Are you getting ready to start long term travel? It is always one of the most exciting things you can do in life! Long term travel requires some preparation though. And you need to put some thought into what to pack to get the best out of it.
Last year our move out of the United States was not the first time when we had to pack and leave everything behind (we left to travel full-time, if you are curious to know how much we paid and what we experienced during our first year of full-time travel, read this article). There were many other times in our lives when we moved and traveled around. At some point, we were moving from Europe to America and later in life within the United States. So last year did not seem to be special in that sense. It was just another period of time when we had to leave again.
We thought we were prepared and knew everything.
The plan was to get rid of unnecessary things, sell some valuables, and pack the rest. Sounded easy and that’s what we did. However, we missed a few important details and didn’t take into consideration the fact that it was not really a move, but the beginning of long term travel.
In the end, after getting rid of so many belongings, it felt that we sold or gave away what we could actually take with us on a trip. Since we haven’t put some important items in our suitcases before we left, we had to look for them later during our travels. It was inconvenient and we wasted a good chunk of time.
From now on we are aware of what we have to pack in our bags for long term travel and sincerely recommend the same items for you guys.
Perhaps you will leave something out or perhaps you will have something else to add. Take a look and share your thoughts!
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Must-Have Items In Your Suitcase for a Long Term Travel:
The portable charger is a must-have item for any type of travel no matter which country or how long you are leaving for. It helped us not only during long trips, but also in the wilderness when we were hiking for a few days in a row, and in places with possible power outages. There are different types of chargers and you can find the best for yourself.
We personally use and recommend the next one:
- Anker Portable Charger, 313 Power Bank – this power bank lasts forever. We love it for the number of charges it provides for our phones and the speed it charges the gadgets with. It can get between 8 and 10 full charges before using a plug. The disadvantage is the weight. It is a bit heavy, almost 900 grams, but when we think of its helpfulness we don’t care much.
Imagine arriving in a new country and realizing you can not charge your phone, laptop or any other device due to a different type of outlet. It happened to us a couple of times and was very disappointing.
In some countries, you may have difficulties finding the right type of adapter while in others you may be overpaying for it. It is cheaper and more convenient to order an adapter online in advance. From our experience, it is a must-have item in our suitcase before short or long term travel. Take care of it before you leave. We are having two different adapters. You can check one here or this one.
Is it obvious that there should be a towel in your bag? We didn’t think so, didn’t pack one and regretted about it later.
If you are not a luxury traveler (and most of us are not) then most likely you will be staying in guest houses, hostels, cheaper hotels, and with Couchsurfers who sometimes don’t provide a towel. A lot of them do, but there is also a chance you may not be comfortable using it.
In most places where we were staying we had a towel, but many times we didn’t feel like using it. The towel was not fresh, didn’t smell well, or if it was clean and fresh it was just too old and we could tell it was probably used by a million people before us.
In general, a towel is a personal item that, even if it’s washed properly, shouldn’t be used by multiple people. Take your towel with you before you leave. Buy one in your nearby store, online or get the one you have been already using at home. We guarantee you will be happy you took it with you beforehand.
It doesn’t take a lot of space in your suitcase and it is very light.
Take a look at this travel towel. This is one of the best purchases you’ll ever make. It is super soft, antibacterial, ultra-compact, dries extremely fast and multifunctional. You can use it as a bath towel, yoga mat, during travels, take it to the beach, when hiking, and more. This is the best towel for any type of travel!
Sewing accessories set
If you don’t know how to sew, don’t care about any holes or ripped out buttons in your clothes, don’t mind replacing a broken thing with a new one right away then this recommendation will not be important to you.
Otherwise, don’t forget to pack this item because it may come in handy zillion times. We are familiar with the days when we can’t wear our favorite pants or jackets because there is a missing button or unraveled seam. A sewing kit set doesn’t take a lot of space in our luggage. And, having it is very helpful when there is a need to fix some clothing.
Portable travel water boiler
It is one of the most useful accessories when traveling to countries with unsafe tap water. Also, if you are a budget traveler who tries not to eat out a lot.
Having this little helper in your suitcase will help you save lots of money on water, and even help you cook some foods. When a kitchen is not available we are using it many times to make tea, coffee, oatmeal, and even boil eggs. Also, we have been using a portable boiler to boil water for drinking.
Bottle with filter
This is another must-have item in your suitcase for short or long term travel. You won’t really need it in Western Europe or North America, but in Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa and South America bottle with a filter is helpful.
