Packing your Backpack for World Travel can be a difficult task because you never know what you might need. One day you might be in the tropics, while the next you’re hiking through a desert.
I often get asked What’s in your backpack? and How do you pack so light?
So, I put together this list to share with you what I must-have when traveling around the world on a long-term basis.
Don’t forget to double the amount of clothes I have listed here because I pack the same items for Bella, although she is smaller.
All our clothes go inside a larger backpack, while all the electronics go inside a smaller day pack. Jackets, sarongs and toys go in my medium-sized purse.
The total weight of all our gear is 12kg/26lbs.
I’m still striving to reduce this weight in the future.
Everything you see below is the exact brand and style I’m using or wearing right now. I included a link to each item so you could see exactly what I prefer and recommend.
There are certainly less expensive items than what I’ve listed here, but I buy high-quality items because they last longer, are more durable and more lightweight.
There are some very affordable items in the list as well.
This gear may not work for everyone.
Let me know what you have in your pack in the comments below.
Am I missing something you can’t live without?
I always have my sexy black dress with me. It’s versatile because it can be worn with nice sandals, beachy flip flops, rugged boots or naturally barefoot. When there’s a chill in the air, I like to wear my sexy black dress with a scarf, some leggings and some leg warmers. This dress looks good going out on the town, at a formal sit down dinner or just lounging around. I’ve bought several of these dresses over the years and don’t particularly have a favorite brand, I just like mine to be soft, comfortable, loose and sexy.
I like wearing my lightweight Dylan Vest when the sun begins to set and the temperature begins to drop. A vest gives one a fresh look after a long day and adds to any wardrobe. I’m usually wearing my bathing suit or a loose tank underneath, but when the temperature begins to drop, I layer it with a scarf and my button-up shirt. In even colder climates, I wear it under my jacket inner liner. It packs easily in my arm bag and Bella likes wearing it, too!
When dusk arrives in tropical paradise, along come the mosquitos, so I like to have a pair of wild and beautiful loose-fit pants. I like bohemian-style pants with print because they’re fun and can be worn anywhere – when I’m relaxing at the beach, sitting at a waterfall or going to a restaurant. In warm weather, I tie them just under my knees. In cold weather, I layer them with my leggings or yoga pants. Other times, they are getting wet by the waves as I walk the coastline. A lot of people like to make these thin, flowy, loose-fit pants themselves, just find a pattern you like and go for it. I’ve even made a few pairs myself!
Most of the time, I prefer wearing my comfy Calvin Klein Ombre Bralette. It provides the coverage I need on most occasions. When I’m active, however, I like wearing a Victoria Secrets Strappy Back Sports Bra. I find it to be very comfortable when I’m exercising and moving around a lot. With both bra styles, I like a criss cross style action across my back vs a halter style around my neck as the criss-crossed straps provides the most comfort for me.
I love my Victoria Secret No Show Hiphugger panties. I also like the No Show Cheekster and No Show Thong styles. They are well worth the money for their comfort and quality. They wash easy and dry fast.
You won’t catch me without a sarong in my pack. My sarong is the most versatile item I have. I use it for dresses, scarves, head wraps, blankets, towels and more. Bella’s used it as a hobo pack for carrying things around and a pillow by wrapping it around her soft plush toys. Sew two sarongs together to make the softest sheets you’ve ever slept on – they make good pillow cases too! Sarongs are easy to wash and they dry fast. Another thing I like about them is that they can be stuffed into the smallest of spaces in your pack when there’s just no room left – a sarong will always fit.
I’m pretty active, and I want a bathing suit that can stay on in strong currents, when I’m running down the beach and while practicing yoga. I prefer wearing a durable, surf-tested Billabong Bathing Suit, which criss-crosses across my back rather than tie around my neck. I like this style because it’s more comfortable on my neck. It’s easy to convert your favorite halter suit by criss crossing the neck straps and tying them to the back straps.
I wear my bathing suit a lot when we’re near the ocean, so my beach cover-up is typical garb you might see me wearing any day. I like loose coverups that don’t bind at my waist. This one is flowy and beautiful, and is open in the front. My style often changes, and you may see me wearing this over any of my other outfits to spruce up my appearance in an instant or just to quickly coverup in a public place.
I don’t go anywhere without my black leggings and yoga pants. My black leggings are thin enough to be worn in the warmest weather, but can also be worn under skirts and pants alike. In a more active setting, my Teeki Yoga Pants are super nice to wear. They are made from recycled bottles, so by buying them, I’m helping to save the earth one plastic bottle at a time. Yoga pants and leggings are comfortable, soft and I can wear them in any situation, whether I’m taking a morning run, dancing in a rumba class or warming up by the fire, they are both must-haves when traveling.
I like to wear my lightweight Free People Button-Up Shirt for safari-type days, boat days, bicycle days, basically when we’re in the sun a lot. It’s also good for wearing on the plane because the temperature is colder than usual. I just layer it under my vest and I’m cozy and warm. It packs well and can be tied onto my bag or waist for convenience.
