Okay, before I started traveling, I read numerous articles and blog posts on what to pack. It seems the internet is filled with a bunch regurgitated information that was written by one person and then repeated by numerous people online. I started out with carry on only and thought that was the way to go. As I have become more of a seasoned traveler after spending one year on the road, I have learned a few things.
My RTW Packing Mistakes were:
- Carry-on only RTW or gap year trip.
- Carrying DSLR, GoPRO, Tripod, Laptop, 2 Hard Drives
- Not carrying my coffee kit.
- Not carrying enough zip lock bags
If you are bouncing from flight to flight…then maybe…but washing your only short sleeve shirt in a sink every night gets old. Plus it gets old wearing the same stuff everyday. If you a traveling for a few weeks, sure that is fine…but RTW for a year plus…not thanks. Most of the time, I’m riding buses, ferries, trains…and whatever else transportation I could find. Carry on only didn’t really matter and checking in a bag was much easier than lugging around at the airport. I found life on the road was much better when I had a little bigger bag. Also packing the bag in a 40 liter carry on only bag every few days, become a dreaded jigsaw puzzle getting everything to fit. Then I was afraid to pick up things that I needed because I knew I couldn’t fit them.
Coffee on RTW TRIP
Before my trip I read blog posts, articles, and recycled blog posts that stated…don’t bring your coffee kit…enjoy the chai tea or the local drink. Well obviously these people weren’t well traveled and didn’t really care for coffee…most of Asia is 3 in 1 instant coffee that has coffee, powder milk, and sugar in it. It is absolutely disgusting. The few places that served espressos were often times made by some person who obviously didn’t know how to pull a shot of espresso with a combination of preground beans. So in India, I realized my mistake…unfortunately for a coffee geek like me…it would be months before I could put together a coffee kit. Every town, I would go to, I would search for coffee roasters which was like searching for a needle in a haystack. Myanmar, I found a coffee roaster that was selling the Aeropress which is a coffee brewing device but they had no grinder. I tried preground beans and they were absolutely terrible. Months later in Laos, I found a place that sold grinders but they sold out the month before. They said it would be a month before they go any new ones in. Hmm…then 2 months later, in Saigon, I finally found a place that sold a Hario Mini Mill Hand Grinder. I think I teared up….it was a glorious moment for me. So the point is, if you really like something, don’t worry about weight…just carry it. That’s my philosophy,
RTW Coffee Kit for my Asia trip
New RTW Coffee Kit for South America – This is important to me. So I am adjusting a few things on this trip. I am bringing the whole coffee setup so I will always have it one hand.
- Hario V60 Pour Over Device – Hario is my favorite device. Long term travel is more like living on the road so this time I am opting to bring the comforts of home. The Aeropress is a good device for travel and makes a excellent cup but after a year of travel, I really really missed the hario.
- Kalita .7 Liter pour over Kettle – Sure I could brew a cup of coffee without this but for me, having the perfect cup is important so I am willing to carry the extra kettle.
- Bonavita Electric Kettle – Finding hot water is available a lot of times but it’s not always just off of a boil. Now I can
- Hario Paper Filters
- Coffee Mug
- Hario Mini Mill Grinder
Things I wish I wouldn’t have carried or things I sent back.
- DSLR – What a pain to lug this around. I love photography but lugging around a huge DSLR camera got old. I think it is one thing to carry it on your two week trip but a whole year…
- GoPro & GoPro Accessories- Sure it was cool at times but again I didn’t use it on a daily basis…so it just took up room in the pack. I would probably suggest picking one camera just taking that.
- Laptop – Lugging around a laptop was a pain, plus always having to unpack at security crossings. In the Philippines, I bought an ipad and barely even opened the laptop after that.
- 2 Hard Drives – Again….if I didn’t have the laptop, then I could have done without the hard drives
- Travel Sheet – I guess it had a use in India. I sent it back and wished I had it for one night in Vietnam but I would say it is not needed for Asia.
Things I added along the trip
- Swiss Army Knife – Very useful and always needed.
- Sherpa Down Jacket (similar to the Patagonia Down Sweater)- Bought in Nepal and used it in Japan and Taiwan as well.
- Fleece Jacket – Bought in Nepal and used it in Japan and Taiwan as well.
- Cargo Shorts
- Large screen smart phone – After an accident in India, I bought the larger samsung phone. Since then I could never use a small smart phone again. I sense upgraded to the iphone 6s Plus.
Things I have added for the South America leg of the trip
- iPad Keyboard – I am opting to leave the laptop back home this time. I will use a keyboard on the ipad. Everything will be stored on the cloud so if something happens, I am just out the cost of ipad.
- Updated Coffee Kit – See above
- 3 Bandanas – I carried one the first time and always wished I had another. Bandana really has a lot of uses. When I had a 2 am surprise wakeup to change buses, I left my sleep eye mask on the bus…I ended up using this as my sleep eye cover. I also used it as a face mask for dusty situations and once with I was sitting next to a guy on a bus who had the plague and kept coughing a fine mist on me.
- Medicines & Eye drops
- Neti Pot – These things are so great. I use to use it everyday back home. When I got an allergy infection in Manila, I was seriously missing it.
- Orajel – When I had a tooth ache, I couldn’t find anything that works as good as this stuff. In the Philippines, I had to some stuff that was made from cow blood at the pharmacy.
