What to Pack for a Round-the-World Trip

Technology packing list for a round the world trip


I have to say, nothing has caused me so much stress during the planning stages of my trip as trying to work out what to bring with me has.

I am a serial overpacker – I always have been and so I was dreading having to make the decision on what to bring. To minimise anxiety, I want to be prepared for EVERY little thing that could possibly happen. For example, a few years ago I visited Los Angeles for a week. On said trip, I brought with me an enormous suitcase, filled with something like 25 possible outfits. Yes, for a ONE week trip! Even I know it’s ridiculous. But yet I still did it…

So trying to be ruthless for this just about killed me.

I still know I’ve overpacked, but I don’t want to limit myself to any less than this. I can always send stuff home if I find it’s too much when I’m out there.

Here’s what I’m taking with me:


packing list trousers shorts and pants

  • A pair of long trousers
  • Pair of 3/4 lengths
  • Shorts
  • Shorter shorts
  • TINY shorts to sleep in.

Packing list t shirts

  • 2 long sleeved tops
  • 1 cardigan
  • 3 tank tops
  • 2 strap tops
  • 1 short sleeved top
  • pretty scarf!
  • I’m also taking a dress with me which isn’t shown.

The hardest part for me was actually narrowing down which swimwear to take… I normally take more bikinis away with me on holiday than I do underwear, and have been known to take 20 pairs for a 2 week holiday…

  • Pretty pink bikini
  • Pretty flowery bikini
  • 2 pairs of board shorts. (Probably unnecessary but I ADORE them and want to take them)

RTW packing list

  • My running shoes
  • Flip flops
  • Hat (which may also be unnecessary but I LOVE IT and wear it everyday)
  • Sunglasses (which I expect to lose within about 10 minutes of leaving. Seriously)

Aaaand my underwear and socks!


Packing list technology

  • 13″ Macbook Pro with charger
  • Super rugged case for my Macbook — I can highly recommend this case, you can throw your laptop around all over the place and it’ll still remain safe.
  • Iphone with USB charger. I didn’t unlock my phone before leaving so this will just be used to connect to Wifi networks.
  • Kindle Keyboard 3G with charger — this version of Kindle is great for travellers as it includes FREE global 3G.
  • Canon 550D with charger.
  • 18-35mm lens.
  • 55-250mm lens.
  • 50mm f/1.8 lens.
  • Canon Powershot SX220 with charger and case.
  • Memory card case with 5 spare SD cards.
  • 1TB external hard drive – It’s kinda big, but it’s not too heavy so it’ll do.
  • Worldwide adapter plug.

Everything else!

Medicines –

I’ll preface this by saying that I am the BIGGEST hypochondriac in the world. A few years ago I would be taking an entire pharmacy with me on this trip, but I think I’ve managed to narrow it down reasonably well..

  • 5 months worth of malaria tablets. I wondered whether it was necessary to take them to SE Asia with me. My mum wouldn’t let me go without. I condensed them all into a tiny pill bottle so they don’t take up much space.
  • First aid kit
  • Travel sickness pills. A lot of them. I get motion sickness in swimming pools!
  • Paracetamol
  • Immodium
  • Rehydration sachets
  • Benadryl
  • Sudafed
  • Rescue Remedy – in case I experience Fear.

Toiletries –

  • Make up – Eyeshadow, eyeliner, mascara.
  • 5 months worth of contact lenses – This is the thing I’m most bothered about. I chose dailies over monthlies, which means they are taking up a LOT of space. But the dailies were half the price, and I lose/drop them so many times that I’d be screwed with monthlies. I guess as I use them up they’ll take up less and less space..
  • Tweezers
  • Tangle Teezer hairbrush
  • lots of hairbands and hair clips
  • Hairspray
  • Deodorant
  • 2 solid shampoo bars
  • 1 bar of soap
  • Diva cup
  • Suntan lotion
  • Insect repellent
  • Razor with spare blades
  • Antibacterial handwash
  • Travel detergent

Random bits –

  • Padlock
  • Small bag to keep laundry in
  • Travel towel
  • Sleep sheet
  • Money belt
  • Duct tape
  • Small notebook
  • Diary – It’s SO beautiful, I love it!
  • Few pens
  • Umbrella

And here is everything altogether!

