I am asked frequently about how I pack for a long trip, especially for an Around the World trip. I will admit that my husband has it a little bit easier than I do when he packs, but he is also very used to living out of a suitcase, so I think that experience helps him to prepare differently than I do. We are about to leave on another long trip, and as I am getting prepared, I thought I could share my experience.
Check the Weather
On our upcoming trip we will be going to a wide variety of destinations. Our coldest stop is going to be Peru or New Zealand with average temperatures at this time of year being 37°F-66°F, our warmest stop is going to be Israel with a temperature range from 78°F-95°F. Most of our stops will be in the comfortable 60’s to 80’s. But because of the highs and lows, we will have to bring everything from shorts to winter coats.
Pick Your Bag
Josh and I travel with one carry-on size bag each, and one backpack each. I pack in a carry-on sized bag from Walmart, and a camera/laptop backpack. My backpack carries my DSLR Nikon, lenses, nook, MacBook, and all of my cords.
We pack in these four small bags for several reasons.
Different Airlines. Different Rules.
Going around the world, we will be flying a number of different airlines. Each airline has its own rules, including luggage fees. We would probably have to pay a lot of baggage fees if we have to check our bags on every flight.
Where are my clothes?
Sometimes your checked bag won’t make it onto your plane with you. If you are flying between two countries, connecting in a third, maybe even a fourth country, there’s a lot of potential for your bag to get left behind you or go on without you if you get stuck somewhere. There’s also the potential for your bag to be lost for a longer period of time. I have heard a number of stories of people traveling to a different country and the bag arriving days later, or even months later (in an extreme case). Carry-on is always with you, making your trip that much more secure.
Up the stairs.
Sometimes you will have to carry your bag. It may be a rough street, it may be up flights of stairs, but along the way you will carry it. If I packed a bag that was any bigger than my carry-on, I wouldn’t be able to carry it. My carry-on sized bag is still heavy for me to carry, but I can guarantee than I would be in a heap of trouble if I was trying to catch a subway or get my luggage to an upstairs room without an elevator and I had a larger bag.
Make a list
Within my two bags I have to place enough clothes to last me at least a week. Josh and I didn’t do sink laundry on our last trip. There are a lot of laundry facilities available in hotels along the way, so we plan to do laundry at least every 7 or 8 days. I am also a little bit tech-oriented, so my backpack is almost entirely filled with all of my electronic goodies.
The keys to my clothes packing this trip have been to find multipurpose clothes and shoes. The pajamas I packed were t-shirts and short, both of which I could also wear during the day if need be. I packed buttoned shirts that I can wear with sleeves long or rolled up. I packed a pair of white running shoes that look dressy enough to go with anything. I tried to pack a variety of shirts as well as a variety of pants. I packed more clothes for this trip than I had our previous around the world trip because I ended up buying a shirt on our last trip, I had packed unevenly. That is also another option when packing for a long trip: shop on the road. If you would like to wear what the locals are wearing, pack less and buy clothing along the way.
You can look at my entire packing list here.
Read more about packing:
I have used several websites to help refine my packing for a long trip like this. If you would like to read more about the art of long-trip packing, check out these sites.