The Only Long-Term Travel Packing List You’ll Ever Need!
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This is all you need to know to create the best long-term travel packing list ever. Download your free checklist and pack all the things you’ll use, and nothing you won’t!
PACKING FOR LONG TERM TRAVEL CONTENTS
You’re close to heading off on a round-the-world trip and you’ll be away for a long time. You don’t know exactly what weather you’ll have so you need to pack for all of the seasons. And that’s understandable because when you travel for a long time, chances are you don’t know exactly what conditions you’ll be packing for.
If you’re a little unsure about how to pack for long-term travel, we’ve got you covered! Crystal and Rosy have both been on extended travel for six months or more (actually, Crystal has done this three times now) and we both have loads of super-awesome tips about what to bring on a long-term trip.
We have now combined our magical packing powers to bring you the ULTIMATE long-term packing list, because one person’s list may not suit another’s!
Take what you want and leave what you don’t need. With this packing list for long-term travel, you won’t forget a thing!
Would you like a FREE printable checklist? You can download the PDF here.
Long-Term Travel Essentials
DON’T FORGET YOUR:
What to pack for long-term travel? For starters, your Passport! With AT LEAST 6 months validity from the time you plan to return to your home country. I.e: If you are doing a year-long round the world trip. Make sure you have at least 1 year 6 months left in your “valid until” section.
✔ Vaccination Certificates
Different countries require different types of vaccines for entry. Don’t be one of the travelers that are denied entry because you don’t have the required vaccines! For example, most countries will require your Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate in South and Central America and Africa.
✔ Drivers License + International Drivers Licence
You’ll need an International Drivers License if you are traveling somewhere where English isn’t spoken. You’ll need this especially if you plan on hiring any type of vehicle while overseas, since the hiring company may not be able to read your license without the translation.
✔ Travel Printouts
Or you could use a cool app called TripIt to store all your itineraries and bookings.
I have been using a super useful website that helps you find out country-specific information for a destination. Just enter into VisaHQ the country of your passport and where you’re going to and BAM! All the information you could possibly need.
Alternatively, government embassy websites also contain up-to-date and accurate information on whether a visa or not is required for entry.
✔ Spare Passport Photos
Some countries require a passport photo on arrival (especially in Southeast Asia), so to avoid being charged extra, always have these on hand. Keep them in the same place as your passport.
✔ Passport Holder or Pencil Case
This is to keep your passport and other important documents safe. Crystal uses a Pencil Case with her passport, pens to fill out immigration forms, important documents, credit cards, money, spare passport photos, and keys safely inside.
An RFID Blocking Passport Holder is also a nice way to keep your passport and credit cards safe.
OTHER PACKING ESSENTIALS:
✔ Sunscreen (Biodegradable & SPF 30+)
You especially need biodegradable sunscreen if you plan to enter the water when any other life also lives in those waters. The ingredients of most sunscreens and insect repellants can severely harm fish and are one big reason why coral reefs are dying.
It’s best to buy biodegradable and reef-friendly sunscreen at home and bring it because it can be difficult to find and/or is very expensive in other countries.
✔ Bug Repellant
Read up about your destinations to make sure you’ve got the right DEET level (stronger for those higher-risk areas).
While traditional spray-on repellant still works a treat, we’ve heard great things about mozzie-repelling wristbands, which are a brilliant option for those traveling on hand luggage only as it negates worry around the 50ml in-flight liquids limit, plus you don’t need to shower yourself in spray every six hours.
✔ Ziploc Bags
It may sound weird now, but on the road, you’ll use them ALL THE TIME – from storing tea bags, hair ties, and leftover snacks, to placing fragile souvenirs into.
Every backpack needs a good backup of different-sized zipper bags for use at the drop of a hat. Ziploc bags are becoming the number one hack for long-term travel planning!
✔ Duct Tape (Gaffer Tape)
This one is a game-changer. No ultimate packing list for long-term travel is complete without duct tape. Permanently fixes your backpack, your raincoat, or your tent in seconds.
Patch up your bike, re-waterproof the soles of your shoes, use it as a label for hostel fridge food storage, a temp fix for clingy shower curtains, or a quick-fix for earphone wires or glasses – its uses are limited only by your creativity.
✔ Travel Sewing Kit
From patching up the trusty flip-flops (thongs, for our friends down under) to essential backpack maintenance and lovingly repairing those little rips in your favorite top. A needle and thread is an absolute must for any adventure. Be sure to include a sewing kit in your long-term travel packing.
ⓘ They’re so tiny, they need barely any packing room.
