FEMALE PACKING GUIDE FOR LONG TERM TRAVEL
This is my favourite post to write because I love preparing and packing for a trip. Being organised and ticking off lists makes me happy and content! So here it is ----- my detailed Ultimate Travel Packing Guide.
Your first thought may be when thinking of packing,'Where Do I Start?!'
It can cause a lot of worry thinking of all the things you may need or the thought of forgetting anything. Packing for a long term trip is important but it doesn't have to be carried out with anxiety. I'll list everything I take and will write on this post what's most important to remember.
First things first, make a list! This gets everything out your head and is the best way to start. You want to be comfortable and confident on the road but you don't want to buy a huge backpack and over-pack it as you will be left carrying it on your back for months --- full of regret!
Remember less is more! You will want to pick up extras / memories / souvenirs on the way so leave room for them. When purchasing clothes while travelling, my rule is - if you buy something new, throw something out. For toiletries, don't take everything you own! Most things are available to buy (for cheap) on the road.
Below I'll list everything I take on my trips, how to pack correctly and things that are handy to remember!
WHAT I USE TO PACK
BACKPACKS + THE REST
BACKPACK >> OSPREY FARPOINT 70L VOLCANIC GREY
Ospreys make the best travelling companion. They're well designed, have strong zips, enduring material and overall excellent quality. This backpack opens like a suitcase making it much easier to find anything than if the entry point was on top of the bag. Trust me, it saves a lot of time and effort! It comes with a 20L Travel Rucksack attached. This small rucksack is perfect for everyday use as a Day Bag.
RUCKSACK >> OSPREY QUASAR 28 EVERYDAY & COMMUTE PACK
The Osprey Quasar is highly durable and comes with lots of compartments for holding my most valued belongings and equipment. It's bigger than my usual rucksack because I now carry a laptop other than a netbook or a tablet. I secure this bag on my front while on the move and never let it out of my sight while travelling. I keep all my valuables in here along with anything delicate or that I need to find quickly.
TOILET BAG #1 >> WATERPROOF HANGING TOILET BAG
Hanging toilet bags are easy to use and handy for shared bathrooms. I use the zipped compartments to keep my make up and shower toiletries organised and easily found. I only take basic make up with me because I very rarely wear it while travelling -- don't hide bronzed skin! It's handy to have your toilet bag waterproof in case the bathroom you're using is very small.
TOILET BAG #2 >> PRYZM LASER TOILET BAG (LARGE)
This is where I keep my everyday toiletries. This particular one glows in the dark which is brilliant for grabbing your toilet bag after arriving to a dorm late at night.
PACKING CUBES >> GONEX PACKING CUBES (2 SMALL + 1 SLIM) (GREEN)
These organised pouches are used to keep particular items separate, and with their bright colour, make them easy to find in your backpack. These save room and make it easier to pack which is handy when being constantly on the move. They can be used to keep clothes into categories, dirty shoes away from clean belongings or hold any special additional items.
LAUNDRY BAG >> WORLD MAP TRAVEL LAUNDRY BAG
This stylish bag keeps all your dirty washing away from your clean clothes. It doesn't sound like much use but it's one of the handiest things I carry with me. Doing my own laundry I just empty it straight into the machine or once loaded up I hand it into a cheap laundry service and the same bag is returned with my clean washing. When using these services on the road, items can be misplaced / misshaped / discoloured so be prepared!
TRAVEL ORGANISER #1 >> COMFYSAIL ORGANISER (SMALL)
Perfect for carrying around small valuables and keeping them organised and together. I can quickly grab it and safely carry my valuables around at the airport / train station / bus station. I keep it locked around my wrist safely when its not in my rucksack.
TRAVEL ORGANISER #2 >> CRAYFOMO WATERPROOF (LARGE)
This organiser has so many different compartments and pockets, it's perfect for holding different cables, memory cards and other smaller pieces of equipment. I actually use this for my costume jewellery as it keeps everything untangled. I keep larger valuables together in here --- I love it because its waterproof and easy to transport from my rucksack to my day bag.
