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Packing List

Updated 5th March 2013

As of  March 17th,  2013 we will have been living the nomadic lifestyle for 17 months; travelling the whole time with hand luggage only. As some of our belongings have changed over the last year I thought it was about time to update our packing list with what we still have, what has been particularly useful and what has been upgraded. I have compiled a detailed list for each of us this time.

All our stuff, packed and ready to go

All our stuff, packed and ready to go

I love packing lists. Before leaving home we read so many and they really made us consider what we took originally. They also helped to convince me that it was possible to go for so long with such small bags. Inspired by ‘digital nomads’ and sites like OneBag.com online; Henry suggested the ‘hand luggage only’ route to me right of the start of the planning stage and I’ll admit, it took some time to get used to the idea.

Now, neither of us can imagine being in charge of a 70l backpack. We marvel at the enormous bags we see on other travellers and try to guess what an earth they might have in there.

I hope our list can prove helpful to someone and that I have not gone into too much detail. Please feel free to comment and ask questions, I quite liked compiling the list and I it made me realise what great stuff we have. I’ll gladly answer questions about our choices!

My List

Everything but one set of clothes fit into these 2 bags

Everything but one set of clothes fit into these 2 bags 

Main Luggage

  • ‘Caterpillar’ 30 litre (?) wheeled backpack.

Returning from my visit home to the UK last September and having spent some extra time in airports watching luggage glide along; I was more keen than ever to replace my main bag for an option with wheels. I had started to see some viable (small and light enough) options appearing on the markets and I eventually took the plunge and haggled the price of a backpack with wheels down to about £14. (As with just about everything in the Petaling Street Market in Chinatown, Kuala Lumpur, it is a fake.) I do not know the exact capacity as it was not stated on the label but I can estimate it at (based on my last
bag and Henry’s) about 30 – 32 litres.

bags

So far I have only used it as a backpack once. The rest of the time my shoulders have had an easy time and, despite some pretty rough surfaces, the wheels have not fallen off yet.
We are both still using the Eagle Creek packing cubes to organise our bags and can’t imagine not having them to keep everything organised.

Clothes

All my clothes fit in these (apart from a set to wear) and are kept nice and organised and folded

All my clothes fit in these (apart from a set to wear) and are kept nice and organised and folded

Red Eagle Creek ‘Pack-It’ 2 Sided Half Cube:

  • knee length linen skirt
  • 1 pair full length cotton trousers
  • 1 pair full length linen trousers
  • (quite smart, saved for ‘best’)
  • silk mix sarong – useful
  • as a sheet, to sit one etc as well as wear for the beach
  • 2 vest tops
  • 3 t-shirts
  • 1 sleeveless (smarter) cotton
  • top
  • thin cotton dress for nightwear
  • silk scarf – can wear around
  • head, neck, waist etc
  • spare hankie

Purple pouch:

  • 5 pairs of pants (underwear)
  • 4 bras – I stocked up at home as I found it hard to buy the correct size out here without paying an extortionate price

Blue Eagle Creek ‘Pack-It’ Tube Cube:

  • light cotton cardigan
  • swimming costume
  • 1 pair of socks
  • cotton hairband

Not in a cube:

  • green cotton scarf
  • sunglasses

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Shoes

  • pair of Birkenstock ‘Arizona’ Soft Footbed Birko-Flor sandals
  • pair of Rocket Dog flip-flops

For the first 10 months of our adventure I had just one pair of shoes. It was fine. Sometimes at the beach I would pine for a pair of flip fops that the sand would come out of more easily, or for an alternative to the Birkinstocks that would vary the bold stripes the sun painted on my feet; but I managed OK. Then I went home for a few weeks and retrieved some of my shoes from storage. (We may have sold our cars, furniture etc but no way was I getting rid of shoes!) I was so excited to see them; I lined them up in my mum’s kitchen and took a picture!

