A Packing List

We were a bit rushed while packing so this is my first chance to post in detail about what we’ve packed. When packing for a year, there are a few things you really have to remember. 1, you will have to sacrifice whatever standard of fashion/ cleanliness you usually maintain at home. I’m not saying you have to wear old rags, but when you’re out walking every day, comfort takes priority. It’s also unwise to pack certain items; excessive jewelry can get stolen and marks you as a person with a lot of money. Shorts and tank tops are inappropriate in some places, and jeans take a long time to dry. And finally, because we’re washing clothes in the sink, we may not be able to get them as clean as a machine can. (We’ll try to take trips to local laundromats when necessary.) Number 2, remember that you can buy things in other countries. Need more shampoo? Buy some along the way. And number 3, remember that you have to carry everything you pack.  I love the packing list by Doug Dyment at www.onebag.com. For ladies, I also like the advice at Journeywoman. First up, clothes. Here’s what I’m bringing:

All of our clothing excluding jackets and shoes

  • 3 tops: one T-shirt, one short-sleeve button-down, one long-sleeve button-down
  • 1 pair of pants
  • 1 pair of shorts (these will come in handy in Hawaii and Australia; I may ditch them later)
  • 1 skirt with detachable straps; when the straps are attached it becomes a dress
  • 1 set of lightweight pajamas (necessary in hostels)
  • 1 set of long underwear (the top can also be worn by itself as a T-shirt)
  • 1 tankini swimsuit (reversible!)
  • 2 bras
  • 3 pairs of underwear
  • 3 pairs of socks: 2 lightweight, 1 thick (for hiking)
  • 1 wide scarf; it can also button up to become a shawl and it is wide enough to be used as a blanket
  • 1 fleece jacket
  • 1 lightweight rain jacket (can fit over the fleece jacket if the weather is both cold and rainy)
  • 1 sun hat (also reversible!)
  • 1 pair waterproof hybrid sandals

I also need to pick up a pair of flip flops for hostel bathrooms, and a pair of sunglasses. I’ll get those somewhere along the way. Here’s what Bob’s got:

  • 2 long-sleeve button-down shirts (quick drying and moisture wicking)
  • 2 t-shirts (also quick drying and moisture wicking)
  • 2 pairs of underwear
  • 1 pair of slacks
  • 1 pair of shorts
  • 2 pairs of socks: 1 thick, 1 lightweight
  • 1 rain jacket with hood
  • 1 pair of rain pants
  • 2 pairs of shoes: 1 pair of hiking boots and 1 pair of waterproof hybrid sandals
  • 1 nylon cap
  • 1 bandana

We have all this; yet people keep asking if we have an iPhone

Technology: Although we’re not bringing a computer, we are bringing a few electronic devices. We’ve each got a camera and mp3 player (Bob loaded his with language-learning podcasts.) Also, we have a Kindle, where I’ve stored lots of books relevant to the countries we’re visiting. Bonus: it can connect to the Internet via a cellphone signal, so we’ll be able to send emails from it. The bag holds all the cords and chargers that make the things work, plus a memory stick and extra memory card. Finally, we have a set of of plug adapters. Yet since we’re traveling without an iPhone or netbook, other travellers and locals alike look at us as if we’re from the Stone Age. Just about any request for directions is met with “oh, there’s an app for your iPhone…” at which we have to explain that the only cellphone we have is a prepaid dumbphone from Wal-Mart. We’ll be ditching that when we leave the U.S.; I hope Kiwis and Aussies are more understanding.

Medicine: We went to Target one day and compiled our own first-aid kit. There were many pre-made kits for sale, but they all seemed to contain a ridiculous amount of Band-Aids. We decided to get:

A portable medicine cabinet

  • Ibuprofen
  • Allergy medicine (generic Benadryl and Sudafed)
  • Dramamine
  • Tums
  • Diarrhea medicine (generic Imodium)
  • Constipation medicine (generic Senekot)
  • Water purifying tablets (just in case)
  • Rehydration tablets (taste like a sports drink; just add water)
  • Neosporin
  • Anti-itch cream
  • Digital thermometer
  • Earplugs
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Band-Aids

The container is a makeup bag, also from Target; one side holds medicine while the other holds feminine products. The only major medicine missing is malaria tablets. We’ll try to pick those up in Australia.

Toiletries and laundry kit: The toiletries part was pretty easy. Doing laundry in the sink requires a few things, and a few just make your life easier. Toiletries are as follows:

  • Toothbrush with cover (each)

    Laundry kit and toiletries, ignore the stuff at the top

  • Razor with cover (each)
  • Deodorant (each)
  • Quick-dry travel towel
  • Nail clippers
  • Tweezers
  • Floss
  • Toothpaste
  • Multipurpose soap bar (also works as shampoo and shaving cream)
  • Hand lotion, lip balm, mascara, lip gloss (Katie only)


  • Universal sink stopper (necessary)
  • Detergent (necessary)
  • Bungee cord laundry line (probably not totally necessary, but much much better than drying your clothes on the floor)
  • 2 inflatable hangers, for ease of drying (nice to have)

Guidebooks: We have a few, for the first few countries on our trip. We’ll ditch/ trade these as we don’t need them anymore.

Our trusty backpacks

The things that hold things, clockwise from top left:

  • Bob’s 65 liter backpack (blue and gray)
  • Katie’s 42 liter backpack (red and gray)
  • Bob’s 18 liter daypack (black)
  • Money belts
  • Katie’s travel purse
  • Expandable tote bag (blue)
  • Pillowcases (the reason why is explained below)

Miscellaneous: We’re carrying a tent for the first part of our trip since we expect to use it a lot in Australia and New Zealand; we’ll probably send it back home after that. We each have a silk sleeping bag liner and a pillowcase. The sleeping bag liner is for camping as well as for hostels and guesthouses, who may not provide bedding or the bedding might look dirty. When we need a pillow, we can stuff the pillowcase with clothes. Voila! Instant bedding set. We also have colored pencils, a sketchbook each, a journal each, and playing cards. A cutlery set is useful when self-catering. Crosswords and sudoku puzzles help pass the time on planes. A sewing kit and duct tape fixes things that break. Umbrellas keep you dry and keep the sun off. Ziploc bags come in handy. Finally, the two most important things: passports and wallets!

Some random extras