Sunday, April 8, 2012

What the hell to pack?

The best tip I can give you guys is to pack the bare minimum with the exception of undies! You end up buying clothes anyway, and if you have already packed your 'just in case' stuff there is no way you will be travelling comfortably with the addition of your foreign purchases. So pack the bare minimum - enough to get you through one week - and if you need anything else, buy it. At least then you will know you definitely need it..

I thought it might be useful to share what I will be packing for my next adventure. Keep in mind this is a list for a working holiday, so I have included stuff I wouldn't normally be taking (I have marked these things with an asterisk = *)

The details??

Where: Canada, USA, South America and New Zealand
Seasons: Summer/Autumn 
Type: Working backpacking holiday
How long: 8-9 months
Accommodation: Hostels and farm stays
Tours: 1 Contiki in South America

2 x singlets
2 x tees
1 x zip up hoodie
1 x long but thin woollen jumper
2 x shorts
1 x leggings
2 x tights
3 x long singlets/dresses
1 x long sleeve thermal top
1 x jeans*
1 x PJ's (top & bottoms)
10 x undies
4 x sports bras/crops
2 x normal bras
1 x rain jacket shell
1 x polar fleece/duck down vest 
1 x bathers

Remember, only pack clothes you regularly use at home - the stuff you live in. Try and invest in good quality odour free clothes as well, because there is nothing worse then crappy quality clothes that hold that B.O. smell. Everything I have listed is very versatile - I can mix and match what I've got for going out on the town, heading down the street, or working on the farm. 

1 x scarf that opens large like a blanket
1 x headband
1 x old shirt*
1 x old shorts/pants*

I tend to buy things like gloves, hats and beanies while I'm overseas, and only if I need them. I prefer just taking a warm woolly headband and a large cotton scarf as basics. The scarf comes in handy out on the town and I use it as a cardigan. I can fit in in my little shoulder bag, or tie it to my shoulder bag, or wear it around my neck or use it as a blanket. Make sure you get one that opens up really large!

1 x Timberland boots
1 x thongs
1 x horse riding boots*
1 x strappy sandals/flats

1 x laptop & charger
1 x iPhone (acts as ipod, clock, alarm, torch, personal trainer, and I can use wifi on it) & charger
1 x unlocked old phone & charger
1 x headphones
1 x compact digital camera with video recording & accessories
1 x usb or hard drive

Make sure you put some movies or your favourite T.V. series on your laptop or invest in a hard drive. Sometimes you really just feel like chilling out and watching a movie in English (especially if you are travelling in a foreign country by yourself for a while). Hard drives/usb's are great to back up everything too incase your laptop is stolen. Make sure scans/copies of all your important documents are on your usb/hard drive just in case. 

- toothpaste
- toothbrush
- hairbrush 
- travel hairdryer
- packet of bobby pins
- packet of hair ties 
- perfume
- tweezers
- scissors
- earrings 
- deodorant 
- foundation & bronzer
- moisturiser 
- eye liner & mascara
- shaver
- specific woman's toiletry products.. I'm sure you know what I mean!
- shampoo & conditioner
- mosquito spray
- swiss army knife
- micro-fibre towels x 2
- cold and flu tablets
- panadol

I like to buy my jewellery overseas. It's a great souvenir type of thing! So I only take my favourite hoop earrings and studs and buy the rest while I'm travelling. I use shampoo as shaving cream too which helps keep my pack light. 

- enough locks to lock every zipper!
- bright clip straps 
- laundry bag & peg-less clothesline
- wet pack
- carabiner key ring

I like to keep all my keys on my carabiner key ring. It can fit a bunch and clip it to nearly anything. 

- small shoulder bag
- small wallet to fit in shoulder bag
- travel purse
- drink bottle
- spork and small plastic bowl
- pens and a journal (just because I'm an artist though!)
- little LED torch/head-torch 
- lanyard 
- books
- mini first aid/sewing kit

The shoulder bag/small wallet are what I use when I want to leave most of my valuables locked up in the hostel. That way I can take only the cards/cash I need, it fits my camera too and I can travel comfortably with my hands free! It's also what I use when I am going out. The bag I take is light, deep and has zippers. It's made of leather and is not too touristy looking so I blend in with the locals. 

- passport
- letter for my working VISA
- flight itinerary and tickets
- Contiki tour information/receipt 
- a photocopy of all my ATM and I.D cards and passport (incase your purse is stolen - make sure your parents have a photocopy of all these important documents as well)
- Travel insurance information
- Student I.D card / Hostel membership card
- maps/guidebooks/translator books

I like to keep all this kinda stuff in a clear tough plastic pocket. That way its all together. I have a little plastic flip wallet that keeps all my flight itinerary and tickets in one place too. This way its all separate from my other documents. 

I'm sure I have missed plenty of stuff!! But I hope I have shed light on how to condense your life into one 65-70 litre backpack.. 

Make sure the weight has been evenly distributed in your pack too. 
This image is a good guide for how to pack your bag:

It does take a bit of practice and a good tip I hear all the time is:
Figure out everything you want to pack, lay it out in front of you and then halve it. Repeat this process as much as you can. Its tough, and you will have numerous arguments with yourself - but the less you take the more goodies you can fit in for the trip home! 

If there is anything you can think of please comment below! 


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