We have been even using it in the United States during our hikes, taking water from the springs and filtering it through the bottle’s filter.
There are so many great bottles on the market to choose from. You can decide if you prefer to take tablets for filtering or bottle. We are personally using this bottle here, loving it, but not very happy that it is made out of plastic. Advantages are lightweight, the volume size is good, it is BPA free and filters out 99 percent of bacteria and 99 percent of parasites. For now, it works perfectly fine and we are planning to use it for some time.
This is something you may need even if you think you are not sensitive to light. I always believed light didn’t bother me, but during our travels, I realized how wrong I was. On so many occasions we have been going to bed late at night in places with no curtains and were awakened by natural light around 6 am or even earlier.
If you plan to travel during the summer to one of the Scandinavian countries, where the sun doesn’t set, having a blindfold will be also very helpful.
It is very light and doesn’t take a lot of space in your bag. But it can definitely help you on some nights. Many long-haul flights provide this item for free, but some people can’t use it because of the material it’s made of. There are multiple options online. Choose whatever you like.
Earplugs are good not only if trying to sleep on trains, plains, and buses. They may come in handy in hotels, guest houses, and more.
There were so many times when we rented an apartment or a room, believing it was quiet, but it turned out to be loud.
For instance, when we rented an apartment in Nha Trang, Vietnam during Vietnamese New Year it was peaceful and quiet. But only after a week of our time in that apartment we realized what a mistake we made. We could hear noise coming from the street up to 10 pm and were woken up by motorcycles and buses around 5 am. Even the closed balcony door didn’t keep that noise away.
I don’t know how I would make it without earplugs. They helped me to have a good sleep and rest. I was using them every day in that apartment in Vietnam and many more other times in other places.
It seems to be obvious to take sunglasses with you, right? Many people still forget this item though. I used to believe that I could always buy it on the road. But again, if you are traveling outside of the western world then it is not that easy to buy high-quality glasses with UV protective coating.
Yes, street vendors sell glasses to the right and left, but those are pieces of crappy cheap plastic. Never buy glasses from street vendors. It is better and smarter to pay more today to keep your eyes protected tomorrow. Order glasses in advance before you leave, or if you need a new pair while you are already traveling go to the mall, but not from a street vendor. Both of us have this brand, but you may prefer something else.
I know you are definitely thinking that you will be able to buy sunblock in any country you visit. You will be, that’s right. But if you are like us and stick to natural and mineral-based sunblocks that have low toxicity then buy them in advance. If you are going anywhere where the sun is strong you want to have sunscreen in your bag from the first day.
Find it in your nearby health store or order online, but don’t leave without one.
When you are backpacking or vacationing for shorter periods of time then you won’t even think about packing this one in your suitcase. And probably you will be right. With backpacking travel style most likely you don’t need an iron on your shoulders. And if you are a traveler who is staying in hotels, you can always find an iron in the closet.
However, if your plan is to travel long term, go for interviews, and wear anything other than shorts, skinny jeans and t-shirts then purchase a portable iron and thank us later. We personally never head out the door in wrinkled clothes. It just doesn’t look nice and neat. We travel with iron and use it a few times per week. Especially helpful it is during the times of interviews.
There are different types of irons, but all of them are small and very light. Check them out and see how tiny some of them are.
Portable coffee maker
If you are a coffee lover who wants to travel on a budget, having a coffee maker in a bag will help you save some bucks.
Of course, if you are going on vacation, why would you be taking a coffee maker with you? Especially if you are traveling to countries that have one of the best coffee in the world. It just doesn’t make sense.
But, if you plan to travel long term, the portable coffee maker will become your best friend.
Portable mini blender/Juice cup
This is not really essential, but we still wanted to add it to the list.
We personally love smoothies and try to eat raw as often as possible. Having this tiny appliance in our suitcase helps us make our favorite drink anywhere we go.
It was a bit disappointing to have fresh juices and smoothies in Asia. Vendors who sell them usually add lots of water, ice, and sugar to fruit in this way reducing the level of vitamins and nutrition in our cups. In other parts of the world having a smoothie on a daily basis can be quite expensive.
Portable blender is more a whim, not a necessity. But in a long run, it’s going to save you money and help you enjoy your favorite things as often as you want.
So these are the items that we find important for long term travel. We’ve been keeping them in our suitcases before and will be traveling with them in the future. What about you? What do you usually pack? Would you add anything to this list?