And all of this fits into my 46l backpack! I am also taking with me a 20l daypack, and a pretty camera bag, which rolls up and fits in my daypack.

And that’s it!

So, tell me that I’m taking too much stuff! Is there anything I really need to cut out? Anything major that I’m forgetting?! Let me know… :)

And just a quick note to let you know that I update my packing list on a yearly basis. Here’s what was in my backpack after a year, and after two years

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  1. Dominique
    July 7, 2011

    I’m addicted to reading RTW packing lists! The hat is absolutely necessary. Have you ever had a sun burnt scalp!? I have. Have you packed all this stuff in your packed and walked around with it yet to see how heavy it is? Like you said in the beginning, you can always send stuff home if you don’t need it. Have fun on your trip!

    • July 7, 2011

      Me too, I love reading what other people are taking with them!

      YES, good point about the sunburnt scalp – I remember trying to shower and feeling like I was pouring acid on my head!

      I went for a 6 mile walk with it on the other day and was completely fine, so it should be ok on my trip!

  2. Roy | Cruisesurfingz
    July 7, 2011

    Wow, you do like taking lots of medicine. In my 7 years of travel I’ve never carried any pills apart from vitamins.

    • July 7, 2011

      I dread to think what I would have taken a few years ago! I just like to be prepared, and I guess they don’t take up much room.

  3. Lina
    July 7, 2011

    Hi I too love the packing lists. I haven’t even started one for my trip that is going to happen in a few months. I have one question for you. I love love your camera bag what brand is it? Maybe I can track one down. Good luck on your trip maybe we’ll cross paths on our RTW!

  4. Adam Mayfield
    July 7, 2011

    Look great to me! I do a lot of photography when I travel and I usually take my 18-105mm and my 50mm f/1.4. Rarely do I ever wish I had more zoom than 105mm.

    I travel with less medical gear but I’m a risk taker. Or I’m just lazy. Either way it’s not heavy and could come in handy on many occasions. I usually take some ibuprofen and some bug spray with DEET. That’s about it. I don’t own an umbrella but usually take a packable rain coat. It came in super handy while I was in Japan last week.

    • July 7, 2011

      I adore photography and my camera! Although it takes up loads of space, it’s totally worth it…

      Rain coat! Need to get one of those! :D

  5. Alix
    July 7, 2011

    Q1. How heavy is your pack? Some airlines now have a 20kg limit for checked luggage.

    Q2. Where are you planning on going? You might consider packing a warm-ish jacket if there’s any chance you’ll be in Europe or South America in the “shoulder seasons” as the weather has been unusually cold in recent years.

    Q3. Socks?

    Advice 1: ditch one pair of shorts and one pair of swimming shorts. (Make room for shopping! ;) )

    Advice 2: make sure your insect repellent is “tropical strength”.

    Advice 3: ditch the umbrella and pack a Gortex rain jacket instead. They roll up pretty small and I’ve found it far more useful, plus it can double as a wind protector.

    Advice 4: take two padlocks – one for your pack and one extra for your daypack, small hostel locker, etc. just in case.

    Advice 5: make sure you take a letter signed by your doctor for all (prescription) meds (and the sudafed) as some border officials can be funny when it comes to that stuff.

    Happy travels!

    • July 7, 2011

      Awwww what a helpful comment!

      1. It’s WELL under 20kg. I’ll be fine with that.

      2. Won’t be in Europe or South America, so I should be alright. If not, I’ll buy something warm when I’m out there.

      3. Yup, taking 4 or 5 pairs with me.

      Arghhh i don’t know if I can ditch the shorts! But I do want room for shopping too… Ugh! Insect repellent is tropical strength, yeah. Getting a rain jacket tomorrow! Will get another padlock too…


  6. Kat
    July 7, 2011

    Hey Lauren
    LESS is MORE – cannot stress that enough. I just spent 4 months traveling and spent $50 Believe me, that pack gets heavier EVERY day…and digging thru it becomes a hassle. Like you, I had a pharmacopia…not necessary – you can get anything you need almost anywhere. Take a bottle oa Aleve or similar, mosqitoe repellent, and forget the make up. After a while, you wear the same ol things and learn to re-wash them and you become unconcerned with make up and toiletries :). Enjoy – I have been home a week and am already ready to go again!

    • July 7, 2011

      Thanks! I have a feeling I’ll never want to come home… :)

      I can’t forget the make up!! I’m not taking too much of it anyway, I can’t live without eyeliner or I look about 12 years old haha.

  7. Toni
    July 7, 2011

    Awww hun, we’re so alike lol. You’ve done really well to pack so little on your first trip (we ladies kick butt) and you will soon begin to realise that actually no-one cares (really) what you look like on the road…standards are less but don’t worry, you’ll still get laid ;) haha x

  8. Christy @ Ordinary Traveler
    July 7, 2011

    I think it looks good! Wow.. you fit that all into a 46L pack?? I’m impressed. If it were me I would probably take a little less clothes, but that’s just personal preference because I know there will be something I will want to buy and I also have so much electronics that I usually don’t have a lot of room left for clothes. ;)

    • Lauren
      July 8, 2011

      ..And with room to spare, amazingly! I don’t think I could take any less clothes, I struggled enough trying to narrow it down to this!

  9. Jaime
    July 8, 2011

    Great list… looks like you are ready! Only thing I don’t I saw on here was a flashlight. Be sure to get a small one, you will need it for when you are trying to get through the dorm room at night with out turning on the lights. I would also recommend buying some packing cubes to keep everything separated. I love love LOVE my packing cubes. They help keep my backpack organized.

    I love reading packing list and I know before i left I obsessed over a lot of bloggers packing list. Mine is still up on my blog if you wanna check it out.

    • Lauren
      July 8, 2011

      I looked at your list when I was writing this up to see if I’d forgotten anything!

      Gonna get a flashlight today :)

      Yeah, surprisingly I feel pretty prepared at the moment… Nothing left to do except LEAVE!

  10. Zablon Mukuba
    July 8, 2011

    You look set and ready to go. when do you leave?

  11. Angie Orth
    July 8, 2011

    How about a headlamp? I thought that was the craziest suggestion when I left but I got one and have used it tons!

    • Lauren
      July 8, 2011

      I laughed when someone suggested it to me a few days ago, but now I’ve had SO many people tell me to get one that I’m actually considering it!

      • Scot Baston
        July 8, 2011

        Headlamps are good… but a normal small led torch looks less geeky and is cheaper

  12. Monica
    July 8, 2011

    Wow, its all so organised! Sounds like a good packing list to me. I especially like the technology part, you have everything covered!
    I’d second what Angie Orth says, grab yourself a head torch. I felt like such a geek buying one in Borneo but I used it ALL the time! even if its just to find your way through a dorm room in the middle of the night.
    And my boyfriend had that Osprey bag (or a very similar one) and it was great. so comfortable. He spilt deet in it though and it melted some of the plastic bits so be careful with deet!
    So excited to start reading about your trip!

    • July 8, 2011

      Hahahaha, I’d feel like such a nerd!

      Wow, it melted plastic?! Hahaha, I’ll make sure to keep mine in a bag!

  13. Scot Baston
    July 8, 2011

    You are missing something from your list..

    Warm weather gear!

    at least take a packable fleece with you.. even in warmer climates it can get cold in the evenings… esp at altitude.

    one other tip… don’t bother carrying what you can buy when you get there ;)

    • July 8, 2011

      …Like stuff for cold weather? :P I’m gonna see how it is when I get there and decide then if I need to buy a fleece or whatnot.

  14. July 8, 2011

    Hahaha, I think that would be taking up unnecessary space for something I’d probably never use…

    Thanks! :)

  15. Tour du monde
    July 8, 2011

    Hi, nice post! I guess the content of your bag is fine, because you have a good reason to take each of those items. And I guess, you can leave some of them on the road (or send them back) if you don’t use them to much, or if you do not wear any make-up anymore after few weeks ;)
    Did you consider to bring a sleeping bag with you?A sleep sheet can be enought, depending on were you plan to go.

    • July 9, 2011

      I can’t imagine not wearing make up!

      Nah, not taking a sleeping bag with me.

