The Complete Packing List

There are a ton of supplies that will find their way into your pack for a RTW trip. Making them all fit into a carry-on sized bag may take some gear gymnastics. Remember all the Tetris you played when you should have been working? Now’s the time to showcase your mad skills.

Here’s our complete and final packing list, broken down by “sub-bags”:


As Dave pointed out in his comment on our pack article, there are many options now for travel clothing. If you plan to follow summer around the world it’s much easier to pack light – although I tend to freeze even on airplanes so I’ll be taking some heavier pieces just in case.

We’ve heard some different perspectives on the type of clothing that people take for long-term travel. Some like high-tech fabrics that breathe well, dry quickly, and don’t hold wrinkles no matter how small of a bag crevice they call home. Others like clothes that are inexpensive and easily replaced, since you’re likely to burn through them on the road. We fall in the first camp, in part because we’d like to see how specialized travel clothing holds up over time, and because, well…I like shopping.

Here are the items that make up my travel wardrobe:

  • 4 dresses
  • 2 skirts (1 long, 1 short)
  • 10 shirts (1 cardigan, 1 long-sleeve tee, 2 short-sleeve tees, 6 tank tops)
  • 1 pair of shorts
  • 1 pair of pants
  • 2 jackets (1 hoodie, 1 rain jacket)
  • 2 swimsuits (1 bikini, 1 tankini)
  • Undergarments (3 bras, 7 pairs of underwear, 4 pairs of socks)
  • 3 pairs of shoes (hiking shoes, flip-flops, flats)
  • 3 scarves
  • 1 belt

[ptcPhoto filename=”clothing.jpg” title=”Clothing” position=”center”]

Eric, whose clothes take up considerably more space, brought the following:

  • 2 jackets (1 wool jacket, 1 rain jacket)
  • 7 shirts (1 long-sleeved shirt, 1 button-down long-sleeved shirt, 2 button-down short-sleeved shirts*, 3 tee shirts)
  • 2 pairs of shorts
  • Undergarments (6 pairs of boxers, 4 pairs of socks)
  • 1 pair of swim trunks
  • 1 pair of pants
  • 2 pairs of shoes (hiking shoes and flip-flops)

We’ve found that if you lay all of your clothing down in a stack and then roll it up, you can save a lot of space. The photo above shows the bag that fits my entire wardrobe, aside from shoes and the outfit I’m wearing (I do have a separate bag for swimsuits).

First-Aid Kit

I tried to think of every ailment, illness, symptom and sickness for this one. Although we’ll have health insurance (more details to come), we’d like to avoid overseas hospital adventures unless they’re absolutely necessary. The list makes it look like we’ve packed an entire pharmacy, but with the exception of prescriptions we’re only taking enough of each item to get us by until we can find a place to buy more. We’ll see as we go along if we can shed some of these, but I’m just coming off of a terrible head cold so at present I’m suffering from a bout of hypochondria. A beach might be the best remedy for that one.

[ptcPhoto filename=”first-aid.jpg” title=”First-Aid” position=”right”]

  • Bandages
  • Gauze
  • Medical tape
  • Alcohol swabs
  • Burt’s Bees Res-Q Ointment for bruises, cuts, and bug bites
  • Ibuprofen
  • Decongestants
  • UTI Medications
  • Antibiotic eye drops (in case of eye infections)
  • Rehydration salts for the inevitable Delhi Belly
  • Immodium
  • A year’s supply of doxycycline (malaria medication)
  • 6 regimens of Azithromycin for infections
  • Pepto pills
  • TUMS
  • Motion sickness meds
  • Candied ginger (also for motion sickness)
  • Sleeping/anti-anxiety pills
  • Neosporin
  • Allergy medication
  • Oxycodone in case of serious pain emergencies
  • Muscle relaxers for Sam’s achy shoulders
  • Cold medicine
  • Tea tree oil for use as an anti-fungal, antiseptic, for earaches and bug bites
  • Blister cushions
  • Moleskin
  • Hydrocortisone cream for rashes and itches
  • Tissue
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Aloe*


There’s no denying it: We’re flashpackers. But hopefully Eric will be able to do some consulting while we’re away, and I have grand plans of taking free online courses and writing secular children’s books about cross-cultural communication. So we can at least pretend like all of it is justified!

