Having a good packing list isn’t about satisfying your OCD, it’s about taking the stress out of being ready to go anywhere, anytime. Unless you have a photographic memory, everybody will find themselves sitting in a taxi on the way to the airport saying to the person next to them “Hey, did you grab the…..!!!”
We have been using and updating this list for years, it’s the first thing we print, make notes on for each trip and keep with our gear until we walk out the door. We encourage you to remove things you just dont need on a per trip basis. The more familiar you become with your list the more confidently you can walk out the door.
On the flip side, some trips can be had with the clothes on your back and the cash in your pocket. Keep in mind that the psychology you start a trip with will play a huge role in the quality of your adventure, try to keep in mind why you are going, then the moment you close the door behind you, let everything else go!
As always, many happy travels and remember to get lost once in a while .
A FEW NOTES
Before you book that spontaneous weekend in the Maldives, check your passports expiration date, if it expires at any date during your adventure overseas you wont be allowed to board the plane. Renewal could take up to month so double check it.
Australia offers a 10 year expiration period and I think its worth the extra money up front.
Your Visa needs to go on the top of your packing list if you are heading anywhere overseas.
Most Countries make it relatively easy to obtain a Visa because they want the tourism, and in many cases this means you can grab a short stay Visa at the airport when you land for a reasonable fee.
On the other hand it seems like some Countries would prefer you stayed at home. It’s worth taking a few minutes to check the official website for that County and get it sorted early. Like all government departments they love to take their time.
If you need a Visa in a hurry then there is many websites that offer an express service for a few more dollars. Many are legit and they can fast track the process because they have a contact on the inside. There are a few dodgy sites too so look for authentic reviews.
Weather is the first and last thing to dictate what clothes you will be packing for any trip. Most holidays involve one style of weather and so a limited set of clothing is required. So check what the weather in your destination will be doing over the course of your trip.
Layering is the ultimate way to stay comfortable in whatever weather you face. There is no point taking a massive heavy jacket to wear over a single shirt as you will probably always be too hot or too cold. So take more lighter layers and break down the problem into:
Base Layer: Singlets/T-Shirts/Shirts
Lower Mid Layer: Long Sleeves Shirts
Upper Mid Layer: Light Weight Jumper
Upper Layer: Medium Weight Jacket/Coat
Outer Later: Light Weight Waterproof Jacket
Fabric Technology can make a real difference in performance vs weight nowadays. There is a real push away from environmentally unfriendly synthetic materials and back towards high quality biodegradable natural materials. Merino wool for example, wicks moisture away from the body to keep you dry and can actually keep you warm in winter or cool in summer. I won’t mention any brands but have a look around as many are working hard on natural materials with top end performance.
Packing all your gear in an organized way will make a huge difference on your trip. Using stuff sucks for everything will make it vastly easier to find any of your gear at a moments notice and save time every hour every day.
This one is greatly influenced by personal preference but there is a few things to keep in mind.
Consider where you are going and be realistic about what type of holiday you would like to have.
An easy example of how to get luggage wrong is to take a holiday trip to a luxury resort and buy an expensive hiking pack. This would mean you have carry everything on your shoulders all the time and be a complete pain to get anything out of it.
Unless you are really going for a multi day hike, consider getting a hybrid wheeled suitcase. They allow you to wheel them around most of the time but have shoulder straps for those occasions when you need to climb a flight of stairs or explore a small town.
i would also recommend a lightweight day pack as essential. Something around the 15 to 25 Liter range will gave you space for a jacket, water bottle and some shopping you might need to bring home.
Lastly, a belt bag can be a godsend and possibly all you need if you dont like pockets full of stuff and want your daily essentials to stay secure. Travelling light is an exhilarating way to travel.
Many of us will hate to hear this but size does matter 🙂
If you have ever tried to lift 20 kilograms for more than a few minutes you will know that it kinda sucks. Now imagine dragging or even carrying that around for days or weeks on end.
We have found after many years on the road that there is a correlation between the amount you carry and how much fun your trip is.
This will be the hardest to face on your first adventure but will get easier as you go.
A simple rule of thumb is to lay out everything you plan to take on your bed, then put half of it back.
Then pack your bags and weigh them to see how close you got.
Another handy trick is to assume that every litre of luggage space you have equals one kilo of weight, and reconsider buying that 60 Liter super Suitcase you have been eyeing off.
Remember, you are leaving home for a holiday, leave your worries home too.
I can’t say enough about these little indispensable wonders and you should have at least five to ten on hand at all times.
You can use anything from a hessian bag to an ultralight one with a drawstring. Grab a few small oones (10 Liters) for your socks and underwear, a few mediums (15/20 Liters) for your shirts and pants and finally a large sealed (to lock the odor & moisture in) stuff sack for your dirty washing.
They are the easiest and most versatile way to keep your gear organised on the road and will greatly help you avoid digging around the bottom of your bags all day every day.
Power Adapters +
Crap power adapters are…. crap. They can and often will be a complete let down to the point where you will find yourself at 3 am in the morning taping the power adapter to the power point plate so it stays in and charges your devices for the next day.