There’s not a day go by that I don’t wear a tank top, whether it’s first thing in the morning or the last thing at night. I like wearing tanks solo or underneath my vest. I use tanks as sleeping shirts and layers for warmth. Tanks are something I can wear everyday, and I chose to buy solid-colored ones so they match everything. I sometimes layer them under a looser, off-the-shoulder shirt for a fun and sexy look.
You can take the girl out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the girl. If I’m in a hurry to get dressed, blue-jean shorts are the first thing I grab – just throw on a tank and a loose shirt and go. They can handle a lot of wear and tear and require minimal washing, so they say lol. If you don’t like blue jean shorts, convertible pants are a great option. For a second pair of shorts, I pack a pair of soft spandex shorts. I like wearing them in the morning when I’m running down the beach or at night when I’m relaxing in the AirBnB.
Jewelry is tricky because I love it so much, but I try to travel with only 3-4 pairs of earrings, a few necklaces, 2-3 bracelets, an anklet, my toe ring that never comes off and extra hoops and studs for my nose, belly and septum. Everywhere I go, I buy more jewelry – it’s one of my passions. I gravitate toward the locally made artisan-style jewelry constructed with real metals and organic materials. I love pearls, crystals, shells, fire opals, black coral, seeds and seed pods. I wear my Wendy Mignot Pearl Necklace on a daily basis.
I really like my PinkWind Crisscross Wrap Sweater for both windy and cool nights. When there’s a breeze, I like wearing it just over my tank and off one shoulder – it looks sexy and feels great. When it’s even colder, I wear it layered over my button-up shirt and vest.
I love wearing a flowy skirt when I’m dancing, cooking or traveling. Skirts can be worn on all occasions, from sightseeing at museums to riding on a bicycle! When it’s hot out, I like wearing my skirt with just a simple tank, but when there’s a cool breeze on the beach or air conditioning in the plane, skirts are perfect over leggings.
I wear my scarf wrapped around my neck, head and waist. Sometimes, I use it to tie things onto my pack. My scarf provides both function and fashion. My headband is not so versatile – I only wear it on my head, but I wear it often. I keep an extra head band with me because it’s so small and easy to pack.
When I’m feeling sultry in the summer sun, an off-the-shoulder shirt is my favorite thing to wear. Having two blouses of different styles will make your wardrobe go a long way. I like to color coordinate my whole wardrobe so that I can mix an match any item and create endless outfits. Add a little jewelry to las ropas and you’ll no doubt be dressed for the occasion.
I find wearing a hip belt is convenient when your hands need to be on multiple things at once, which happens often when your on the road. I love my Arya Hip Belt, and highly recommend wearing one.
There will always be a time when you need a good pair of pants while traveling. I love my Guess Blue Jeans because they can be worn out on the town with some sexy shoes or hiking on the trail with some rugged boots. Jeans are great because they can be worn several times before washing them, but when you do make sure you have a dryer nearby because it’s not a fast process. A great alternative to my jeans are my Prana Convertible Pants, which are ideal for all outdoor activities and can transform into shorts.
I like wearing an infinity scarf as a hoody and Bella likes wearing one as a shawl. Infinity scarfs come in useful when the temperature drops and look pretty when you wear them.
I love wearing leg warmers when I exercise. I layer them over my yoga pants and my hiking shoes, pushing them down near my ankles. When it’s cooler out, I pull them up my legs to my knees, like socks, to help fend off the cool breeze. I also love wearing my bamboo arm warmers when there’s mosquitoes out or if there’s a tiny nip in the air. Pair them with a tank top and scarf for a fun look.
I like wearing lightweight socks with my hiking shoes. These Adidas Superlite Socks are perfect for traveling because they are comfortable, small and easy to wash. I like the fun colors, too! I also bring some knee highs to wear with my boots. These keep my legs extra warm when it’s cold out.
I wear my Havaiana Flip Flops everywhere. I wear them to the beach, to the market, to the airport and sometimes hiking. They are fairly durable under normal conditions. You can purchase just about any color, customize them and create your own style.
I’ve really been enjoying my Blowfish Malibu Sandals. I find that this natural color goes well with most everything in my wardrobe. They are comfortable and nicely fit into my backpack. They are a good backup shoe if my flip flops happen to break. There are many types of sandals out there – find the ones that work well with your comfort and wardrobe.
Like to have a pair of comfy boots with me when I’m in cooler climates. I’ve been wearing Ugg Boots for years, and the quality is top notch. I have several pairs and just can’t wear them out.
I like using the Coofit Messenger Bag to secure all of our overflow. I like this style that slings around the body so it’s easy to carry and get things out of when I need them. This bag is durable and comfortable to wear.
I love using The North Face Storm Break 35 Backpack because its big enough to hold everything I need and small enough that I don’t overload it and make it too heavy to carry. There’s a nice place to store my computer, too. I’ve been traveling with it now for over a year, and I’ve not had a single problem with the zipper system or durability. I highly recommend this back pack for short-term or long-term trips.