These are NOT with me – just something that made me excited when I visited home

These are NOT with me – just something that made me excited when I visited home

But, I digress. The point is that having more than 10 pairs of shoes to chose from for a few weeks went to my head and I simply could not go back to zero choice. The flip flops are easy to carry as they are light and flat. I’m still loving the fact I have a choice. After looking around at home to replace my sandals, (the soles had become so smooth that I was slipping in the rain) I eventually ended up replacing them with a pair exactly the same in Kuala Lumpur last October. What a difference 11 months continuous wear makes:

Birkenstocks: 11 months wear next to new

Birkenstocks: 11 months wear next to new

Technology

My technology selection has evolved somewhat since the last list. Gone is the iPad, the Android phone and the camera. Unchanged and still very much appreciated are the amazing X Mini speakers, the old school iPod, and the JLab headphones.

I upgraded from the iPad and got a refurbished Macbook Air from Apple while I was visiting the UK. I am still very pleased with this decision. The iPad is great and a luxury to have as an additional item to your main computer but I have come to the conclusion that for me, there are too many limitations to allow it to replace a computer. And, having had my own laptop for at least the last 10 years before travelling, I did not want to continue ‘sharing’ Henry’s.

My Android phone was replaced by a grey market iPhone in Bangkok (I’m a lucky girl – Henry treated me for my birthday!) This was another great upgrade. The maps, podcasts, apps like currency converters, Facebook, Twitter, guidebooks, games and easy access to email have made the iPhone an essential gadget now. I read on it and we use it to test the wifi before we agree to a room. 

The lovely compact system camera I am now using was Henry’s. He upgraded his in Singapore and I inherited his old one. We have gone from point and shoots to mirrorless compacts and we are both still very much enjoying the photography side of our adventures.

I love all my various bit of tech and I would not like to travel without them now. I am not afraid of damaging stuff as I take good care of my things and we always make sure that our laptops are locked up when we leave them in the room.

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  • 11″Macbook Air (2011 i5 128GB) laptop + charger + pouch for charger etc.
  • soft Incase neoprene sleeve
  • 2 small capacity memory sticks (useful for taking something to print)
  • Nikon SD card reader + San Disk 8GB SD card (additional storage for films etc)
  • travel adapter – only the laptop needs it now as our phones and cameras have plugs that fit here

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  • Sony NEX 5N camera + Sony camera bag + spare battery + Sony 8GB and 4GB SD cards + detachable flash + cleaning cloth
  • Sony 18 – 55mm kit lens
  • Sigma 30mm f2.8 prime lens – shared with Henry as his camera has the same mount, we both enjoy using this lens and it was a (KL) bargain
  • Clear pencil case + USB wire + battery charger

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  • iPhone 4S 32GB Unlocked + quite a few various SIM cards – it has never been a problem to get a SIM card or get it cut to the right size
  • red pencil case + USB wire + charger + headphones – they have the microphone that my ‘good’ headphones don’t
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Some of the original star items that are still going strong

  • JLab J4 earphones + case – brilliant build quality, lasting very well
  • iPod 3rd Gen. 8GB – it has been good to have something so small and significantly less valuable than the phone to listen to podcasts, music and audiobooks on. I can take it to the beach and leave while I swim without too much worry. It is also so small it fits into my bra where (hopefully!) no bus thief would dare to go if we fall asleep on a long journey
  • X-Mini (II) speaker – excellent item, obviously great for music and also for films etc as the MBAs have pretty poor speakers. I picked our other one from home when I went back so now we can have the two working together. They are robust, have great sound quality for their size, the internal battery lasts for ages and the charger for them is tiny
  • LED Lenser K3 torch
  • Omron Walking Style III digital pedometer

 

 

My Daypack (handbags really)

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  • red Case Logic laptop backpack
  • lightweight nylon handbag
  • small leather bag

Following the trend set by the shoe situation, actually have more bag options now than I did at this point last year. When we are on the move, I have my main Caterpillar bag and a small red Case Logic backpack. It is less than 10cm deep in the main section so I can’t overpack it. It is well made and has a padded compartment for the laptop. The camera and my usual handbag bits travel in there. If I do allow my big bag out of my sight (perhaps on a bus) the red bag stays with me with all the valuable items.

For day to day use I have a nylon bag that I can wear across the body and carry my camera, purse, water etc. When moving between destinations this folds up into the red backpack. I also have a small flat leather bag as a sort of evening bag and can hold just my phone, purse etc.

Things from my handbag that are not mentioned elsewhere on the list
are:

    • purse
    • pouch with a little loo roll,
    • a mini first aid kit, lip balm and soap leaves
    • notepad and pen
    • handkerchief

We don’t tend to carry hand sanitiser anymore and the cards have long gone. Most places we’ve been staying in require our passports so we don’t have to look after them usually.

 

 

Wash Bag

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Although my wash bag list is still probably longer than many others, I use fewer products than I before the trip. I get along just fine with what I have and I am usually able to resist picking up extra products as the thought of having to throw them away before a flight puts me off. Sometimes, I have an additional product or two as a luxury treat.

Most of the time it has been pretty easy to find everything I’ve wanted. The only thing I’ve struggled to find in a few places is a facial moisturiser with UV protection but without bleach. I’ve often had to settle for one with no UV protection as every product is designed to lighten the skin. It has also been hard to find smaller bottles of shampoo in Vietnam (I’ve got a whole 180ml at the moment) but up until now thats not been an issue. The solid shampoo bars from Lush are good and Henry uses them (he is only on his second in 17 months!) but I have a lot of hair and it is easier to buy it as I go. I do have makeup but don’t wear much other than mascara on a day to day basis. The bag itself has been brilliant, I can almost always hang it up somewhere which is handy when there is not somewhere you would want it to sit. It is big enough to hold everything and has 6 separate compartments which keeps everything organised. It is still like new apart from the removable plastic mirror which was rubbish; I gave up on it when it became too scratched.

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Life Venture Large Wash Holdall:

  • shampoo
  • conditioner
  • deodorant (roll on)
  • coconut oil with essential oils added – use as moisturiser for face, body and hair; eye make-up remover etc
  • geranium essential oil – add to shampoo, baths etc – supposed to repel mosquitos
  • all purpose natural balm – like Vaseline but without the petrol
  • face moisturiser
  • razors
  • emery board
  • Tweezerman tweezers – possibly the best tweezers ever made
  • toothbrush
  • comb + small hairbrush
  • hairbands and clips
  • make-up consisting of: Urban Decay power and mini eye pencils, small brush, Benefit mini mascara, pencil sharpener
  • small mirror
  • sanitary towels and tampons – tampons were hard to buy in some places, especially parts of India
  • 2 pairs of earrings and a pendant
  • cotton buds
  • exfoliating gloves
  • 2 mini atomisers with perfume – I don’t use these everyday, they are a luxury treat item

currently, but not usually:

  • shower gel

Henry carries a bar of soap, the toothpaste, floss, suncream, nail clippers and insect repellant when we have it. (See his list below – this balances out as I carry the medical kit and some other bits.) We usually both have some emergency loo roll stashed away.

I also have a Gelert travel bath towel which is still going strong although I don’t use it much at all at the moment. I wish I had one half the size like Henry since I use it so occasionally.

 

Medical Kit

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The medical kit I’m carrying has not changed much since last year:

  • plasters of various sizes
  • antiseptic wipes
  • wound dressing
  • safety pins
  • medical tape
  • small bandage
  • anti-histamines
  • paracetamol and ibuprofen
  • anti- diarrhoea tablets
  • rehydration sachets
  • malaria medication (still carrying it, neither of us have taken any of it but it seems too valuable to throw away)
  • contraception
  • spare soap leaves
  • 1 x pair of Henry’s contact lenses for emergency situations
  • sleeping tablets (new addition – used them for the first time ever on the long hauls in September and they worked brilliantly washed down with some wine)

Laundry Items

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  • a smallish (2/300g) bag of washing powder (biological if I can identify it)
  • tiny bottle of washing up liquid (for grease stains)
  • a few pegs
  • bag for it all to live in
  • thin bag for laundry (not pictured)

I do all of our washing by hand every few days and have for the last 17 months. We don’t have that many clothes so washing that often is not a pain at all really. Things dry very quicky. Even in monsoon struck areas, if you have air-con or even a fan in the room you can dry clothes without much fuss. Other travellers are sometimes surprised we do it like this but I think we’ve saved a lot of money so far, even if it is only $1 per kg, it all adds up. I could save space and weight by buying single use sachets of powder but this is not economical and I only usually buy these when we have an impending flight. Sometimes I wish I had a universal sink plug, but if there is not one provided I just line the sink with a carrier bag. Henry carries the washing line.