Lost your hair tie? String! Tent ropes disappeared? String! Hammock fallen down? String! Finger falling off? String (plus duct tape)! Worried you’ll lose your travel buddy in a big crowd? Why not tie yourselves together for added security?
✔ Waterproof Phone Case
Take it from Rosy, an Englishwoman who’s spent the last rainy season in Guatemala – you never know when the rain will hit. Smartphone raincoats are cheap and effective, and most travelers will have at least one with them.
If you want to waterproof larger items as well (like your laptop, tablet, passport, etc) check out our genius waterproofing travel hack below!
✔ A Portable Laundry System
Yes, this really is a thing. You can use this revolutionary device as a laundry bag and, once it’s full, you drop in a little laundry liquid and water, leave everything to soak, then basically just punch it for a bit. Drain, rinse, and hang out to dry!
ⓘ This is also a great substitute for a dry bag (if the water can’t get out, it can’t get in either). Dry bags are perfect to protect your camera, phone, and other valuables if you plan to do any water-based activities (taking a boat in Thailand or across the San Blas Islands of Panama, jumping around in the Semuc Champey cascades of Guatemala, or going caving in Borneo, for example).
✔ Life Straw Water Purification
A travel water bottle with an inbuilt purification filter that is Eco-friendly, easily portable, and provides a vital way to ensure your drinking water is safe. No Earth-conscious traveler should leave home without a re-useable water bottle.
✔ Activated Charcoal Tablets
No traveler should leave home without a sufficient supply of charcoal tablets. They’re a brilliant solution to general digestive grumbles (which can strike at any time!) and they take up very little space.
If you are traveling to countries known for questionable food and water safety (looking at your Latin America and Southeast Asia), then activated charcoal tablets are essential. These are some great organic ones.
✔ Rehydration Packets
You can pick these up in most pharmacies around the world, but when you need them most you may not feel like popping out to the shops and trying out your new language skills. Bring a decent supply of rehydration sachets wherever you’re going to keep on top of your health and fitness (they’re also the best hangover cure we’ve ever come across).
But there’s no substitute for drinking plenty of water, so remember to drink at least two liters of water each day. The sachets give your body the minerals it needs to absorb the water.
✔ Emergency First-Aid Kit
As a bare-minimum inclusion, we suggest: plasters, blister plasters, mini bandages, antiseptic cream (many are also local anesthetics that you’ll be glad of if a mosquito got through your carefully-planned defenses), anti-histamines (also great re: mosquito bites), and malaria tablets.
Every traveler is different and you know your own body best – put careful thought into what you need to include in your first aid kit.
✔ Travel Pocket Knife
You’ll really never know when this item will come in handy. You may need it for cutting up tomatoes when having a park-baguette lunch in expensive Europe, tightening up a loose screw on your camera, popping open a bottle of beer, or opening a wine bottle.
At the very least, carry it around in your daypack for a bit of protection on the streets (fingers crossed you’ll never need it).
✔ Anti-Theft Belted Wallet
With so many affordable options out there, there’s no excuse not to get one of these brilliantly-designed security wallets. Strap up in the morning, tuck your shirt over the top, and enjoy a hands-free day safe in the knowledge that your valuables are going nowhere without you.
Honestly, though. These are only good for people who wear loose clothes. For the rest of us, an anti-theft backpack might be a better idea. We have compared the best anti-theft backpacks so you can choose one that’s best for you. Couple it with an anti-theft wire and you have yourself a portable safe.
✔ Packing Cubes
Thinking about how to pack for long-term travel? If you’ve heard people rave about packing cubes but really don’t know what all the fuss is about; just try them. We are sure you’ll be converted! They will turn even the people with no organizational skills into seasoned travelers!
There’s honestly nothing better than being able to just pull a cube out of your backpack and throw it in a drawer. They also keep your luggage tight and space-efficient.
✔ Travel Pillow
After trying many travel pillows and never being 100% satisfied, we finally found one that’s both comfortable and packs down small. It uses both soft foam inside and air to give you a malleable comfort. Stop the inflation at your desired support.
✔ Foldable Shopping Bag
This is as good for mother earth as it is for you. Just scrunch it up and throw it in your daypack for any supermarket side trips.
They are also perfect for taking to the beach (just throw in your sarong and some sunscreen and you’re good to go)!
✔ Microfibre Towel
You’ll need a lightweight, quick-dry microfibre towel for any cheap hotels or Airbnb’s that don’t provide one. It also doubles as a blanket on cold buses, etc.
Make sure you get a LARGE-sized one as you’ll want it to wrap around your body… Trust me, a small one is no fun! Crystal also prefers the more absorbent, thicker ones as they feel much nicer on the skin.
