I’ve been packing up my house. My son moves into his own apartment the beginning of April and I’m a little sad that the “live at home with Mom” days are reaching an end. I’m thankful to be busy, but wow I have so much to do between now and the end of March, including a 3 week vacation to Buenos Aires and Antarctica and the end of my employment. That’s not a complaint and my OCD kicked in when January rolled around so I do have a lot of time to get properly organized and packed.
The vast majority of my belongings, including shoes, purses and books, are going into storage. In a role reversal, I’ll be renting a bedroom from my son for a few months. I wonder if he’ll cook for me, do my laundry and give me spending money? I don’t believe he’ll keep his apartment stocked with wine or plan ahead to provide me with a wine allowance.
How does a gal go about packing for up to 2 years travelling?
As I’ve been packing up my house, I’ve also had to plan ahead and leave out what I’m bringing with me travelling. I’ve done my prep work and read a lot of the information out here on the web. I believe I have watched every YouTube video available on packing light for long trips. There are different opinions about what to bring and what not to bring so you just need to decide what you think is best for you and your travel style. There is no right or wrong way.
I have a lot of Osprey and Pacsafe products and really like them both. I decided on a 40L Pacsafe backpack for my daypack and to carry my electronics and more expensive gear. I also went with the Osprey Aether AG 85 in orange for my hiking gear, clothing and miscellaneous items.
Yes, there are travellers that can put everything into a 20L bag with room to spare … I’m not one of them nor do I aspire to be. My only requirement is to be hands free. When I’m in an airport, train station or just walking with both bags, the orange one will go on my back and the black one on my front … I’ll be hands free. This is my plan.
My list seems like a lot, but I can carry it all easily so far. I’ll be bringing my mountaineering boots, parka, crampons, etc for my July summit of Mont Blanc and when finished, I’ll be shipping a bag home. So … I get to test all this out for a month. If there’s too much, then it’ll be shipped home or donated. This is tough work!
I’ve been dancing around, packing and singing along to John Denver. I may have been drinking wine.
So kiss me and smile for me
Tell me that you’ll wait for me
Hold me like you’ll never let me go
‘Cause I’m leavin’ on a jet plane
Don’t know when I’ll be back again
- MacBook Air and mouse
- iPad (for reading instead of the actual Kindle)
- Nikon camera and lens
- Panasonic waterproof camera
- Go Pro and accessories (debatable at this point … I’ll see how Antarctica goes using it)
- External hard drive
- Chargers, USB cables, extra battery power
- Plug in adapters
- Selfie stick
- Gorilla tripod
- Pacsafe portable safe
- Pacsafe lock
- Pacsafe wallet
- Pacsafe change purse
Health & Vanity
- Filled prescriptions
- Doctor letter and the actual written prescription
- KLM vanity pack … the burgundy Viktor & Rolf one … my favourite and it can double as a clutch for me 🙂
- Passport / Visas / NEXUS
- International Driver’s License
- Vaccination Record / Yellow Fever Certificate
- Credit Cards
- Emergency Cold Hard Cash
- Christian Laboutin Mary-Jane’s as I’ll be posing in the craziest ways doing the craziest things I can think of. See Mary & Jane Snapshots for pics after the Antarctica trip!
- Hiking Boots (will be wearing these when travelling)
- Flip Flops
- Water Shoes
- Hut Slippers
- Rain cover for my pack
- Gore-Tex bib pants and jacket
- Puffy coat
- Wind jacket
- Tilley hat, ball cap and toque
- Icebreaker base layer (long johns and long sleeved shirt) (1)
- Sports bras (2), regular bras (2) and underwear (10 pairs)
- Hiking socks (3), running socks (2) and regular socks (2)
- Leggings (2 long and 1 capri)
- Running/workout outfit (1)
- Shorts (2)
- Sweater (1)
- T-Shirt (3)
- Halter Tops (2)
- Long sleeved shirt (2)
- Zip up hoodie (1)
- Fleece (1)
- Hiking pants … capri, regular and soft shell (3)
- Travel Dress (1)
- Sarong (1)
- Scarf with hidden pocket (1)
- Bathing Suit (1)
- Pajamas (1)
Health & Vanity
- Goop (moisturizer, shampoo, conditioner, soap, sunscreen and I will need aloe)
- Minimal make-up (not that much of a hardship as I barely wear any)
- Q-tips, razor, deodorant
- Toothbrush, toothpaste, floss
- Tweezers, small scissors, sharpener
- Nail file, nail clippers, clear nail polish (princess won’t be getting her nails done every few weeks)
- Comb, brush, hair scrunchies/elastics
- Small tissue packs, hand sanitizer, baby wipes
- Travel towels (face and body)
- Travel medical kit and band-aids
- Travel blow dryer and iron (I have naturally curly hair that I despise and somewhat tolerate, but plan to straighten it for dinner at least once a week)
- Pacsafe mesh for locking & storage
- Pacsafe bag lock
- Airport bag (has a hole in it and I’m ditching it when I get to Europe)
- Water bottle
- Sleeping bag/liner
- Walking poles
- Laundry soap (small Tide packs)
- Door stop & whistle
- Stuff sacks & packing cubes
- Emergency kit
- Sewing kit
- Choose clothing that you can mix & match for more outfit options
- Stick with your favourites … the comfy t-shirt and leggings that you wear all the time are probably your best bet to include
- Try everything on and make sure it still fits and is comfortable enough for extended use
- Choose fabrics that are lighter weight, easy to wash & dry and less prone to wrinkles
- Think about the activities that you will be doing and what gear you will need … use the 80/20 rule … you’ll be able to rent items that you only need once or twice
- Are there items that you deem must-haves? In my case, it was my sleeping bag. Not all hostels provide bedding and I plan to do a lot of hiking where I will need one. I did not want to rent so mine is coming with me.
- Practice carrying your bags up & down stairs to get a feel for it … can you walk a long stretch if needed carrying?
- Do your research, but ultimately do what works for you and your travels!
- While you’re figuring out your list and trying to decide which pieces to bring … open a bottle of wine or two …
Jackie is “Mom” to one amazing son, an IT professional and an obsessed traveller. She spends her time reading, golfing at Ladies League and implementing software projects. Jackie has travelled to all 7 continents and 90 countries and is always planning the next destination and adventure!