 

 

Other Random Items:

Blue Eagle Creek ‘Pack-It’
Quarter Cube
:

  • mini sewing kit
  • small wooden door stop
  • spare batteries for torch
  • 2 online banking card readers
  • small roll of electrical tape – my dad advocated having one with you at all times
  • tea light – for power cuts and occasional relaxing bathtimes
  • long strap from the camera case
  • measuring tape
  • small pair of scissors – we’ve only had one pair confiscated, in Singapore
  • a string of fairy lights – odd item perhaps but I got them to act as more gentle source of light when we just have a glaring florescent strip light in the room but recently, in Vietnam, Cambodia and Malaysia, this has not been such an issue

 

Last Few Bits

Used every single day

Used every single day

  • mini kettle element + metal cups + coffee – Brilliant! We’ve gone through a few elements but it is so good to be able to make your own coffee and tea for pennies without leaving the room. As we use our room to work I would say this has become an essential item
  • mini combination padlock (I’m now on my third – first one lost, second one broke and had to be cut off with giant bolt cutters, the third time I chose better quality)
  • passport + RFID passport cover
  • money + credit + debit cards (I have the Halifax Clarity credit card which is good for UK people abroad)
  • umbrella – not used since Kuala Lumpur as we’ve had very little rain since
  • my glasses + case – prescription glasses were about £22 including frames and lenses in KL, I had the test at home
  • spare copies of our passports and visas – Henry and Dropbox also have these
  • spare passport photos for visas etc
  • traveller’s cheques for emergencies
  • some real photos of family and friends
  • a few pens
  • eye mask and several pairs of earplugs – use the ear plugs all the time, the eye mask only usually on flights
  • inflatable neck pillow – only used on flights and occasionally trains/busses but it really earns its spot then
  • orange pencil case for extra things like freezer bags and spare carrier bags, earplugs etc
  • rain cover for big bag – cut from my old Caribee rucksack and kept in a side mesh pocket

I do have a lot but we’ve been away from home for 17 months. In that time we have sent 5 parcels of presents and souvenirs home and 1 parcel (in the first week!) with our trainers and warmer clothes. The weather in Kerala in November made us find it hard to imagine when we would want to put socks and trainers on our feet again anytime

I hope I’ve given you an insight as to what this particular girl has in her bags. Now, for Henry’s list!

 

Henry’s List

 

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All of Henry’s stuff fits in this 33l bag except the clothes on his back

 

Main luggage

Henry has his original North Face 33l ‘Recon’ backpack. He does not have any wheels and he is not jealous. When moving from place to place he can still fit everything into this one bag. Really, he has far fewer items than me and thinks I have too much.

Everything Henry has except his gadgets

Everything Henry has except his gadgets

Clothes

Green Eagle Creek ‘Pack-It’2 Sided Half Cube and Tube Cube:

  • 4 vests
  • 3 pairs cotton trousers
  • 5 pairs underwear
  • 1 pair shorts
  • 1 handkerchief

Shoes

  • 1 pair leather sandals – unsure of brand, we got them in Bangkok to replace his from home that had worn out

and thats it!

 

Technology

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  • Sony NEX 7 camera + D.Life case + spare battery + spare Sony SD card + cleaning cloth and brush – pricy but amazing camera – the picture quality is easily as good as an DSLR but it is much smaller
  • 18 – 55mm Sony kit lens
  • Sony f1.8 35mm prime lens (we share this and the Sigma for a change as both cameras are ‘E mount’)
  • X-Mini (II) speaker
  • LED Lenser P3 torch – similar to mine but takes AAA batteries
  • 2 x electronic bank access things
  • Whal battery powered shaver + attachments – does hair and beard – highly recommended; AA batteries are easy to get hold of, last well and it cuts well; it is much lighter than a rechargeable one

In the photo you can see Henry’s ‘good’ (Sound Magic) headphones. Unfortunately, they were recently lost and he now has to uses his iPhone ones which he assures me are not as good.

