“On a long journey, even a straw ways heavy” Spanish proverb
How does a girl decide what goes into her backpacking packing list? At first I thought to find the biggest backpack and fill it with as many of my material possessions as possible, after all travelling for an extended period of time will throw up all situations! But, after taking advice from many other travellers, I realised that one of the best things about travelling is the opportunity to simplify your life and be free of unnecessary material things one accumulates.
I thought sensibly and selected a fairly small but realistic sized back pack, one which I could comfortably carry across all types of terrain and methods of transport that we will encounter! After all, the last thing you want is to be held back from jumping on that speed boat to the next island or that cheap tuk tuk to the bus station due to a very large and restrictive bag, not to mention having more things to worry about losing!
So here is a summary of my female packing list and how it’s worked out for me! Click here for the male backpacking packing list!
My Backpacking Packing List
- 1 x 40 litre back pack (with a few different compartments to separate shoes from underwear and bikinis for example!)
- 1 x 18 litre back pack (moderately sized day pack for my daily essentials….passport, purse, phone, camera, kindle, sunscreen, sunhat, sunglasses, scarf, snacks, water)
- 1 x smaller over-the-shoulder satchel type handbag (really useful for things you need to quickly access without going into your back pack each time e.g. purse, camera, tissues etc but can easily fit into my day back pack when on the move!)
- 1 x comfortable walking trainers (I went with non-waterproof breathable Salomons as we’ll be mostly in warm climates)
- 1 x walking sandals (for longer walks around cities and towns)
- 1 x nicer brown leather sandals (slightly nicer option to wear out in evening when not walking too far!)
- 1 x flip flops
Starting from the bottom up….
Trousers & shorts
- 2 x 3/4 length trousers (good for long journeys, trekking and appropriate for visiting temples)
- 2 x pairs of shorts (also handy to have at least one pair with zip pockets for cash and camera!)
- 1 x walking trousers (with zip off bottom half as shorts)
- 1 x pair of jeans (for the rare night out or to look less like a nomad sometimes!)
Dresses & skirts
- 1 x kaftan (over the swimsuit type dress)
- 1 x day dress (I went with a black cotton comfortable one)
- 3 x night dresses (I wanted to feel nice going out for dinner on honeymoon but you probably only need 1 or 2!)
- 1 x day skirt (neutral colour to go with everything!)
- 4 x t-shirts
- 3 x vest tops
- 1 x nice top (to wear going out in the evening)
- 2 x long-sleeved tops (1 which is a light cotton to wear in warm climate)
Cardigans & jumpers
- 1 x black cardigan (goes with everything!)
- 1 x nice grey light hoodie (again goes with everything and not too heavy)
- 1 x fleece (for colder climates….especially Antarctica!)
- 1 x waterproof jacket (with hood)
- 1 x nice light neutral colour jacket (for cooler climates)
Underwear & PJs
- 14 x underwear (I recommend small light ones which are quick drying!)
- 4 x pairs of socks (mixture of trainer ones and slightly thicker walking ones)
- 3 bras (2 straps and 1 strapless – in hindsight a couple of sports bras would be better than normal bras for the heat and comfort when travelling!)
- 3 x bikinis (probably only need a couple but I like having the choice!)
- 1 x shorts & vest top PJs
- 1 x cotton trouser & top PJs
- 1 x flexible belt (1 without restrictive holes to fit on every pair of trousers, shorts, dress!)
- 1 x large scarf or pashmina (very handy for when you need to cover your shoulders when visiting a temple but don’t want to put on a jumper in the heat. Also good when there is an unexpected tropical rain shower and to cover up from the sun if you’ve forgotten your sunscreen on an outing!)
- 1 x travel towel (very handy on longer journeys when you just want to wash your face or have an unplanned dip in the sea or swimming pool!)
- 1 x silk liner (for dodgy looking bed sheets or even just to protect yourself from the mozzies when no bed net is provided!)
- 1 x sunglasses (inexpensive ones you won’t worry about losing or breaking and can be easily replaced at a local market!)
- 1 x sunhat
- Travel insurance (THIS IS IMPORTANT – don’t leave without it! We strongly believe if you’re going on an adventure of a lifetime, you should take out insurance to cover you. Use the form here to get a free quote from the insurer we use for our adventures! If you need persuading to take out insurance, click here)
- Passport Tickets/booking confirmations (though we haven’t bothered printing many as most accept electronic reference saved on i-phone!)
- Bring a few passport photos ready for use for visas (something we forgot and had to buy!)
- 1 x Insect repellent (with 50+ ‘deet’ to fend off the mozzies!)
- 1 x Toiletry bag (with miniature shampoo, conditioner, body wash, face wash, toothbrush, toothpaste, razors, deodorant stick, linen wash, spare sunscreen, face wipes, face cream)
- 1 x small make up bag (couldn’t go without my mascara and lipstick of course!)
- 1 x anti-bacterial hand liquid (very handy to have in your bag to use before meals!)
- 1 x first aid kit (a proper travel one from Tiso for example) Then other essentials such as malaria tablets (need to buy in advance for visits to malaria affected countries you’re visiting – we went for malarone as least side affects though expensive. Good tip is to order from Lloyds pharmacy online and collect) Ibuprofen, aspirin, rehydration tablets or powder, Diarrhea tablets, Savlon cream (to help soothe bites etc) and obviously make sure you get your vaccinations in advance!
Electronics Packing List
- 1 x iPhone & earphones (very handy for iTunes/Spotify for music and for keeping in touch with home via facebook, emails, ‘whatsapp’, ‘viber’, Skype etc – we’ve had no problem finding free wifi in most places so far!)
- 1 x Nikon D3000 DSLR
- 1 x kindle (loaded with good books and travel guides!)
- 2 x plug convertors
- 1 x travel hairdryer (not essential but chosen as my one ‘luxury’ item!)
- 1 x large compression pack (the key to getting all of this in my 40l backpack as it reduces volume by 50%!)
- 1 x padlock (for your day pack with your essential items to reduce chance of theft, we recommend a combination lock.
- 1 x pegless clothes line
- 1 x eyemask, travel pillow and earplugs (great for those long journeys or noisy A/Cs!)
- Games (highly recommend Monopoly Deal Card Game and travel Scrabble!)
Looking For Accommodation Somewhere?
Wherever you’re travelling, if you’re looking for some accommodation ideas then we strongly recommend you check out Agoda. Whenever we’re making plans for a new destination, we always research the accommodation options first to check what’s available. That’s just our travel style. If you want to get some accommodation ideas for your adventure, check out the options below!
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Come and learn more about Laura and Barry here
So that’s it, my backpacking packing list! What do you think? Anything I’ve missed that you think I need? Let me know in the comments below! Interested in what Barry has taken with him? Have a look at his backpacking packing list!
Come and learn more about Laura and Barry here!
* Some of the links above are affiliate links, meaning if you click through to them from our site and purchase something, we get a small commission! Don’t worry, it won’t cost you anything more, but the small commissions help keep this site going!