It’s only 2 more days until I leave my friends, family and life in Melbourne to embark on 15 months of travel!
Yesterday, I finally got around to actually packing my bag. I’m pretty organised for my trip, so I’ve been avoiding doing anything when it comes to planning or organising for the last week.
The final book in a series I’ve been reading since I was 13 came out so I decided to do an epic 5000 page re-read of the whole series, and it was a perfect excuse to not have to be anxious about my looming departure. But now it has got to the point where I can’t avoid it. I’m a mix of nerves, anxiety and excitement. And somehow, packing my bag finally made it all seems so real!
Over the last two years I’ve devoured packing list after packing list. I wanted to pack perfectly and used any resource I could find to make the hard decisions about what to bring and what not to bring. Finally, a few months ago I realised that packing is a personal thing and I wasn’t going to be able to copy and paste a list from a random blog and be done with it.
I also realised that no matter how ‘cool’ packing carry-on only is, there was no way I could have done it. Most importantly, I realised that I didn’t want to swap a pair of jeans for some ugly hiking pants, or that I didn’t want to leave behind the large and heavy winter coat to help me survive European Winter.
So bare that in mind when reading this post. What works for me might not work for you!
First Decision: Backpack or Suitcase?
I don’t have the best posture, I don’t have much strength and I have issues with my back. But after lugging a huge suitcase over pebble stones, up flights of stairs, through metro barrier gates and onto buses, on a previous trip, I knew that a backpack was essential. Particularly as a solo travel, it is easier to do everything with a backpack than a suitcase.
Some people recommend the hybrid backpack with wheels bags, but when I went to try this on at the shop, I knew the weight would be too much. The wheels usually been another 2kg just in the bag and that means you’ll hardly ever wear that on your back anyways.
Second Decision: What size backpack? Carry On or Check in?
There seems to be a competition in the backpacking and blogging world about who can pack the lightest. Many of the packing lists I found argued that you could absolutely pack for a round the world trip with only a carry on bag.
If you are chasing the sun, and only going to be in warm climates than that is definitely true. The summer portion of my travelling wardrobe would easily fit into a carry on bag. If I was really savvy, I might even have been able to fit the winter clothes into a carry on bag if I was only going for colder climates. But given that I’ll be travelling in temperatures ranging from European winter to summer on the Greek Islands, I needed to pack both.
Thus there was really no way for me to squeeze everything into one carry on bag. Instead I decided to go with check in, whilst still trying to pack as light as possible.
I decided on the 55L Osprey Farpoint Backpack. My favourite thing about this pack is that it comes in women and men’s size, as well as a S/M and M/L. This means that I was finally able to find a backpack that was perfectly suited to my torso, ensuring that it was super comfortable on my back.
Because of the S/M size, my backpack is actually only 52L, and that is including the daypack. I don’t use the daypack as my carry on bag though; I attach it to my main backpack and use it for the extra space. This adds a level of versatility to this backpack, because it means I can pack lighter if I ever use this pack for a future trip that doesn’t encompass winter.
Best of all, Osprey backpacks are amazing quality. They have a lifetime guarantee and all they make are bags, so they are really good at it!
As expected, my winter wardrobe is about 75% of my clothes. I feel the cold really easy so I was willing to deal with a little bit of extra weight on my back if it meant I was going to be warm.
3 x thermal pants (these are great for added warmth under pants and jeans)
1 x jeans
2 x black pants (they don’t get as dirty and are amazing for more formal occasions)
1 x colourful lightweight pants
2 x black leggings (I always wear one on the plane)
1 x black cotton skirt (this is heavy enough to pair with stockings or thermals in winter, but also can be worn in summer)
3 x stockings
1 x PJ Pants (I absolutely know that they aren’t necessary, but I think getting into a pair of pajamas is great for my mental health, especially when I’m missing home).
