to improve! I am going to Crete for a week in September and I restricted myself to the hold bag only – I intend to pack very light! Keep your fingers crossed for me!
What will you bring with you in the carry on?
I am curious. I see you have a couple of knives and a leatherman on your list. I have to assume that means you check one of your bags, correct? I have been reading a lot of travel blogs and find that most of them do carry-on only when they travel, but if you need to bring any kind of knives or tools, that isn’t possible.
I ask because I hope to start traveling eventually. I make jewelry and plan to bring my little case of tools which are sharp and probably would not make it through security in a carry-on. I assume I will have to check a bag when I travel.
We do indeed check our two larger bags. Since most of our travel involves buses and trains we don’t worry as much about having to pay a checked baggage fee and if we do fly we always calculate that into the cost when we are comparing flight prices.
Although we haven’t had any problems with our knives/leatherman in the checked bags I have heard stories of these types of objects being confiscated at some airports around the world. So, I’d suggest not taking anything with you that is too valuable which will be packed in your checked bag.
Hope this helps! Let us know if you have any more questions.
My backpack is 60 liters and it looks stuffed. How do you get to fit it all in I wonder? I take about the same amount of stuff, slightly more clothing, 1 pair of shoes less.
I tend to roll all of my clothing and that helps with space. One of the reasons I love my big pack so much is because it has a bunch of different compartments that are great for organizing everything and getting the most out of the space inside the pack.
Also, I strap my yoga mat to the outside of my bag. With the rain cover on it is secure there for travel. It has even made it through overseas flights without an issue.
Hopefully that info helps but if you have any more questions please let us know!
Great packing list!
Some countries, such as Cuba, have many cobblestone areas, especially round thier city centers, so it would better to travel light in order to reach your destination on time
Hi Michael. I really appreciate this packing list. It has given me some great ideas.
About 15 years ago, I switched from sneakers to leather walking shoes. Since I walk a lot when I travel, and most of my walking is on city streets, I found my feet were getting quite sore after 4-5 hours in sneakers. I resisted spending what I consider to be a lot of money ($160), but I finally gave in and bought a pair of Ecco slip-ons. Besides being incredibly comfortable (I used them as my daily walker when I lived in New York-put a lot of miles on them), they are versatile enough to wear with jeans, or dress pants. My first pair lasted 10 years (I still use them for walking the dog). My second pair are about a year old, and made our recent trip to France much nicer.
I also roll my clothes to save space, but I put everything into packing cubes which makes life so much easier.
As far as the stink goes, I had never thought of Axe! That stuff is so nasty that it has to work. I use wipes (Huggies are available in bulk and unscented, or Wet Ones come in individual packets) to keep the odors down.
Having your affiliate links go directly to putting the item in your cart is a pretty slimy thing to do. Why not just link to the item so folks can see what it is without putting it into a cart?
I’m not sure that is even possible?? Can you let us know which link(s) you had this issue with? Either way, the link is certainly not meant to do that. Apologies.
You pack mainly the way I do.
Hello! I am a 55+ traveller, my husband and I venture out to Southeast Asia every other year or so. Our last trip included Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and India.
We never check in our luggage, and so the last small pack I took weighed 14 pounds, and included everything I needed. Riding the trains in India is a great adventure, but one that cannot be encumbered by a lot of unnecessary stuff!
Very handy lists. I’m a little concerned that a lot of my essentials are on the ‘hers’ list! I need to move over to Kindle too, I’ve been resisting for too long and carted too many books around the world.
One item i found essential in Thailand a few
Years back was a sink / bath plug.
Few places, certainly more in the wilderness,
Did not seem to retain them!