ⓘ Buy a dark-colored one – trust us.
Also, don’t forget to pack these essential things for travel:
Never Leave Home Without Long-Term Travel Insurance
Just don’t, this is one of the most important long-term travel essentials. You never know what could happen and without insurance, you could end up with a hefty hospital bill, or worse. Generally, all backpacking travel insurers will cover you for up to a year.
Crystal uses Clements Insurance to cover all her expensive camera and computer gear… Hello, 8TB of hard drive photography storage 😭.
If you’re just after travel medical insurance, SafetyWing is another backpacker favorite and it’s super cheap!
For hospital and less-expensive gear (computers worth up to $2,000, for example) Crystal uses World Nomads.
World Nomads are one of the best at long-term travel insurance for backpackers and digital nomads. They understand that you’ll be doing adventurous activities and they also allow you to buy coverage when you are already overseas (whereas a lot of travel insurers require you to purchase coverage while you are still in your home country.
Don’t ruin your long-term trip with a hefty hospital bill or the need to replace expensive travel items!
Just enter your trip details below for a quote. If you end up buying it, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. 💕
Long-Term Travel Packing List: Electrical Items
DON’T FORGET YOUR:
✔ Laptop or iPad
It’s one or the other… Not both. You choose.
✔ VPN (Virtual Private Network)
This is essential for long-term travelers and Crystal couldn’t have been on the road for so long without it. A VPN can save your ass in so many ways.
If you ever use public access WiFi while traveling (like an airport, restaurant, vacation rental, or hotel) then you’re potentially putting your online security at risk by hackers.
It also helps out in other ways too. Can’t access your Gmail because it thinks you’re in a dodgy country? (Which you ARE, but still). Just connect to your home country using the VPN. PayPal payment won’t go through because you aren’t in your home country? VPN…
With a quality VPN such as Nord VPN, you instantly protect your sensitive data on all different devices with just one click. Also, Nord is really affordable, super easy to turn on and we use it daily.
✔ Portable Charger Pack
These affordable, small and lightweight little friends are a travel essential; imagine that 15-hour overnight bus journey without a podcast or Netflix series to binge! Unthinkable.
In fact, I can’t even get through a day of using Google Maps on my iPhone without needing some sexy charger juice (thanks for that, Apple *shakes fist vigorously into the air*). Anyway, charge your smartphone, tablet, MP3 player, or even laptop (sometimes) on the go.
If you do a lot of camping or you go to places with no access to power, you might also like a solar power charger. Charge your devices using energy from the sun! Perfect!
✔ Universal Converter
Maybe an obvious one, but I’ve managed to forget this crucial item on a trip or two!
An essential on any international travel packing list, we definitely recommend bringing a high-quality converter along as opposed to buying abroad; for example, we can tell you from personal experience that the cheaper ones sold outside countries with strictly-enforced quality laws may not have decent regulating abilities and will, therefore, kill your phone… Surprisingly quickly.
There’s nothing better on a long bus ride than to settle in with a bunch of your favorite Podcasts when you can’t access the internet.
If you are on an iPhone you can download podcasts through your Podcasts App which should already be on your phone. If you are on an Android you can download them through your Google Play Music App and on any other phone there should be an app called Podcasts you can use. Just open the app and search for the name of the podcast you want to listen to offline.
✔ GoPro + Attachments
Action cameras are becoming somewhat essential for everyone – and that’s awesome. There’s really not much they can’t do!
If you don’t need a manually operated DSLR, a GoPro can easily replace this camera. You really don’t have an excuse not to buy one when their prices start at only $350 USD!
✔ DSLR Camera + Lenses and Attachments
If a DSLR is essential for you, try to make sure it’s as small and powerful as possible and that it has good video capabilities! Add a few lenses and other attachments and you’ve already gone over your carry-on limit!
Crystal has used Panasonic cameras her whole career because they have some of the BEST video capabilities.
✔ Camera Tripod or Octopod
There are loads of versatile and lightweight tripods that do some cool shit like wrap it around tree branches and fence posts. You can attach your GoPro or your phone. You can even use it as a stand for your phone or small iPad for those long-haul flights.
✔ Phone Lens Kit
Don’t want to splash out on any fancy cameras but still like to do cool stuff with lenses? Be sure to take these tiny lenses that fit right onto your phone’s camera!
This set includes a macro lens for cool close-ups, a fish-eye lens for warping buildings, a wide-angle for spectacular scenery shots, and even a telephoto lens to capture things that are far away. All you need to do is clip them onto your phone (any type) and start taking awesome photos!
