This is what I brought for a 5 week summer trip to New York City, Connecticut, London, Greece (islands and mountains), and Ireland.
I pack my stuff in a 50L duffel bag (Cotopaxi 50L Chumpi Duffel) and a 26L backpack (Cotopaxi 26L Cusco Backpack) as my daypack. Please note that if the airline is weighing your stuff, you MAY have to check your duffel bag, so make sure you can put all your valuables in your daypack just in case, and weigh your bag beforehand so you know what to expect. Every airline is different.
In general, I find that it’s always better to bring too little rather than too much stuff. As long as you have your necessities, you can buy most things abroad. There are a couple of items on the list below that I forgot to mention in the video! Use your best judgment and keep in mind what you typically use on a daily basis.
MY BASIC PACKING LIST FOR ADVENTURE TRAVEL
- Shoes – I don’t mind the extra weight because I like variety.
- Shirts – 9, a few of which can be dressed up
- Pants & Shorts
- 2 jeans – one nice
- 2 shorts – one nice
- 1 flowy beach pant
- 1 running shorts
- 1 pair leggings
- 1 pair cozy sweats
- NOTE: I trade out one pair of jeans for more leggings and running shorts if I know I will be doing a lot of hiking or other outdoor activities on the trip.
- 1 cozy sweater/sweatshirt
- 1 warm jacket – I bring the Cotopaxi Kusa Bomber
- 1 rain jacket if you’re going somewhere it’s for sure gonna rain
- Underwear – Lots. I bring 14+ pairs.
- Bras – 7 sports bras or bralettes
- Swimsuit– 1 or 2. I forgot this in the video. SORRY!
- 1 cozy
- 3 athletic
- 3 casual
- Bandanas– I bring 4.
- Laundry bag
- Tech etc.
- Camera with Internal Camera Unit (alternatively, I recommend using a camera bag instead of a regular backpack if your trip is very photography focused)
- Lightweight tripod if you are planning on shooting night photography or lots of self-timer shots
- Mophie charger
- 2 hard drives or back-ups for your data
- Camera battery charger
- Converter if necessary
- Memory card reader
- Memory cards
- Laptop charger
- Phone charger
- Small multi-tool that’s “travel friendly” – I have the Leatherman Style PS. Be aware that TSA can take anything from you, depending on the agent!
- Small TSA approved lock
- Toiletries (all under 100mL and can fit inside a 1 quart ziplock bag)
- Body wash/soap
- Facewash/makeup remover
- Dry shampoo
- Tweezers if not in your multi-tool
- Curling iron (if you’re me)
- Paperback book or kindle
- Wallet with cash, credit cards, ATM card and ID
- Water bottle
- Ibuprofen and/or small first aid kit
- Betadine (also doubles as emergency water treatment)
- Alcohol wipes
- Earplugs (if you are a light sleeper like me, these are a lifesaver)
Some parting words…
On my first trip abroad, I packed as if shirts did not exist anywhere else. Spoiler alert!!! They do. Also, you can buy pants abroad. And toothbrushes. And most other necessary items. Over the years, I’ve noticed that I never say “oh damn, I packed too light.” It is always the other way around–– I am usually kicking myself for overpacking, wishing I had left more room to bring home cool stuff from my travels or just traveled lighter in general.
Overall, my advice is to pack for the type of adventure you are going on. I have traveled with suitcases, expedition packs, duffel bags… and this is what works for me! Know that you will most likely not get it perfect the first time, and that’s OK! You will figure out what works and what doesn’t while you’re on the road– follow your best guess now and you’ll learn to adjust where necessary.
If this video was helpful, let me know in the comments below!