Buy yourself a new traveling bag.

What does a traveling bag mean to you?

If you pack a bag you will learn who you are. It’s not just about packing your clothes. You’ll realize what you like the most. And what you are most scared of. You’ll also realize what you have to give up. And you’ll learn what you mustn’t give up.

What do you think?

Buy a new bag and pack your things.

If you do you’ll learn who you are and you’ll also realize where it is that you want to go.

-from the Korean drama The Package


If you had to carry all your belongings on your shoulders for a long journey, what would you pack? You don’t want to be weighed down with too much stuff, but you need enough to comfortably get by. It is an eye opener to find out how little you really need.

This isn’t the first time Kevin and I have had to pack lightly for a trip. When we rode bicycles across the US with our sons, we carried all of our clothes and bike equipment in our panniers. We had three sets of clothes each: two biking outfits and one change of clothes for the rest stop. We washed clothes out in a sink every night. We also had a light rain jacket, a bathing suit and some warm layers for chilly mornings. Much needed water was the heaviest item and spare tire tubes probably the most important. There was something freeing in not having to think about what you were going to wear each day. We just got up, got dressed, ate breakfast and jumped, well more like gathered up our energy to climb, onto our bikes. It was quick and easy with no worries about “Do I look OK?”. Just spending time with each other and working towards a goal together was what was important.

Instead of panniers, we’ll be taking carry-on sized backpacks and a small cross body bag, for this adventure will require us to hop on and off planes, buses, trains, boats and also involve some hiking and walking through cities and towns. We don’t want to be bogged down with heavy and awkward suitcases. Although similar to the bike trip, there are a lot of different things to think about because we are going to be traveling to a variety of different countries with varying temperatures, cultures, and topography. Luckily we will be making some stops back home to check up on things periodically, so we can tweek things through out the year.

So what do we pack?

Thank goodness for the internet. There are a lot of travelers out there in the world trying to figure out the same question. I started by googling traveling around the world which led me to all sorts of sites and blogs. Here are some of the ones I found useful:

First, we had to determine what backpacks we were going to use. We decided that Kevin would carry a heavier bag with extra safety features, like a built in stainless steel mesh guard. We’ll keep things that we really don’t want to lose in this one. To keep me from being exhausted at the end of the day, I can carry a lighter pack. For those things we want to get to quickly or for day trips we got a small cross body bag with some pick pocket deterrents. We also bought some locks for our bags, there might be times when we fall asleep on a bus or want to leave stuff back in a hotel room and it’ll help us worry less.

  • For Kevin we chose the Pacsafe Venturesafe EXP45 Anti-Theft Carry-On Travel Backpack. It holds 45 liters. Because it opens like a suitcase, it’ll be easier to find things. Venturesafe EXP45 anti-theft 45L carry-on travel pack 
  • I bought the Osprey Farpoint Travel Pack. It is 40 liters and got a lot of good reviews from travelers. Osprey Farpoint 40 Travel Pack –
  • We decided on the Travelon Anti-Theft Hobo for our small bag because it was a style that we both would be comfortable slinging over our shoulders. Anti-Theft
  • The locks are small TSA approved combination locks with steel cables to help attach them to the backpacks by Lumintrail.
  • Also, we’re using packing cubes to organize our stuff. They’ll make it easier to find things and help pack things tighter together.

Whittling down to the essentials has been a process of figuring out what we really need, want and can carry. Each time we think about carrying these packs around we question again what it is we really need to bring. Our first trip will involve going from the hot, steamy climate of Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand to extremely chilly Norway. For a situation like this we are going to pack mostly for the warm climate and buy what we need when we get up North. We can wear the bulky winter clothes home and they’ll be a souvenir of our trip. Other suggestions have been to rent or buy used clothes at a destination. You could also donate something you no longer need or mail it home. We’ll also wear things like our hiking boots on the plane, so we don’t have to carry them.

We treated our clothes with Sawyer Insect Repellent before packing.Insect Repellents | Sawyer Products

Clothes We’re Both Packing

  • 1 pair of pants (light weight, wicking, with lots of pockets)
  • 1 skort (her)/1 short (his can be worn as bathing suit)
  • 3 light, quick wicking tops (I just bought some cheap ones at Walmart)
  • 1 long sleeved pull over (My sister gave me a great one that I’ve been wearing for years. His is Merino wool)
  • 1 thermal top Duofold
  • 1 thermal bottom Duofold (hers can be worn as leggings)
  • 1 pair of rain pants (another Walmart purchase)
  • 1 Marmot outer shell jacket
  • 4 pairs of underwear (2 of hers are by THINX )
  • 3 liner socks Fox River
  • 3 Merino Wool socks
  • 1 pair hiking boots
  • 1 pair walking shoes
  • 1 hat


  • 1 bathing suit (bottom can be worn as a skirt)
  • 2 light weight bras (1 has pockets)
  • 1 tank top (pj’s)
  • 4 re-usable pads (found these on Amazon, wish I knew about these long ago)
  • Kristi Encircled Chrysalis Cardi*


  • 1 shirt with collar

*The Chrysalis Cardi is a neat item with snaps in it that lets you wear it many different ways. I’ll wear it onto the plane as a scarf, if I get cold it can be a blanket. It can be worn as a sweater, cape, dress, skirt, etc. It helps to pack items with more than one purpose. The Chrysalis Cardi –


  • Nook book
  • Amazon Fire 10″ Tablet (didn’t want a full size laptop)
  • Go Pro
  • Personal phones
  • Canon Powershot Camera
  • Universal Plug Adapter
  • Earphones
  • Power chords for all the electric stuff

 Essentials and What Nots

  • Journals and pens
  • Small Games: cards, Farkel (a fun 6 dice game), Game Pad
  • Her – Neck pillow  Trtl | Napscarf
  • Ear plugs
  • Sleep mask
  • Address Book
  • Sunglasses
  • Spare Glasses/Contacts
  • Door stop
  • Personal Safety Alarm (BASU E Alarm)
  • Flashlight
  • Backpack covers (Sea to Summit)
  • 2 BAGGU bags (in case we need shopping bags)
  • 8 x 25 mm Bushnell binoculars
  • Water filtration straw
  • Microfiber Travel towels
  • Collapsible water bottle
  • Basic Toiletries
  • Sunscreen Stick
  • Insect Repellent
  • Medicine (we asked our doctors for 3 month prescriptions)
  • Small emergency kit, including: Azithromycin (for Diarrhea) and Doxycyline (for Malaria), Advil, moleskins, adhesive tape, gauze, & band-aides
  • Tissues (for emergency toilet paper)
  • Quart size clear bags to get through security with liquids and medicines

Important Stuff

  • Passports
  • Visas
  • International Driving Licenses
  • Itinerary and travel documents
  • 4 Wallets: 2 to keep safe and 2 dummy wallets with old credit cards and some local currency in case of pick pockets
  • Local Currency (we got it through the bank)



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *