Whether you’re planning a month long trip or year long stint around the world, you’re probably wondering what the heck to bring with you. Packing is a challenge (even for the most experienced travellers) but it gets easier the more you do it! This packing for travel checklist is perfect for any long term trip.
Choosing the Right Bag
Finding the right bag/suitcase can be stressful if you haven’t travelled much. When I started backpacking back in 2016, I looked for the biggest backpack I could get my hands on. I quickly realized that it’s SO much easier to have a small bag and less things with me. I find that after each long term trip, I decide to ditch my bag for a smaller one. I’m currently using a 45L backpack from Tortuga. I’ve been using this backpack for over 10 months straight now and it’s been great but I’m definitely going to swap it for just a carry-on sized bag (35L) soon.
Here are the features I look for in a backpack:
- Laptop pouch
- Water resistant
- Suitcase opening
Packing for Long Term Travel
You’ll find that you’ll pretty much need the same things for any trip between 1 month up to 1 year. Before you get caught up in the tiny details like packing all of your favourite toiletries to last months, for example, know that you’re going to have to give up some luxury when packing for a long trip. You’ll always be able to get what you need where you are (unless you’re planning a super remote trip) so you don’t need to worry too much about leaving something important behind.
Packing for Warm vs Cold Climates
What you bring with you will differ greatly depending on where you’re choosing to travel and during which seasons. I’d highly recommend travelling to countries that will mostly fall under one climate so you don’t have to worry much about packing for all seasons.
I can’t get enough of summer and warm weather so I chase the sun and go for places that will generally be between 20-35 degrees Celsius. With that being said, I’ve packed for cold trips around Canada and Iceland and can tell you that you need to account for more space when packing for cold climates. It’s also smart to invest in lightweight yet warm clothing if you’ll be in snowy or cold places.
The Ultimate Travel Packing Checklist
Let’s get into the nitty gritty! Here’s your packing for travel checklist:
✅ 2 sweaters (1 hoodie/cardigan, 1 jean jacket or thicker sweater)
✅ 1 windbreaker – Because you never know when you’re going to need it!
✅ 3 shorts – 1 denim and 2 lightweight ones.
✅ 2 pants – I usually go with leggings for flights/travel days and a pair of jeans but a pair of thin flowy pants are also a great option.
✅ 10 shirts – I’d suggest bringing mostly t-shirts/tanks and no more than 2 tops for going out.
✅ 3 workout sets – These are great if you’ll be hiking, exercising a lot on your trip or just for travel days.
✅ 4 dresses – 2 dresses that are good for beach cover ups/everyday dresses and 2 that you could wear on a night out, to wineries etc.
✅ 5 bikinis – You could definitely bring less but if you’re spending a lot of time in a warm country, I’d bring 5 bikinis.
✅ 2 PJ sets
✅ 1 hat – A bucket hat is always a good idea if you’re going to a warm destination 👌🏼
✅ 1 pair of running shoes
✅ 2 sandals (1 black & 1 white)
✅ 7 pairs of socks – If you’re going to warmer countries you can probably half this.
✅ 14 undies – Don’t skimp out on these! You might not be able to do laundry every week so having enough for 2 weeks is perfect.
Toiletries can take up the most room if you’re not careful! I try to bring as little as possible with me to optimize space.
✅ Shampoo & conditioner bars – The BEST for travel. I buy mine from Lush when I’m home or other shops as I’m travelling. One bar will last you around 3 months.
✅ Toothbrush & toothpaste – One thing I wish I had while travelling was a toothbrush cover. It would be great for when you want to pack your toothbrush for a flight or long train journey while keeping it clean.
✅ Moisturizer – Not 100% necessary to bring as you could buy it when you get to your destination but if you have a fave one at home and room in your luggage, it’s nice to have!
✅ Cleanser/Makeup remover – I’m not someone with a multi-step nightly routine but you WILL get grimy when you’re on a long trip and having some sort of cleanser is essential.
This is usually the heaviest part of packing but necessary to have – especially if you’re working abroad!
✅ Camera – I use a Canon Rebel t5i
✅ Power bank – Solar power is great because it makes it easier to re-charge on the go.
✅ Speaker – I always travel with the UE Wonderboom because of how small it is. It’s also affordable, waterproof and the sound is great for the size.
✅ Universal adapter – I didn’t have one for the longest time but it’s truly an essential if you’re going to be in multiple countries.
✅ Laptop & charger – If you have a Macbook, you can get travel adapters for your charger, that way you don’t have to use an adapter to charge your laptop every time. They can be a bit pricey (since it’s Apple) but I don’t regret the purchase!
These are all of the random items you should probably bring with you but aren’t 100% essential if you don’t have space. With that being said, I’d recommend bringing them all if you have room for it!
✅ First aid kit – I usually just travel with a couple of bandaids 😳 but don’t be like me. Come prepared because I’ve had to dig into other people’s first aid kits before.
✅ Day pack/tote bag – A day bag is the best! Whether you’re going on a hike, having a beach day or going to work at a cafe, it’s great to have a smaller bag to pack some things in for the day.
✅ Neck pillow – I recently got a neck pillow from Trtl & it’s the best one I’ve had. You can wash it and it will save you space!
✅ Packing cubes – This is a game changer for packing things tightly. You don’t have to buy new packing cubes either if you don’t have any. Just use any drawstring bag you may have laying around the house to organize your things.
✅ Fanny pack – Are you even a backpacker if you aren’t travelling with a fanny pack? The answer is no and you can’t tell me otherwise. I swear every backpacker has one and for a good reason – they’re incredibly useful!
✅ Hammock – Not essential but I met many people who had small camping hammocks from Amazon that they could use in a pinch if hostels were fully booked. It’s also great for beach days or if you’re just spending an afternoon at a park.
✅ Sleeping pills – You never know when you’re going to need to hop on an overnight train or bus and will struggle to fall asleep.
✅ Waterproof/dry bags – This can double as a laundry bag when you’re not using it for other things.
✅ Microfiber towel – They’re a little on the pricey side but 100% worth it! When you’re moving around frequently you’ll want a towel that dries quickly so you can pack it away.
✅ eSIM – I recently discovered eSIMs and it makes life a whole lot easier if you don’t know where to get a SIM card. You won’t get the best deals with data with these SIMs compared to going into a shop but if you’re in a pinch, it’s good to have.
So that concludes my packing for travel checklist! I’ll update this list as I continue to travel and leave things behind or find other helpful gadgets to bring along. I’m travelling full time as I work remotely and regularly post about where I am in the world and how you can live this lifestyle too. Check out my Instagram if you want to see more and follow along on TikTok for daily updates.
See you in the next blog!
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