  16. Shannon
    July 8, 2011

    I love packing lists! I’ve been working on mine the past few days. I leave for my trip in 22 days. Our lists look pretty much the same. I was going to bring 4 swimsuits, but decided on 2.5 (black bottoms with two tops). I also would suggest a head lamp, everyone says to bring one. :)

    • July 9, 2011

      Ahhhh I am debating bringing a load more with me!! Love my bikinis! Hahaha.

  17. tom
    July 8, 2011

    Hey cool post but personally I think your taking a bit too much tech. The macbook yes as you will blog but a kindle and two cameras?!

    I would just take a good compact camera like Panansonics Travel Zoom series and then pick up books from hostels around the world.

    Also a 1TB drive is massive you could get a slightly smaller one :) I guess times have changed since I first went the only bit of technology I had was a minidisc player!!

    • July 9, 2011

      I NEED my SLR! Couldn’t travel without it. And my smaller camera for when I don’t wanna carry my SLR around.

      I wasn’t gonna travel with a kindle but my mum bought it for my trip for me, so it comes with me!

      Yeah, the hard drives annoying, I’ll see how it is once i get out there…


  18. Erik Smith
    July 8, 2011

    We have the same camera! For an overpacker, I think you’ve done a nice job condensing! Good Luck- look forward to hearing about your adventures!

  19. Megan
    July 9, 2011

    I think it looks pretty good, though I’d suggest taking jeans. And I love your cover for the macbook!

    • July 11, 2011

      I don’t really wear jeans too much, so I think I’ll be alright without them.

      Hahaha thanks – it certainly stands out!

  20. Amy
    July 10, 2011

    Well done, bet it’s a good feeling to have it all done! I’m putting together my list at the moment it’s really stressful.

    Working in a Pharmacy myself, I’m finding it hard not to take way too much!

    Not long now, bet your as excited as we are! :)

    • July 11, 2011

      Ah, can’t wait to read your list… It was SO stressful for me too, and was such a relief to get it out the way.

  21. Alouise
    July 10, 2011

    I’ve never done an RTW but I can definitely say taking a hat is a good idea. I didn’t pack a hat to Mexico, and proceeded to get sunburned on my forehead (even with sp50 sunscreen ). I ended up buying a $20 hat from a market so I wouldn’t get burned even worse. As long as the hat can fold up into your bag I say take it.

    And don’t feel embarrassed about the duct tape mistake. It was only a couple years ago that I learned it was duct tape and not duck tape.

    • July 11, 2011

      Hahahaha AWESOME! Someone else who thought it was duck tape – too funny!!

      Yeah, sunburn is ridiculously painful when it’s on your head, so hopefully the hat will prevent that :)

  22. Runaway Brit
    July 10, 2011

    Hey. I think you’ve done pretty well so far but if you have to ditch anything I’d say ditch the contacts – take enough with you to last in Europe but in Asia they are DIRT CHEAP. Even for Dailies. You can buy branded names in any opticians (and there are hundreds) without an eye test. As long as you know your prescription, you will have no problems getting them. Believe me, I know how annoying it is to carry contacts around with you (so I had Lasik in Vietnam!!)

    I’d say the same about the medicine, you can get ANYTHING over the counter in SE Asia and I mean ANYTHING. You want Valium, you can get Valium! Inhalers, contraceptive pill etc… Again, it costs nothing. I lived in Vietnam for 3 years and travelled all over SE Asia – I don’t know anybody that has ever taken Malaria pills (Dengue is far more common there than Malaria anyway) so I’d probably ditch those. If you do use them, be careful. Some brands make you very sensitive to the sun so you will burn much more quickly and could get sunstroke easily.

    GO WITH THE HEADTORCH!!!! When you are faced with no electricity in a squat toilet in the dead of night in a SE Asian jungle, you WILL want your hands free!!!

    As for everything else, I LOVE the bikinis, pink MacBook cover and hat :-)

    You are going to have so much fun!!

    • July 12, 2011

      Oh really? I’ll take much less contact lenses now – that’s good to know! :)

      Yeah, the malaria pills are just there to have them with me, and I’ll decide what to do once I’m there – they don’t take up much room so I don’t mind carrying them around!

      Hahahahahaha, ok I want a headtorch now! :)

  23. Theodora
    July 10, 2011

    Just nice to see you’re not packing hippie pants or any “travel clothing” item. It’ll be fine. You’ll chuck stuff as you go. Though you do seem to be packing one helluva lot of electronics.

    • July 13, 2011

      Hahahaha, I really hope I don’t end up in hippie pants at any point during my trip!

  24. Melissa
    July 10, 2011

    WOW! i need to take a hint from you! My backpack is 85L and I had it packed to the brim! Definitely need to cut down for my next RTW trip in October.

    oh and don’t be scared of the Diva Cup. I’ve been using mine for almost 4 years now and it’s the best thing ever! Practice makes perfect, and it took me about 2-3 cycles to get it 100%right. But it’s so worth not having to deal with tampons or pads. Not to mention its actually better for your body.

    Also, one thing that i noticed with the solid shampoo was that it kind of dried my hair out, so after a while i ended up getting a bottle of conditioner, plus conditioner can be used as shaving cream.

    Think of getting a flashlight or headlamp though — i’d suggest the headlamp.
    OH AND A RAIN JACKET! I regret not bringing a proper rain jacket with me on my last trip.

    • July 13, 2011

      Wow, 85L is a lot! I don’t think I’d be able to carry it without falling over!

      Thanks for all the tips and advice! Rain jacket and flash light are now bought :)

  25. Melissa
    July 11, 2011

    Oh and another thing that I found came in handy was ziplock bags. I had a side pouch on my day pack and I put an entire box of fifty ziplock bags, seriously they came in handy EVERYWHERE!

    • July 13, 2011

      Awesome, I’ve just bought a load to take with me! :)

  26. Kris Koeller
    July 13, 2011

    This is a great post. I love the photo inventory, which is quite helpful if you ever have to pack in a hurry. I always take too many clothes, though… Still practicing.

    • July 13, 2011

      Thanks Kris! That’s true about the photo, i’ll have to keep it saved on my computer for when I’m sure I’ve forgotten something!

  27. twoOregonians
    July 15, 2011

    So fantastic! Just discovered you today…shortly before you set off on your grand adventure. Thanks for the visuals. What brand are your long pants, by the way? My husband has his travel pants chosen already, but I’m still debating… Cheers~

    • July 15, 2011

      Awww thank you! I just bought my long pants from a random shop in London – they aren’t any sort of fancy travel brand – they were only £10!

  28. July 15, 2011

    Thanks Audrey, I’m finding it so hard to resist sneaking extra clothes in just before I leave! :)

  29. Julia
    July 16, 2011

    It doesn’t look like a lot in the individual photos but then all together it looks like loads! Looks like you’ve made some really good choices with the colours and stuff so that everything coordinates. I really need to try and be ruthless when I pack next year or I’m going to up with a hunchback haha! Excited to read about your trip.

    • July 17, 2011

      Hahahaha, I’ve already toppled over loads of times from my bag being too heavy!

  30. Vi
    July 19, 2011

    And what is weight of all this stuff?

  31. Sarah
    July 20, 2011

    Your post has got me totally stressed out (in a good way, though!). I leave in a month and have not even considered buying a backpack yet! Eeek?

    Looking at what your packing has totally made me rethink my whole list though. And now, I’m starting to think I won’t have room for all that unnecessary stuff in my non-existent backpack.

    So even though I’m totally stressed, you totally helped!

    • July 23, 2011

      Hahahaha, well I wrote this packing list about 4 or 5 days before i left, and literally had barely anything up until then.

      Glad I managed to help! :) And chill, a month is plenty of time!

  32. pokeken
    July 31, 2011

    Finally catching up on yr website! Glad u decided with the 1.8! How u finding it to use? If u have any queries on using the 550d then give me a mail.

    It sounds like u r settling down into traveller life on the road!

    Have fun!

    • August 1, 2011

      Yeah, I love it! 1.8 is my favourite lens for sure! I’ll drop you an email later on so we can catch up!

      Having lots of fun… :)

  33. fotoeins
    August 2, 2011

    Love packing lists, though I imagine my RTW-version might be a wae different than yours. :-) But, as always, it’s always about ideas! Thanks for sharing, Lauren!