✔ Wireless Speaker
Crystal doesn’t do any long-term traveling without her Bluetooth speaker (she just loves music THAT much). The UE Roll is one of the best options because the sound is clear and loud and the actual speaker is small and flat-ish. It is also water-resistant, which comes in handy when traveling (spills, rain, and whatnot).
Honestly though, once you hear the sound of a UE, you won’t be able to listen to anything else.
Also, don’t forget to pack these important electrical items for travel:
The Best Apps for Long-Term Travel
These are the Apps Crystal always has on her phone to use every day when she travels. Some of them are absolute life-savers (like the offline maps) and others have functions that will save you money!
We recommend you download them all before you leave and start getting familiar with them so when you are on the road you’re like a fighter jet in a sea of snails.
You can even try turning your phone on airplane mode to see how the maps function offline (they are a little different than when you use them online). It’s fascinating to notice that even when your phone is on airplane mode, your phone still knows exactly where you are… Scary! (But also super cool!)
- Trip-It (FREE) Store all your flight, hotel and other bookings in one place and access them offline
- Skyscanner (FREE) Use the “everywhere” button for cheap flights to anywhere in the world
- Google Maps (FREE) Download selections to be used offline. Also a great way to decipher public transport in cities
- Maps.me (FREE) Download entire countries for use offline – a good Google Maps backup
- Xe Currency (FREE) Save up to 10 currencies to check offline
- Trail Wallet (FREE) for tracking expenses while traveling
- Uber Rideshare (FREE) Often cheaper than local taxis plus you can send live updates to family at home whenever you are using one
- Duo Lingo (FREE) Learn some phrases in the local language
- Spotify (FREE) Find awesome new music. With Premium you can listen to music offline
Packing List for Long Term Travel: Personal Items
A packing list for long-term travel varies slightly between ladies and gentlemen. But worry not, both are covered here in this long-term packing list.
From retrieving broken-off earphone jacks in your laptop, tablet, or smartphone (trust us – it is possible) to quickly removing splinters or a loose thread, tweezers are a must-have for any traveler. And you can even stretch their use to essential eyebrow maintenance if the inclination so takes you.
✔ Nail Scissors
Like the multi-purpose tweezer, these handily travel-sized little tools have no end of possible uses. Cutting that string or duct tape, for starters.
✔ Your Favourite Re-Usable Razor
Don’t bother trying to buy disposable ones overseas. Not only will you end up carrying large bulk packs of razors, but they just don’t do the job right. Bring your favorite interchangeable head razor with a handful of spare heads.
✔ SPF 15+ Lip Balm
Women travelers will be all-too-familiar with the necessity of this little gem, so this tip is especially for the gentlemen – keep those lips smooth and healthy with a dab or two of SPF lip balm each day.
It protects against every extreme weather type and I promise nobody can tell you’re wearing it. Unless you are actually kissing them at that very moment and, if that’s the case, they’ll be grateful for the added softness 😉
✔ Tampons or Menstrual Cup
While sanitary towels are generally available in most places worldwide, tampons are much rarer and can be eye-wateringly expensive.
You will not believe how many countries don’t really sell tampons (think Southeast Asia and South/Central America). It’s utterly crazy. So you can either bring a huge backup of tampons (if you’re traveling one of the above countries for a year you’re going to need A LOT)…
OR you can bring one tiny little Menstrual Cup. These are reusable orb cups you put up your hoo-ha to catch your unfertilized baby bag. They are a little weird/uncomfortable to use at first but after a couple of go’s, you won’t even notice them!
And if you’re wondering how to clean them, it’s easy. Just boil them at the end of the period cycle or wash with soapy water.
This may seem an obvious one, but I’m listing it on the basis that shampoo is a highly versatile travel companion. If, like me, you travel light; you can use shampoo as soap, laundry detergent, and in a pinch, a tasty and nutritious cool drink (joking on that last one. Please don’t ingest shampoo).
If you love Mother Earth, then try out solid shampoo bars. They are like soap bars but shampoo (and conditioner if you like!) While most bottled shampoo is 80% water, the solid shampoo will save you space in your backpack AND they will mean you are buying (and then throwing out) LESS plastic bottles. It’s a win/win.
Bring your favorite because chances are, where you’re going, they will be crap. Loads of hotels only provide shampoo too (not conditioner), so if you have thick long hair you’re going to need the best you can get.
If you are considering a solid conditioner bar (to save room and Mother Earth) Crystal will just quickly tell her experience… Initially, she brought one on her latest trip with her because she hates using so much plastic. But, she found the conditioner made her hair really oily and her hair was still super knotty after using it. It was a shame.