WHAT TO PACK
IN THE BACKPACK: CLOTHES, SHOES, TOWEL
Don't take old stuff you don't feel good in --- if you don't wear it at home you won't wear it away. Take things that you can make multiple outfits from. Love a pair of shorts that only go with one top? Leave them!
You will see cool, funky t-shirts / yoga trousers / jumpers when you're away so leave room! Some travellers use vacuum packs to fit more clothes but I wouldn't bother --- too many clothes to worry about and a carry on to find.
10 Pairs of Underwear
3 Pairs of Socks
1 Pair of Pyjamas (Shorts & Vest)
1 Pair of Thin, Long Pyjama / Lounge Bottoms
3 Sets of Bikini's
1 Cap or Beanie Hat
1 Light / Thin Raincoat
1 Pair of Black Flip Flops
1 Pair of Nice Sandals
1 Pair of Lightweight Trainers or Hiking Shoes / Boots
4 Plain Coloured Vests / Tank Tops (That go with Everything)
2/3 Nice / Going Out Tops
2 Tunic / Peplum Tops
3 Crop Tops
1 Long Sleeved Top
1 Hoodie or Zipper
1 Tartan / Plaid Shirt
1 Beach Cover Up
1 Pair of Jeans
2 Pairs of Loose / Cotton Trousers
1 Pair of Leggings
1/2 Comfy Dresses
1 Pair of Black Denim Shorts
1 Pair of Blue Denim Shorts
3 Pairs of Shorts
1 Pair of Khaki Hiking Shorts
1 Microfibre Travel Towel
1 Small Over the Shoulder Handbag for Evenings
This is basically what I take every trip! It's for generally hot weather locations but you are prepared for cool evenings / rain / freezing air-conditioning!
REMEMBER to take more warmer clothes if heading to places in Europe / North America / Canada where weather can differ more extremely or if planning to spend winters in Australia or New Zealand.
If going to places like INDIA where are hot but more conservative -- take mostly loose summer trousers, tops that cover your shoulders / cleavage, maxi skirts and long dresses to cover up.
IN THE PACKING CUBES:
THINGS YOU WANT TO KEEP SEPARATE BUT EASY TO FIND
1 SMALL CUBE >>
First Aid Kit
1 SLIM CUBE >>
2 Hair Bandanas
Bobbles / Hair Ties
Small Can of Hairspray
1 SMALL CUBE >>
Used for whatever I need to get to quickly the next day such as a specific outfit or my toothbrush etc. Perfect for, arriving later at night to a hostel; if I need to get up very early or if I need to pack the night before.
IN THE HANGING TOILET BAG:
MAKE UP + STUFF FOR SHOWER
1 Bronzer / Powder
1 Lipstick (Red / Purple)
Organic Body Wash / Soap
Organic Coconut Oil
IN TOILET BAG #2:
Face Moisturiser (That includes SPF)
1 Lip Balm (Organic)
Make Up Remover
Birth Control (The pill is available over the counter in some pharmacies)
IN THE SMALL TRAVEL ORGANISER:
SMALL VALUABLES + DOCUMENTS
Spare Bank Card
International Driving Permit
Small 'Goodbye' Gifts / Notes / Cards / Letters / from Friends + Family
IN THE LARGE TRAVEL ORGANISER:
LARGER VALUABLES, JEWELLERY + EXTRAS
Hard Drive (WD My Passport) Use to back up your photos, videos and store films
SD Memory Cards
USB Memory Stick
iPad / Kindle / Tablet / Notebook
Jewellery (Costume only, leave expensive jewellery behind) Chokers / Friendship Bracelets / Crystal Necklaces / Chakra Beads / Earrings (Stay away from Metal / Silver Chains, it will change colour with sweat)
IN THE RUCKSACK:
VALUABLES, EQUIPMENT + EXTRAS
2 Travel Organisers
Metal Water Bottle
Documents (Passport Copies + Insurance Details + Vaccination History Booklet + Visa Paperwork + Flight Information + First Hotel Information) in Folder
Travel Journal + Travel Guidebook / Book + Couple Pens
Camera + Charger + GoPro + Accessories + Charger
Sunglasses + Case
Letter Set + Envelopes
Purse / Wallet (Incl Cash = Local Currency + American Dollars) + (ATM Card + Credit Card + Driving License + Any other Cards) Don't carry £1000's in cash, I would take $100 US Dollars for emergencies + £50-100 worth of local currency to get you going + £50 in your own currency. The amount of cash you carry should never be more than what you're willing to lose. Hide 1 bank card in your backpack and 1 in your travel organiser then carry the rest in your wallet. Think about using a Dummy Wallet.