- Freezer Zip Lock bags – These were actually impossible to find in Asia.
- More ear plugs – I traveled the whole year with only two pairs. Then I lost one….why not carry extras. They don’t weigh anything.
- Travel Organizers – I ended up using my waterproof bags and stuffing my clothes in there. I got tired on walking around in wrinkled clothes that made me appear that I was wearing my cleanest dirty laundry. I want something that I can fold the clothes into this time.
- Large Hanging Bathroom Toiletry bag – I ended up using a ziplock in Asia. This time I want to have one large one that can hold soap, shampoo, and all my toiletry items.
Backpack and Organizing Gear
- Deuter 65+10 Aircontact 65 +10 – I started with the Osprey travel Farpoint 40 but switched to the outdoor Osprey Kestral 48 in Nepal. After spending a few months of carefully negotiating room in my pack and having to spend so much time packing to get everything to fit, I upgraded to a larger pack. Being that I am going to do some more trekking, I need to the space.
- Deuter Travel Backpack Cover – This is probably one of my favorite items. It fits around my backpack and I can lock it when I’m in a hostel or a plane. It is also waterproof which is nice if the bag rides on the roof of a van.
- Northface Day Pack
- Eagle Creek Travel Gear Pack-It Cube Set, Black, One Size
- Sea to Summit eVAC Dry Sack – 20L for laptop/camera and 8L electronic accessories. –
- 1 Waterproof dry bag for dirty laundry
- eBags Shoe Sleeves – Set of 2 (Black)
- 1 Pair of Columbia Men’s Silver Ridge Cargo Short
- 1 Pair of Cotton American Eagle Cargo Shorts bought in Manila.
- Board Shorts
- 1 Pair of Convertible Pants
- 1 Pair of Jeans
- 1 Pair of Nike running shorts.
- 1 Icebreaker Men’s Tech T Lite T-Shirt – I liked this shirt but somehow it already has a hole in it.
- 1 cotton T-shirt
- 2 quick dry t-shirts
- 2 tank tops bought in Thailand. So nice when it is so hot.
- 1 Patagonia Button-down Short sleeve Shirts – Loved this shirt.
- 1 Columbia Men’s Silver Ridge Long-Sleeve Shirt – Loved this shirt…leaned up against wet paint and ruined it.
- 4 Pairs of ExOfficio Men’s Give-N-Go Boxer Brief – I will probably carry a few more pairs this time
- 1 Pair of Long Underwear both top and bottom
- 3 Pairs Smart wool Socks
- Havianas Flip Flops
- KEEN Men’s Targhee II Hiking Shoe
- Chaco Men’s Z/1 Unaweep Sandal
- 1 Light fleece long sleeve shirt
- 1 fleece jacket.
- Baseball Cap
- 1 GoLite Rain jacket
- 1 Packsafe portable safe – I really like this. It is easy to use. I went with the 12L. Fits my 15 inch laptop, DSLR camera, Hard drives, and documents.
15 inch Macbook Pro 2 WD My Passport Portable External Hard Drive Storage, 2TB 2 AmazonBasics Hard Carrying Case for My Passport Essential
- Kindle Paperwhite
iphone with waterproof case and headphones Samsung Smart phone .iPhone 6S PLUS – Large screen is key.
- Battery Charger
- elago Tripshell WORLD TRAVEL ADAPTER (Built-in Dual USB II) – Good but need something a different adapter for India.
- Casio Men’s SGW100-1V Digital Compass Twin Sensor Sport Watch
Toiletry and Laundry
TSA Quart-Size Carry-On Toiletry Pouch, Clear, One Size– Replaced with larger one. J.R. Liggett Bar Shampoo, Jojoba and Peppermint, 3.5 Ounce – Solid bar shampoo so no worries on carry-on. Using regular shampoo now. Ran out of this.
- Bar of Soap and case
- Travelon Laundry Soap Sheets – have a bar of detergent that is sold in Asia. I opt for getting laundry done a lot of times.
- Sea to Summit Lite Line Clothesline
- Rubber Sink Stopper – for doing laundry in the sink
- Toothbrush, floss, and toothpaste
- Sea to Summit DryLite towel – Large
Scuba Mask and SnorkelI would love to carry this but at this point, I just don’t think I have room with my photography equipment. I regret not carrying a mask for diving. I also wished I had a dive computer.
- Chain and Combination Lock– If riding a bus, can chain luggage overhead and go to sleep. Or chain luggage in hotel room.
- 2 Small luggage travel locks
- Small First Aid Kit – Neosporin, bandaids, moleskin, aspirin, traveler prescriptions
- Freezer Zip Lock Bags
- Black Diamond Revolt Headlamp, Titanium
- Miniature Keychain LED Flashlight
- Duct tape – don’t have this now but would be nice to have.
- Ear plugs – I suggest carrying extras
- Sleep Mask – left this on a bus in india during a 3 am surprise bus change. I just use a bandana over my eyes now.
- 1 Aeropress Coffee maker. – Bought it in Myanmar but don’t have a grinder. Tried it with preground but that was absolutely undrinkable.
Photography – I am not carrying DSLR, GoPro, Laptop, or in South America. I think it will be nice to have a piece of mind not worrying about it. Plus lugging all that really seemed overkill.
Lonely Planet Guide Book