I enjoy using The North Face Borealis Daypack for day trips. It holds everything I need and then some. When we’re in transition, I use this pack for our electronics, and I wear it on my chest while I wear the bigger Storm Break Backpack on my back. It evens out the weight and isn’t too heavy.
This is the most versatile jacket I’ve ever owned. It is The North Face TriClimate Rain Jacket, and I absolutely love it. It’s basically a 2-in-1 deal, where the inner liner zips out of the outer shell. The outer shell is rain proof, provides protection from the wind and is not too thick for humid rainforest regions when worn without the inner shell. The inner shell is perfect worn alone when it’s just a bit nippy at night and you need something lightweight. Wear them together in colder climates for a cozy, quality feel.
These Storm III Hiking Shoes from The North Face are lightweight and comfortable. I really like the waterproof quality of these shoes, and they can be nicely tied to the outside of your pack.
I have used the Petzl Tikkina Headlamp for 20+ years. This style fits comfortably on my head without pulling my hair, and the strap is adjustable. It packs well, and we currently travel with 2 of these – Bella acts as if it’s a novelty every time she uses it.
Having a pair of polarized sunglasses is a must when traveling. I like my Smith Pace Sunglasses because they are reasonably priced, good quality and make for amazing sunsets.
There nothing better for creating space in your pack than using a compression sack. I like the Granite Gear Rock Solid Compressor because after 10 years of use, it’s still working great. I travel with 3 compression sacks, one for my clothes, one for Bella’s clothes and one for our dirty clothes.
I like the Hennessy Hammock because it weighs 2lb-12oz and can easily fit in my pack. We like to lie in hammocks indoors and outdoors, so this item is a must-have.
Camera and Video
Boating along side the mangroves in Celestún and cruising inside a vintage car in Havana are only two of the things I’ve used my GoPro Hero 4 Black for. This baby takes high-quality video footage, and photos, too. I highly recommend this to any novice photographer wanting professional-looking videos.
For a great point and shoot underwater rugged camera, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS6 is my go-to favorite. I have this camouflage one because it doesn’t draw as much attention as a brightly colored camera, but if you like a brighter look, there are other colors to chose from like blue, black, red and orange.
I don’t know what I’d do without my MacBook Pro. It has all the capabilities I need for maintaining my blog. It’s fast, easy to travel with, and I can’t say enough good things about this must-have electronic device.
Bella loves using her iPad Mini during long flights and down time. I prefer the 128GB model vs the 16GB model because when there’s no internet, Bella can watch movies previously downloaded from Netflix.
There’s nothing like using an unlocked iPhone. iPhones take excellent quality photos and videos and are easy to use. I always use an Otterbox phone case to protect my phone if it were to fall. If you’re not into using an iPhone, there are many other Smartphone options out there these days, just check on Amazon where you find the best deals out there.
I teach all my English classes using the Logitech Clear Chat Headset. It works perfect for my job because it’s noise canceling, which means my students won’t be able to hear nearby noises as easily, but hear me clearly. Because I teach classes as we travel, I don’t go anywhere with out these.
This is a must-have for bloggers because we take loads of photos and videos and we need somewhere to store them all. I like the 2 Terra Bite size because it makes me feel confident I will not run out of storage when on the road. The My Passport External Hard Drive can be used on PCs as well, and is great for backing up files when at home or on the road.
Yep, Mine and Bella’s passports are the first thing to go in my bag. I carry a few photo copies of both of our passports, as well. I keep one photo copy laminated, and have it with me at all times.
I always travel with Bella’s birth certificate because I don’t want to get into a situation where I need the other parent present as her father is not listed on the birth certificate. Having a letter stating sole custody is a good idea if you’re a single mom in this same situation. Otherwise, mommas get that letter of consent as soon as you can, and read up on how they work.
I never travel without having several pens. The process of filling out visa and immigration forms can be slowed down dramatically if I have to wait to borrow a pen from someone else. Plus, Bella loves to write and draw at random times, so I’m always prepared with a pen and a notepad.
I love to read and write, so I keep an interesting book and a leather journal with me when I travel. Bella is currently learning to read, so we also have at least 1 or 2 easy readers with us. In addition, Bella loves to be read to, so we always have a few other fun books, as well. We swap our books out when we’re finished reading them. We usually give them to other fellow travelers and somewhere along the way, we always find more.
Bella is allowed to travel with three toys at a time, and she usually chooses plush animals. These softies also double as pillows when we’re tired on the plane or bus. And yes, as you may have guessed, her toy collection grows as we travel. She has original, hand-made toys from all around the world, and keeps them at her Alabama home.
Everyone will have different needs, but what I like to have with me in my toiletries and first aid bag is the following: toothbrushes, natural toothpaste, dental floss, natural deodorant, baking soda, coconut oil, honey, apple cider vinegar, organic shampoo and conditioner, hair ties, razor, wax, peroxide, bandaids, q-tips, organic cotton pads, various essential oils, witch hazel, homeopathic medicines and make-up.
WHEW!! Packing your backpack for world travel can be tough!
Now tell me, what’s in your backpack?!?
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