Updated October 4, 2016. You'll be making hard choices about what comes with you and what doesn't when planning a round-the-world trip. There are, however, a few things you’d be unwise not to bring.
Space is at a premium when traveling long-term.
You'll be making hard choices about what comes with you and what doesn't when planning a round-the-world trip. There are, however, a few things you’d be unwise not to bring.
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Fortunately, most of the must-haves for a round-the-world trip are small and affordable so they don’t take up much room in your bag or your budget.
1. A Combination Lock
Sometimes you’ll want to lock your stuff up, just in case. Small combination locks are great for keeping your stuff a little safer in your luggage and can also come in handy at attractions with shared lockers.
We recommend the Master’s series.
2. A Travel Towel
Many small-time guest houses, hostels, and even some hotels don’t provide towels. Bring your own. You’ll want to have a towel on hand for places like beaches, pools , nd public baths, too. The best are made of synthetic microfibers that dry fast and fold down to fist-sized packages. Our recommendation is Packtowl Original Superabsorbent Towel. It folds up tight and light and gets softer with every wash.
In many parts of the world, consistent electricity is a privilege, not a right, and having a flashlight on hand is common sense. We recommend a headlamp that you can wear on your forehead – so your hands are free. We like the Petzl Tikka Plus 4-LED Headlamp, inexpensive and durable. And even though your phone probably has a flashlight app, we bet you’d prefer to save your battery for other things.
You’ll need to use the internet, and make some calls while you’re on the road. A smartphone makes it easy for you to use WiFi in each destination to keep in touch with friends and family at home, access google maps, and research opening hours for attractions and it weighs less than a laptop. If you want to buy local sim cards as you go for cellular coverage, go for an unlocked phone.
Nothing beats a night of comfortable sleep, but it’s hard to get cozy if you’re the slightest bit worried about people coming into your room in the middle of the night. A $2 rubber doorstop will put those fears, pardon the pun, to rest. For a few dollars more you even can get one with an alarm,
If you’re traveling to parts of the world where the drinking water is at best questionable and you’d rather not purchase every ounce of water you drink, the SteriPEN is the obvious take-along. Two lithium batteries will give you a month of copious daily drinking water and can make potable even the most dubious water. It only takes 30 seconds to zap a liter of water clean. Nothing gives you greater pleasure than not being dehydrated, except maybe not contributing to the developing world’s nasty plastic water bottle problem. A lot has been said about water filtration, but the SteriPEN actually works.
There is really no reason to pack heavy books in your luggage. There are so many incredibly portable, lightweight, cost-effective devices to store your library on. Grab one for your trip that’s not too flashy and load yourself up with guidebooks, articles, and reviews, along with regular reading material without adding any noticeable weight to your carry-on. An e-reader will change the way you read (and travel) forever.
8. Ziploc bags
Because looking for small items like jewelry, and toiletries hidden in your clothes is a nightmare, take a few Ziploc bags and pack smaller stuff in them. You can also use them to pack wet clothes in a pinch, keep lint off a sandwich and keep money and important documents dry on long hikes in the rain.
9. Packing cubes
Packing cubes just make it easier to find stuff in your bag. Tf you use them correctly, you’ll never have to unpack an entire suitcase just to get to clean socks. Packing cubes are especially practical for long-term family travel–keep kids stuff sorted with color-coded cubes. Use them once and you’ll never travel without a set again.
Ebags has an affordable set that comes in various colors, with mesh windows to see what’s inside.
The hardest part of doing your own laundry on the road isn’t washing clothes in the bathroom sink. It’s finding a place to hang the wet clothes, and no, you don’t want to use the tops of doors (your clothes end up dirtier than before you washed them). We like the Flexoline Travel Laundry Clothesline because it stretches to various lengths, it’s light and compact and you don’t need clothespins!
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