  34. Ali
    September 21, 2011

    Now that I’m a week away from my RTW, I’m freaking out about packing, and I realized I missed this post when you first put it up. I’m so impressed you fit all that stuff in a 46L bag, and that the 20L daypack fits INSIDE the bigger bag! I have a 40L bag (although Jaime/Breakaway Backpacker thinks my bag is smaller than 40L) and a 20L daypack that I was planning on using as my 2nd carry-on. I hate checking luggage. I haven’t even done a practice run on packing yet, but after reading this I think I need to go do that.

    • December 29, 2011

      I did some fancy packing tricks in my trial run which I no longer remember and now everything is shoved in and all over the place!

  35. Gladys
    November 2, 2011

    Packing list is defenately the most impt part to long term traveling and i can see you have a great list!

    I tends to over bring as well on my trips bt there are some “what if i need” things!

    • December 29, 2011

      That’s exactly it, Gladys! I think I managed quite well and I haven’t been missing anything yet!

  36. Gregory
    December 29, 2011

    How about a sweater and / or windbreaker? Socks? Floss, toothbrush, toothpaste?

    • December 29, 2011

      Hi Gregory,

      I took one long sleeved top with me. So far I’ve only been staying in warm countries and haven’t needed anything thick or with long sleeves.

      I mentioned socks in my list but threw them out after a few weeks as all I ever wear now are flip flops.

      I obviously took a toothbrush and toothpaste but forgot to list them in the post!

  37. Gregory
    December 29, 2011

    OMG, you only wear flip flops!? Ask me how much I love this. Okay, I’ll tell you right now … A LOT!! Traveling the planet in sandals? Now THAT is inspiring, my dear.

  38. April 1, 2012

    Hahaha, you were actually pretty good with your packing list. I’m still debating with myself over the stuff I should bring in my backpack. I’ll get it, I promise. Since I will be doing a lot of camping and hiking I naturally have to bring a few things you don’t have on your list, so I might have to cut down elsewhere. Great tips, keep them coming.

  39. Matthew Hutchins
    June 23, 2012

    Nice list, good thing bringing the Imodium, I always find it essential

  40. yana
    August 19, 2012

    Hi Lauren! :)
    I’m in middle of my mental preperation to a RTW trip :) but i promise you that when it happens, my medicine bag will be much larger :) nice job, i love your website :)

    • August 20, 2012

      No – you really don’t need to bring a ton of medicines! A year later and I’m carrying 20% of what I originally left with here. There are chemists EVERYWHERE so you really don’t need to carry around a ton of pills with you…

  41. Emma
    August 27, 2012

    Hi Lauren,

    I’m starting to think about my packing list and wondered if you liked your money belt in hot countries? Or if you used something else

    Also did you find a use for the duct tape?

    • August 27, 2012

      Hi Emma,

      You might find this post useful: https://www.neverendingfootsteps.com/2012/07/14/my-packing-list-one-year-on/ as I talk about what I chucked from my bag and what I added to it over the past year.

      But to answer your question — I hated my money belt! I threw it out as I didn’t ever use it. I just kept money in my pockets or my purse, like I would at home. And no, I never found a use for the duct tape! :)

  42. Emma
    August 28, 2012

    Thanks for the reply, I’m travelling SE Asia soon, how did you carry you money and passport while there? Just in your bag? I would prefer to do that but would be a bit nervous about carry large sums of money in my bag…

    • August 28, 2012

      They have plenty of ATMs in Asia so I wasn’t really ever carrying around really large sums of money (maybe $200 at the most). I kept my money mostly in my pocket or purse, and my passport in my daypack.

      When I’m travelling and moving from place to place I keep my daypack with me at all times so I never leave it unattended or out of sight, and that method has worked perfectly! No thefts after a year of travel :)

  43. abby
    February 28, 2013

    Would love to know what you’re carrying now? I’m 6 months into my Southeast Asia trip and even though I’ve thrown stuff out/sent bits home my bag seems to get heavier everyday! Don’t plan to go home anytime soon so this trend is worrying…

  44. November 22, 2013

    I don’t think you are packing too much clothes; but then again I am a fellow serial over-packer & a middle age backpacker wannabe :). I love Primark basics so I have 15 of their strap tops in all possible colors; I started to think of what I will take for my trip and cannot part from them, they can actually roll so small that they all fit in my 75L with everything else… Silly I know but I have 10 months to come to term with traveling light and I am now shopping for a 45L instead to avoid the temptation for over packing.

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