Packing for the RTW

Deciding what to pack for my “Round the World” has been stressful fun.  I have researched this topic to death, and I have read pages and pages of packing lists on what I will want and need.  The common theme I heave heard time and again, “Take half of what you think you need” and “Pack light!”.  As a former safety consultant, I think that I need to be “prepared for anything”.  The reality is that I am not going to be away from civilization for long periods of time, and I can buy just about anything anywhere I go.  What I am struggling with most is that I already have many things, so I want to bring them instead of buying them on the road as I need them.  For example, I am starting in a hot climate in South America, but eventually I’ll be in cooler climates.  So do I bring my awesome down puffer coat and Merrell boots now?  Or just buy them again later?  Or have them shipped to me later when I need them?  These are the questions keeping me up at night.

So, here it is, everything I am bringing (including things crossed out that I thought of bringing and then decided against).  Too much?  Not enough?  Let me know what you think in the comments below.



  • Flip Flops (x2) – Havaianas2013-08-21 11.03.01
  • Flats (1) – Tieks
  • Sneakers (2) – A light walking pair and a heavier hiking/running pair.  I know.  Too many.
  • Boots (1) – Merrell’s
  • Socks (4)
  • Slipper/Socks (1)



  • Tank Tops/Sleeveless Shirts (5) – Also for working out, cause that’s gonna happen.
  • Short Sleeved Shirts (3)
  • Long Sleeved Shirts (2)


  • Black Windbreaker Jacket (1) – Lululemon
  • Black Light Jacket (1)
  • Puffer Coat
  • Rain Poncho (1) – It’s raining in Cartegena!
  • Zip Up Sweater
  • Bathing Suits (2)


  • Thongs (14)
  • Boy Shorts (6)
  • Regular Bras (3)
  • Sports Bras (2)


  • Sunglasses (2) – Ray Bans and Maui Jims
  • Sarong/Scarf (1) – Thanks Iris!
  • Buff “Hat” – Thanks Ruby!
  • Jewelry – a couple pairs of hoop earrings, a few necklaces, nothing expensive or valuable
  • Watch (1) – Swatch
  • Wooly hat
  • Gloves
  • Baseball cap
  • Hiking hat (1) – Patagonia


  • Acetaminophen PM 2013-08-21 11.50.16fakit
  • Excedrine Migraine
  • Prescription Levothyrox
  • Anti-Diarrheal
  • Sinus Decongestant
  • Benadryl
  • Fluconazole
  • Vitamins
  • Cipro – Antibiotic
  • Doxycycline – Anti-Malaria
  • Anti-Itch Cream
  • Antibiotic Ointment
  • First Aid Kit

Safety-Security-MacGyver Stuff-Comforts-Fun

  • Headlamp2013-08-21 18.30.49
  • Doorstop
  • Travel Cable & Lock
  • Duct Tape
  • Super Glue
  • Pepper Spray
  • Spot GPS?
  • Small Sewing Kit
  • Swiss Army Knife
  • Dreamsack – I’ve never used this, and not really sure if I ever will?
  • Ear Plugs
  • Eye Pillow – My favorite “luxury” item, so good for jet lag-induced headaches.
  • Cable Ties
  • Water Bottle
  • Carabiners – This is apparently a “must have”, but I have no idea when I will use these.
  • Sink stopper – If I really need to do laundry in a sink, I’ll use a sock as a plug.
  • Utensils
  • Flask – I don’t drink hard alcohol.
  • Corkscrew – I do drink wine!
  • Umbrella (Small)
  • Antibacterial Wipes
  • Quick dry towel – will use sarong if needed
  • Plastic Ziplock Bags
  • Thank You Cards
  • Pens & Sharpie
  • Traveling Translator Guide with Pictures to Point At – Thanks Sabeena!
  • Journal Books – Thanks Karen!
  • Moo Cards – to give out my contact info when I make friends on the road
  • Dive Card/Dive Book – hoping to get more use from this
  • Exercise Band – Ha!  I’m so sure I’ll use this daily.
  • Playing Cards

Toiletries – I know I have over packed here, but hey, I’m a girl

  • Sunscreen2013-08-22 23.24.43
  • Tissues
  • Bug Spray
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Soap
  • Eyes Cream
  • Face Cream
  • Face Wash
  • Pocket Mirror
  • Dental Floss
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Deep Conditioner
  • Dry shampoo
  • Headbands
  • Hair Ties
  • Hair Clip
  • Comb
  • Brush
  • Chap Stick (x2)
  • Q-Tips
  • Tweezers
  • Nail Clippers
  • Nail File
  • Razor
  • Deodorant
  • BB Cream
  • Mascara
  • Eyelash Curler
  • Eye Shadow
  • Face Powder
  • Eye Liner


2013-08-22 16.46.24

  • Kindle & Charger
  • iPhone 4S & Charger
  • Halo Pocket Power – Back-Up Charger for iPhone – Thanks Linda!
  • iPad & Charger – Gave to my sister Julie
  • Small Alarm Clock – I’ll just use my iPhone
  • Sony CyberShot Camera & Charger – I might not take this.  I have been using my iPhone exclusively for photos for over a year, and not sure I need to have another device
  • ASUS Laptop & Charger – I mentally debated taking this, but ultimately decided that I want it.
  • International Converter
  • Grid-It Organizer – This thing is pretty cool.

Important Stuff

  • Passport with Kate Spade Cover – Thanks Lisa!
  • Health Insurance Card – Blue Shield says they’ll cover me on the road!
  • Real Wallet & Dummy Wallet – One to give to theives?  I have read a lot about this “dummy wallet”, but I don’t know anyone who actually had to use this tactic.  I just plan on not carrying much with me.
  • 500 US Dollars
  • 600,000 Colombian Pesos
  • Chase Sapphire Visa Credit Card – Primary credit card with no international fees
  • Edward Jones Master Card – Back-up credit card
  • Charles Schwab Debit Card – Primary ATM card with no fees
  • Edward Jones Debit Card – Back-up ATM card
  • Bank of America Debit Card – Back-up to the back-up ATM – I really don’t want to keep this account open, but it has my business account on it and all of my automatic bill pay, so…
  • Old Student ID – For student discounts?  I am not sure if I can still pass as a student?


2013-08-21 11.15.39

Ok, that’s about it.  Comment/criticize/judge me below.  Also, if you want to get an email when I post a blog, click the “+ Follow” in the lower corner of this page.

Categories: Packing, RTW | 11 Comments

Post navigation

11 thoughts on “Packing for the RTW

  1. Love your list! I know you are trying to minimize, but all I could think of were things to add: a bandana (useful for a thousand things), an extra battery for your camera (can be hard to find abroad), a checkbook (sometimes you can cash a check at a grocery store easier than finding a bank to get cash), a folding nylon shopping bag and a travel pillow. Depending on your itinerary, you might also want to buy a mosquito net. The Dreamsac is a good idea for questionable accommodations and can double as a light blanket (stuck at an airport, etc.). The only thing I would leave out is the eyelash curler, but every girl has to have her tools. Haha. Bon Voyage, my friend.

    • Thanks for the feedback Sybil! I have a bandanna (I just forgot to add it to the list). I am pretty sure I am leaving the camera behind and going iPhone only, so I won’t need the extra battery. I don’t have a checkbook. Do they really cash US checks in foreign countries? I would never had guessed that. I had a folding shopping bag in there, but I removed it from the bag. I do have some plastic/disposable shopping bags. The travel pillow…I had one and then ditched it. I have a really hard time sleeping in public places, even with a pillow. The mosquito net is a good idea, but I’ll probably wait to see if it is needed and get it later. Eyelash curler = luxury item. I know I’m going minimal, but I still care a little bit about how I look. Maybe that will disappear in a few months when I become a dirty hippie? 😉 I appreciate the help!

  2. Dee

    Great packing but how about an extra memory card along with the extra battery? I never travel without the extra memory card since there are so many different types. One bathing suit should be sufficient and how about a shampoo/conditioner in one bottle. Leave your student ID – foreign countries but not appreciate an American trying to take advantage of them. Don’t forget to pack your mom into your suitcase! Enjoy!!!!!

    • Thanks for the note Dee. I think I am going to ditch the camera, so I won’t need an extra battery or memory card. I am just not all about the pictures. I am more of a “snapshot” gal, which my iPhone is perfect for. I was going to take only one bathing suit, then I went into Victoria Secret and found the cutest polka-dot bikini for 40% off. I couldn’t resist! I kinda agree about the student ID thing, but I might take it anyway for the “dummy wallet”. My mom is already trying to sneak in the suitcase, but I think it will be too heavy. Love ya!

  3. Mek

    OMG is there anything more exciting than this? This is going to be quite an experience…. Love the list Laurie… I think you’ve pretty much covered everything you need… including “Thank you cards” awwww. lol.. So sweet!!!! I would add a couple of things tho… add a pocket knife, a lighter, a pepto bismol, a small bright flashlight (a couple of them), a beenie and a Raiders hat. 😉 The first thing i was going to say was pepper spray but you got that covered already. Its hard to eliminate some of these things… but i would eliminate one of the shampoos and one of the conditioners… dont they take too much space (and add too much unneeded weight)? Well you know where i’m coming from with that anyway LOL. No comment on the lady products. You’re gorgeous with or without them. So you want suggestions on what to eliminate? I have some questions (or comments)… I hope the head lamp is very very small first of all if not, get rid of it. And what’s a door stop? Also, if these things take too much space i wouldnt even pack them: duct tape, super glue (although its very small), antibacterial wipes (you’d run out in about 20 minutes lol), carabiners (unless you’re going to be hiking alot), umbrella, plastic zip lock bag.. thats it for now… i can see how everything else can be needed. Also, you can always get all of the above stuff wherever you go anyway (even in underdeveloped poor countries). Also take your drivers license (just in case you drive – and if you ever get pulled over by a cop, tell him your CA-DMV issued drivers license is actually an international drivers license – this lie always works). Also if not too late though, please take a very nice camera. Grrrr.. why dont you want to take it? That would be the first thing i would pack.


    • Mek you are so awesome! I can’t wait until you quit your job and come join me on the road. Definitely let me know if you are going back to Africa and I will meet you there! Now about the crap: Door stop is to secure my door from someone entering. I actually had a time when I wanted/needed this in Italy. “Lady products” – haha, thanks for the compliment, but you haven’t seen me without them. 🙂 Super glue is super small and duct tape is a little roll. Antibacterial wipes – I might take these out. Extra conditioner – I think I’ll ditch this. I got the drivers license. And about the camera…. I am a definite no on this. I have a very different view on the photos than most people. I really hate spending a lot of time taking pictures. I am not a professional photographer, and I do not aspire to be one. No matter where I go, someone else has taken a better shot than me, and I can see that online. I like to take a snapshot (as oppose to a photograph), to save the memory, but I don’t need the big camera with the fancy lenses to save the memory. Big cameras are too heavy and bulky and I think make me a target for theft. However, when you come meet me, you bring the camera and we will me all set. Miss you!! Love, Laurie

  4. Katie Kav

    Packing for something like this is pretty much my worst-anxiety nightmare! You’ve done an incredible job. And you’re right, the mantra of “I can buy it there” is one to keep repeating to yourself as you weed items out.

    I was wondering about the doorstop too! Is it a normal one and if so, is that enough to actually keep someone from forcing their way into a room?

    Personally I’d only bring one pair of flip flops (Havainas are cheaper in South America anyways) and one bathing suit. I would suggest that you do bring the travel / lightweight towel. You will always need a towel when you shower and a good camping towel takes up little space or weight and may be harder to find in another country, where you may have to get something bulkier and less absorbent if you need to buy a towel later.

    Does your swiss army knife not have a corkscrew in it? I suppose it’s too late for more purchases, but I love my Leatherman Juice. They have different variations, some cheaper, but this is the one I have: It comes in useful so often! I don’t think they make any models with a built-in eyelash curler, but there are ones with corkscrews, Tweezers, etc.

    I think it’s ok to bring all the toiletries since you’ll be in Cartagena for a while and not lugging a bottle of shampoo on the road once you arrive. I’ve always liked packing toiletries for long trips abroad because it can be hard to find a comparable product abroad (or American products are way overpriced) and it’s nice that they take up some room in your bag, so once you use them up and leave Cartagena, you’ll have some space for anything you may have picked up during your time there! I would recommend bringing tampons with you. I’m not sure about Colombia but in my experience traveling in Catholic Spanish-speaking countries, you can’t always find tampons in the store (especially anywhere small), or there is a really limited variety and/or they are imported and expensive.

    Love you! ¡Buen viaje!

    • Thanks for the advice Katie! For the door stop, I think it is enough to make some noise if someone does enter. It’s just a little plastic triangle and takes up little space/weight, so I think I’m going to keep it. For the flip flops, they are actually two different types. This is back to the whole issue I have been having with the packing. I know I could buy them there, but I already have them, so why leave them behind only to buy them? Same idea with the clothes. All of my clothes I already have, so why not take them instead of leaving them and buying more?
      I like your idea with the toiletries and I had the same thought myself, I will be in one place for awhile and by the time I move, I will probably ditch stuff. 🙂
      I might be on the look out for a towel in NYC tomorrow since so many people suggested it. Bummer cause I had one in SF, but I gave it away.
      And about the tampons, probably TMI, but I have an IUD, so I haven’t had a period in two years. Yippeee! I highly recommend it to anyone! Love ya Katie!!

  5. Sarah

    Laurie………..this is ah-mazing!! It is obvious that you have researched and carefully considered each and every item. I have to admit that the list gave me a bit of sympathy anxiety because I am a HUGE over packer (I think it is from having kids), but I always come home with TONS of clean laundry and unused items. I get teased about it by family. This is the most ridiculous question….but why did you choose the Kindle over the iPad? (Can you tell what a sophisticated traveler I am??) I also wondered about the tampons….haha……and the flip flops that are made in Brazil….but got my answers!!

    • Hi Sarah! Good question about the iPad vs. Kindle. It came down to size/weight and duplication. So I can do everything from the iPad on the iPhone. So the iPad didn’t add anything but weight and added cost/value if it gets lost or stolen. The kindle is super light and a bigger screen than the iPhone so better for reading. And I promised my sister the iPad for her 40th birthday and she’s happy to have it. Best to you! xoxo L

  6. Pingback: Packing for Long-Term Travel… My Original Bag Revisited | Living La Vida Laurie

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: