The days until departure are dwindling. I have all my visas, medications, insurance, flights, and a hostel booked for my first two nights. I’ve even begun the daunting task of fitting my life into a 55L pack. And by most backpacking standards-that’s a big pack! And yet, I feel like there’s something of great importance I’ve forgotten.
I’ve been fighting with myself in terms of what to pack. I’ve read countless threads on lonely planet and blogs, and while the general consensus is: PACK LIGHT! I’m having a hard time figuring out how to do just that. I agree-dragging around a heavy pack filled with non-essentials is just going to be obnoxious, not to mention tiring and more expensive to take on planes/trains/buses. And I’m a lot better than I used to be. When I went to Africa for three months in 2009 I brought a GIANT bag filled with a ton of extra comforts from home, including a restoration hardware towel, one of my favorite things, but clearly, on the “non-essential” list, and a toiletries kit filled to the brim with ridiculous things like hair masks, makeup primers, various lotions, and more. I was so nervous about my trip, taking these little luxuries from home made me feel a bit better. But, I didn’t need them, and I didn’t use most of it over the course of three months. It even caused a huge logistical issue regarding luggage storage where, instead of flying home from Egypt, I had to backtrack to pick up the gigantic bag that would have been a huge pain to bring along (and WAY exceeded baggage limits). I learned my lesson.
But…I just can’t get over feeling like I’m going to leave something at home that’s super important. Even though, in all likelihood, I’ll be able to buy most things I need in major cities (Bangkok, Singapore, Hong Kong). I’m sure by the end of this trip I’ll have fine-tuned how to pack efficiently and think all this worrying was for nothing. Side note: one reason I blog is I love looking back and seeing how much things have changed (or not) especially related to things I once thought were a huge deal-like packing!
So-what am planning on bringing?
3 tees, 3 tank tops
2 light weight dresses
1 Thermal top for Nepal/cold evenings
1 lightweight waterproof jacket
2 pairs of shorts
1 pair yoga pants/leggings
1 pair hiking pants
1 Pair hiking boots, casual shoes (Toms), flip-flops.
3 lightweight socks, 2 hiking
Underwear for 1 week. There’s a surprising amount of disagreement on this one. Some people get by with 2 (washing one pair in the shower and wearing the other)-but I just don’t want to deal with that. And really, it doesn’t take up that much room
3 bras (1 sports)
1 winter hat for trekking (may abandon there)
1 pair gloves (for trekking)
iPad-for blogging/reading to minimize bringing a ton of books-which I tear through when I travel/movies/digital travel guides (brilliant!). I also have an adapter so I can upload photos from my camera incase something happens to it.
iPhone w/global plan for keeping in touch/maps/music.
Digital Camera with spare batteries/memory cards.I also have a powershot that’s pretty beat up that I’m considering bringing as a backup camera since it takes up very little room. But probably won’t.
Med kit with all my medicine/first-aid needs
Toiletries. I’m going minimalist here, just a couple razors, deodorant, travel-size shampoo/conditioner, sunscreen, mosquito repellant, toothbrush/paste/floss, comb, hair bands, tampons (since apparently they can be difficult to procure). And planning on buying everything else as I go. This is a big deal for me. I’m a toiletries whore. Seriously, I LOVE travel kits. Like this one. There’s something comforting about showering after a tough/dusty/dirty/sweaty day and smelling like home. But-so unnecessary, both space and cost wise.
Confession: I’m bringing dry shampoo. This stuff is indispensable for me in humid climates, in which my hair is generally not amused. I’m also bringing mascara and eyeshadow.
Silk Sleep Sheet. For those less than desirable sleeping conditions/sleeper trains.
Water-bottle/camel back for trekking.
Jewelry-a couple of earrings/rings.
Pad Locks for my backpack. While I’ll be hosteling it, I’m opting for the “higher-end” ones (think $12/night vs. $6) where I should be able to lock everything up easily enough not to worry about theft (or, worry less).
Documents. Passport, copies of creditcards, itineraries, hostel vouchers, passport photos.
2 totes (that roll up to about the size of a 3oz bottle) for laundry/beach bags/general use
Whew! I think that’s it! All of that fits in my backpack with some room to spare. Planning for packing has been more involved then I anticipated. It’s a process of fine-tuning and optimizing. I love researching/shopping for travel related gear. It’s a bit nerdy really, researching every detail, like what sort of hiking socks will be the best? Or what fabric is the most wicking/durable/wrinkle-free/breathable. So, while I’ve had a bit of a struggle, I’ve admittedly really enjoyed it. And, hopefully, I haven’t forgotten anything!
What I’m not bringing. This little guy.
He’s the newest addition to the family, and I was lucky enough to be visiting my hometown when they got him. I’m in love and hate that in less than a week I’ll have to say goodbye! He’ll fit into the top part of my Osprey, right?