You will notice as you travel more and more that Australia actually got it right when we chose our power point format and the rest of the world just kinda did something else.
The Aussie plug design does two things really well. Large contact area pins allows more secure physical and electrical connection and the triangular layout of the three pins actually takes care of the really big issue…. Gravity!
I can’t count how many times I have plugged an adapter into a Dual Circular Pin socket in Asia just to watch it nose dive onto the floor under its own weight! Arrrgggggg
What’s generally happening here is that the cheapest possible power sockets are used so the pin capture springs are almost useless and don’t clamp the pins on the adapter properly. Also the really cheap adapters, not all but most, have shorter and fractionally smaller diameter pins.
There is no easy way to completely solve this but a decent adapter and a small roll of electrical tape is something we never leave home without.
Also, and very importantly, many counties don’t legally require a safety earth wire or pin on their sockets. This saves a fortune on wiring houses but provides no path for the electricity to go if there is a fault in your device or cables, eg. Your gear gets fried if anything goes wrong, So get an adapter with surge protection and the same on your powerboard if you get one
This might seem strange but a good 4 way powerboard with two USB ports can be a god send on any trip. This means you only have to carry one good quality international adapter and can keep everything charged as you move about.
These days it’s almost impossible to leave home without a few charges for various devices and its just better to not get caught out with not enough power points and you have the added benefit of surge protection on most powerboards which i highly recommend.
Also, and this is a big one, just like your home, electricians have this habit of putting your power points either under your bed or just out of reach of your USB lead. Even the most expensive hotels we have stayed in are guilty of this so a powerboard with a one or two meter power lead can be a life saver.
Keep an eye out for the current rating for each of the USB ports as well, I recommend a minimum 2.4 Amps per port as this will allow much faster charging of your phone so you can get back to taking pictures on your trip. Look for Quick Charge 3 or better devices if you can.
It’s not uncommon to leave for a weekend away or a few months overseas with half a dozen leads and chargers, plus spares.
Trying to find and untangle your leads gets boring quickly so buy some Velcro cable ties and get them sorted in a handy technology travel case.
This will also give you space for all your spare batteries, adapters, sim cards and more.
Using one of these also means day to day that all your tech gear is in one place and can simply be open and ready to use whever you end up.
Ok, you might be laughing now but that moment when the person at the Airport check in desk asks you how you would like to pay for your $220 overweight charges you will wish you had one of these on your packing list.
Even a cheap set of digital hand scales will get you within a few percent of the mark. If you know your going to be buying something for the whole family it may be a good idea to pre-book a few extra Kg baggage allowance for your return flight home.
Maps & Translations
We have all heard of Google Maps but there is plenty of options for services that will make finding and saving awesome places all over the world much easier.
Although getting lost is sometimes an amazing way to travel, most of us dont want to spend all our holidays wandering around frustrated.
Look through a few forums and download a few map apps on your phone to see what you enjoy using day to day. Also take a quick look to see what works best in the country you are going too.
Translation Apps Are also well catered for. Many allow you to listen live and display the translation on screen. Some also let you take a photo and it will translate all the text auto-magically.
All this stuff should make your life easier so take the time to test a few and see which one you like most.
THE PACKING LIST
Things to organise before you go:
- Credit Cards
- Digital copy of Passport/Visa/Licence
- International Drivers License
- Work leave booked
- Mail redirected or neighbour to collect
- Family or neighbours to water garden or timer
- House key with a family/neighbour for emergencies
- House doors & windows locked
- Pets at family/friends or pet sitters
- Fridge cleaned out & turned off
- Do NOT turn off freezer unless empty
- Gas pilot lights turned off
- Powerpoints turned off
- Check luggage size & weight
- Arrive at Airport 1.5 hours before domestic flight and 3 hours before an international flight.
Multiple Layers let you adapt to all conditions:
- Long Sleeve Tops
- Short-Sleeve Shirts
- Long-Sleeve Shirts
- Mid Weight Jumper
- Light Waterproof Jacket
- Sleep Wear
- Swim Wear
Bathroom Travel Essentials:
- Toiletries Bag
- Tooth Floss
- Contact lenses/solution
- Shaver + Balm
- Feminine-hygiene products
- Nail file/clippers
- Hand sanitizer
- Insect Repellent
All your gadgets & accessories:
- Power Point Adapter
- Power board (Optional but handy)
- USB Chargers (Quick Charge 3)
- USB Leads (Type-B & Type-C)
- Travel Speaker
- Luggage Scales
- Phone & Waterproof Phone Case
- Laptop & Case
- Camera & Case
- Head Torch
Take your prescription If Its not over the counter:
- Prescription Medications
- Pain Relievers (Ibuprofen/Paracetamol)
- Multi Vitamins (Great Immune Booster)
- Disinfectant Cream (Stop cuts getting Infected)
- Antihistamine (Great for itches, allergies & motion sickness)
- Travelan (Stops the belly bugs)