✔ Medical Essentials
Please look after yourself; be vigilant with your health. Visit your doctor with plenty of time before your trip (we’re talking a year to 6 months) to discuss vaccinations, supplies of any regular medication you may need, and general travel health advice.
✔ Motion Sickness Wristbands
If you suffer from seasickness or motion sickness, then this simple invention is a godsend. They work by applying pressure to a pressure point on your wrist which has been shown scientifically to restore balance in your body. Crystal’s girlfriend uses them all the time and says they help her a lot.
✔ Hanging Toiletry Bag
One of the handiest things you can take traveling. Just open it up and hang it off the towel rack. Make sure you get one with an enclosed plastic section for shampoo and other liquids so when you change altitudes and your bottles pop open – you don’t ruin your whole bag!
If you’re anything like Crystal and you have a terribly tiny bladder (Crystal has named hers T.B), then you might want to think about trying out a SHEWEE. It’s a female urination device that enables the ladies to FINALLY pee standing up.
Although we have not used them ourselves, we have heard people swear by them. They are especially good for festivals and camping!
✔ Jewelry Organiser
If you plan to take any type of jewelry traveling that can get tangled, you will have to think about how to look after it. For rings and earrings you can put them in small plastic jars and for necklaces and bracelets, you might be able to fit them in a 7-day pill box organizer.
If you really need to protect them, here’s a sleek AF jewelry organizer that would be sure to keep everything safe.
Also, don’t forget to pack these important personal items for travel. If you click the link, you will be taken to the travel-friendly version of these products:
✔ Makeup Travel Bag
✔ Cotton Swabs
✔ Hand Sanitiser
✔ Hair Ties
✔ Leave-in Conditioner
Want Exclusive Discounts on Accommodation, Travel Products and More? Click Here!
Long-Term Packing List: Clothing for Women & Men
This packing list is a general one for those long-term travel essentials. You could be jetting off on an Australian Outback adventure, hitting the slopes for a season in the Alps, backpacking SEA, or hiking to Petra; so, of course, the clothing you bring will entirely depend on your destination.
There are some fantastic travel-specific clothing ranges out there with everything from ‘non-wash’ tops to multi-style dresses and jackets with completely hidden pockets for your valuables.
TOP TRAVEL TIP: Pack for a Week and Wash
The general mentality you want in terms of clothes is ‘pack for a week’. Do your laundry once a week and you’ll be grand. It’s easy to find cheap laundry places all over the world or to wash your clothes yourself with this awesome contraption. Sometimes you can even find an Airbnb with a washing machine. If all else fails, just wash your underwear in the shower with soap! This is a common backpacking go-to, especially good if you run out of underwear before anything else.
Only bring the casual clothes you love and can mix and match with other clothes you will bring. Muted colors for the basics with splashes of bright color in the belt, scarf, or overthrows is a great way to minimalize the number of outfits you bring.
TOP TRAVEL TIP: Buy When You Get There
Unless you are planning your trip to the moon, there is a high chance that you can buy the items you need at your destination. Obviously, there are some items that are invaluable such as an outlet adapter and electronics. But for things like clothes, it is easy and cheaper (sometimes even more fashionable) to just shop when you get there. This way, you can avoid overpacking and binding stuff that you love but don’t need.
Also, if the weather changes and the stuff you purchased is no longer suitable, you won’t be heartbroken throwing them out!
TOP TRAVEL TIP: Layer Up In the Cold
Layering is the route of all excellence. Bring vest tops, tees, long-sleeved tees, and thin sweaters and you’re ready for whatever nature throws at you.
You can even travel to Europe in winter as long as you have several quality layers like a thermal undershirt, a lightweight cashmere sweater, and a rain jacket on top. Layering is king when you want to keep the long-term travel packing list to a minimum!
