Top 10 Items to Pack for a Round the World Trip
While traveling on our round the world trip, we each carried a single backpack with all our personal belongings. Our packs have seen things. They’ve been dropped, spilled on, kicked and jammed into places where they didn’t fit. Before the trip, we planned out everything we would need. And upon setting off, I was sure that I had figured it out and packed all the right things. But everything seems to change when you start traveling. Planning your flights and travel logistics is just one aspect when setting out on a long trip. Packing is not universal and I realized that one person’s packing list may not work for another. Certainly, two gay guys traveling the world together are not your typical backpackers, but our packing list did not originally reflect that. We realized in the first week of our trip in Mexico City where we went wrong and quickly made some changes. Take a look at the original article I wrote last year with an updated list of every item we packed for our round the world trip. Now nearly a year and a half later, I’ve rounded up a list of the top 10 items we couldn’t live without while traveling.
What to Pack for a Round the World Trip
Packing for a year long trip around the world is not an easy task. Imagine trying to fit all the stuff you use on a daily basis into one small bag that you carry on your back. Although it wasn’t easy, we found a way to do it.
The first step for us was choosing a backpack and then deciding what to cram inside. We wanted to choose a bag with enough space for our items but nothing too large or heavy that would prevent us from being mobile. The compromise was a 55L backpack. After months of planning and debating, here is the list of what we packed.
Note: This post was first written in May 2012 but was updated in May 2013 to reflect what we actually kept or added to our packs while traveling. I’ve made all updates in red so you can see differences between before and after our trip.
Clothing / Apparel
- 3-4 t-shirts & 1 collar shirt (this number increased to 6-7 shirts)
- 1 pair each of pants, shorts, & swimsuit (in the end we had 2 pairs of pants including jeans)
- 4 pairs of underwear & socks (more like 6 pairs by the end)
- Light jacket
- Running shoes / sandals / casual shoes
- iPad & netbook
- Global cell phone
- iPhones (unlocked)
- Power adapters & extension cord
Security / Safety Items
Padlock (for lockers) (we used our wire bag lock for both lockers and locking our bag, no need for both)
- Wire lock (for backpacks)
- First aid kit
Misc Travel Items
- Pocket knife
- Water bottle
- Travel pillow
- Backpacking towel (a big, high quality one!)
- Small mess kit
- Drying line
- Sewing kit
Duct tape (we carried it the whole year but only ended up using it once)
- Ear plugs / eye mask
Playing cards (we only used these one or twice. not worth bringing again)
- Travel umbrella
- Squash ball (to plug sinks)
- Small travel mirror
- Resistance Bands (for staying fit on the road)
- Ziplock bags
- Compression sacks
Documents & Money
- Passport / ID
- Student ID – for discounts, though we aren’t students anymore)
- Travel insurance policy
- Vaccination certificates
- 2 Credits cards & 1 Debit card
And don’t forget the ridiculous amount of pills you’ll have to take with you!
After two long nights of organizing, we managed to pack all this stuff and still have room to spare. I’m taking bets on how long David can go with such a small choice of outfits! (Of course, I was right since he ended up buying 3 more shirts, extra pants and shorts) Deciding to backpack around the world is the best decision we have ever made but packing for the trip was one of the most difficult tasks!