Packing…Wish list meets reality check

If I had a Merry Poppins bag — you know, her old carpetbag that was a perfectly average size on the outside, but seemed to be bottomless on the inside — oh wait! Better yet, if I had a TARDIS, not only could I take as many pairs of shoes as I wanted, but I could also cut out transportation and accommodation costs…and entrance fees as well using a bit of psychic paper…oh wait, i definitely just got way off track and started geeking out over Doctor Who. Let me start again…

If I had a Merry Poppins bag, traveling would be so much easier.  I could take clothes for all sorts of weather, shoes for every occasion, all my jewelry and makeup (not that it’s much), and could load up on souvenirs for family and friends without having to worry about how I was going to get it back to the states, or if I even could.

Buuut I don’t have a Merry Poppins bag so I’m forced to be a bit more realistic when it comes to my packing list.

I will say this before I start on the pros and cons of certain travel items. The one thing I’ve learned from my previous long term travels is that if you use something all up, if it rips, if you forgot to pack it, if it breaks, you have 2 choices. Live without it…or replace it. My first few trips, I was very against replacing anything…and I have no clue why. I wanted everything I brought to last me till the end of my trip…but why? I saw that things could easily be replaced. I was aware that shampoo, conditioner, soap, and razors were readily available.  I knew that every market had cheap shirts, sarongs, flip flops to fill the gaps in my luggage when i lost my flip flops to the sea of the coast of Belize, forgot a sarong a hostel in Costa Rica, destroyed a ratty old shirt hiking up a volcano in Guatemala.  Instead, I made due with what I had for no reason. Maybe I was punishing myself for not taking better care of my things.  Maybe I was trying to be a more “authentic” backpacker (though I was about authentic as they come — took local tuk-tuks and chicken buses everywhere, slept in hostel dorm rooms, or hammocks, survived on street food whenever I could).  Maybe I just wanted to push my limits, see how “roughin it” I could go.  In the end, I realized it was dumb.  I should have just replaced what needed to be replaced, and moved on with my life.

This time will be different.  This time, I won’t care so much about the silly little things that make it hard for me to see the forest for all the trees.

So, back to packing….I’ll divide this up the best I can into sections. i.e. toiletries together, shoes, tops, bottoms, etc.


  • one small packable backpack (already have this)
  • one large, internal frame backpack with rainguard (Have this, well not with the rainguard but i *think* that it is waterproof, 52 liter)


  • passport and photocopy
  • driver’s license and photocopy
  • immunization record and photocopy
  • check card for a saving account with no foreign atm fees and photocopy
  • credit card with a travel rewards system and no foreign transaction fees and photocopy
  • extra passport/visa photos
  • all necessary visas for the first year and photocopies
  • general itinerary, any hotel, transportation, accommodation, or activity confirmation

Med Kit

  • bacitracin
  • bandaids
  • moleskin
  • small bottle of ibuprofen
  • a few doses of day/nyquil
  • small ace bandage
  • tweezers
  • small container of arnica or tiger balm
  • stomach medicine
  • itch stick
  • any prescriptions


  • 2 quick dry towels
  • 2 washcloths
  • soap
  • shampoo/conditioner in airport friendly sizes (make friends with people who are at the end of their trip…they often have shampoo/conditioner that they are trying to get rid of and will let you refill your mini bottles. 🙂 good for your wallet, good for the environment!)
  • a razor
  • toothbrush
  • toothpaste
  • small face wash
  • sunscreen stick (those things last forever and bc it’s a solid, doesn’t take up space in your liquids airport baggie. Holla!)
  • makeup (for me, this means a tube of mascara, bronzer, an eyeshadow pot with maybe 4 shades including a higlighter and a dark i can use for eyeliner, an eyeliner pencil, burts bees tinted lip balm, and a concealer crayon)
  • hair stuff (comb, hair ties, bobbypins, perhaps a headband)
  • glasses, contacts and case, solution, extra contacts
  • tide pen for clothing stains