In one week you will need the following basic clothes:
Women’s Long Trip Packing List
✔ 8x Underwear
✔ 2x Sports Bra
✔ 2x Bra
✔ 1x Light Pyjama Shorts & Bed Shirt
✔ 1x Active Shorts (Exercising & Lounging)
✔ 1x Denim shorts
✔ 1x Cotton Shorts
✔ 2x Tank Tops
✔ 2x Cotton Shirt
✔ 1x Long Sleeve Thermal or Base layer
✔ 1x Cashmere Sweater (Lightweight & Warm)
✔ 1x Trekking Pants / Shorts
✔ 1x Lightweight Jeans or Pants
✔ 1x Lightweight Rain Jacket
✔ 1x Beanie
✔ 1x Maxi Dress
✔ 2x Short Dress
✔ 1x Comfy Yoga Leggings
✔ 1x Loose Comfortable Pants (Long Bus Rides, Sleeping & Lounging)
✔ 2x Cute Bikinis
✔ 1x Swimsuit Coverup
✔ 1x Foldable Hat
✔ 1x Warm Scarf (Cashmere if Possible)
✔ 8x Pair of Socks (1 Trekking Pair)
✔ 1x Pair of Trekking Shoes (Lightweight)
✔ 1x Pair of Travel Sandals (For All-Day Walking, Water Activities & Going Out)
✔ 1x Pair of Flip flops
Click the pic to see the tee! All these items are great for shoving into suitcases and are lightweight too. They can be found on Amazon for a REALLY good price, with nothing under a 4-Star rating!
Men’s Long Travel Packing List
✔ 8x Underwear
✔ 8x Pair of Socks (1 Trekking Pair)
✔ 2x Board Shorts
✔ 1x Active Shorts
✔ 2x Trekking Shorts / Pants
✔ 1x Long Trousers / Jeans (Going Out & Sight Seeing)
✔ 1x Super Comfortable Long Pants (Long Buses, Lounging & Sleeping)
✔ 1x Long Sleeve Base Layer
✔ 1x Beanie
✔ 2x Tank Tops
✔ 2x Cotton Shirts
✔ Sweater (Lightweight & Warm)
✔ 1x Warm Scarf (Cashmere if Possible)
✔ 1x Cap or Hat
✔ 1x Lightweight Rain Jacket
✔ 1x Pair Flip Flops
✔ 1x Pair Closed Shoes
A long-term travel packing list for men is a lot simpler than one for ladies, simply because of the godly powers of a t-shirt. They are literally perfect for (almost) every single occasion. We have also included more information about these products down below, make sure you give them a click to find out more!
All these items are great for packing into luggage and are lightweight. They can be found on Amazon for a REALLY good price too, with nothing under a 4-Star rating!
Packing List Clothing Accessory Essentials (Men & Women)
This is possibly the most versatile piece of clothing on my packing list. It can take the place of a scarf AND a light blanket. You can wear it over your swimmers as a cover, even tie it into a dress. And when you’re on the beach, it’s the perfect lightweight towel.
It even dries you off. In emergencies, a sarong can also take the place of a bath towel.
✔ SPF Sunglasses
You won’t find the locals or long-term expats wearing shades, but whether you plan to stay a week or half a year, so many incredible places in the world have fierce sunlight and nobody wants their travel mementos to include squint-induced crow’s feet!
✔ Head Buff
These little pieces of headwear have so many uses! A headband to keep hair off your face, an eye mask for sleeping on overnight buses/planes, a sweat rag, the list could go on! Always have one in your day pack for use whenever needed!
✔ Waterproof Rain Coat with a Nice Big Hood
Use it as a top layer in cold weather and always keep it in your daypack for emergency downpours. If you are traveling long-term, you will inevitably run into rainy weather.
In that case, a waterproof jacket or raincoat is essential, and don’t you dare pack an umbrella!
✔ Very Good Hiking Shoes
Perfect for walks, of course, but also general wet weather, navigating gravelly/pot-holed roads, caving/climbing, and long sightseeing walks. This is one thing it’s worth splashing out on.
✔ Bum Bag / Fanny Pack
This is honestly the best (yet unfashionable) travel item. Crystal wears a bum bag almost every day wherever she’s speeding around cities and sightseeing. Having your phone right there (without having to reach around for backpacks) keeps you happy and taking pics.
They are good to keep valuables close on overnight buses and even better to keep your passport and travel documents in while zipping around airports. Better than handbags because you can just do them up and forget about them!
✔ Fingerless Gloves
Fingerless because you ALWAYS still need to use your phone when you’re wearing them, and you don’t want to be taking them on and off. It’s even better to have ones with little mitts on the end so you can cover your fingers when needed. Mmmm toasty…
Packing For Long-Term Travel: Non-Essentials
Things that are really nice to have if you have room. Some of these may become an essential packing list item depending on how you travel and where you’ll be going.
✔ Travel Coffee Press
Not having a quality coffee or two in the mornings ranks pretty highly on my personal tragedy barometer. To that end, I am happy to introduce you to the travel coffee press! Just add fresh ground coffee and hot water, and you’ll never suffer morning sluggishness again, whether you’re in the middle of the Sahara or halfway up a tree in the Amazon.
Shout out to our friend Debs, clinician and volunteer coordinator at Project Ix-canaan, Guatemala for this invaluable tip.
