What We Packed For Our Six-Month ‘Round-the-World Trip

We should really just dive right into this, as it’s going to be a long, bullet-pointed travel packing list. Many (MANY!) people have asked us what we brought on our 6-month journey around the world. Particularly once they find out we have less than 10kg of stuff to each of our names. Obviously it’s pretty much just the essentials. But what are the essentials for a round-the-world trip covering many different climates? Here is what got us through:

***Before I dive into what we brought, I want to put in a disclaimer here. All the links below that link to products on Amazon.com are affiliate links. This means if you buy something after clicking through our links we get a very small commission. I just wanted to be upfront about it! We are hoping it pays back the cost of running this site (eventually). We certainly aren’t making a living doing this. And we would never link to anything we didn’t truly love and use constantly on this trip. We just wanted you to know!***

Molly’s clothes:

Molly's clothes

Molly’s clothes

  • 7 pairs of underwear
  • 5 pairs of socks (these are the best socks ever. No blisters! I use them at home too)
  • 3 bras (2 regular, one sports)
  • 1 bathing suit
  • 1 pair of pants (that zip into capris)
  • 1 pair of leggings
  • 1 pair of shorts
  • 1 dress
  • 1 skirt
  • 5 long sleeved garments (one heavy fleece, one button up light jacket, 3 long sleeved shirts. The fleece was a later addition on a freezing day where I forgot a sweater. I think 4 long sleeved garments are likely enough.)
  • 4 t-shirts
  • 5 tank tops (including an older version of this one from the amazing Vaute Couture)
  • 1 sarong (all-purpose. It can be a towel, a skirt, pretty much anything.)
  • 1 scarf
  • 1 t-shirt for sleeping in (a super-comfy t-shirt.)
  • 1 pair of athletic shorts for sleeping in
  • Eagle Creek Travel Gear Pack-It 2 Sided Cube (Everything except the heaviest outerwear fits in here)
  • Eagle Creek Travel Gear Pack-It Mesh Stuffer Bag (I used this as my dirty laundry bag)

Dan’s clothes:

Dan's clothes. Artfully arranged by Dan!

Dan’s clothes. Artfully arranged by Dan!

Miscellaneous things:

medical and toiletry products, games, and some miscellaneous things.

medical and toiletry products, games, and some miscellaneous things.

Top left. It goes into that blue flowery bag:

  • Pads and tampons (these are the necessities of life…)
  • Small glass nail file (borrowed from my mom) and travel nail clippers
  • Tweezers
  • 2 eye masks and earplugs taken from an airplane flight (rarely used, but good for the occasional loud or bright hostel)
  • Hair ties and a brush
  • 2 packages of dry laundry soap sheets (essential!)
  • Dan’s extra glasses and my glasses

Top middle 3 ziplock bags:

  • The left one is our shower stuff. It contains a plastic container with dry conditioner (purchased at Lush), a plastic container with a bar of soap in it, a small container of shampoo (under 3 oz), a tiny bottle of face wash for my pimply face, and a few razors.
  • The two right ziplocks are our liquids bags (when we are flying the shampoo and face wash get added to these). At this point in the trip they are getting pretty empty. But I will tell you that when we left I brought 5 containers of vegan contact solution, toothpaste, hand sanitizer, face cream, hand lotion, a stain stick and maybe a few other travel-sized liquids. The bags were very full. Your liquids needs will vary, and change with time over the course of your travels just like ours did.

Top right:

Middle left. Fits in the quart-sized ziplock bag:

  • Small travel medical kit. We added things to a pre-made kit. We added extra bandaids and neosporin.
  • Temperature-stable, vegan probiotics. These were purchased on the road. Sometimes eating out all the time gets to my stomach. These help.
  • Medical tape
  • Moleskin
  • A small container of ibuprophen and a small container of pepto-bismol
  • Anti-diarrhea medicine and antibiotics (we have never had to use these, but we figured better to have it just in case! My doctor prescribed the antibiotics for me specifically for the trip before I left. Just in case!)

Bottom left in the ziplock bag: Dan’s electric razor with its accessories, and Dan’s contacts.

Bottom left corner: Games! Hive Pocket, Struggle For Catan – the Settlers of Catan card game, and a deck of cards.

Bottom right side:

Electronics, rain gear, and miscellaneous stuff.

Electronics, rain gear, and miscellaneous stuff.

  • Shoes! 1 pair sneakers, 1 pair water sandals, 1 pair flip flops for each of us.
  • 1 lightweight umbrella
  • 1 waterproof raincoat each (essential!)
  • 1 fleece sleeping bag each (essential!)
  • Cords for all of our electronics
  • The electronics: 1 Chromebook, 1 iPhone 4s, 1 iPhone 3gs as a backup, 1 knockoff Nokia Lumia 925 purchased in Cambodia, 2 Kindles (one old and one new), 1 Panasonic LUMIX DMC-ZS19 (great camera, but a bit of dust got stuck between the lenses about 3 months into our travels), 1 Fujifilm FinePix XP60 (our camera for the final 3 months of our trip. Great for the underwater photography we did at the Great Barrier Reef!), 1 iPod nano, 1 64GB usb stick.
  • The outlet adapters. Yes, we had a different one for each country, but these adapters are so good and reliable, I thought they were worth it. They do not convert voltage (those would be transformers), but if your electronics are relatively modern a transformer is not necessary. We didn’t need one for any of our electronics.
  • A loop lock
  • The best travel power strip ever.
  • A mesh bag for all the cords.
  • Sunglasses
  • A microfiber travel towel.
  • A bandana.
  • A visor.
  • A blanket/skirt. (purchased in Thailand so Dan could get into a Wat, but then he really liked using it as a blanket so he kept it.)
  • A daypack with all of the things in the bottom left corner of the picture in the top pocket of the backpack (lip balm with spf, headphones, a headphone splitter, earplugs, B12 pills, house keys, a pen and pencil, probiotics and ibuprofen, our expenses notebook and Dan’s notebook. The water bottle goes in the backpack side pocket.
  • Not shown are our computer case that the Chromebook goes in, and the money belt that comes with us everywhere.