Clothes (ahhh now we get tricky…i try to make sure I can use each piece of clothing in at least 3 different outfits)

  • black maxi dress (it has long rope straps that allow it to be worn several ways, even as a long skirt)
  • anthropology dress (just because I love it, but i’ve also figured out how I can drape it so it’s a tunic)
  • super thin lightweight scarf dress (great as a beach cover up or even a nightgown, but throw on a belt and some wedges or cute flats and you’re ready to go out)
  • thin white button up blouse (wear it mainly as a layering piece, but can be worn on its own with shorts, pants, skirts)
  • 1 pair bright pink skinny jeans
  • 1 pair of high(ish) waisted black skinny jeans
  • lightweight close fitting grey yoga pants (can wear as pants, to sleep in, under skirt or shorts as tights, can be bunched up to the knees)
  • 1 pair long jean shorts
  • 1 pair black and white cotton running shorts (i will mostly use them to sleep in, but could actually wear them out)
  • 1 skirt
  • long sleeved navy thin sweater (long enough to be worn as a tunic over my grey leggings)
  • coral short sleeved t shirt
  • loose neon yellow tank
  • loose neon purple tank
  • a cami or 2 (maybe one black, one light blue?)
  • rain jacket
  • my black leather jacket (love that thing so much, just couldn’t leave it at home!)
  • bikini
  • 1 sports bra
  • 3 bras
  • 8 pair underwear
  • 3 pairs of socks
  • scarf (can be used to cover up at religious sights, as a sarong, as a headband, etc)


  • flat, gold, gladiator sandals
  • flip flops (take that hostel bathrooms! also good for the beach)
  • waterproof Keene low-top hiking sneakers
  • denim flats
  • I’m also debating bringing a pair of slouchy, flat, grey boots that I could wear in Europe and pitch before I get to Australia and a pair of wedges…though to be honest, I don’t really need either pair. Lol depends on how much room I have…


  • multi tool pocket knife
  • head lamp
  • small mess kit with spork and bowl (it came in handy in central america, but I’m debating bringing this bc of space constraints)
  • camera
  • i pad mini (don’t have yet)
  • all necessary cords, chargers, adapters
  • cheap waterproof watch with alarm
  • journal, pens, pencils
  • sewing kit
  • ductape
  • earplugs
  • hidden money belt

4 thoughts on “Packing…Wish list meets reality check

  1. This packing list looks very similar to the one I created just a few days ago! I only plan on going RTW for 3 months, but it’s hard trying to decide what to take and what should get left behind. I’m looking at taking the Osprey Porter 46 backpack to prevent myself from overpacking! As for the makeup, the only difference with my list, is that I’m taking a foundation and a powder instead of a bronzer. I really enjoyed reading and relating to your list. Happy travels~

    • Aww thank you so much! I’m getting closer to my start date so I’ll probably be revising the list soon…I’ve been testing out the pieces on the list to see if they are really going to work as well as I think they will for my trip and I’ll definitely be making a few changes. I looooovvvve my Flash 52 pack. I don’t think I’d be able to do a 46, so awesome job! You must be a really efficient packer!
      Cheers, kat

  2. Looks like a very well thought out list I can’t really think of anything you’re missing. As for the backpack I really like my Deuter ACT lite 40+10L its small enough to carry on buses and sometimes planes that way I can always keep an eye on it (and never have to worry about it falling of the top of a Chicken Bus). My wife is using a Gregory 38L its a bit too small but still does the job. We are 5 months into our RTW trip and have had zero issues with our bags. Safe travels and keep us posted!

    • Thanks! My new 52 liter is waaayyy smaller than anything I’ve had before so it’ll be interesting to see how this pans out…I have a daypack too, but I’m hoping to at least start my trip with everything in my main pack. Might be a little difficult since I currently have 6 pairs of shoes I want to bring…lol your wife may understand that…BTW, where have you been/are you going? Thanks for the comment!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: