What do I pack? How do I pack it? What will I need?
I like to keep things simple, efficient, and happy.
Therefore, when my dreams of backpacking Europe finally came to fruition via an offer to go on tour with my friend’s band… my first step was selecting a proper backpack. My only requirement was that it had to be carry on compliant with the plane regulations (to avoid costly baggage fees). I did a quick Google search and within a few minutes I choose the Osprey Farpoint 40 based on the reviews I read. It was an investment of about $150 but it was WELL worth it! It’s comfortable, well organized, durable, and small enough to take on planes.
For long term travel, it is ideal to have the philosophy of – “THE LESS THE BETTER”. Unless you are going to some remote location, you most likely will have access to purchase items you may come to need along the way. I can’t tell you how many times over the last 5 months I went to go buy something and then realized I didn’t really NEED it… I just wanted it.
So yes… you will have to wear the same clothes over and over and over again. BUT — the pay off is that you will not be doing or seeing the same things over and over and over again! You will be on a worldwide adventure! I don’t know about you but I would take the latter any day.
The 2 Rules I followed when packing:
- Pack “toss away” clothing – stuff that if it got ripped or lost it wouldn’t be a big deal
- Pack multipurpose clothing (stuff that can be mixed and matched)
Here is a complete list of what was in my backpack & on my body when I left the USA in April 2014.
- 1 pair skinny jeans (Forever 21 – $7 – they are still going strong!)
- 1 pair gym leggings (Under Armour – retail $90 (I got them for $45) – they are thicker and nice quality)
- 1 pair black leggings ($5 – bought them at Ross I think? or somewhere cheap like that)
- 2 stretchy layering tanks ($10 each at Target – 1 black and 1 tan)
- 1 black cotton v-neck t-shirt($5 at Target)
- 1 black belted casual dress with 3/4 sleeves ($15 at Target)
- 2 fitted shirt dresses ($5 each at Forever 21 – 1 red, 1 blue)
- 1 black sleeveless dress (under $10 at Ross)
- 1 black long sleeve button-less cardigan thingy ($20 at Tj Maxx)
- 1 silky shirt (leopard (not really my fave) but it was Michael Kors and I found it for $7!)
- 3 Scarves (white, leopard, green/blue infinity)
- 1 bikini ($10 at Forever 21, black of course)
- 1 tan jacket w/ hood (lightweight) – I found it at a consignment shop a while back.
- 5 pairs socks (3 ankle and 2 trouser)
- 5 pairs underwear ($5 each at Target)
- 1 sports bra
- 1 regular bra
- Black flats (shoes – Target $20)
- Sneakers (Under Armour)
- Knee high brown boots (Chaps from Kohl’s $40)
- 1 quick dry towel ($20 from sports store)
- Accessories – 1 necklace, 1 ring (and I wear a simple gold knot ring everyday)
- Make up bag (Mascara, eye shadow palette, liquid eye liner, bronzer/blush, eye lash curler, lip stick, lip gloss, make up wipes)
- Toiletry bag (deodorant, hair brush, red nail polish, toothbrush, floss, ear plugs, sleep mask, headband/bobbypin/hair ties, vaseline)
- “Medicine” bag (ib profen, tums, pepto tablets, hydrocortisone cream, tweezers, nail clippers, shoelaces, small First Aid kit)
- Combination lock (for locking my backpack when traveling)
- Lap Top w/ charger
- Iphone w/ charger and ear phones
- Outlet adapter
- Book – The Big Trip by Lonely Planet
- 1 black purse/day bag (for ID, passport, small wallet, phone, etc…)
- 1 refillable/durable water bottle (24 oz)
I organized it all in my backpack using packing cubes and small zippered bags. EVERYTHING has it’s place – which has allowed me to not lose anything since I’ve been traveling!
I’m happy to report that five months later and I have made it through just fine with minimal purchases!
I received a hoodie jacket from Suburban Legends when I was on tour with them. So that has been an addition that has stayed with me.
I also purchased a few items at Primark (a cheap clothing store) – 2 tank tops, 2 sundresses, cotton shorts, leggings, and flip flops. I’ve tossed the boots (which got beat up on tour in England) and most stuff from Primark after my stay on Tenerife (I was going to Ireland for the fall so didn’t bring the strictly summer items).
Obviously I’ve had to buy some shampoo, toothpaste, and other bits along the way….
I have been temped many times to purchase things… but when I TRULY evaluate if I need a certain item… the answer is usually NO!
Here are a few tips when packing:
- Don’t pack a lot of black – I thought it was a good idea. It’s not. You will look like you are going to a funeral. Pack patterns instead. Good to hide dirt if need be haha!
- Buy good underwear that is fast drying. Just do it.
- Bring perfume. Because no one likes a stinky traveler.
- Organization is key – Have a specific place for everything and stick to it. It will make it easy to pack and unpack!
Happy Travels Everyone!