Note: I wrote this post a couple months ago, when we were still in Asia. I may write another updated packing list for New Zealand, since my bag contents are ever-changing!
We consider ourselves lucky for many reasons (getting to travel the world, seeing every animal from the top 5 on our safari in Tanzania, avoiding getting robbed, etc.). I feel really lucky that I got to reevaluate the contents of my backpack after traveling for two months. We had 2 weeks at home to repack before jetting off for 9 more months; not many people have the opportunity to do this. We dumped heavy things, consolidated, and packed other, more useful items.
This post is mostly about clothes & the new things I brought. The rest of my packing list is pretty much as same as what we originally packed, so I didn’t include it here.
After 4 months of travel, here’s what I have in my backpack
Clothes (aka my closet)
- Dresses/Rompers (4)
- Short-sleeves/T-shirts (5)
- Tanks/Blouses (5)
- Long-sleeves (2)
- Sweatshirt/Cardigan (2): one lightweight, grey pullover; one black cardigan
- Pants (4)
- Leggings (2): cropped & long
- Gym shorts
- Jean shorts
- Soft shorts (3)
- Rain coat
- Cover up
- Bathing suit
- Black cami: this wool one
- Bras (4): 1 underwire, 3 lacy
- Sports bra
- Cotton shorts for sleeping
- Underwear (7): wool & ExOfficio since they dry so quickly
- Socks (4): gym & wool (I also brought compression socks because my ankles blow up on planes)
- Sarong (use as a towel)
Dresses and Rompers
I’ve had the black & white dress since the beginning. The other 3 I bought along the way. Top right: dress from Topshop in Singapore (birthday gift from Pete :). Bottom left: romper from Hoi An, Vietnam. Bottom right: romper from night market in Chiang Mai, Thailand
Welp, it appears I have a thing for pastel blues and greens. I brought the top two shirts from home (thanks to my little sis, Carly, for her fantastic and seemingly-endless closet!). Middle left: from Topshop in Singapore (thanks again, Pete!). Middle right: from Siem Reap, when I needed a shirt appropriate for temple-hopping. Bottom: free gift from Scuba Junction, Koh Tao, Thailand after I finished my Open Water scuba diving certification (thanks, Scuba J!).
You can probably guess from the wrinkles that I haven’t worn these shirts on this trip yet. Not even once. These are the tops I’m saving to use as layers in cooler climates. They’re lightweight, so I don’t mind carting them around.
Tanks and Tops
When I bought the shirt on the top left in Phong Nha, Vietnam, I thought I’d wear it once and toss it. I was worried about ruining my bathing suit in the dark caves, so I bought this cheap tank to wear. Ironically, they didn’t let me wear it into the cave, and now this is one of my favorite tops. Top right: Lululemon, perfect for sweaty activities. Bottom left: Tobi. Bottom middle & right: courtesy of Carly’s closet (thanks again, sis!). I’ve barely worn these, but they barely take up any space.
So far, I’ve only worn the 3 pairs of colorful pants in this picture. Top left: pants from my dear friend Emily, Tanzania. Top right: from Zara. Middle: both from Siem Reap, for the temples. You can get them for $1.50 each if you’re a good haggler. Bottom: Leggings for cooler climates.
All of these are from home except the bottom left, which I bought in Hoi An, Vietnam. Top left: Lululemon. Middle: Forever 21 (left one is actually a skort). Bottom right: Zara.
Stuff I Ditched
- Heavy pajama shorts
- Jean shorts
- All of the shirts I carried in Europe
- All pairs of cotton underwear
- My battery pack (Pete still has his)
- Makeup (except mascara)
- GoGirl (because I’ve gotten good at squatting…)
- Diva Cup (hated that thing)
- Compression bag
- Cordless mouse
- Selfie-stick (I’ve come to loathe these and felt too hypocritical using it)
Things to Note:
We decided to pack mostly for warm climates, since we’re chasing summer around the globe. We figure we can layer in colder places (Japan, New Zealand) or buy extra layers if necessary. On the flip-side, if I was only traveling through Southeast Asia, I wouldn’t bring the leggings or the long-sleeve shirts.
I got really sick of most of the clothes I wore in Europe, so I bought clothes along the way from markets in Southeast Asia. They’re cheap, lightweight, and generally more fun. I haven’t paid more than $10 for any item; most of it costs less than $5. I plan to ditch some of these clothes in New Zealand to make room for some heftier layers.
Bring at least one tank top and one short-sleeved shirt. This may seem obvious, but I didn’t follow that advice and ended up needing to buy a shirt for the temples in Cambodia.
Rompers. I used to hate them; now, they are my favorite and most-worn items in my backpack.
I found it very helpful to choose colorful, patterned bottoms (shorts & pants) and plain tops. This means I can pretty much wear any shirt with any bottom, without needing to wear boring clothes all the time. While this shouldn’t be a steadfast rule, consider choosing one half to be patterned and one half to be plain to make choosing your outfits easier.