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What to Pack for Your First time Long-Term Travel

Updated: Feb 2


Illustration of two backpacks

If you're planning an extended journey, you might be pondering over the essentials for packing for a long trip, including the ideal luggage size. In this guide, we'll delve into what to pack for a month-long trip, offering a comprehensive packing list for long-term travel that's tailored to the season of your adventure. We'll provide tips on how to pack for a long trip, ensuring you have all the things to pack for a long trip without overburdening your suitcase.


Less is More: The Art of Minimal Packing


If you're a first-time, long-term traveler, you might be tempted to overpack, thinking you need a wardrobe for every occasion. In reality, the less you bring, the more comfortable your travel experience will be. The key lies in choosing versatile items that can serve multiple purposes and withstand frequent use.


For those who prefer to travel light, stick to the essentials on this packing list for a long trip. If you tend to pack a bit more, aim for the middle ground or the maximum suggested items from these packing lists.



Packing for a Full Year: Pack This List


Essential packing list


Bag


  • 1x backpack size 45L

You may doubt whether a 45L travel bag is adequate for a year's worth of adventures. Packing judiciously is key, but rest assured, a 45L backpack can often qualify as a carry on bag, making it a convenient choice for air travel.

backpack


  • 1x body bag, fanny pack, or packable daypack

optional, but highly recommended especially packable day backpack



Clothing


  • 1x jacket for winter or heavy-weight hoodie


  • 2x pair of long pants like jeans

If you feel one pair of long pants is sufficient, just bring one. However, if you want to put 3 pairs of long pants in a 45L backpack, it can take up quite a space in your backpack.


  • 1x pair of exercise pants or relaxing pants

I bought Adidas track pants for both working out and relaxing.


  • 3 ~5 x t-shirts or 3~4 t-shirts and 1~2 long sleeve

Since t-shirts are compact travel clothing items that don't take up much space in a backpack, you could even pack up to 7 t-shirts to last a week between laundry days. Alternatively, 3 T-shirts could suffice if you're willing to hand wash them daily.


  • 1x swim shorts

It's advisable to select swim shorts that double as travel accessories, appearing like regular shorts suitable for urban wear.


  • 1x pair of shorts

If you wear shorts more than long pants bring more than one short and bring fewer long pants.


  • 3~7 x underwear and a pair of socks

Incorporating a packing checklist into your routine can ensure you don't end up wearing the same underwear every day. If hand washing daily isn't an issue, 3 pairs are sufficient. However, if you prefer using a washing machine, consider bringing 5 to 7 pairs to minimize laundry days.


  • 1x pair of shoes

While deciding on your travel pack, bringing 2 pairs of shoes can be cumbersome, but if you're into running or hiking, why not include running shoes or hiking boots? So, you can enjoy your favorite activity while traveling. For those who both run and hike, choose trail running shoes, which are suitable for mountain trail running. However, heavier than regular running shoes and less durable than hiking boots.


  • 1x flipflops or sandals

Don't overlook the convenience of travel accessories like flip-flops for post-shower comfort or nighttime restroom visits. They're slim enough to slide into your backpack's side pocket, offering practicality without the bulk.


  • 1x Quick dry Towell

When staying at a hostel, travel accessories like a quick-dry towel become essential, as they often don't provide towels. A quick-dry towel is convenient, allowing you to use it right before packing.



Optional packing List: Consider You Want to Bring


  • Shoe deodorizer

Consistently wearing the same shoes can lead to an unpleasant odor, which is why adding a shoe deodorizer to your travel accessories list is highly recommended to keep your footwear fresh. https://amzn.to/3HSvROJ


  • Pair of gymnastic rings

To maintain my fitness routine without relying on gym availability, I carry a pair of gymnastic rings, a versatile travel accessory that allows me to train anywhere and helps save on my budget.


  • Resistance bands

Resistance bands are great! it's compact and enhances calisthenics training.



Seasonal Travel: a month-long to 3 Months



Packing for Summer


Essential Packing List


  • 1x backpack 25, 30, or 35

For summer travel, a small suitcase or day bag of 25L is sufficient for a light packer, while 30 to 35L offers extra space, allowing you to avoid meticulously packing each time. Anything larger than 35L is ample for a single season's journey. However, unless you prefer a smaller pack, there's no need to purchase a new backpack if you already own one larger than 35L.


  • 3~5x T-shirts

For those committed to travel packing with the bare minimum and willing to handwash nightly, bringing 3 t-shirts—or even just 2—that can dry by the next morning is a practical choice.


  • 1x swim short


  • 1~2x shorts

If you're not a shorts person who are not fan of shorts, you don't need to bring them. But I recommend bringing at least one pair of shorts as relaxing wear.


  • 1x pair of long pants

If you don't wear long pants in the summer, you don't need to bring them. However, it may get colder someday (depending on the weather and where you go: eg: mountain side)


  • 1x Lightweight jacket

Like Nyron one, it may get colder at night someday.


  • 1x workout pants or relaxing pants

If you wear shorts for workouts and relaxing, you don't need to bring them.


  • 3~5 Underwear and a pair of socks

During summer, your travel packing list can be minimal as underwear and socks will dry quickly after washing. Thus, for light packers, bringing just 3 pairs of underwear and socks to handwash and hang is sufficient.


  • 1 pair of shoes


  • 1 pair of sandals or flipflops


  • 1x quick dry towel



Optional Packing List



  • 1 pair of running shoes


  • Shoe deodorizer


  • 1x body bag, fanny pack, or packable daypack 

Again, optional, but highly recommended, especially a packable day backpack.



Packing for Winter


Essential packing List


  • Backpack 25L, 30L, or 35L


Packing for seasons other than summer may require more clothing, but with small bag packing techniques, it's possible to travel extremely light with just a 25L backpack.


  • 1x jacket, heavy-weight hoodie, or any favorite winter clothing

When it comes to travel clothing, you can wear a jacket while transitioning between locations, so it won't take up space in your backpack. If you're considering bringing more than one, check your backpack size to make the final decision.


  • 1 x sweater or any lightweight warm clothing

This travel clothing is versatile enough to be also worn when you move to other places, offering convenience in any weather.


  • 3~5 x t-shirts or long sleeves

When it comes to travel packing, even if you're willing to hand wash, your clothes won't dry quickly. It's wise to bring about 5 of them unless you're okay with wearing the same T-shirts or long sleeves multiple times without washing.


  • 2 x long pants


  • 1x exercise and relaxing pants


  • 3~5 x underwear and socks


  • 1x shoes


  • 1x flipflops or sandal

As a travel accessory, flip-flops and sandals are convenient for walking around hostels or just going to the bathroom in the middle of the night. It's a hassle to put on shoes after showering.


  • 1x quick dry towel



Optional Packing List



  • 1x body bag, fanny pack, or packable daypack 


  • 1 pair of running shoes


  • Shoe deodorizer








Packing Tips: Do it Like a Pro 



  1. Roll Your Clothes: Save space and avoid wrinkles by rolling your clothes instead of folding them.

  2. Use Packing Cubes: Keep your belongings organized and easy to find with packing cubes.

  3. Pack Versatile Clothing: Choose clothing that can serve multiple purposes to save space and simplify decisions.

  4. Prioritize: Pack the essentials first, then fill any remaining space with extras.


Final Thoughts 


Packing for long-term travel doesn't have to be stressful. With careful planning and the right mindset, you can pack efficiently and enjoy your journey to the fullest. Remember, less is more, and the goal is to travel comfortably without being weighed down by unnecessary items.


Happy travels!

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