1. Plain Long Sleeve T-Shirt Crew Neck/ 2. Icebreaker Women’s Oasis Long Sleeve Crewe/ 3. Dorothy Perkins Striped Jacket/ 4. Bonds Hoodie / 5. Woolovers Black Merino/Cashmere Blend Top / Not Pictured: Land’s End Down Commuter Coat
5 x long sleeved cotton or wool tops (white, black, striped, blue)
1 x casual black zip up hoodie
1 x merino/cashmere black jumper
1 x black and white stripped lightweight coat
1 x black down jacket (this one is a super warm top layer)
1 x black hat
2 x beanies (black and green/blue)
1 x umbrella
1 x oversized ombre scarf (this is great to double as a blanket)
5 x heavy wool socks
5 x light weight socks (as a second layer, I usually double my socks to avoid blisters and keep my feet warm).
7 x dresses
This is where I’m probably being a tad bit excessive but I don’t care. They are my favourite thing to wear.
Two of these dresses are long sleeved enough that with some leggings and a long sleeved shirt underneath, I can wear them in winter.
One of these dresses is moisture wicking and perfect for long walks, as well as being that tad bit longer for when I want to be conservative.
Most of these dresses can be dressed up and down which means I can wear them for nights out with friends, but also when I’m exploring during the day.
T-shirts and Shorts
4 x t-shirts (2 of these are more formal, the other 2 are pretty casual)
3 x shorts (2 x sport shorts, 1 x dressy shorts)
- Sportsgirl Cap / 2. Panache Annalise Bathing Suit (with in built bra support) / 3. Havaianas / Not Pictured: Sportsgirl Sunglasses
1 x bathing suit
1 x pair of thongs (In Australia we call them thongs; everyone else calls them flip flops)
1 x cap
1 x sunglasses
I pack a heap of underwear, I don’t count them, it’s usually whatever fits in the room I have left. Underwear is not something I’m willing to only pack five of like some people recommend! I also pack two bras and wear one.
And no you aren’t seeing photos of them 😛
This might seem like a lot of stuff, but it all fits into these four packing cubes which keep me super organised. It also means I can separate my summer and winter wardrobe. Hence the summer packing cube won’t be opened for a while!
I have the Eagle Creek ones.
1 x hiking boots
1 x hiking sandals
1 x foldable flats
(see this post for why I travel with these shoes)
1 x Lush Soap
1 x Toothbrush
1 x Toothpaste
1 x Hairbrush
Lots of Hair Ties
Face Products (O-Cosmedics Exfoliator Cleanser, Moisturiser)
First Aid Kit (see this post for what I put in it)
It’s not just clothes that take up room in your book, its all the bits and bobs you carry with you to make travel easier and more enjoyable.
Electronics (and related)
1 x Macbook Pro
1 X Sony A600 Mirrorless Camera with 16-55mm lens
1 x gorilla pod tripod (these are so small and lightweight; perfect for travel)
1 x Kindle (I’ve already talked about how essential this is to my travels)
1 x Iphone (unlocked so I can put any sim in it)
1 x Ipod (I take an Ipod becaue it has more room than my Iphone and it means I don’t use as much battery when listening to music)
1 x Beats Headphones (I have the smaller version which are perfect for travel)
1 x power pack (I seriously don’t want to be stuck in the middle of the city without a way to charge my phone)
Charges for all of these things
1 x travel powerboard (this has two usb sockets and two power sockets, super essential given how few power points you sometimes find in a hostel)
1 x adapters (so that all of my Aussie things work)
1 x Butterfox electronics case (for storing all of my cords)
To Help Me Sleep
1 x eyemask
Heaps of earplugs
1 x mummy liner (this is amazing for keeping warm on transport and for when you are faced with gross sheets)
To Keep Me (And My Things) Safe
1 x Vigilante Personal Security Alarm (basically an electronic rape whistle, it’s one way I can put myself in the too hard basket if I’m in a sticky situation)
1 x retractable lock (for locking my luggage to a hard object; perfect for overnight trains or buses)
1 x TSA approved lock (so they aren’t cut off)
1 x Travel Insurance Policy from InsureforLess
To Keep Track Of My Travels
1 x travel diary
1 x small notebook
1 x large notebook (for sticking all of my tickets into it)
Passport, print out of online train tickets, print out of my insurance policy etc
Am I Missing Anything?
What is your ultimate packing item? What would you recommend adding to the list? Want to know why a particular item is there and why I vouch for it? Comment below!
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