 

Wash Bag

  • solid shampoo from Lush
  • bar of soap
  • toothbrush and tooth paste
  • Tiger Balm or local equivalent – a must for mosquito bites and our top treatment after rigorous scientific study
  • floss
  • suncream
  • nail clippers
  • flannel
  • tiny bottle of oil for the shaver
  • contact lenses + storage pot + cleaning solution – Henry changed from daily disposables to monthly ones a while ago now. Both sorts are generally much cheaper out here. Last week he got 3 pairs of monthly ones for less than £10

Also, but not in the wash bag: small Life Venture travel towel, shaver (see tech), earplugs (used all the time), loo roll.

 

Day Bag

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Walking around during the day Henry uses a cotton messenger style day bag which holds his camera with the case, spare battery and his wallet, hankie etc. This folds up and fits in his main bag when we move around. His laptop fits snugly inside if necessary.

 

Other Bits

  • prescription glasses + case
  • sunglasses + case
  • spare contact lenses
  • Washing line (the one in the picture has now been lost and we just have the elasticated travel one with hooks on the end – not pictured as it was in use)
  • notepad and pens
  • passport
  • money, credit + debit cards
  • combination padlock
  • a few bits of cutlery for when we eat in the room (although its usually provided)
  • his coffee – at the moment 3-in-1 single use sachets
  • empty ziplock bags
  • spare batteries for mouse and shaver
  • bag for dirty washing
  • magic trick (novelty souvenir from Angeles City)

h1

Further Analysis

The things that I could probably (and may) get rid of soon are:

  • cardigan (I have honestly not been chilly since Bali)
  • one t-shirt
  • fairy lights
  • door stop
  • the measuring tape (odd thing to have, I know)
  • socks – not worn since I rocked Heathrow with the socks and sandals look last September
  • travel towel

The luxury items I could easily do without but don’t want to for the moment are:

  • perfume
  • shower gel – I have a newfound respect for a good old bar of soap nowadays
  • exfoliating (shower) gloves
  • conditioner – use coconutoil
  • make – up
  • one pair of trousers – can only wear one pair at a time
  • flip flops – again, can only wear one pair of shoes at once

The only item Henry might get rid of soon is:

  • one pair of trousers

To further cut down what we’re carrying we could actually share chargers for our laptops and phones as they are the same model as well as our cameras which take the same battery. This would save us both space and weight but would mean a package home and we do often use 2 chargers at once.

Items that people might expect us to have, but we don’t, include:

  • a mosquito net – if it is needed it is generally provided, or we don’t stay there
  • proper shoes – we’ve managed some pretty steep treks in our sandals just fine
  • warm clothes – it is not cold here, Henry has honestly had no more than a vest for about the last 8 months
  • extra external data storage – we use iCloud, Dropbox, Picasa and SkyDrive etc.

We’ve not been separated from our bags at airports and so have had very little chance of losing anything. We can easily take our bags with us on trains and busses, fit into tuk-tuks as well as fit both of us and all our stuff on the back of a motorbike taxi (with driver.)

What Do We MIss?

Well, I can confidently say that when you travel for this long it is not stuff that you miss at all. (Apart from maybe shoes!) We don’t feel limited by what we don’t have. What we do miss is seeing family and friends and our cats. We occasionally miss some activities (like gardening, cooking and even teaching maybe for me and Henry misses his X-Box downtime) but things? No.

 

Could you do it?

Yes, of course!

It is worth researching the hand luggage size limits and weight allowances if you plan to travel like this, they vary a lot. Seat Guru seems to have most baggage allowance policies (click on the airline first.) Air Asia does not have very generous allowances but you are still allowed the extra item like a handbag / laptop bag / camera bag / musical instrument etc which is how I take the small red backpack as well as my larger one.

We have never had our bags checked for size before a flight (although we are well within any restriction I’ve found so far) but we have had them weighed. Air Asia has an official limit of 7kg. Henry’s is usually just over 8kg but when challenged he can get out his cotton bag and put the laptop in there to bring down the weight of the main bag. Mine is usually around 8.5kg -I just juggle between the two.

The best way around all this we’ve found so far is to check in online – you print your own boarding passes and never have to go near the desk and the scales.

The links on some products that look like thiswill open a new page to the item on Amazon. If you chose to buy an item after clicking this link, I will earn a tiny commission. The prices are the same with or without following my link. We purchased some, but not all, of the items from Amazon ourselves.

