IT’S BEEN 9 MONTHS ON REMOTE YEAR…AND I’VE FINALLY GOT THIS FIGURED OUT!

When I left, I brought enough pairs of underwear to last for a month and with a backpack packed within a backpack. I had packing cubes and now I don’t (gasp – I know I can here all my digital nomads out there cringing, but I’ll get to this…). I have two additional backpacks that I didn’t have when I left…items have been discarded…replaced…and so much more.

Which is why I’m not writing this blog post at the beginning of the year…I’m writing it toward the end. Because, how could I have possibly told you what to pack on your round-the-world trip when I was a round-the-world newbie myself? I couldn’t have. But now? Idk…I still feel like I don’t know what the actual eff I’m talking about, but I can tell you what stuff has made the cut.

So, here it is…9 months of round the world travel…and the essentials that are still in my suitcase after 9 months of purging replacing, etc.

STEP #1 – THE GEAR…

Eddie Bauer Drop-Bottom Rolling Duffel – I purchase this new before I started my round the world travels and this bag is a champ. I bought it because I knew that my other suitcases weren’t going to last the year. My last two suitcases have busted because of broken wheels or broken handles. There was nothing wrong with the rest of the bag. So, when I was making this purchase, I was looking for something with supremely sturdy wheels and a sturdy handle, and damn, have the wheels and handle held up so far this year. I’ve legit watched people in my group who have had their luggage break on travel day when we’re at the airport. And it’s no fun. Some of the bonuses that I have loved about this bag as I’ve traveled abroad this year? I love the hard-sided back panel area, which they call the “drop-bottom”. It allows me to tuck away items that might need a little bit more protection in transit, and a place to put dirty shoes or laundry without getting all my clothes dirty. I also love the color of this bag (mine’s green, so it’s super easy to identify on the baggage carousel), the sturdy material and zippers (I have put them through the ringer this year), and the super-reinforced duffel handles. They’ve been super useful for lugging my suitcase around, whether that’s been hoisting it up stairs, hauling it of carousels, or heaving it into the back of vans or taxis.

Kelty Redwing Women’s 40 Daypack – This was one of those add on purchases that I didn’t actually leave the states with, but I have absolutely loved having it. I bought it because I wanted to have my own day pack when we trekked Machu Picchu, but this baby has become a fave for me in so many ways. It is the perfect size for side-trips, including trips to Cartagena and Budapest, as well as an amazing trekking backpack. I’m not going to belabor this one too much about why I love it, because I’ve written a whole review here.

EcoCity Crossbody Bag – It was my personal item, but really…it was just an awesome purse to have with me on my adventures! It’s casual, durable, zips closed and has the crossbody strap that is essential in a purse when you’re a travel. Plus, it was big enough to toss snacks and a water bottle in!

STEP #2 – THE CLOTHES…

The Basics

  • 1 pair of long pants – I brought two and considering we’re basically in summer for a year, it’s been unnecessary to have 2. One pair is the sweet spot.

  • 2 Shorts – I have a pair of jean shorts and a pair of dressier khaki shorts, and it’s a great combination.

  • 2 skirts (one short, 1 long) – The short skirt is great for more casual events and the long skirt can be dressed up or dressed down.

  • 1 dress or romper – I’ve been traveling with both, but I’m actually finding a lot of overlap between the instances where I wear them. You could probably get away with one or the other.

  • 8 Tees

  • 1 Tanktops

  • Workout gear – I workout a lot so this is a big category for me…

    • 3 Workout tops – I tend to just workout in sports bras a lot!

    • 5 pairs of workout bottoms – 1 pair of shorts, 2 pairs of capris, 2 pairs of leggings

    • 6 sports bras – These are easy to pack, and they get sweaty af when you wear them. So I brought a lot! Maybe it’s overkill, but when you’re working out 5-6 days a week, it’s necessary.

  • Undergarments

    • 15 pairs of underwear

    • 2 bralettes

    • 1 regular bra

  • 5 pairs of ankle socks

  • 4 pairs of hiking socks – This feels like a lot now, but when I was trekking Machu Picchu, this felt very necessary!

  • Shoes

    • Running/Walking/Hiking Shoes

    • Teva sandals

    • Flip flops

    • Birkenstock sandals

Trail Running Shoes – I’m obsessed with my Sportiva trail running shoes. I purchased these shoes, because I wanted something very multi-purpose. I have hiking boots at home, but they’re bulky heavy, and not something I wanted to bring with me when I might use them 1-2x a month. These shoes were wonderful. Not only were they great as walking and running shoes, but they served me well on my 4 day trek to Machu Picchu and in my many other hikes throughout the year. They definitely are getting used to death this year and will probably be discarded at the end of the year, but they have totally been loved and well-worn.

Teva Sandals – I really only brought my running shoes, flip flops and Tevas with me on this trip. We’re chasing summer this year, so I wanted a sandals option that had more structure and stability than flip-flops do. These shoes provide me arch support and are more comfortable for long-distance walking than my flip flops are and I’ve loved them for that.

Also…I had very few moments where I wish that I’d brought more than these 2 pairs of shoes and flip-flops. I really don’t think it would’ve been necessary.