[ptcPhoto filename=”electronics.jpg” title=”Technology” position=”right”]

  • Dive watches (to help us to track the amount of nitrogen in our blood so we can dive safely)
  • Headlamps
  • SteriPen Freedom for sterilizing water
  • iPod and charger
  • Samsung Nexus phone for making Google Voice calls, using travel apps, telling time, the alarm clock, internet, games, and music
  • Cables to charge the Kindle, phone, cameras and SteriPen (all micro USB)
  • Chargers for laptops
  • Hard drives/cables
  • Universal power adapters
  • External battery for emergency charging
  • Kindles*
  • Cameras (with spare batteries, wall charger, lenses, filters and tripod)
  • SD card readers
  • Laptops
  • Cleaning cloths
  • Extra memory cards
  • Camera remote
  • Ethernet cable
  • Power strip and USB wall adapters
  • Tiny flash drive for storing important documents and transferring data
  • Headphones
  • Headphone splitter for watching movies together
  • USB to Ethernet adapter
  • Eric’s watch

Liquids Bags

[ptcPhoto filename=”liquids.jpg” title=”Liquids” position=”right”]

  • Toothpaste
  • Leave-in conditioner spray
  • Face lotion
  • Insect repellent
  • Sunblock
  • 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner
  • Hair gel
  • Eyedrops
  • Red nail polish
  • Hairspray
  • Deodorant


[ptcPhoto filename=”toiletries.jpg” title=”Toiletries” position=”right”]

  • Toothbrushes
  • Floss
  • Dry shampoo, which also works as a talc powder
  • Sam’s makeup (foundation, mascara, blush, bronzer, brush, eyebrow pencil/sharpener, eyelash curler). Yes, I know this is completely unnecessary but I may have to wean myself off of it.
  • Glass nail file
  • Travel brush
  • Comb
  • Bobby pins
  • Hair ties
  • Lip balm
  • Razors with spare blades
  • Cotton swabs
  • Nail clippers
  • Tweezers
  • Bar soap
  • Jewelry – 2 necklaces, 3 pairs of earrings


[ptcPhoto filename=”sundries.jpg” title=”Sundries” position=”right”]

  • Plotting the Course business cards
  • Mini Cards Against Humanity
  • Duct tape
  • Compass
  • Black marker
  • Pens
  • Gaffers tape – a small amount for covering up the brand name of electronics and general use
  • Sewing kit (needles, thread, fold-up scissors*, safety pins, rubber bands, small measuring tape)
  • Corkscrew – can’t leave home without it!
  • Combination lighter and bottle opener
  • Emergency whistle
  • Zip ties
  • Extra plastic bags – all sizes
  • Laundry kit (bar soap, sink plug, small brush for cleaning clothes, clothesline)
  • Sleep sheets
  • Travel towels*
  • Collapsible water bottle
  • Bandana
  • Wallets
  • Collapsible cup
  • Money belt
  • Sunglasses
  • Sri Lanka Rough Guide
  • India Lonely Planet
  • Snacks for the airplane (thank you, Alex and Gloria!)
  • Packable day bags
  • Small purse
  • Rain cover
  • Point-It Book
  • Combination locks
  • S-Clips
  • Looped metal cable for securing bags on overnight trains
  • Notebooks for recording expenses and journaling
  • 2 Lego people with accessories


[ptcPhoto filename=”documents.jpg” title=”Documents” position=”right”]

  • Copies of passports
  • Passports
  • Money
  • Credit and debit* cards
  • Vaccine records
  • International driver’s licenses
  • PADI certification cards
  • Extra passport photos
  • Dive Logs
  • Copy of first itinerary
  • Copy of bank statement
  • Sri Lankan visas

Since our packs are bursting at the seams we’ll likely shed some of these items. We’ll post gear updates to let you know how we did.

*Immediate update: In a nasty spell of being bad at life, we managed to lose four items in the first four days of our trip. At a particularly stressful security checkpoint in Frankfurt (where they emptied our bags and tested all of our electronics for explosives), my Kindle was left behind. Then, when we landed in Colombo Eric left his ATM card in the machine when we got cash. Also, his travel towel and one of his shirts were left in Hikkaduwa. Thankfully for now we have a safely net, as our friend Caroline has kindly agreed to bring some backup items with her when she visits us in Delhi next month. We’ll have to be better about minding our things! A pair of small folding scissors was confiscated in Thailand even though they made it through security in two other countries. There has been one addition – we had to pick up some aloe right away, as I managed to get sunburnt already.