Don’t Over Pack – Tips From Long Term Travellers


It’s almost inevitable – you have booked that one way ticket somewhere wild and exotic and you’re about to head off on the adventure of a lifetime. But what should you pack? So many travellers run afoul of the packing situation and pack far too much for their trip. The truth of the matter is you probably need half of what you’re packing, maybe less depending on the type of person you are. Have a read ahead for some tips and tricks on getting the most out of your packing so you don’t end up having to lug around a bag full of clothes you haven’t touched since you left.

A Medical Kit That Makes A Hospital Blush

Any traveller – short term or long term – will tell you that the number one thing you need to pack is a comprehensive medical kit. It’s sod’s law that you will forget to pack or overlook packing something in your medical kit and then run into a situation where you wished you had. Depending where you’re going, having a comprehensive medical kit is absolutely vital as not everything is always available in your country of destination. A couple of things to consider packing include Loperamide (Immodium), activated charcoal with probiotics, bandages of all sizes, gauze, medical tape, tiger balm, antiseptic liquid such as TCP or rubbing alcohol (or wipes), nail scissors or clippers (although scissors can be used for other things, not just nails!), ample pain killers for headaches or bumps and bruises and antihistamines in the event of allergic reactions to bites and stings. DEET bug spray at at least 40% will help keep biting bugs at bay, and packing your own sunscreen is a highly suggested idea as some countries don’t stock it much if at all and if they do they may charge an extremely high price for it. Anything to use after bites or stings is also ideal to relieve pain and itching. Yeast and fungus can grow on and inside the body in warm, humid climates so it’s a good idea to bring yeast/thrush infection medication as well as anti-fungal cream.

Clothing and Shoes

In this department, employ the “joy technique” when choosing what to pack. The joy technique is a technique that has become popular in recent years for removing clutter from a home or office where you hold each item you own and ask if it brings you joy and if not then you discard it. The same goes for clothes when heading out on a big trip – hold each item and ask “Am I really going to use this?” “Am I really going to go to a fancy restaurant where I need this dress/dressier clothes?” Chances are the answers are no, as when you’re moving around on the road frequently you start to favour the baggy, loose fitting and easy clothes over those that are fancier or more “acceptable” back home. A good example is fisherman pants – a staple for travellers and locals alike throughout South East Asia. Many travellers find that they end up wearing fisherman pants almost exclusively during their trips, and not even touching the capris or leggings they brought from home. If you’re ditching the fancy clothes, that means you can probably ditch the fancy shoes too.

Double The Usage

A final quick tip, especially for women to cut down on the amount of stuff they take abroad, is to bring clothes with two usages. Tank tops and t-shirts are prime examples of clothes that can be doubled up to be pyjamas as well!

There you have a couple of great tips on how to pack for a long trip without going overboard and the things that you absolutely must take with you. Remember to go easy on the packing if possible – it’s likely you will end up acquiring stuff on the road that you favour over your typical clothing as well, so save room!