STEP #3 – THE TECH…

DSLR Camera – If you’re a photography aficionado…you’ll want your DSLR. Photography is an opportunity for me to express my creativity, disconnect and really feel like I’m capturing my experiences. I could totally have taken all my photos with my iphone. But…I liked having the ability to a) take some of the pressure off my camera, b) fully disconnect without my phone, and c) to experiment with my hobbie while I’m abroad. So, yes, it was worth it for me to carry this extra weight and haul my DSLR around all year.

Laptop – Because #digitalnomad. Gotta make a living.

Bluetooth Speaker – Water resistant, super durable, loud, indoor/outdoor modes, good bass. This one was a no brainer. Cuz I thrive on tunes…

Mini Travel Surge Protector – This was one of those little things that made a hell of a difference. It was a small surge protector. But when you have only 1 adapter per country, you really need to take advantage of the 1 plug that you have. This surge protector allowed me to turn my 1 plug into 3 plugs with 2 USB ports. It made all the difference.

Amazon Fire Tablet – If you read as much as I do (seriously…check out my 2018 reading list) and are as much of a movie fiend as I am, it’s a must to have a tablet with you. This thing was my companion for so many things, but particularly for my Miracle Morning and on travel days!

Sport Wireless Headphones – Not only did I use these babies to run and listen to podcasts/music on some occasionally long walks, but these babies were indispensible on the nights where street noise was making it difficult to sleep. Just put these babies on with some nature sounds or a good sleep story from Calm, and I’m sleeping like a baby.

Beats Solo3 Noise Cancelling Headphones – Noise cancelling headphones are so freaking important. At least that’s what I’ve found this year, and I’m speaking as someone who had headphones and then didn’t for an extended period. My headphones had to be sent in for repairs so I’ve been without them for the last 6 months, and damn…I miss them terribly. They’re more comfortable than earbuds, block out noise on flights and block out noise when I’m at the workspace. So freaking necessary.

STEP #4 – PERSONAL CARE…

Steripen and LifeStraw – Because high-quality water isn’t readily available in so many places throughout the world, having the ability to purify your own is so freaking necessary. I thought by the end of this year, I would come to prefer one form of purification over the other, but honestly, they both have their uses! And I definitely don’t think it’s a bad idea to travel with both!

Turkish Towel – Quick drying, comfy, and it can double as a blanket or scarf! I love my turkish towel!

Conair Collapsible Hair Dryer – In many of the places we’ve visited this year, we’ve had hair dryers. I didn’t use them much, but periodically I did. It’s in the places we haven’t had readily accessible hair dryers that I’ve really realized how important it is to have one, even if you don’t use it much. That’s why I’m so happy I brought this collapsible travel hair dryer with me!

STEP #5 – FITNESS…

The Empack by Evolved Motion – If you’re a world traveler who thrives on fitness and how it makes you feel, you need an EmPack. Period. End of story. You need one. I’ve written all about it in my review here, but basically, it is the single most epic and multi-purpose strength training tool I’ve ever utilized while traveling. And the ease with which this pack collapses down? It’s portability at it’s finest and I’m obsessed with it!

Simply Fit Resistance Loops, Sliders & Covers  and a resistance band – I got these primarily for a certain workout program and that’s still what I have used them for the vast majority of the time. But, regardless, both of these forms of workout gera are so portable, so packable and so functional, there’s really no reason to not bring them along.

Beachbody OnDemand – My go-to workout system! No need to bring DVDs and no need to come up with a workout on your own or even go to a gym. Workout from your living room or bed room and have this, the Netflix of gyms, available to you 24/7/365. Currently only available to persons in the UK, USA, or Canada…

STEP #6 – MISCELLANEOUS MUST-HAVES…

Luggage Scale – Super useful for guaranteeing depression and separation anxiety from your favorite items. Also, if you’re experience is anything like mine, you’ll become very popular on travel day loaning it out to your friends! Overage fees are no-joke!

Travel Wallet + Passport Holder – This is something that might seem insignificant, but this was one of those purchases that I almost returned and/or didn’t bring, but that I have been so supremely happy with! This travel wallet isn’t anything special, but it has a little handle, zip close and is big enough for me to put my wallet/keys inside, and to store my boarding pass and passport on travel day. I LOVE this wallet. And even if you don’t get this exact one, get something like it!

Planner + Pens – Ya’ll know I’m obsessed with organization. And of all the notebooks I brought with me, and there were a lot, this was the one that got the most use and proved the most essential – my Bullet Journal. So, whoever you are, if you’re living that digital nomad, work travel life, save yourself sanity, stay organized and pack your planner + pens.

Money Belt – I honestly haven’t used this much, but I thoroughly enjoy having it still. It provides me with peace of mind and an option to feel more secure in certain environments. For example…my a bunch of people in my community went to this big drum show in Buenos Aires called La Bomba. Many people in the crowd were getting pickpocketed, but me? I didn’t have any problems because I had worn a loose fitting shirt under which I had put all my personal belonging and cash within my money belt. It was wonderful!

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