When I left the states for Southeast Asia, I planned, and packed for, four months of travel. That turned into a much longer trip, and expanded to vastly different climates and seasons.
The main lessons I learned from this packing adventure are:
- Don’t be attached to physical things (especially clothes)
- There is almost always someone who is willing to trade or give you what you need
- It is very freeing to leave things behind
That being said, here are my recommended packing necessities for long term travel or community living:
- Osprey Pack – this bag is super durable. I’ve found that 55 liters is a great size for long term travel, if not a bit bigger than absolutely necessary. Also, Osprey will repair or replace any of their products free of charge – for life!
- Packing cubes – so much easier for organization when you’re throwing things together in a cramped hostel room
- Your favorite sunscreen (can be expensive and sometimes hard to find depending on the country)
- First aid kit
- Laptop – if you’re planning on working on the road, a light, durable computer is absolutely necessary
- Portable charger
- Micro towel
- Small daypack (I have a North Face Angstrom 20 liter. I love it because it can fit a water pouch, which is great for long hikes or long days working outside)
- Reusable water bottle and/or water pouch (As mentioned above, the water pouch is ideal for hiking. I like to have a reusable water bottle too so I’m not creating waste buying plastic ones all the time. Finding clean water to fill it can be challenging in some countries, so you may want to consider one that has a built-in filter.)
- Adapter plug with USB ports
- Sleeping bag liner – perfect as a light cover for hot climates, and in general a good barrier from sometimes questionable hostel beds.
- Quality headphones (noise canceling can be great for hostels, long bus rides, antisocial days, etc.)
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