RTW Trip Packing List: What To Pack
Packing for my round the world trip was pretty tough. In my head, I wanted to make sure that I had everything that I needed before I left. Pouring over travel blogs while I was in my planning stage, I read a lot of RTW trip packing list posts. I would look at their list and then created my own RTW trip packing list. When I was preparing and going over my lists before shopping, I had to consider my lifestyle, my style, as well as destinations I was going to.
Scroll down for my RTW Trip Packing List
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HELPFUL GENERAL TRAVEL TIPS
- Flights: Find a cheap flight using Skyscanner or Momondo. I like these two booking sites because they both search all websites and airlines around the globe including budget airlines.
- Accommodations: I use Booking.com or Tripadvisor to find the best rates on hotels. Hotels.com offers a free night after booking 10 nights.
- Travel Insurance: Having gotten sick on my travels in the past, I never travel without being insured. You never know when something may happen. For my round the world trip and extended long-term travel, I use World Nomads. For other trips, I have used Roam Right and they cover activities like extreme sports.
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I was worried about being able to find things on the road and trying not spending money when I didn’t have to. Packing for 6 months on the road can be very overwhelming.
By the time I left, I threw my hands up in the air knowing I did the best I could. Just remember that you can always buy things on the road. Yes, things can be a bit more expensive but sometimes you’ll find better or more unique things on the road.
I’ve written posts in the past about individual items that I have brought along but I have decided to compile it into one big list here. This list will change with updated links or if I’ve forgotten things so come back or feel free to comment with any questions.
My RTW Trip Packing List:
In 2010 when I first started researching my trip, most of the travellers who blogged about their trip used backpacks. I didn’t use a backpack for my round the world trip. I travelled for a year and a half, through different seasons and chose to go with a rolling suitcase. If I were to go on another long-term trip I would still bring a rolling bag but perhaps only go with a carry-on, not worry about bringing so much and buy things on the road.
One of the reasons, I did use a suitcase was my American Airlines Round The World ticket included one checked bag on every flight. Checking my bag on some of my inter-continent flights that were not part of my RTW ticket, were not that expensive in the grand scheme of things.
For the first half of my trip, I thought I needed a convertible bag. You hear/read about so many people saying you can’t wheel luggage around Europe’s cobbled roads or through Asia’s village. BIG FARCE! I still rolled my suitcase on some dirt roads in Asia. While it wasn’t fun in some instances, it’s not impossible. And the times when people were trudging up a hill with their heavy backpacks, they see me rollinggggg (like the rap song).
I chose to go with a rolling suitcase because I have a bad back from a car accident when I was younger. Originally I purchased a Victorinox rolling suitcase that converted (now discontinued). I think I converted once on my entire RTW trip. I did like the bag a lot though because it has a zipper to extend the size when I have over packed and I liked its ergonomic handle.
When I came home for a break between continents, I didn’t pack my Victorinox suitcase for the second half of my trip. I realized after travelling through New Zealand, Australia, Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, and Japan, that I didn’t need to convert my bag into a backpack.
When I repacked, I used my Oakley rolling suitcase that was a bit lighter, giving me more weight for my belongings.
Small Backpack For Carry On
For my carry-on bag, I used a small backpack by Northface. My backpack carried all of my documents, valuables like my DSLR, my laptop, hard drive, and chargers. It was a great carry on because the stringent airport agents for budget airlines didn’t think much of it when I checked in to my flights because it looks small.
Packing cubes are a travel game changer. I discovered them on travel blogs in 2010 before my round the world trip. Since my own trip, I use them all the time whether for a weekend away or a three month trip to Europe. My cubes get organized by tops, bottoms, socks with underwear. Everything stays organized and is within reach. If you have to find something in a backpack or a suitcase, you don’t have to make a mess in order to grab whatever you are looking for.
On the first part of my round the world trip I brought ones by Rick Steeves, but the mesh got caught on things and ripped. I don’t recommend those at all.
I use ones by Eagle Creek or Dsptch.com or Lewis n Clark
Hanging Toiletry Kit
A hanging toiletry kit is the best for a long-term trip. You never know how much counter space you’ll have when you are on the road for all of your things like toothpaste, toothbrush, face wash, etc. For long-term trips today, I still pack one.
During my round the world trip when I stayed in a few hostels, I would bring this down for my morning and evening routines. Depending on the bathroom, sometimes even into the shower. The one I bought for my round the world trip was from Target and 8 years later, I still have it and use it.
If you can’t find this one at Target, this one by Eagle Creek is also good!
Universal Plug Converter
Sounds obvious but it’s good to have plug converters before you get to your destination. I like all in ones (multi-country) like this one by Lewis N Clark.
Monster Power Strip
Bringing a power strip on any trip is a life hack everyone needs to know about. I don’t how many times there were never enough outlets at hotels, hostels, or guest houses while travelling overseas or domestically. Because we all carry so much gear like laptops, cameras, and smartphones, it’s vital.
I don’t believe this particular brand is available anymore but you can substitute it with this.