 

Packing List: April 2012

This is a post I have been wanting to write for ages. We read so many helpful lists in the months before our departure that proved really helpful and the online packing lists and reviews influenced many of our choices. Also, because we’re travelling with hand luggage only, it may be of interest to some people how we are ‘surviving’.

Henry was the one who proposed that we do the trip with just hand luggage, right at the beginning. I was apprehensive at first but I soon got used to the idea (thanks to reading about ‘flash packers’ and ‘digital nomads’) and I was positive about it until just before leaving. Going from a 3 bedroom house to a 35 litre bag is quite a shock. It did not take long to adapt though and now I am pleased 98% of the time that we are carrying so little.

I would say to anyone considering a big 60-80l+ backpack for a trip around India “don’t do it!”. We see so many people struggling in the heat with an enormous bag on their back and another on the front; often squeezing to fit 2 people and 2 backpacks into a rickshaw. It does not look fun. You can go ‘hand luggage only’; we’re proof! (If we were having to deal with a colder climate then I would not be so sure, but, I would give it a go.)

Henry has a 33l North Face backpack which is never as tightly stuffed as mine. His could almost be a school backpack. When moving around he fits his laptop and cotton day bag inside his backpack so he just has to carry that and his guitar or, at the moment, the drum. (Edit: the guitar was sold last week and the drum donated a few days ago)

Often, other travellers, hotel staff and taxi drivers are surprised by how little luggage we have. Some wait expectantly for another bag to appear and others assume we are on a 2 week holiday and are shocked to learn what we have is for a year.

This is what I am currently carrying:


The Bag

In the end I went for the Caribee ‘Recon’ 35l backpack:

This is a good, solid bag which I usually pack very tightly. (I don’t use the laptop compartment for the iPad, because I fear the pressure from everything squeezing against it would be too high for the screen!) When we’re on the move the iPad fits snugly in my handbag (see below) which means I‘m a lot less bothered about the backpack being thrown about on busses etc. The zips seem to be holding up well to the strain I put on them and there are plenty of compartments. I like that you can get into the main section easily. Many of the bags I looked at were ‘top loaders’ and I don’t think they would have suited me at all. Also, it has a secret rain cover which is stored in the bottom, as yet I have not needed it as we have only had 5 minutes of rain since November.

I had planned to get a wheeling mini suitcase type bag (hence the name of the website!) which was also a backpack. Lots of research, visits to shops and agonising later I plumped for no wheels. The bag is heavy enough anyway and only just got through at Gatwick as hand luggage. (with Emirates the limit is 8kg plus a handbag or laptop bag) The wheeled bags are much heavier; the wheels would have tipped me over the edge. I think I would have been able to use wheels perhaps less than 50% of the time so I don’t think about those wheels too often. A big thank you is due to the staff of Complementary Education who kindly gave me some money as my leaving present: it allowed me to buy not just this but many of the items on the list.


Technology

iPad 2 32GB wifi + camera connection kit + Yoobao leather cover + charger + speaker headphones + red pencil case

Sony HX5V digital camera + Acme case + Gorillapod tripod + SanDisk 8GB Extreme SD card + spare battery + charger + clear pencil case

ZTE Idea Blade smartphone + charger

iPod 3rd Gen 8GB

JLab J4 earphones + case

LED Lenser K3 torch

X-Mini (II) speaker (now carried by Henry)

Omron digital pedometer

Travel adapter with USB charger



My Handbag / Daypack


I’ve always been a one for a handbag and it was pretty hard to chose what to go for but in the end I’m convinced I made a great choice: The Healthy Back Bag, Medium in nylon. It has been excellent. All the pockets mean that everything has a place and can be located instantly. It is light when empty and packs up small enough to fit inside my main bag (although it never has; I’ve always wanted a handbag with me). The main opening of the bag is on the inside, next to my body, which makes it much more secure. The large outside pocket holds a litre of water or an umbrella and there is an extra secure zipped inner pocket for my passport and a keyring clip. It usually contains:

RFID leather passport wallet containing: passport, credit card, debit card, driving license, some travellers cheques and local currency (having all the really important things together works for me)

purse (for small money)

camera (see technology)

phone (see technology)

sunglasses

soap leaves (I found these for pennies and they’re fab to have) (Henry carries the anti-bac hand sanitiser)

pen and notebook

toilet roll

sunscreen and insect repellant

torch (see technology)

watch (Casio digital waterproof with light)

our current key

pedometer (see technology)

silk scarf

playing cards (in the evenings, for mealtimes)

a crystal good luck charm from a friend

Smints




Clothes

Clothes take up the majority of the space in my backpack and change regularly. Most items are easily and very cheaply replaced and many of mine have been for a variety of reasons. (They become too worn or baggy, get a stain, get blown away or left behind or just get replaced by something I like more when I’m shopping.) I do some washing by hand on average every 2 – 3 days (when possible – some hotels ban it) which means we usually always have something clean and manage well with what some people would consider to be an impossibly small wardrobe. The current list is:


2 x very light Indian cotton cropped trousers (pack small and dry very quickly)

1 x long Macabie travel skirt (not worn as much as expected, a little warm)

1 x silk mix sarong (useful also as a sheet)


3 x tops with little sleeves (lots of places where you need to cover your shoulders)

2 x vests (worn in beach areas)

1 x salwa

1 x long sleeve cotton mix black cardigan (only worn a few times, all other long sleeve tops have long gone but I can’t not have a cardigan!)

1 x cotton dress for nightwear


1 x swimming costume

5 x pants (the 3 pairs of ‘magic’ travel pants (from Ex-Officio) are wearing well and dry quickly; much better than Henry’s (from Tilley) which are getting tatty and take longer to dry than his other pants)

4 x bras

1 x socks (other pair ditched, this pair only worn occasionally to help moisturiser soak in)

2 x cotton scarves for wrapping around my head

1 x silk scarf (packs up tiny, lives in my handbag just in case I need a cover up to visit somewhere)


I also carry the washing powder and a few pegs and Henry carries the two washing lines (1 x travel line with hooks and a piece of string, both used all the time)


Most of the clothes pack in to these Eagle Creek packing cubes (the red and blue ones) which are so useful. Henry and I have different colours and sizes so we can always grab something quickly. It makes packing and staying organised quick and easy when you have everything compartmentalised before you stuff it into your bag. Without these cubes and my pencil cases, opening my bag would result in an explosion of clothes and wires.

I don’t want to forget my Birkenstock shoes! The pair of lightweight Merrell trainers I wore on the flight were posted back in the first week so I have just one pair of shoes. My Birkenstock Arizona Soft Footbed sandals have been super comfortable, are wearing well and are perfect for our trip. I’m very glad I didn’t go for the ‘sports sandal’ type of shoe with a strap at the back as you would be there forever taking them on and off to go inside shops.


Wash Bag

The next item takes up more space than it needs to and I could cut it down (and most of the liquids should be used up before the next flight). My wash bag is made by Life Venture and has lots of lovely pockets (6 in total)


1 x small brush

1 x comb

1 x Tweezerman tweezers (yes! I sneaked them through security by wrapping them in a metal sachet!)

1 x toothbrush (Design Go battery toothbrush, Henry carries the toothpaste)

1 x shampoo (Lush bar lasted about 6 weeks)

1 x conditioner (Lush bar was rubbish, I brought normal conditioner in the first 2 weeks.)

1 x deodorant

1 x all purpose natural balm

1 x razor

1 x nail scissors

1 x aloe vera gel

1 x Oil of Olay SPF15 day moisturiser (one of the few facial moisturisers available here which does not have a ‘skin lightening’ action)

1 x tiny pot of eye cream

1 x tiny pot of face scrub

2 x emery boards

cotton buds

various hairbands and clips

sanitary towels

some makeup (hardly worn, but when I have, the Urban Decay mini eye pencils, mini mascara and powder have performed brilliantly – I can’t bear to part with them)

mini atomiser with Chanel Coco Madamoiselle (another hardly touched luxury)

pencil sharpener

1 x earrings

1 x moonstone pendant and chain

4 x ear plugs (used regularly)

1 x eye mask (only worn when ill so far, would have been used on the flight if it had been more handy)



Also, but not in the bag:

1 x Gelert Anti-Bacterial Travel Towel (at least 80% of places have provided a towel but it has also been handy for the beach; takes some getting used to as a towel)

toilet roll

I also carry a small sunscreen and insect repellant in my handbag and Henry carries the larger bottles and the soap.


