One of the biggest changes our travels brought about has been the different relationship to ‘stuff’ that we came back with. We both rather enjoyed the limitation of having to fit everything in to one bag – albeit a rather large bag now that we have taken up diving. In the two years we were back in the UK we shopped about 99% less than we had before.
In Terms of what to pack for long term travel, it will depend where you are going and everyone will tell you something different. You’ll certainly find your own favourites as you go along but a few of the things we’ve found invaluable have been:
· Our pegless washing line has had more use than most other items and takes up so little room as to be a no brainer and a washing bag, we were gifted ours and it has been awesome, it is a bit like a dry bag but inside one side has nodules, you put the clothes in, seal it up, let the air out and agitate for two minutes and out come clean clothes!
· A sewing kit, we’ve sewn up split seems and patched up clothes surprisingly regularly making this one of the best things we packed
· A hair towel I picked up in a pound shop in China has been one of my favourites. Most accommodation only provides two towels and having long hair I definitely need a hair towel, so this was a great find
· A mini first aid kit, ours shrinks and grows as we travel but it’s a must have
· Stainless steel tupperware, there’s enough plastic in the world, taking your own tupperware means you can get take out or bring leftovers home without creating more trash
· Chopsticks and a knife fork and spoon, great for in room meals but also for street eating when they provide disposable cutlery.
This latest trip we are also about as plastic free as possible, shampoo and body wash bars, toothpaste in glass jars, face and sun cream in aluminium tins, bamboo toothbrushes and bamboo plasters.
The more I accumulate the more I wish I had nothing, my dreams of downsizing grow in fervour matching the growth of diving gear in my bag and I know I’ll never be a light traveller but I am definitely getting better at it.
I’d read a lot about the shoulds and should nots of a long term travellers packing list and have come to the conclusion that there are no rights or wrongs and it is a very personal affair, almost a year in my only piece advice would be YOU DON’T NEED THAT, OR THAT, AND DEFINITELY NOT THAT! Based on our experiences, faux pas and successes I’ve written a guide to packing for long term travel which you can read here.
After much research we settled on the Osprey Sojourn 80L as our bag of choice, it has big chunky wheels and hidden behind a panel a full backpack harness, JHubz has joked he would be wearing his and pulling mine but I held my own pretty well. It has only been on my back once to take it up the stairs at a hotel with no lift. And our sojourns were great, until we started accumulating dive gear, so we have now both upgraded to the mammoth 130L Osprey shuttle. It’s only downside, other than being able to fit a small pony and full weighs about 50kg, it is not a backpack, but having only used mine once I think that’ll be okay Xx