Deciding what to pack for an extended trip overseas is easy with these insider tips!
1. Choose your luggage wisely! Packing to fill a 20kg suitcase is a different game to packing all that you can into a backpack! Think about how often you’ll be going from one location to the next and how you’ll be getting there. Maybe hoiking a great big case around isn’t worth the hassle if you are on the move each week and will be travelling by bus!
2. Don’t take anything that you can buy along the way. Shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant, bodywash… some things are sold all over the world – there is no need to waste precious packing space on stuff that you can get at your destination.
3. Downsize your electronics. Kindles are great space savers for avid readers, but a tablet with all your relevant apps is even better! Having devices that use the same charger is another great way to save space, and get a battery pack to keep things powered while you are on the move.
Top tip: Did you know that most TV screens have a USB port making it easy to charge devices without needing to pack extra adaptors!
4. Pack travel friendly-clothes. These are clothes that:
• Are light and good to layer
• Resistant to creasing
• Can be dressed up or dressed down (think jumpsuits, dresses and chinos)
• Dark in colour – so less likely to show marks or stains.
5. Create a capsule travel wardrobe. You can only wear one outfit at a time so make sure that whatever you pack goes with all the other things you are taking, that way the clothes you take will make a multitude of outfits! Top tip is to avoid packing statement pieces or clothes with bold patterns.
6. Think the rule of three. Realistically packing what you need for a week can get you through a trip of any duration, and a rule of thumb is to pack three of each “thing”, so there is allowance for one in the wash, while one is drying while you are wearing one of the other. It may look something like this:
• 3 short sleeve tops
• 3 long sleeve tops
• Combination of three shorts/trousers/skirts/jumpsuits
• 3 undergarments
• 3 pairs of socks
• Combination of three jumpers/cardigans/hoodies
7. Pack a sarong or hammam towel. There is nothing a sarong can’t be used for; towel, blanket, beach coverup, skirt, curtain, even a bag and a sling (plenty more uses can be found here… 30 ways to use a sarong!). They come in any print and colour way you fancy and can even be used to add some flair to an outfit they pack down small and are easy to replace. However, there is one huge advantage of a hammam towel – the special fibres! Traditional Turkish cotton fibres are extra long and thin which means you get all the absorbency of a regular towel in something that is as lightweight as a sarong. They dry fast and also come in a multitude of colourways!
8. Learn to pack smart! Use every centimetre of space you have! Stuff undies, socks, sarongs, jewellery etc in shoes. Roll AND fold, use whatever works best for the item you’re packing. Wear your bulkiest items, extra important if you need hiking boots and a bulky coat or jumper.
9. Remember that most things can be picked up if needed. It isn’t the end of the thanks world if you haven’t packed something for every occasion, chances are you can get what you need as you need it. Charity shops and thrift shops could be your best friend. Pick up cheap and then donate what you no longer need.
If you are planning an extended adventure, gap year, or you are just wandering off into the great blue yonder leaving the rest to fate – make sure you get longstay travel insurance, a specialist policy for longterm adventurers! Cover can be from 3 to 18 months, and if you are still working your way around the world it can be extended while you are still travelling.