Medical Kit

I’m in charge of all things medical and I have quite a comprehensive kit including:


plasters of various sizes

antiseptic wipes

wound dressing

safety pins

medical tape

small bandage

anti-histamines (Henry especially has needed these for his bites, we’ve got them over here easily)

paracetamol and ibuprofen (both obtained out here and extra strong)

1 week of antibiotics prescribed for me (in case of ear infections etc)

anti- diarrhoea tablets (we now have Indian ones)

rehydration sachets

malaria medication

contraception

mini emergency dental kit

spare soap leaves

1 x pair of Henry’s contact lenses


It all fits nicely into a see through wash bag. As an extra feature, the bag doubles well as a wipe clean mosquito killing tool when there is no newspaper available.



Other random bits

In my small Eagle Creek cube I have the things that don’t fit anywhere else:


mini sewing kit (used several times already)

small wooden door stop (for keeping doors open and closed, used quite a lot)

spare batteries for torch and toothbrush

mini combination padlock (purchased to go on the backpack but never used for that, has been more helpful in locking doors)

worldwide travel adapter with USB charge point (see technology)

x 2 online banking card readers

small roll of electrical tape (my dad advocated having one with you at all times, used a few times)

marker pen (left over from sending a parcel)

small packet tissues

vitamin B tablets (rumoured to repel mosquitos but they have not worked for us)


I also have:


spare copies of our passports and visas (as do Henry and Dropbox)

spare passport photos

other travellers cheques

some photos of friends and family

a kitchen knife (for fruit etc)

mini kettle element + metal cup + coffee (new purchase in Arambol, less than £1 for element and cup and working out very well)

money belt (not used as yet)

candles + small brass candle holder (for power cuts)

anti mosquito coils and incense

bag for washing

spare Smints

freezer bags and spare carrier bags


Before packing it all looks like this:




And then, packed up it looks like this… So, what do you think? Are there any surprise inclusions or omissions? Looking at my list I think I have quite a lot and do well to fit it all in!

Note: I left the umbrella (seen in some photographs) behind a few weeks ago and some of the other photos are a little old too. This list is correct as of the end of April 2012.

8 thoughts on “Packing List”

  1. Heidi Sills says:

    What do I think..?You are brilliant and you are very organised! I have learnt a few things and you make it look so easy! Well done Jen it certainly looks like the way to travel xxx

    1. Jen says:

      Thank you! I think it is much easier than having loads of stuff to keep track of and lug around, definitely! I don’t think I’ll ever need a big bag again! Xx

  2. Cathy Ralph says:

    Very organised Jen! It must have taken a lot of thought and planning. I would expect no less from you though x

    1. Jen says:

      Thank you Cathy! It did take a bit of thought before leaving but now there is less to worry about having less stuff. Take care x

  3. Gail says:

    Wow! so much in such little space… well done for being so well planned and organised. I am so pleased it’s working out for you ..much love xx

  4. Pingback: NEW Detailed Packing List – What’s in Our Bags Now, After Nearly 17 Months? | minisuitcase
  5. Trackback: NEW Detailed Packing List – What’s in Our Bags Now, After Nearly 17 Months? | minisuitcase
  6. Joe says:

    Nice list!

    Does Henry really only wear vests? Isn’t that a little under dressed for some places?

    Also, what cotten trousers does he wear, are they special travel ones or anything like that?

    And lastly, what are the doorstops for?!

    Great blog!

    1. mini suitcase says:

      Hi Joe,

      That was the case back in March but he now has 2 t-shirts too. Bangkok was too big a city for permanent vest wearing. We don’t really go to well-to-do places that need a shirt, and if we needed to he’d just pick up a cheap one. The cotton trousers are just normal – not in any way special travel ones. I had some of those right back in the beginning and I hated them – horrid material.

      We only had the one doorstop. It has gone now (it got left in HCMC after a bag sort out). It was something we used quite often in India but then much less afterwards. Originally an idea from lists we read before we left, it was used most often to wedge doors shut. In our last few months in India we spent quite some time in beach huts and there we used it to wedge the doors open. It is just extra security really when there is no lock or a really dodgy one.

      Glad you liked the blog!

      Jen

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