This is what it looks like all packed up:

All of our stuff all packed up for our 6-month trip.

All of our stuff all packed up for our 6-month trip.

Was everything above used on this trip? Nope. We haven’t touched the duct tape once and almost the entire medical ziplock bag has gone unused. But am I glad we have those things just in case? Yup! The biggest surprise of the trip was how much we used that little hand-crank flashlight.

If any women out there are looking for a new backpacking backpack, I highly recommend mine: The Gregory Sage 45 backpack. I’m 5’3″ and I wear a size small backpack. It’s comfortable, a good size and shape, and fits in overhead bins. Don’t ask about Dan’s bag, though. It’s a knock-off he bought in Cambodia!

Okay, I think that’s a long enough packing list for you. For the record, this stuff we brought covered us over 3 continents and from temperatures of 50 degrees Fahrenheit to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Please let us know if you have any questions about what we packed or how we packed it in the comments and we will be sure to answer them!

The Beauty of Traveling Light

Two days ago was Dan and my 6-month-traveliversary. Wow. I can’t believe we have really been traveling the world for 6 months. 6 months has lead me to reflect a lot on our biggest successes of the trip. It has also made me miss home a whole lot, but that may just be because we are heading home in about 2 weeks. I can’t believe this adventure is coming to an end! Don’t worry, there is so much we didn’t have a chance to share on our lovely blog while it was happening, so the posts will continue long after we are back in our freezing cold home, New York City.

But back to our successes. This may not be an impressive or spectacular choice as our biggest success of the trip, but I am sticking with it: Our biggest success of the trip is keeping our luggage under 10 kilos. That’s under 22 pounds to our American readers.

Weighing our bags at the Auckland airport. Mine was 8kg and Dan's was 9kg. Plus that small daypack I'm holding that has our computer in it, I get to around 10kg.

Weighing our bags at the Auckland airport before dawn (and ticket-counter opening). Mine was 8kg and Dan’s was 9kg. Plus that small daypack I’m holding that has our computer in it, I get to around 10kg.

10 kilos means that we have never checked a bag on this entire trip. Big plane or small, those backpacks fit in the overhead compartment! Think of all the money in checked baggage fees we have saved! This means, for all you future travelers who want to attempt the same thing, you cannot get a 70 liter bag. It will not fit in the overhead, plus if you fill it it will definitely weigh too much. And you will fill it. It’s human nature to fill the bag to the brim! For reference, my bag is 45 liters. Dan’s is 50 liters. This seems to be a good size for keeping your bag under 10 kilos, unless you plan on carrying rocks. Then you will have a problem, no matter the size of your bag!

For the lovely cheapskate airlines that have lowered their carry on weight to 7 kilograms (and 7 kilos is the lowest we have seen), we had a plan: Wear all of your heavy clothes and stuff some heavy stuff into your pockets. We did this with much success in Malaysia when flying Air Asia. They are the biggest cheapskates of any airline we have flown. They won’t even give you water on the plane without charging! So before we went to that ticket counter, we put on our long pants (I wore my leggings underneath), short-sleeved shirt, long-sleeved shirt, and our sweatshirts. I put on my scarf, too, which covered my sweatshirt pockets which I then stuffed our two liquids bags into. Dan also stuffed some things into his pants pockets. We did all of this before going to the ticket counter. When we got there, no problems! After we had our tickets, we just put the extra stuff back into the bags.

See, here’s the thing. They weigh your bag just to be able to charge you extra if it’s over their threshold, whatever that number happens to be. But they don’t weigh you! It doesn’t matter that I’m a small person, my bag can’t weigh more than X-number of kilos. It’s a money-making sceme, really, so we decided to beat it. And we have on every flight. But the key is keeping your bags near the threshold so you aren’t struggling to hide the weight on your person.

Now that we are nearing the end of our trip, I can say that traveling light is getting more difficult to stick to. For most of our trip, our only gifts to ourselves were pictures and memories, but now that we are so close to home we have been buying things here and there. Nothing crazy, but every purchase adds up to more weight! For the budget traveler, though, I highly recommend sticking with the plan of only taking pictures. They cost nothing (assuming they are digital), weight nothing, but will allow you to look back fondly on everything you have done. And my memory alone certainly isn’t good enough to do that!

So we wish you luck on packing light and saving some of your cash and sanity (no bags lost in transit!). To help you do this, Dan and I will soon be posting our packing list for a 6 month trip around the world (UPDATE! See the packing list HERE!). Be prepared, you will be wearing the same clothes over and over again!