What’s In My Backpack

Living life on the road has its challenges when it comes to apparel, especially when you change climates. My best advice, pack as light as possible, wear bulky items (or heaviest) on plane, purchase cheap clothing at destination, leave what you don’t want or don’t have room for. This way, you save your back and rotate your wardrobe. After wearing the same clothes every other day for two and a half months, I was happy to leave them behind for someone else to enjoy.
If you know someone abroad, ask if you can leave a box with them. Leave items that you won’t need, as in, cold weather clothes if you are heading to hotter climates. When you are finished traveling in a region and need to swap out your luggage, go visit your friend and change out your gear. This way you get to see your friend and keep those “hate to depart with” items.
I’m lucky, my friend lives in Wales, so before I left the United States, I sent a box containing a pair of shoes, shorts and a tank top that was not needed in Iceland. Doing this was pretty costly. Not only did I have United States postage, but Wales custom fees. It ended up costing me almost as much as I paid for my shoes. So unless you are really wanting what you own, which I did (the shoes are Bernie Mev’s), it’s better to purchase upon arrival. Or don’t claim the full cost at the post office. If you write your parcel is $20 or less, the custom office fee is free or very little.
Leaving the UK, I left behind my jacket and jeans, since they were not needed in Greece, Egypt and most of Tanzania. arriving in Arusha, Tanzania and I did need pants, so I bought a pair there. Locally made jeans that fit perfectly, cost less than $12 USD.


I left the computer bag in Wales

The last advice I have for you is to buy a 30 liter backpack. Yes, it is small, but it fits all clothing and gadgets listed. Buy shoe bags, or packing tubes (that’s what I use) and stick them on the outside in the expandable pockets. So they wouldn’t fall out, or taken out by someone, I secured them with a key ring to a strap on the backpack.
Two reasons I recommend this size bag: #1) you will not over pack #2) the airlines don’t bother weighing your bag. They can tell by looking at it that it’s regulation size to be a carry-on and they figure it’ll meet the weight requirement. I have flown with Icelandic Air, Egyptair and Ryanair without any hassle.
My Favorite Bags
PacSafe Venturesafe X30 Anti-Theft Adventure Backpack… fits my 17″ laptop
LocTote flak sack – A travel must for keeping your items secure… 100% cut proof and the straps (also cut proof) allows you to attach to something in your hotel room (or a wire fence if you’re at the water park) so your valuables are always secure


What’s inside my flak sack?
DJI Osmo Gimbal – it’s fantastic to stabilize your phone when recording videos
HooToo…. battery pack, memory bank, WiFi hotspot and so much more
wallet for passport and money
reading glasses
mobile phone
ear buds



What is in my backpack?

*What I left Wales with is listed below. I started in Iceland, so I packed an extra pair of jeans and thermals in my computer bag. To breeze through airline Nazi’s, I only traveled with my backpack and flak sack from Wales onward.

Inflatable pillow by Cocoon…. there’s nothing like having a comfortable pillow (that others haven’t used)
silica gel packs – great for removing dampness from bag/wallet/etc
ziplock baggies
rubber bands
2 extra reading glasses
Lush bar shampoo
Olive Oil bar soap for body and face
1 50 % DEET bug repellent lotion
1 natural bug repellent lotion
1 90% DEET bug spray
2 Bert’s Bee’s moisturizer lip sticks (pack one in flak sack)
1 lip stain lipstick
eye mask
ear plugs
extra ear buds
2 tooth brushes
face moisturizer lotion
first-aid kit
anti-diarrhea, laxatives, Advil, cold medicine, prescription meds (malaria pills)
1 shower flip-flops
1 pair sandals
1 converse low-top shoes
1 lightweight hiking boots (the dorky kind that look like sandal shoes)
5 packing tubes – buy different colors to identify contents easier…. 2 for clothes, 1 for meds, 2 for shoes (without tubes, it’s a headache to fit all these items – they slide right in place – plus, everything is easy to locate)
2 pens
watch (wear)
extra pair sunglasses
plastic travel plate – thin, lightweight and oh so handy
travel fork/spoon combo – it also has a knife-edge, which I do use. This product is really handy
electric razor – USB charged
1 beach size, 1 sm body size micro fiber towels
computer and phone charging cords
hard drive
universal outlet plug
lightweight thin 4×6 photo album – it’s nice to have photo’s of the family. It can be placed on a desk with cover flipped backwards to display picture.                                                                             Clothes line                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Go Girl (lets women stand while relieving their bladder)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Life Straw…. 99% sure it’s never going to be needed, but it’s better to be prepared than not                                                                                                                                                        17″ computer …. what the hell was I thinking!? It made my backpack really heavy. I’m looking for a good smaller lightweight laptop, this one will stay in Wales. (any suggestions?)

**I didn’t take my DSLR camera after leaving Wales. Gasp! The reason, too much bulk. I use my phone for video and photos. Trying to switch back and forth from DSLR to mobile phone is overwhelming. Plus, I felt I was advertising to rob me. True, I did wish I had it on safari, but I’m not upset that I didn’t. I did take a cheap ($20) camera to use on the beach in Dar Es Salaam, since it’s known as a place to be robbed.

maxi dress – culturally acceptable everywhere (sew into the back along top seam a money pouch – No One will think of that location to rob you)
1 jeans (used in Iceland and Wales, left in Wales)
1 pair shorts
2 t-shirts
1 tank top
1 safety travel tank top (kangaroo pouch)
1 safety travel underwear (has 2 zipper pockets)
1 long sleeve button up shirt
1 pair leggings –   or under maxi dress for cooler weather
1 pajama shorts
4 underwear
3 pairs socks
2 bras
1 lightweight hoodie
1 Merino medium weight hoodie – It was worn at night on safari in Tanzania and used as a layer in Iceland and Wales
lightweight waterproof jacket for cold climate countries (left in Wales)
lightweight scarf – to cover up my collarbone and shoulders in Egypt and in Dar Es Salaam where there is a high percentage of Muslims.                                                                                                              1 lightweight rain jacket
On The Flight:
My airline attire, everywhere except when I went to Iceland (I wore pants then): maxi dress, safety tank top (passport, reading glasses and cell in front pouch), long-sleeve button up shirt (hides safety tank), safety underwear, and of course, underwear, bra, socks and the scarf and leggings when needed (due to weather or culture).
**Do Not put money in safety pockets until after security – the cash sets off TSA alarm and you’ll be searched.
After security put your money in your security pouches: some in kangaroo pouch for taxi’s, food, etc, then divide credit cards and money between your security underwear and the back of the dress (pants/shorts) and LocTote. I have a money pouch sewn into all of my clothing, but T-shirts.

*I make a small commission ($20) when you use my link to purchase your LocTote. Even if I didn’t, I would still highly recommend buying one. Peace of mind is priceless…… Thanks for using my link when ordering 😉


Okay, your turn….

Do you have a must have gadget or clothing for your travels?

2 thoughts on “What’s In My Backpack

  1. I can not imagine what I would be like packingfor a long trip, I usually have far too much in my bag and I am only travelling for 2 weeks. Great advice here…and you are so right we can always buy some cheap clothing or other items at the destination. I very rarely travel with my DSLR because it is just too bulky, I have recently bought a small travel camera (Panasonic) it does take good quality photos or otherwise I just use my phone camera usually ok 🙂

    1. My photography friends gasp when they find out I left my DSLR behind. I was thinking a mirrorless might be ok, but you still have lens that add bulk. Other than some far away shots my phone works perfectly. Glad to read you’ve discovered the same Gilda ☺️

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