My Packing List: One Year On

rtw packing list medicines

I’ve now been travelling for a year so I decided it was time to look back over my packing list and update what’s currently in my bag!

The main difference between what I packed last year and this year is the amount of clothes I am carrying with me! I began with good intentions – not very many clothes, all of them different shades of black/brown/green/grey… And after a month I was SO bored with them!

I like bright, vibrant clothes! And variety! I didn’t ever wear shades of khaki at home so I have no idea why I thought I would while travelling.

It’s just not me.

And so, as soon as I got to Asia I started to replace my “wardrobe”. The benefit of being as tiny as I am is that clothes take up very little room in my bag. I’ve therefore been able to quite easily, um, double the amount of clothes I originally left with, without feeling like I’m taking anything extra.

Here’s my updated list


rtw packing list trousers

  • A pair of long trousers
  • A pair of jeans
  • 3/4 length jeans
  • 2 pairs of hippie pants
  • Denim shorts
  • Red shorts.

As you can see, I am now carrying jeans with me! Honestly, I didn’t miss wearing jeans in the slightest while I was travelling in Asia, but once I got to Europe, and especially with this freezing cold “summer”, I found myself longing for a pair. I’ll probably throw these out when I get back to Asia later this year.

Yes, I also now have hippie pants. Two pairs. The shame.

rtw packing list tops

  • 1 shirt
  • 1 long sleeved top
  • 2 short sleeved tops
  • 4 tank tops
  • 2 strap tops
  • 2 grubby backpacker tops
  • 1 dress

Yes, I have close to double the amount of tops I originally left with, but I’m so much happier with what I’m carrying now!

rtw packing list swimwear

  • 3 bikinis
  • Floaty shirt to cover up on the beach with
  • Travel towel

Not too much difference here. I threw away my board shorts because I decided they are ugly and replaced them with an extra bikini.

rtw packing list shoes

  • 1 pair of walking shoes
  • 1 pair of flip flops
  • 3 scarves

I bought the scarves to cover up whilst travelling in Morocco and loved them so much that I’m now keeping them!


rtw packing list tech

  • 13″ Macbook Pro
  • Kindle 3G
  • Really old iPod
  • Canon 550D
  • 18-35mm lens
  • 55-250mm lens
  • 50mm f/1.8 lens
  • Various different camera filters
  • Canon Powershot SX220
  • 500GB external hard drive
  • Worldwide adapter plug

A few changes here – I bought the new Macbook Pro last week to replace my old one that was on the verge of dying. I replaced my ridiculously big and heavy external hard drive with a much smaller and lighter one. I threw away my iPhone because, as it wasn’t unlocked, I had close to zero use for it. I now love not travelling with a phone and don’t plan on ever carrying one again! I replaced my phone with an iPod that’s about 10 years old.

Everything else!

rtw packing list medicines


  • 5 months worth of malaria tablets – I still have these left over from last year as I didn’t use them in Southeast Asia
  • Travel sickness pills
  • Antibiotics
  • Paracetamol
  • Ibuprofen
  • Immodium
  • Rehydration sachets
  • Anti-histamines


  • Make up – Eyeshadow, eyeliner, mascara.
  • A few months worth of contact lenses
  • Toothbrush & toothpaste
  • Tweezers
  • Tangle Teezer hairbrush
  • Hairbands
  • Hair gel
  • Deodorant
  • 3 solid shampoo bars from Lush
  • 1 bar of soap
  • Suntan lotion
  • Insect repellent
  • Razor with spare blades
  • Antibacterial handwash
  • Travel soap

Random bits

  • Silk sleeping bag liner
  • A diary and notebook
  • Hair straighteners

Yes, I gave in and I’m now travelling with hair straighteners. Similar to my reasons for carrying jeans, I had no use for them in humid Southeast Asia but now I’m back in Europe it’s nice to not feel like a filthy backpacker every now and then.

I threw out my money belt and my roll of duct tape, both of which I never used. I also got rid of my first aid kit and significantly reduced the amount of medicines I carry – you really don’t need a year’s supply of every type of painkiller!

And that’s it!


I feel like I’ve now found the perfect balance – I’m not forcing myself to be super minimalist and feeling miserable with not having enough clothing options, and I’m still able to fit everything in my bag and carry it with ease – it still weighs under 10kg!

What do you think of my new packing list? Should be I ashamed that I’m now carrying twice as many clothes as I originally started with? Do you think I’m taking too much? Too little? Is there anything major you think I’ve forgotten?


  1. Ayngelina
    July 14, 2012

    I headed in the same direction when I went to Europe, it was okay being in grungy clothes in South America but not Italy. Now I travel with a lot of dresses, they are nicer and don’t take up much room in my bag.

    • July 15, 2012

      I know! The backpacker look just can’t cut it in Europe!

  2. Jen
    July 14, 2012

    YAY to hair straighteners!! I’m glad to see you new and improved bag is full of colour! I think you’ve got it spot on xx

    • July 15, 2012

      I KNOW! COLOUR! Oh my god, I hated wearing khaki everyday!

  3. July 14, 2012

    At least you got better taste in clothes now. Bravo!

    • July 15, 2012

      Thanks! Feel much better in these clothes! ;)

  4. Heather
    July 14, 2012

    I did the same thing when I went to Australia after Southeast Asia. I felt so grungy. Which is fine when you are just with other backpackers and hanging out on the beach, but not when you are going for job interviews or actually having to go to a semi-professional job.

    I am also notorious for bringing a lot of clothes to Europe….

    • July 15, 2012

      Yeah, I swore it wouldn’t happen to me, but Europe is really fancifying me up.

  5. Em
    July 14, 2012

    This packing list couldn’t have come at a better time for me! I’m off on my travels on Tuesday and stressing on what to pack so this is great to check against.
    Looks like you got it just right to me, how do you find it not travelling with a hairdryer? Do most hostels have them or…?

    • July 15, 2012

      Glad it could help, Em! :) I’ve found it fine not travelling with a hairdryer. I haven’t found many hostels that do have them, but I’m happy to just let my hair dry naturally.

  6. July 14, 2012

    Props for posting your list and congrats on keeping it to one bag. Very awesome!

    • July 15, 2012

      Thanks, Fred! :D

  7. Katie
    July 15, 2012

    I feel like everyone’s packing list is different and there’s no one PERFECT packing list. There’s just no such thing, and your packing list reflects you. It’s perfect Lauren!

    • July 15, 2012

      So true, Katie! As long as you can carry everything without complaining it’s perfect… :) I met travellers in Laos, all the same size as me and all with 90 litre backpacks that they couldn’t carry for more than 10 metres….

  8. July 15, 2012

    Good thinking behind the lists, Lauren! Agree on money belt and meds. Always thought that polka-dot pattern is the most sexiest ever designed ;)

    • July 15, 2012

      Hhahaha, thanks! :)

  9. Gregory
    July 15, 2012

    Very timely and appreciated – my launch will likely take place in the next couple months!

    • July 15, 2012

      Glad it helps, Gregory! :)

  10. Elle
    July 15, 2012

    Hooray for color!!! I bet you’ll be much happier with this variety :)

    • July 15, 2012

      I am SO much happier.

  11. Gregory
    July 15, 2012

    Have you decided you no longer need sunglasses, Lauren?

    By the way, how do all of you get your photos to appear along with your comments?

    • July 15, 2012

      I have no use for sunglasses when it’s raining everyday in Europe, no.

      The photos are gravatars.

  12. Monica
    July 15, 2012

    Wow, Lauren you are so organised! I tend to throw everything in a backback. Sit on it to get it closed and then hope for the best!

    Also, I am a massive fan of hippie pants. I tried wearing them in London. Didn’t go down too well…

    • July 15, 2012

      Why don’t the hippie pants work back in Europe?! I was adamant that I wasn’t going to change and go back to Old Lauren once I left Southeast Asia but after 2 days in England I was straightening my hair and wearing jeans again!

  13. Jen
    July 15, 2012

    Lauren! I discovered lush products last year here in the states!!!! It’s always on my packing list! Glad to see other people use it too! It’s not bulky at all perfect for backpacking in my opinion ;) great packing list. My date is still a year and a half away but this is a great reference list

  14. July 15, 2012

    Love all the colors, much more fun! Wear those hippie pants with pride…

    You’re finding the sleeping bag liner useful then? I am about to pack for Southeast Asia and can’t decide if I should bother with one or not…

    • July 15, 2012

      Hi Callie, to be honest I haven’t used the sleeping liner all that much. There were about 5 situations over the last year where I’ve used it and been REALLY glad I had it with me. It doesn’t take up much room so it’s worth carrying for me right now :)

  15. Waegook Tom
    July 16, 2012

    Get you with your fancy sliding photos! I must say I find the lack of Cathedral City cheddar cheese disturbing. I thought you’d have a cooler bag stuffed with several blocks of the stuff.

  16. Jarmo
    July 16, 2012

    Yeah you definitely feel like you need a bit more stuff in Europe, than you do in Asia. But as long as it is below 10kg I think you’re good!

  17. Franca
    July 16, 2012

    Great packing list!
    Question about the worldwide travel adaptor: I heard those aren’t really good and that is better to get an adaptor in each country you go, is that true for you? Probably not considering is packed in you bag already! :)

    • July 17, 2012

      Hey Franca – definitely get a worldwide adaptor! I couldn’t imagine buying one in every country!!! I have lost mine a couple of times and it’s been really hard to find a new one – and who wants to carry a ton of adaptors in their bag anyway? Mine is perfect! :)

  18. Ali
    July 18, 2012

    This just goes to show that what works for one person won’t always work for another. It’s great to have other people’s advice for packing, but ultimately you have to find what works best for you.

  19. This was really interesting to look at, as today I spent a good 2 -3 hours poring through my bag trying to figure out what to take and what to leave for my upcoming RTW trip. I’m trying to pack clothes that are comfy but that I feel happy while wearing, since I know I’ll be getting a lot of mileage out of them… hardest part has been to pare down my tops!

