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Backpacking around the world for a year! How amazing would that be? Just think of all the places you could visit in a year, the people you would meet and activities you would get up to.
Wait, wait! Suddenly it’s hit you … how much planning is this going to take? Seems a little daunting doesn’t it? How can you possibly pack for a year’s travel? Where do you start?
It’s not as daunting as you think; it just takes some preplanning and some great packing skills to ensure you have the things you will need on your trip.
Research and planning is everything
You would have put some thorough thought into your destinations for your yearlong travel. You will know what kind of weather conditions to expect for each location based on the time of the year that you will be there. This is not a one week trip, so be sure to do your research properly if you haven’t.
Let’s look at essential items you will need for your travels.
The smaller your backpack the better! Yes you can fit more items into a large 75 litre backpack, but remember, you have to carry this with you everywhere you go. A large backpack is fine at the airport but not great when you are trying to get on an overcrowded bus going to your next destination.
2. Travel Wallet
A travel wallet is essential for keeping all your important documents safe. Tickets, money, driver’s license, travel itinerary or photos of loved ones. Make sure you have copies of all your other important documents stored elsewhere as well.
3. Essential Clothing
Clothes although often fairly light can take up plenty of space. Remember, you can replace items while you are in other countries. Below are some ideas; you will have to make your own decisions! Consider taking the following:
- Two T-shirts (make sure at least one is cotton or polyester that will remove sweat from the body). These will also dry quickly after washing. You can include a polo shirt if you wish.
- One long sleeve shirt. The long sleeves provided added protection against a hot sun, strong winds or biting insects. The front pocket also comes in handy for storing loose change.
- One lightweight down or fleece jacket. These can fold up very small thus taking up little space. You might consider a rain proof jacket as well. If you will be travelling to a colder destination as part of your travels only buy those clothing items en-route, never take bulky clothing items with you when you will only need them months down the line.
- Two pairs of pants. They should be made from quick drying materials and one should be a slightly heavier pair for cooler weather. A word of advice, leave your jeans at home, no matter how difficult it seems! They will take up too much space and are not comfortable in hotter climates.
- For the ladies, wrap around skirts are a must, especially in Asia. Pack a thin lace cardigan as well to cover up when entering religious shrines and temples.
- When it comes to underwear, well that comes down to the personal preference of the traveller. For men three to six pieces should suffice. Ladies, we will let you decide! Remember, you can wash them on your travels. Choose quick drying examples.
- Pack in swimwear if you will use it, otherwise leave it out.
- Take at least four to six pairs of socks. Remember to keep them clean to avoid any fungal problems. Again, get socks that will dry quickly.
- When packing your clothing, try rolling it up to save space.
Shoes can make or break your trip. Unless you are planning on hiking in a mountainous terrain do not pack hiking boots! The only shoes you should need are a pair of sandals/vented shoes and a pair of trainers. You might consider buying a pair of flip-flops in one of the countries you travel to if you need them.
5. Medical Kit
Make your own medical kit and fill it with the following:
- Lip salve
- Flu tablets containing a decongestant
- Throat lozenges
- Plasters and bandages
- Anti-septic cream
- Diarrhoea tablets
- Hand rub (alcohol based)
- Cream for insect bites
- Anti-fungal cream
Remember you will be able to replenish your kit on your travels.
6. Washing/Body Grooming Kit
Make your own washing kit and fill it with the following:
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Sanitary pads
- Nail clipper and tweezers
You will need to wash your clothes while travelling, but purchase washing powder in the countries you visit.
7. Electronic Items
Electronic items are essential for your trip, from recording your adventure to helping you through a boring train journey.
Some things you could consider are:
- MP3 music player
- Video recorder
- Kindle book reader
- Mobile phone
You can’t take them all with you and remember to get comprehensive insurance on these items as thieves often target them. A solution however comes in the form of a smart phone that can cover most of the duties performed by the above devices. It can also be used as a GPS, currency converter and a calculator and will usually be kept on you at all times, making it a safer option.
8. Miscellaneous Items
The following items will be very useful to have on your travels.
- Quick drying towel
- Water bottles or camel back
- Sarong (it has multiple uses ladies)
- Travel knife, fork, spoon and bowl
- Sleeping sack (takes up much less space than a sleeping bag)
Ultimately you will have to decide what you need to take with and what you need to leave behind! Remember, the smaller you can pack the easier your travels!