✔ Aloe Vera Gel
Again, Rosy is from England, where the sun comes out about three days a year and the entire nation immediately suffers comic levels of sunburn. She cannot conscientiously write this list without including aloe vera.
Whenever she’s sunburned, she uses about half a liter every couple of days and IT IS MAGIC. Sometimes she even looks tanned after a few days.
✔ A Pack of Cards
No… Two packs of cards! Do not ever leave your country without at least one pack of cards. Cards games are awesome for passing the time and breaking the ice in a hostel general area.
One of the most common ones played in a backpacker hostel is Shithead. For drinking card games, you need to know how to play Ring of Fire aka King’s Cup.
✔ An International Power Board
If you’re going to be on the road for a REALLY long time and you have loads of electrical items, then this is the product for you. Sometimes you’ll end up buying electronics in strange countries leaving you with strange cords and they all need charging at once!
Make sure you buy one with USB connectors too. Crystal uses hers every day, and although it’s taped together with duct tape (after so much use) she honestly doesn’t know what she’d do without it (probably just charge stuff one-by-one with her boring universal converter I suppose…)
✔ Kindle or E-Reader
Hard copy books are excellent and perfect to pass time when you are on a long-distance bus or train. But do you know what’s better? A kindle!
Save room in your bag while still enjoying access to thousands of books. It is the perfect long-term travel gear because you might not always have the internet to keep you entertained, but you can read a kindle even in the Andes Mountains of South America! They are pricey, but essential if you like reading.
✔ Travel Camera Drone
This is not an essential travel item, but by golly, they are GREAT. There’s nothing sexier than a crisp bird’s-eye view of amazing scenery. Now that drones have been around for a while, the technology has made them small and seriously powerful.
FYI: Crystal has written an entire article comparing all of the best travel drones and talks about their specs and functions.
✔ Travel Yoga Mat
When you travel long-term you are going to need a way to stay fit on the road. So you can either run along the beach every day (a great option if you are near a beach), pay for expensive gym entries (not a great option IMO), or carry a travel yoga mat to exercise on!
✔ Sleep Sheet
If you plan to stay in hostels and 1-2 star hotels this might be something you are interested in. It’s a fact that in cheap places you don’t always get the cleanest sheets, so bringing along a sleeping bag liner could help with the mental battle you’ll inevitably end up having when sleeping in questionable beds.
This is a luxury item for the budget traveler! String your hammock up anywhere for a free place to sleep. The hammock pictured includes a zip-up mosquito net for those tropical climates and is lightweight and durable.
✔ Washing Line
This is listed as non-essential because neither of us carries a portable washing line. However, they do have great functionality and fold up very small so they are a great thing to carry.
There have been many situations where we’ve wished we had one because the room was dusty or there was nowhere else to hang out wet clothes (once Crystal simply draped hers over a pot plant, haha).
Would you like a FREE printable checklist? You can download the PDF here.
What Not Pack for Long-Term Travel
✘ Shaving Cream
Honestly, you don’t need it. Just use a little bit of your hair conditioner, it works perfectly. Thank me later… P.S. If you’re a man and you don’t use conditioner, forget I said anything!
✘ A Hair Dryer, Curling Iron or Straightener
Should you bring a travel hair dryer on your trip? The answer is a definitive NO… Unless you really want it.
Although Crystal LOVES to blow dry her hair when she’s at home, she would never bring one with her traveling. The reason is simple, they are big and heavy (even the travel-sized ones) and the “air” dries your hair just as well (would you believe it?!?!)
It’s a luxury item that just doesn’t belong in the bag of a long-term traveler. Plus, many hotels will have a hairdryer in their bathrooms. But say you are going ultra-budget, you will probably end up finding you never really needed to blow dry your hair anyway…
✘ Heavy Boots
Heavy hiking boots or normal boots will only weigh you down. Unless you’ll be spending most of your time somewhere super cold, you will regret these.
What Backpack to Take on Long-Term Travel
We have dedicated ourselves to finding out what is the best luggage for long-term travel. Altogether we’ve spent over 5 years traveling long-term so these backpacks are tested, tried, and true. Read on to find out why these long-term backpacks are perfect for you!
Best Large Backpack for Long-Term Travel
✔ The Osprey Fairview 65L Wheeled Backpack
If you’re like Crystal and you have so much camera gear and other stuff that you just can’t fit them into carry-on luggage, you’re going to need a large backpack for your travels.
I have tried three different backpacks; one hiking pack (hated it – annoying to get stuff out and didn’t hold enough) and one 70 Litre adventure open-front backpack (far too heavy and totally overkill). The final backpack I found and the one I use now is the 65 Liter Osprey Wheeled Backpack.