Don’t laugh! Bring a head torch instead of a flashlight. I love this thing a lot! Great for a hands-free light when walking in the dark or reading on overnight trains or in a dorm room with others.
Silk Sleeping Bag
This was recommended by many travellers to protect yourself from bed bugs and keep you warm or cool. I bought mine at Mountain Equipment Coop (like REI) in Canada but this one from Amazon would work as well.
For all you travellers who carry a lot of tech gear, it’s good to be organized. On my round the world trip, I didn’t lose or leave a cord or a charger because everything had a home. It was like a mental checklist when I was packing up to leave for my next destination. Kangaroom, the brand I used on my RTW no longer exists. Dsptch’s cord case has now taken its place.
Great for bad hair days and protecting your head from the sun. I took along my Supreme 5 panel.
Noise Canceling Headphones
I travelled with Urban Ears headphones but then was gifted leather headphones by Molami. I gave my Urban Ears headphones to a friend at a hostel and used these for the rest of my trip.
Now I have since switched over to Sudio Regents and I’m a fan. I have brought them on two trips to Spain so 4 long haul flights and they have served me well.
For my RTW trip, I bought Target x Missoni collaboration ones. Sometimes airlines give them out on overnight flights. Here is one by Flight 001!
I am currently using one by Tumi that I got on an American Airlines business class flight. These are vital for a better night’s sleep especially on overnight bus rides or bright hotel rooms without blackout shades.
This may sound silly but why attract thieves with a big CANON OR NIKON camera strap. It’s like you’re yelling out, “Helloooooo check out my big expensive camera!!” I usually carry a tote bag and it often shields my camera. So if I have a simple looking strap, it doesn’t attract more attention. This one is by Dsptch.
Packable Duffle Bag
Pack a packable duffel bag. This is handy if you leave your luggage at a hostel or with friends or family for a few days and go off to explore different places. If you’re a shopaholic it’s handy when you need somewhere to pack all the things you’re bringing home. A packable duffel takes no space and is super handy! I bought this bag in Melbourne at Kathmandu but Herschel also makes them.
Resealable and Reusable Bags
Bring a bunch of resealable bags in different sizes. We all need the quart sized bag for our toiletries to pass through security but I also pack bigger toiletries in them so they don’t spill or leak. I use small snack bags for keeping jewelry untangled. I have a couple of Baggu bags to use to carry dirty laundry or wet swimwear when I was at the beach and had to jet off to my next destination. In the past, I have used Ziplocs but now I’m being more mindful of my plastic use. Having seen single-use plastic in the water while on my round the world trip, I want to be sure I use little to none.
You never know when your nose will run or when you get to a toilet that doesn’t have any tissue. It’s good to have these on hand. Seriously.
It sounds gross but my father used to use handkerchiefs. I am going to look into finding some for nose blowing and random situations like wiping my hands but I do carry a pocket tissue for toilet situations.
Hand sanitizer is so vital when you’re travelling. I have switched over to a spray version by Everyone.
Not the best for the environment so I try to use these sparingly. These are helpful it is to have these even if you have hand sanitizer and pocket tissue especially after eating street food!
I always need to apply lip balm. I am using one by Laneige now.
I brought a combo lock but these are handy for people who forget their combos. It’s easier to remember a word. Great for locking up things in hostel lockers or anywhere else you need a lock.
I learned this handy tip from other blogs. I wrapped duct tape around a pen. You don’t need much but sometimes things rip or fall apart and you need a temporary solution. I did end up needing some and this was just the right amount instead of a whole roll.
Travel Detergent Packs
I washed things in the sink sometimes when I couldn’t get to a laundry or I needed something asap. These are super handy.
I always packed a pocket knife in my check-in bag. There were times needed a bottle opener or a knife when I was on the road. I am a big fan of Leatherman knives. Please remember to pack your pocketknife in your check-in bag or if you’re not checking in, don’t bring one!!
I packed a packable towel for my RTW but now I pack a sarong when I travel anywhere. I didn’t like the idea of paying for towels in some hostels so I bought a quick dry towel. Even the large ones aren’t very big.
A sarong is multipurpose. It can be used as a towel, a scarf, a beach blanket, a skirt, you name it. Best thing ever and so lightweight. I even use these for the gym rather than a big towel.
LeSportsac Triple Zip is what I carried my passport on my RTW. It’s great because you can fit coins and currency in the zip compartments. I stored a pen in there too for going through customs.
If you want a less feminine or leather wallet, Bellroy makes a great one. They were nice enough to send me their passport wallet to try out. I wrote about it here.
Reusable Tote Bag
I also pack a Baggu reusable bag. It’s great for bringing dirty laundry to the laundromat, carrying wet clothes back from the beach or for when you’re going to buy groceries at the market. I also wrote about my love for Baggu bags here.
Reusable containers to store shampoos, etc. It’s often cheaper to buy bigger sized items than to buy trial or travel sized items. I’d often buy with a friend and share product or leave for the next person at a hostel or at my friends. Top up and you’re off.
SAVE THIS RTW TRIP PACKING LIST TO PINTEREST
What is on your RTW trip packing list?
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