The Essential Guide To Packing For The Trip Of A Lifetime

We all understand the need to pack our passports, visas, money and guidebooks when we finally take the plunge and venture halfway around the globe to immerse ourselves in new cultures to try and have the time of our lives. Travel is one of the most life-affirming experiences you can undertake. The luxury of being able to jump on a plane, hot foot it to any destination you fancy visiting to scratch that wanderlust itch that’s been niggling for so long is incredible. There’s nothing better than waving goodbye to the stresses, pressures and responsibilities of home life for a jaunt overseas.
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You might be tempted to trek through the rainforests of Borneo, to climb a mountain in Nepal or to take a cultural tour of the Far East. Whatever your journey of choice, it’s vital that you pack the essentials; these are the pieces of kit that will make your life easier, more efficient or less boring when on your travels. With nothing more than a backpack, a wad of cash and a smile, you can have the trip of a lifetime and return home refreshed and revitalized before contemplating your next foray across the globe.

The Backpack

While a wheelie suitcase is fine for a vacation or two weeks in the sun, they don’t tend to be ultra portable. The most efficient way of travelling is to utilize a backpack. Front loaders are the most suitable as they open like a suitcase meaning that you don’t have to rifle through all of your clothes while the world and his wife watches on, so that you can reach your guidebook at the bottom of your bag. A front loader is more practical, accessible and easier to pack.
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When packing, ensure that you use the rolling method and make use of every millilitre of capacity within your backpack. Opt for 40 – 45 litres. Don’t be tempted to go bigger as you won’t be able to carry your backpack on the plane and will have to check it in which can be a nuisance. You’ll also risk a backache and the more space you have, the more needless stuff you’ll pack. 45 litres is plenty and means you can take a fortnight’s worth of clothes plus all accessories, gadgetry and books you could possibly need. Remember, you are heading abroad for an extended period, so you’ll need to do some washing along the way!

Beauty Products

Just because you’re going backpacking doesn’t mean you have to forego a beauty regime. You can still take your usual moisturizer, cleanser and exfoliator. You simply need to take it in smaller containers. You don’t want to take six months supply simply because that’s how long you’ll be away for. You need to use common sense and pick up supplies en route. Try and find a foundation or concealer where a little goes a long way. Wrap creams and lotions carefully and ensure that they are always kept in a toiletry bag, so no messy accidents occur over your clothes.
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On your travels, there will be times when you still want to have a formal outing. You might be going out for a nice dinner, heading to a party that a fellow backpacker has invited you to or venturing to a host family’s barbecue. By packing a handy little hair straightening brush, there’s no need to pack unwieldy straighteners plus a massive styling comb. More economical for space, a brush that straightens as you comb is super efficient, innovative and can save you time when getting ready; perfect for the traveler who doesn’t want to waste hours in front of the mirror. With a spray of argan oil, your hair will look as shiny as when you first left the salon.


It doesn’t matter whether you are a huge follower of music or whether you just have one or two favorite bands, an iPod or any other MP3 player will come in handy, especially if you’re embarking on a solo jaunt. There will be numerous times when you’re taking an internal flight, heading to your next city on a sleeper train or simply sharing the joys of the native bus service with the locals. Travel times can be long, so it pays to have a music player to take your mind off the monotony of the journey and which adds a gentle soundtrack to the new vistas and scenery that you see.

As well as music you may want to download some games or guidebooks electronically onto your smartphone. By doing this, you won’t need to carry ridiculously heavy large books around with you at all times. At the touch of a button, the book will appear in front of you on your screen.

Power Pack

In case of emergencies or on a particularly long travel day it pays to have an extra mobile charging device. This means that if you’re in the middle of nowhere, the local bus has broken down and you spy that your smartphone battery is slowly dying, you can whip out your fully charged power pack and add some much-needed juice to your gadget. This works well for music players, gaming devices and anything electronic.
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It doesn’t matter where in the world you go, you always run the risk of getting caught short in a downpour. You don’t need to pack the thickest waterproof duffel coat you own that takes up an obscene amount of space unless you’re travelling to the coldest places on the planet. Unless facing sub-zero temperatures, you should pack a couple of thin waterproof and windproof jackets instead. These can roll up easily and will snugly fit into a day backpack when venturing off on your treks and adventures.

Travelling across the world can be thrilling, exciting and awe-inspiring. However, if you don’t pack the right kit, your trip of a lifetime can soon become the stuff of nightmares. By following this advice, you’ll be sure that you’ve packed in the most efficient way and you’ve got those all-important items that can make your trip comfortable, convenient and fun.

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56 thoughts

  1. I always decant my foundation into a little jar that’s about the size of a contact lens case (I clearly don’t wear much foundation). This way, if it spills in my bag, the damage is minimal.

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  3. ..I mostly take with me my rucksack, a little bit of clothes and documents, and that´s it. That is how I have gone through all of my walking adventures, including the last one to Germany, where I am still now.

  4. I am traveling a lot. This things are only good for 2 weeks. If i travel longer time, i use what the people use at this countrys. Plants and Herbs again sickness and soap from plants to wash hair and body. If i be around the woods at my area, than i use the plants who are around to have a bath and clean my body. Its fantastic so i do not need a supermarket if i go into the woods. No need.

  5. Good list. An emergency blanket is a must for me when I go for long trekking and backpacking trips. You never know how the weather changes, it helps to be prepared!:)

  6. Great Travel Kit, Ula ~ ! Also enjoyed reading about the trip prep. – that antipation for an upcoming travel to an unknown adventure, there’s no sense of excitement like it. 😉

  7. Really good advice, though sadly not for me at my age. I really envy all you (and my own) young kids who can backpack their way cheaply round the world. It just wasn’t available when we were your age. My husband and I started making up for lost time once our kids left home and are visiting as many exotic places as we can while we still have good health, but backpacking isn’t for us. We do small adventure groups, which is the next best thing. I don’t like big hotels or large guided tours. Now that I’m retired we are travelling even more, and many of your tips are helpful (except I don’t think I need the hair straightening brush at my age – I just keep my hair cropped short…). Happy travels.

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