The first time I moved away in 2011, my suitcase weighed 32kg. Today, it’s between 7-10kg. Learn how to only take your essentials away with you and minimise waste for awesome travel experiences.
So you’ve got your backpack and you’re ready to start travelling. Maybe you’re a remote worker like me, or maybe you’re just heading off on a 3-month expedition around South East Asia. Regardless, you’re going to want to make sure you have your essentials covered and you’re well prepared.
In my experience, it doesn’t matter if you’re going on a two-week break or around the world, the “essentials”, as I call them, always remain the same.
As a rule of thumb, always aim to pack light. I cannot stress this enough. There is nothing more uncomfortable than shuffling around at 2 PM on a sweltering exotic island looking for accommodation with a backpack that could clothe a village. Trust me, I’m speaking from experience.
The Essential Travel Gear Everyone Needs
Let’s start with the basics. We all need the following gear at the bare minimum:
- Travel Insurance (yes, you need it, so don’t leave home without it)
After these 3 (and electronics is arguably debatable), everything else is a luxury.
You don’t need to take food, umbrellas or shampoo with you. All these things can be found in abundance practically anywhere in the world. It’s called globalisation, folks. People still wash their hair in third world countries, so save yourself the hassle of being harassed by security at the airport on your way out.
How to Pack Your Clothes
This was one I struggled with initially. We always try to over pack our clothes more than anything else.
Now, this will vary depending on where you plan on going. But for the sake of simplicity, let’s assume you’re likely to be heading to a warmer climate like most people do.
Here are the criteria that’s allowed me to keep this element light over the last few years:
- Take only 1 weeks worth of t-shirts / polo’s / tops away with you
- Take 1 pair of jeans
- Take 3 pairs of shorts (one smart / casual, two sportswear)
- Take 2 pairs of shoes (one smart / casual, one sportswear)
- Take 1 jacket / coat with you (should you ever go somewhere cold temporarily)
- Take a week’s worth of underwear
- Likewise with socks
The obvious pattern here is I generally don’t pack for anything more than a week. The benefit of this is that it keeps me diligent with doing my laundry which keeps me hygienic, and it also ensures you don’t end up hoarding around tons of dirty clothes. At the end of the day, it’s not difficult to find a couple of pairs of boxers or socks if you lose them on your trip, so the lighter clothes are kept the better.
I understand that if you’re a female, you may want to keep a set of heels in here as well. I can’t begrudge you that – you look good in them, so make room in the case for them.
Any additional specialist clothing for mountaineering etc is obviously not included on this list. But then I don’t assume you’re reading this if you’re going to scale Everest.
How to Pack Electronics
Once you’re adequately clothed, the attention these days inevitably shifts towards electronics.
This can vary massively between each individual. A lot of people will just be content to bring along their phone and charger. If that’s you, then I envy you. But, I’m going to assume that reading my blog, you’re similar to me: remote worker, like to record your travels, and also read books. So let’s break this down again into must-have items:
- Mobile phone & charger
- Laptop (for work)
- Kindle: no need to take heavy, physical books when everything can be stored digitally on your Kindle.
- GoPro & Mounts (Selfie Stick): I like adventure sports. I also like to make videos for my Youtube channel. If you don’t, a mobile is sufficient to record on.
- External Hard drive: Do yourself a favour and make sure to carry one of these. Keep everything backed up on this so you don’t lose valuable information should something go wrong. I’ve had mine for 6 years and it’s still going strong.
I am sure there are many more you could add to this category, but these are my staples and make up the bulk of the weight in my backpack.
How to Get Travel Insurance
Yeah, it’s boring, but it’s mandatory. NO EXCUSES. I have heard and seen horror stories with my own two eyes. DO NOT be the guy who ends up having a fundraiser set up for them back home because you crashed your scooter into a ditch and need life-saving surgery. Just get insured BEFORE you leave or ASAP if you’ve left already and save yourself the worry.
For insurance, there really is only one option in my opinion: World Nomads.
World Nomads are the most comprehensive and easiest-to-deal-with insurance company for remote workers and long-term travellers like us. It’s simple to use, they payout if you have real issues, and their customer service is impeccable. I’ve been using them for 4 years now and can’t recommend them highly enough. Get a quote using the widget below:
Let’s go over the basics once more:
- Pack 1 weeks worth of clothes as a maximum
- Pack only essential electronics
- Get travel insurance before you go
That wasn’t too difficult, was it?
By following these rules, you can set yourself up for long-term success with minimum stress on the road.
What do you think of my list? Did I miss anything in particular? Let me know in the comments section below.