We are a family of four including two teenage girls. Collectively we have visited 48 countries on 5 continents. We pack light and have developed an essential things to bring list over time.
My number one travel tip – Always pack light. Whatever you think you need, cut it in half, or even quarters.
Remember, “There are two kinds of travellers in the world: those who packed light and those who wish they had.”
Luggage will make a difference. Whether you prefer a backpack or a suitcase, start with lightweight, durable bags. You can even shop for luggage online these days. Our favourite spot is ebags. Not only have we found their gear to be quality, but they also offer free shipping over $49 + easy returns
Top 10 Essential Things To Bring
When Traveling Around the World
- A breathable rain jacket is worth the extra money. It’s useful in hot tropical rainforest or as an outer layer when it’s cold. Also, be sure your backpack and camera bag have “raincoats.”
- Insect repellent, sunscreen, hand sanitizer and a steriPen (to purify water).
- Fully stocked first aid kit including diarrhoea pills and an emergency Rx kit (we got ours from the local travel doctor), along with the written prescriptions for controlled medications like antibiotics.
- Flash-light. We each had an LED light clipped onto our day packs, plus one larger, waterproof flashlight for the family.
- A roll of emergency toilet paper (and keep some in your pocket too).
- Silk sleeping bag liners (we use ours whenever the linen is questionable).
- A laundry line and a few clothes pegs.
- Documentation – passports, immunization cards, insurance cards, tickets and credit cards plus an empty book for journaling.
- Electronics including camera, phone, laptop, kindle, and/or an iPhone or iPad. We downloaded TomTom and used it as a GPS on the iPad.
- Clothing. We each bring:
- 5 Shirts: tanks, short sleeve and one long sleeve*
- 3 Pants: 2 short, 1 long (opposite ratio if headed to colder temps)*
- 1 summer dress (hubby brings a nicer shirt)
- multi-use sleepwear
- 1 cardigan
- 1 fleece jacket a bit big, for layering
- 1 sun hat
- 1 warm hat
- 2 pair of shoes: 1 athletic/walking, 1 sandals that can be worn in a shower
- 4 day supply socks and underwear*
*at least one from quick dry fabric
Not essential, we often bring things from our home country for trade such as t-shirts (we often swap the one off our back) or small toys to give away. When we went around the world in 2012, we brought little kiwi bird key chains and New Zealand flag stickers and gave them to children of people we stayed within countries like Morocco, Oman, and Malaysia.
Two important caveats to this list of essential things to bring:
- I prefer summer to winter and generally make every effort to avoid extreme cold. If your travel plans are different, then a down coat should be added to the essential things to bring list.
- I don’t carry a tent or sleeping bag, and always hire a place to stay.
Bonus Tip: Bring a Sense of humour. Don’t go around the world without it.
How does this match your list of essential things to bring? Please add your tips or leave your questions.
This page is part of our travel planning resources series.