Essential Travel Packing

While the benefits of packing light are numerous (avoiding a constant sore back, reducing awkwardness on journeys, saving space for things you buy when away etc) whether you’re going travelling for six weeks or six months there are certain things you just have to take with you, those all important items you just can’t go globetrotting without.

But there are also plenty of items you’d be better off leaving at home, space wasters you’ll come to resent pretty quick if you take them with you.

So, what should you pack? Well, while only you can decide whether Ted stays or goes, here’s our pick of the 5 extended-travel essentials!

Pile of ClothesClothes

Now, getting arrested for indecent exposure within minutes of beginning your adventure would put a bit of a dampener on the trip, so wearing clothes of some kind is probably essential. But when it comes to packing clothes, less is definitely more. Clothing is bulky, and until you actually experience the climate you’re entering first hand you won’t know what kind you’ll need. If you can, just pack the bare minimum (undies, jeans, shorts and a couple of tops) then buy what you need as you go. This might seem like a pricey and wasteful option but it can be done cheaply if you shop around and it’ll save you some serious space.


While you should obviously pack essential medications from home, and possibly a pack of plasters. Things like antiseptic spray, insect repellent and aspirin can be bought on your arrival. Items like insect repellent are also likely to be cheaper in countries which actually have a problem with insects, and you’ll be able to choose a brand recommended to you by midgy-mastering locals!


The majority of people who embark on an adventure abroad like to record it in Journalone form or another. Whilst tablets and smart phones can be used to capture/share images and thoughts, there’s still something to be said for paper and pen journals. Not only are they a less valuable/fragile item to take care of, but you can stick things into them (event tickets etc) and get new-found friends to write scrawl in them too. Every dent in a journal cover, every ripped page and every smudge is a memory you just can’t replicate with technology!


SmartphoneOkay, paper and pen journals are great but that doesn’t mean you should forgo all technology! Smartphone’s might be pricy but they can cut the amount of items you need in half, saving you a huge amount of space. If you have a Smartphone you can leave behind your guide books/favourite books, photos, music player, DVDs, laptop and camera. Just ensure that your phone is capable of making/receiving calls in the country you’re travelling to, is well insured and is kept safely on your person at all times! Make sure you also pack a USB cable so you can hook up to a computer and back up your photos/files whenever you have the opportunity.

Money belt

MoneybeltThese might not look the coolest but they’re the best way of keeping you’re most important items (passport, ID and money) safe and accessible. By strapping these round your waist, or by having a small, secure handbag, you free up space in your main bag and save yourself from having to root through all your belongings every time you need something!

When packing for an extended trip abroad what is considered ‘essential’ differs according to the person and their priorities, but we think that these five things are a good place to start.

This post was brought to you by The Expat Hub, a site dedicated to providing expatriate support, advice and information.


  1. Matt Tebbit

    I once met a guy who’d been backpacking for a year with just a daypack. He carried around one change of clothes and that way basically it. My daypack probably has more things in it when I’m actually only going out for a day, let alone travelling around the world for a year.

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