You Pack It, You Carry It

Packing in preparation for a year away was a daunting task. In the past I had found that packing always took as long as I let it take. Not wanting to waste too much time, I left all the packing until the day before my flight.

This was a bad idea.

Although I did get everything packed, it was a close call. I spent much of Christmas Day, a day traditionally spent lazing in pajamas and watching old movies with my family, racing around my house, cramming bags, and throwing away garbage bags of trash. I should have started the week before.

Here is what I had laid out to take with me:

Whoever said to take half the clothes and twice the money was right. I ended up with two-thirds of this pile in my packs.

The final tally for the big pack was 27 lbs/12 kg and the daypack was 5 lbs/2kg.

By the end of the first week, I threw out half of what I had. Having the extra space made it easier to find things inside the bag without having to dump everything out on the floor. Having a zipper along the length of the backpack was also key, since I could then access the top and bottom areas of the bag.

The key items to keep accessible were the flipflops, raincoat, map/guidebooks, sunscreen, flashlight, toilet paper roll and hand sanitizer. I made sure to keep them in the top pocket or front pouch all the time.

For flights, I zipped my backpack inside a long duffel bag; that way the straps were not loose. The duffel bag was great, since I could also lock it shut when I left my bags alone in the hostels. I could also roll it up and clip it to the side of the backpack when not in use. Plus, at the end of the trip, I used it as a second piece of luggage for souvenirs.

Here are a few key resources I used to sort out what to pack and what to leave behind:

The Universal Packing List: generates a packing list based on the specifics of your trip. I found it gave a good overall list of things you may/may not need while traveling.

Round-The-World Travel Guide: comprehensive online guidebook on how to travel long-term around the world. This was incredibly useful in laying out a general checklist of everything to get in order before leaving and for organizing the trip.

Journeywoman: “What She Should Wear, Where” and “Guide to Packing” gave great advice on what to pack and what clothing is appropriate in different cultures.

One thought on “You Pack It, You Carry It

  1. Pingback: You Pack It, You Carry It | sameskiesabove's Blog

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