    I am glad to hear that you didn’t feel the need for jeans in SEA – we decided they were too bulk to pack, but perhaps when we hit Europe if the weather is right, we’ll ditch some of our lighter items of clothing and make room for jeans!

  20. July 30, 2012

    Looks like you definitely made some changes after a year of travel! A camera question — which lens do you end up using the most? I have all three of those lenses but was considering selling the 18-55 and 55-250 and replacing both of them with more of an all around lens like the 18-135, but am not sure if it’s worth doing… Any advice here? Also in terms of malaria pills – did you just use mosquito spray the whole time you were in Asia, instead of taking any of the pills? We are getting our travel vaccines now and trying to figure out which prescriptions we need and how big of a supply of each to bring.

    • July 31, 2012

      Hi Vicky – I’d recommend combining the two and taking the 18-135. I rarely use my 55-250 as it’s so bulky and annoying! :) I wish I’d done that…

      I don’t get bitten by mosquitos very often so I rarely bothered with the spray – I was probably bitten 3 times in total over the 10 months I spent in Asia! Maybe I don’t taste very nice?

      From my research beforehand I decided that it’s probably not necessary to take malaria tablets in Asia unless you’re REALLY going to obscure, rural places. I don’t know of many people who took the tablets in Asia – and plus, they don’t actually completely prevent you from getting malaria. Also, the tablets can be really bad for your liver if you take them for more than a few months at a time. It would be a different story in Africa/South America, but in Asia I wouldn’t bother.

  21. July 31, 2012

    Hey Lauren
    Thanks so much for the quick response and for all the advice. I think I’m definitely going to try to sell the two lenses and get a more all around one – though I’d love to get the 24-70mm or something like it it’s way out of my price range (sigh). I’ll definitely keep the 50 mm one though – especially since it’s so light! I’m very surprised that you didn’t even need to use the mosquito spray! Maybe it’s my paranoid/neurotic self but I can see myself lathering/spraying it on in a thick layer in fear of catching malaria every day. Good to know though that hopefully it won’t really be necessary!

  22. Andrew
    December 20, 2012

    Hi Lauren, really useful list here, we are trying to finish ours in time for march next year. What worldwide adapter do you use and have you had any problems with it? This is one of our last items and I’m not sure which is the best.



    • December 26, 2012

      Hi Andrew!

      Glad to hear you found it useful! :) I bought a standard adapter from a travel shop in London – it was only £5! You can get adapters that work in every country and so as long as it can do that, it’ll be great!

      I lost my first one and replaced it easily in Croatia – so they’re easy to find all over the world!

  23. January 7, 2013

    Really helpful!! We are looking into what we are packing and glad to see you have jeans and a good amount of clothes! What about jackets? Did you have a fleece or rain jacket? I too can’t live without my hair straightener! I also have a travel hair dryer…we have a 3 day layover back at home in November (4 months into the trip) so that will give us a chance to dump anything we don’t need and get new clothes…glad I can spruce up my wardrobe!

    • January 7, 2013

      Hi Hannah!

      I try to follow summer around the world so I don’t carry a fleece or jacket. However, I’ve just picked one up for my two months in New Zealand but I’ll be ditching it afterwards :)

  24. January 14, 2013

    Hey Lauren! Thanks for the useful post! I will be leaving in 26 days (scaryyyy) to SEA and i’m in the process of packing :)
    I also have the same camera as you! i have 2 questions… if you could help me out would be great! first is: did u use a special cover for your cameras? like a waterproof one? i didnt see it on the list, and i’m just putting it in my day backpack in 2 different fleece bags. Do u think it is enough? and the other question is, i have a mosquito net, but not sure if i need to take it. I have like 3 DEET bottles and normally mosquitos avoid me :) should i ditch it?
    Anyway, sounds like you’re having loads of fun!! and love your pink dotted bikini! i wish i could find one similar in asia!

    • January 15, 2013

      Hi Kle!

      How exciting! :)

      I didn’t bring a cover for my camera, I just tend to throw it in my daypack with my purse and don’t bother with wrapping it up with anything — I think in your daypack in 2 fleece bags would be enough :)

      In general, if there are mosquitos around any guesthouse they’ll provide mosquito nets — almost all of the guesthouses in SE Asia I’ve stayed in have had mosquito nets. If it’s really small and you have room for it then take it otherwise leave it behind :)

  25. January 27, 2013

    Hey Lauren, thanks a lot for the advice!
    Ok i’m gonna throw th camera in y daybag too…trying to take care of it with the fleece bags!
    Regading the mosquitonet, after packing and un packing millio times,i’m bringin it but gettng ready to toss it asap! this bloody backpackis sooo heavy!aahaha

  26. January 27, 2013

    ergggg i don’t understand why my keyboard keeps cutting the words! i need to start reading what i write lol

  27. Haf
    November 6, 2013

    This has really helped as a starting point. Thanks Lauren. Although I must admit to having slight palpitations at the lack of footwear options!!

    • November 21, 2013

      Haha, sorry, Haf! You get used to it though :-)