It seems crazy that it was almost four months ago that we had to decide what to pack for our walkabout, but as the trip winds down, we thought we’d highlight our “best” packing decisions.
If we’ve inspired any of our readers to take a backpacking trip around the world, here’s the top 10 things you shouldn’t leave home without (in no particular order):
1. DSLR Camera – point and shoot cameras are okay, and iPhones work great to capture a lot of things, but DSLR cameras allow you to capture every moment exactly as you want it. We debated whether a DSLR camera would be worth the money and the extra weight/size, and we can say now without a doubt that buying one was a great decision.
2. Steripods – these are toothbrush holders that just easily clip around the brush part of your toothbrush, keeping your toothbrush clean and fresh without taking up much space.
3. Packing cubes – these are the best! Packing cubes are soft, zippered bags to help organize and compress your clothes. We each had a set of three, which allowed us to pack/unpack in seconds and keep things organized in our backpacks.
4. Headphone splitter – Throughout airplane, train and bus rides, this allowed us to watch/listen to the same device (computer or iPhone) together.
5. Antibiotics – Cipro, cipro, cipro (and azithromycin too) for treating traveler’s diarrhea/food poisoning. We can’t emphasize enough what a lifesaver these drugs were, and this is coming from someone (Matt) who is against using antibiotics except when absolutely necessary.
6. Timex watches – We each had one, set to both the current time of the country we were in, and CA west coast time so we could keep in touch with home! They were ideal as alarms and have taken a beating but work just as well as the day we got them.
7. MacBook Pro – we were hesitant to bring an expensive computer with us, but it was the definitely the right choice (note, we have traveler’s insurance, and a good computer lock). We are using it right now, and have used it almost every day to plan, write our blog, watch tv/movies, and keep in touch generally. We also put $10 in to a Google Voice account and haven’t even used it up yet as we used the computer as a phone to make both domestic and international calls.
8. Mini combination locks – these three digit, small locks gave us piece of mind when we had to leave our valuables behind at hotels, luggage storage spaces, etc.
9. iPhones and iPhone Apps – The most portable flashlight, boombox, communication device, camera, currency calculator, map, etc. that you will ever find. Enough said. There are also some great iPhone Apps we’ve used consistently during our trip. We canceled our cell phone service, so had to rely entirely on wifi. FaceTime and WhatsApp allowed us to stay in touch with family and friends. There is also an offline tripadvisor app that is great for finding restaurants and other attractions, even without access to wifi. Finally, the most useful App has been Google Maps. Early on in the trip we realized that Google Maps works even without cell phone service or wifi! It knows your location based on GPS alone, which meant we could rely on it wherever we went. Knowing where you are in a foreign land, where you don’t speak the language, is priceless.
10. Poofy down jackets – these lightweight and warm jackets pack incredibly small into stuff sacks. You’ve seen how many photos of us they’ve been in, and we would have froze for the past 2 months without them.