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What To Pack For Long-Term Travel

By Edited Dec 20, 2013 1 3

When travelling abroad, packing the right items can make or break a trip

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If you've ever gone away back packing for more than a couple of weeks, you've likely found yourself wondering what to pack for long-term travel. It's not as easy as you may think. Special conditions exist in different places and if you're travelling to several different countries in one trip you may find yourself needing a variety of things depending on where you are.

This list contains the basics. Do some specific research on the destination you are travelling to before departure. I have done travelling in both hot and cold places and can assure you that no matter what, there are some basics that you will need.

What to pack for long-term travel

1. High-quality utility knife

When you're heading to another country, you simply don't know what you're going to run into. I have a high-quality Leatherman brand knife that I picked up before leaving for six months in Australia and can't tell you how many times it's gotten me out of a bind. It has scissors that are razor-sharp, two knives, a saw, screwdrivers, files and other goodies. Don't go anywhere without on of these, it may end up being the best money you spend.


Leatherman Super Tool 300 Multi-tool with Nylon Sheath
Amazon Price: $86.00 Too low to display Buy Now
(price as of Aug 16, 2013)

2. High-quality sleeping bag

Don't skimp here. A good quality bag is not that much money but it can make the difference between shivering all night and being warm. A main advantage to purchasing a good bag is that they're usually smaller and lighter than cheap ones. If you're backpacking specifically, you want to save weight and size wherever you can, and a sleeping bag is one of the largest items you will bring with you.

3. Convertible backpack

Many backpacks now come with a smaller second bag that is either another backpack or can be a waist-pack. Get one of these. Your second bag will clip onto the first and you won't have to carry two bags. The smaller bag allows you to leave your larger stuff at the hostel if you need to and go into town with one small bag instead of a huge one.

4. Towel

You will want your own towel...period! They make towels that are quite small and made of a microfibre material that dries effectively and rolls up into a tiny little ball. The cool thing about these is even when they're wet they hold the moisture and won't usually get your other things wet.

Trailhead Travel Towel Lg 20" X 27"
Amazon Price: $7.99 Buy Now
(price as of Aug 16, 2013)

5. Digital watch

This is important especially when you arrive in a different time zone. You are likely going to be jet-lagged and will need to keep track of time. Get a decent watch with a timer function and keep it with you at all times. Every time you take your watch off is a chance for somebody to steal it!

Timex Men's T48042 Expedition Digital Chrono Brown Nylon Strap Watch
Amazon Price: $44.95 $29.25 Buy Now
(price as of Aug 16, 2013)

6. Sewing kit

This one is something that I have found myself needing. Depending on where you go, this may be left behind as you can usually pick them up in urban areas. If you're going to be camping or backpacking in areas without lots of stores however, bring a sewing kit! There's nothing worse than ripping the crotch of your expensive hiking pants and being unable to fix them when you're out!

7. Cable lock for your luggage

If you go anywhere and want to leave your luggage in the room, you will want to lock it. Get a good cable lock that requires a key and wrap it around your luggage and a piece of immovable furniture. Your stuff won't go anywhere! alternately, you can find a locker to put your things in but no matter where you leave them, make sure they're locked. Lock the zippers on your bags as well, you can't be too safe when you're travelling. I would even bring two locks.

8. Money Wallet and Zippered Pillowcase

Here are two of the most important to keep with you when you're abroad. You ALWAYS want these things with you: money, identification, passport and contact info for home. Always. Keep your money in a wallet under your clothing during the day and put it inside your pillow case while you sleep at night. Doing this will make sure that it's far less likely that you get robbed. One of the worst situations I can imagine being in is stuck in a foreign country without any identification, passport of cash, that would be terrible!

Here's a bonus piece of advice. When you're packing for travel, pack up your bag completely with everything that you think you will need. Once you have done this, take 2/3 of what you just packed and put it back in your closet. The reason? There's two. First of all, you don't know what you're going to need, you just don't. It's better to bring less clothing with you and some cash so you can buy what you need when you have arrived. Second: You will want to buy things while you're abroad. Most of us have a tendency to over pack and fill our bags completely which will leave you no room for buying things along the way. I suggest leaving with your bag no more than 2/3 full, this will leave you ample room to pick stuff up along the way. These tips are all based on my own experience learning the hard way what to pack for long-term travel!

Do you have any tips from your experience travelling abroad? Share them in the comments below!

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Making Money While Travelling The World

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Mar 15, 2013 4:40am
this is an interesting article for those of us doing long term traveling. thanks
Mar 30, 2013 4:40pm
Thank you for reading!
Aug 27, 2013 7:10pm
Good advice here!
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