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What to pack for a long trip in 2024

Packing for a long trip is always a big challenge for us. This happened on the several Interrail trips we did many years ago, it happened when we traveled around the world for the first time in 2019, and of course, it happened for this one-year trip that we started in 2024.

As we traveled more, we realized that we need few things to travel. This change in mindset impacts not only big trips but also small getaways, where we often travel with just a small cabin bag for both of us or take only clothes for a week, knowing that we will wash what is necessary. During our first trip around the world, we sent part of our luggage home twice as we weren’t using it.

There are accessible laundromats around the world and, in the worst case, you can always wash by hand at the accommodation. Traveling light offers a unique freedom to explore places without the feeling that your luggage is holding you back.

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Our Rules for Packing for a Trip Around the World

  • Use a backpack: Other types of luggage don’t make sense for us; we are always more agile with a backpack.
  • Be practical and light: We made the mistake of traveling with two backpacks. The advantage of a backpack is having free hands. Now we travel with just one, keeping the weight comfortable. On our first trip around the world, we had 16 kg plus 4 kg in a smaller backpack; now we have reduced it to around 12 kg in total.
  • Choose a 40-liter backpack: We chose the Osprey Farpoint 40-liter, which limits the amount of stuff we can carry but allows us to mainly use cabin luggage on flights. This has a significant positive impact on the cost of plane tickets.
  • Organize everything with pouches: We use pouches to organize items in the backpack, making it easier to pack and unpack at each stop.
  • Have a cloth bag for important items: We carry a cloth bag with the most important items with us on flights.
  • Use an ultralight backpack for day-to-day: When we leave the main backpack at the accommodation, we opt for an ultralight and compact backpack for daily use.
Osprey Farpoint 40 backpack ideal for a long trip

Documents We Never Leave Behind

  • Driver’s license and international permit: Essential for renting cars and driving legally in some countries. We have needed an international permit in South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. The need for an international permit also depends on the nationality of your original driver’s license.
  • International vaccination certificate: Important for entering countries that require proof of certain vaccines. Some countries require the yellow fever vaccine if traveling from an endemic country. Always check consular information and visit a travel clinic to ensure everything is in order before you travel.
  • Travel insurance certificate: Ensures we are covered in case of medical emergencies or other unforeseen situations. We use Heymondo insurance, which has a specific policy for long-term travel. Having the physical document can be useful in case of loss of access to digital documents.
  • Travel credit cards and a regular credit card: Facilitates payments and ensures we have funds available in emergency situations.
  • Citizen card: Identification document needed in case of loss or theft of the passport.
  • Prescription for the medications we carry: Avoids problems at customs and ensures access to necessary medication.
  • Passport photos: Useful for visas and other documents.
  • Passports and copies of passports: Essential for international travel and as a backup in case of loss or theft.

Technology We Always Carry

  • Plug adapters: Necessary to charge our devices in different types of sockets around the world. We use one that has USB/USB-C ports and works for most countries.
  • Camera and accessories.
  • GoPro: Ideal for capturing and filming aquatic adventures.
  • iPad.
  • Chargers for iPhone and Apple Watch.
  • Kindle.
  • Mini tripod.
  • Power bank.

Hygiene Essentials

  • Lip balm.
  • Hair wax.
  • Nail clippers.
  • Cotton swabs.
  • Face cream.
  • Deodorant.
  • Toothbrush and charger.
  • Shaving foam/cream.
  • Dental floss.
  • Facial cleansing gel.
  • Razor blade.
  • Tissues.
  • Electric shaver and razor blades.
  • Toothpaste.
  • Perfume.
  • Tweezers.
  • Insect repellent.
  • Wet wipes.

Miscellaneous Items That Make Travel Easier

  • Eye mask: To sleep well during travels or in hotels where there is a lot of light in the room.
  • Earplugs: To reduce noise and ensure a peaceful sleep in some accommodations in busier areas or on transport.
  • Sunglasses.
  • Small wallet: To store money and cards and use daily.
  • Large document pouch: We keep all documents not used daily in an extra wallet that usually stays at the accommodation.
  • Notebook and pen.
  • Water bottle: We are increasingly concerned with sustainability, and in many places, it is possible to fill the bottle with potable water, besides being more economical.
  • Medications: According to our medical prescription. You should consult your doctor.
  • Dirty laundry bag: To organize used clothes until the laundry.
  • Locks: To keep our luggage secure during travels or when it stays at the hotel.
  • Rain cover for backpack.
  • Ponchos: To protect us from the rain. We buy the simplest ones, almost disposable, to take up little space.
  • Waterproof bag: To protect valuable items from water during boat trips.
  • Eco-friendly bag: For shopping and reducing plastic use, also useful for keeping necessary items close to us on flights.

Clothing We Consider Essential

  • Bandana.
  • Belt.
  • Cap.
  • Flip-flops.
  • Light and waterproof jacket.
  • Pants (2).
  • Cold weather jacket.
  • Shirt.
  • Shorts (2).
  • Swim trunks (2).
  • T-shirts (5).
  • Underwear and socks (7): Enough for a week, with frequent washes, ensuring comfort and hygiene throughout the trip. In some destinations where we have to shower more than once a day, we increase the frequency of washes.
  • Sneakers.
  • Speedos.
  • Sweatshirt.
  • Compact towel.
  • Water shoes: We learned it is essential to protect our feet in rocky areas or with corals, ensuring comfort and safety during aquatic activities.

These items have been carefully selected to prepare us for any situation during our trip around the world, keeping our luggage light and practical.

Osprey Farpoint 40 backpack in our packing process for a long journey

Additional Tips for a Light and Practical Trip:

  • Advanced Planning: We always make a detailed list of items before we start packing to avoid excess.
  • Flexibility: We opt for clothing pieces that can be mixed and matched to maximize suitcase space.
  • Using eSIMs: Previously, we traveled with a hotspot, but now we always use eSIMs. We use MobiMatter because it allows us to compare options from various operators. You can also get up to 50% cashback on your first purchase with code TWOBYTHEWORLD.
  • Safety First: In addition to padlocks, we find that using security pouches complicates our daily routine. We prefer to carry the minimum amount of items and cash possible. It’s also important to have travel insurance, like Heymondo, to ensure that in case of luggage loss or theft, you can get the necessary support.
Packing before the round-the-world trip, Two by the World

When packing our bags, we often end up adding more items than we actually need initially. This quickly fills up the suitcase and makes transportation uncomfortable. To optimize the process, we create a detailed list of all items and quantities before starting to pack. This helps us decide more clearly if we’re taking too much or not.

To ensure we don’t forget anything essential, we always refer to our generic packing list. If you want to have your own list, simply subscribe to our newsletter. After confirming your email, you’ll receive a copy of this file that has been so useful to us.

This is the seventh post in the series: How to plan a RTW. If you want to learn more about planning a round-the-world trip, visit the other posts in this series.

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