Hybrid backpacks really can do it all! They can be wheeled (which is how Crystal uses hers most of the time) and they can also be put on your back (think deep cobblestones or muddy pathways).
Pros of the Osprey 65L Wheeled Backpack
The wheels are huge and durable, able to withstand even the bumpiest of pathways. The HighRoad chassis means the bag has added stability, even when there’s nothing inside. It has a conventional hip belt and padded shoulder straps, ideal for carrying it like a backpacker’s backpack!
Cons of the Osprey 65L Wheeled Backpack
It’s not incredibly comfortable to wear. Although it has a hip strap (a deal-breaker since the hips can take most of the weight) after a while of use it becomes quite uncomfortable.
Best Carry-On Sized Backpack for Long-Term Travel
✔ MATEIN Waterproof Wheeled Backpack for Travel
After six weeks in Spain with a MASSIVE wheeled suitcase (checked luggage), then another month with a smaller wheeled suitcase (hand luggage), Rosy was ready to admit that neither of these was practical for long-term travel. Backpacks are a much more user-friendly option and, of course, far more portable than the suitcase.
But what about those moments when you have to walk for miles? Sometimes, a person needs wheels… Enter the MATEIN Waterproof Wheeled Backpack for Travel.
Complete with durable straps, extendable handle, AND wheels, it has a multitude of pockets including a cushioned compartment for laptops and tablets, a side pouch perfect for water bottles, and a pocket perfect for the straps when not in use (or flip flops, when the straps are being used).
If you roll your clothes and pack carefully, the bag will fall well within the limits of hand luggage size specs, so you can avoid the risk of lost luggage and the cost of checking luggage – and enjoy the added bonus of having everything right at your fingertips during the long-haul flight. It’s also a really reasonable price for what it is. Did we mention that it is waterproof?
Best Daypacks for Long-Term Travel
✔ Pacsafe Venture Safe 25L GII
Combining a casual day pack with a small backpack that you can also take on day hikes is usually the best option. For added security get an anti-theft backpack to keep your valuables safe while in transit and also in your hotel room.
I have written an entire post comparing all the top anti-theft backpacks and weighing up their pros and cons. Check it out if you’re in the market for a new backpack (because you might as well make it an anti-theft one).
The best anti-theft daypack is the Pacsafe Venture Safe 25L GII. This bag is stylish, lightweight, and durable. Its anti-theft features include RFIDsafe blocking materials throughout the bag and a padded laptop compartment too. The PacSafe has hidden eXomesh slash guard stainless steel wire mesh within the fabric for protection against slash-and-go thefts. This anti-theft backpack mesh is the best of its kind on the market.
The turn-and-lock security hooks are a great feature that adds a subtle additional security element while allowing you to get in and out of the bag with ease. The zippers discreetly attach to the security hooks to offer this bag anti-theft security galore. Ideal for all kinds of travel experiences including hiking and the daily commute.
ANY QUESTIONS ABOUT THESE TRAVEL PRODUCTS?
So there you have it! This long-term travel checklist has hopefully given you all the information you need to know on what to pack for long-term travel. Plus tips on how to use these products.
If you have any questions at all about any of the things I have recommended in this long-term travel checklist, feel free to hunt me down and stalk me with your incessant questioning! I love hearing from you, so I promise I won’t call the police 😉
Would you like a FREE printable checklist? You can download the PDF here.
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If you have a favorite packing for long-term travel item that you just can’t live without, please comment below with your travel tips and tell us about it!
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Originally Posted: November 2019. Frequently Updated.
About the Authors
This post was written in combination by Crystal Egan and Rosy Hawkins, two long-term travelers. Crystal travels with a huge backpack that she curses every day (just kidding, I love my hybrid backpack) while Rosy bounces along in life with only carry-on luggage.
We wanted to ensure you don’t forget anything before you leave on your long-term travels while also packing smart and not letting non-essential items weigh you down. You can read more about us below.
Rosy is a remote-working writer, proofreader, marketer, and website-creator, with a background in the NPO, legal, health, and higher education sectors. Her work allows her to travel Central America and Mexico (at the moment – who knows where next) finding charities and ethical/sustainable businesses she can volunteer her skills and time with.
Most recently, she spent several months in the Guatemalan jungle village of El Remate, where she volunteered as marketing and communications manager with Project Ix-Canaan to design and develop their new website, create online content, write grant applications, and run a volunteer recruitment drive. She’s always looking for her next project, so get in touch if you know anyone who could use her help!
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