HOW TO PACK
HELPFUL TIPS TO BE TOTALLY ORGANISED
Lay out everything you could possibly think of taking and place into categories. You will be left with 1 pile of t-shirts, 1 pile of shorts, 1 pile of skirts and so on. From there you can narrow down your choices and choose a few items from each pile.
Instead of folding your clothes, always roll them into sausages and pack them by starting from the outline of your backpack, fitting clothes into every corner and then work your way to the middle. This saves so much room and means no wrinkles!
THINK OF QUICK, EASY ACCESS
Put footwear in first near the top. (Wear trainers or hiking boots for journey)
Pack you hoodie right in the bottom with your jeans , leggings and trousers together with the packing cube that has your First Aid Kit.
Outline your bag with the dresses, play-suit, shorts, skirt, tops and kimono's.
Toilet bags, laundry bag and packing cube with hair stuff goes in the middle.
Have your sarong, raincoat and last packing cube at the top of bag.
In the zipped away 'door' of the backpack, pack underwear, bras and bikini's.
IMPORTANT THINGS TO REMEMBER
HANDY FOR THE ROAD
It can be used in so many different ways ---- as a beach towel, beach cover up, towel, a dress wrap, to create a wall for separating bunk-beds in dorms or a blanket for buses and trains. They're easily found on sale when away if you don't have one already.
INTERNATIONAL DRIVING PERMIT (IDP)
This small document saves time, money and hassle from police checks in foreign countries. It can stop you getting fined when police are doing the rounds ---- if you have a helmet and an international license, there's not much else they can charge you with. In the UK, you can get the permit booklet from the Post Office, it costs only £5. You just need your UK driving license and a passport photo.
LOCK + KEY
For your bags while on the move or safety deposit boxes and lockers in hostels while settled. Use the lockers for your valuables while they're out of your sight.
Perfect for dorm rooms in hostels when the lights have been turned off and people are sleeping. Really needed for jungle treks / camping trips. Try finding a squatter toilet in complete darkness in unfamiliar surroundings, it's not fun!
MICRO-FIBRE TRAVEL TOWEL
It may not be the fluffiest and softest towel but it does dry quick, stays fresh for ages and great if hostels / guesthouses don't supply one. It's thin and doesn't take up much room at all so it's easily packed in your day bag for the beach, swimming pool, camping trip or jungle trek.
To hold your dirty washing and keep them separated from your clean clothes in your backpack. It doesn't sound like much but it's something I really miss if I'm travelling without it. Using your own will also help stop the use of plastic bags that they normally return your clothes in.
it's light and easy to carry around ---- used for hanging clothes to dry if you're washing them yourself.
SOMETHING TO TIE TO YOUR BACKPACK TO MAKE IT STAND OUT
There are so many Osprey backpacks now that I sometimes see 3 or 4 of the exact same bag as mines on a train or shuttle bus. Don't let someone else grab your bag thinking it's theirs - know your backpack!
There you go, I've tried to put in as much detail as I can. I hope my packing lists and guidelines have helped and made packing for your upcoming long term trip easier!