This is my skeleton list that I refer back to, and update/change as each itinerary warrants.
Whether I’m traveling for 2 weeks or 2 months – what you see is what you get! I almost exclusively travel to really hot and warm destinations, which is reflected here. A cold weather destination would require swapping most of the tanks for long sleeves, and shorts for pants, etc.
To see exactly what I packed for a month long trip (2 weeks in Costa Rica and the rest in Puebla, Mexico) click here
Kelty Women’s Redwing 40L
Having the right backpack is so important! This pack is specifically designed for women, so the straps are set a bit wider and don’t smush my chest terribly like men’s packs do. When in doubt, opt for the nicer bag. It’s an investment in your comfort. I’ve been using this bag for 3 years, and while it was an investment at around $90, it was SO worth it!
Kindle and USB charger
For me, a must-have. I am a HUGE reader and made it a goal to read at least one book a week for all of 2015. I got myself a new Kindle for the new year, and also Kindle Unlimited subscription services which gives you unlimited books on KU for 10USD per month), and am happy to say that I am far surpassing my one book a week goal! You can download up to 10 books on Kindle Unlimited at a time (and as many other books as you want), do it in advance and be all set for your trip. This saves a TON of weight in your pack as compared to “real books”, also money-saving for the book addicted. For the cost of less than 4 printed travel books, I purchased a Kindle (same version as above) and a month of Kindle Unlimited. You can purchase any book you need, with a simple wifi connection (or it might even be for free with Kindle Unlimited! Most Lonely Planet books are, including Southeast Asia). My favorite feature is highlight, you can go back through and read all the excerpted sections that you had highlighted, without rereading the whole book or needing to flip through pages. Super easy and convenient for travel planning!. If you don’t want to buy or carry a Kindle, you can also get the FREE Kindle app on most devices.
iPhone and USB charger
Quick and easy to post photos on Instagram, update facebook, tweet, and edit photos on the go. Asia especially is super iPhone friendly and most medium cities will have guys who can fix the broken screen or sell you a charger for cheap (or even buy a used and unlocked phone for under 200USD!)
Camera – Nikon 1 AW1
This amazing camera is shockproof, waterproof (up to 15 meters), and super light. It’s a mirrorless, which means that quality isn’t being compromised and you can also upgrade to any Nikkor lens.
GoPro Hero 4
I am absolutely obsessed with this thing! Perfect for selfies (ugh, I know) when traveling alone, water shots, and adventure.
1 USB wall charger
To save space on wall chargers, I charge all devices on the USB wall charger.
A total necessity, especially if you plan to be changing countries during the course of your trip.
This is also great to buy at your first destination as a memorable and useful souvenir. You can use it loosely over your shoulders when its SO effing hot out but modesty is required. It is also great to dress up a black tank top or simple dress, adding a bit of elegance by draping around your neck. I use mine a lot for plane/bus/train rides, to cover my eyes or as a light blanket, or over my knees if I’m wearing a skirt/dress. (while this is a really light item, if you’re tight on space, skip it and just take a canga below)
(if you’re wondering WHAT THE HELL IS A CANGA? click here)
I fell in love with cangas in Brazil, and I’ve got to pack at least one on every trip now, no matter where I’mg going. They are great for lying out at the beach, useful when the mattress sheets or blanket appear less than clean, and heavier than the above scarf, it can also be used as a drape/blanket in colder weather (or on freezing cold buses in Panama). I even use mine as a towel when necessary.
I don’t ever wear my engagement ring while traveling as I worry about it getting stolen, but I like to wear a little necklace (I’m currently obsessed with ones with a Hamsa like this – it’s a sign of protection to defend against negative spiritual forces) and maybe my Pandora bracelet
**I use NYX brand for everything makeup related because it is cruelty-free**
Makeup remover (in less than 100ML) or makeup remover wipes
My single most favorite makeup product ever! I only just started contouring my face this year, and am the furthest thing from a makeup expert. I usually just contour my cheekbones for fancy events or when my hair is up and there’s a huge difference, especially in photos!
I seem to lose hair ties a lot and have a hard time finding ones I like abroad. I can usually only find ties with the metal on them, which is awful for your hair and hurts too.
Havaiana Flip flops
Super cheap anywhere and everywhere, easy to replace if broken. These hurt my feet so bad after a day of walking though – if anyone has cute and light suggestions I’d be happy to hear!
Easy to dress up and pack nicely. Some nicer bars and night clubs do not allow sandals/flip flops so these are good to have.
Women’s Vibram five fingers / other athletic shoe
I love my Vibrams!!!! They pack so nicely and are so light – If Vibrams aren’t your thing, bring another athletic shoe (you’ll thank me after that unexpected trek or 5km walk through uneven rocky ground because no taxi will pick you up at the end of their shift)
A godsend for feeling fresh after an overnight flight/bus/boat/train. Awesome for getting the accumulated sweat off while walking out and about. Can also be used for toilet paper in a pinch!
Flight-friendly solid shampoo and conditioner
I like LUSH because it is natural and cruelty free.
Unless you’ve got sensitive skin, you can buy this for cheap upon arrival.
You’d be surprised how many people are touching your legs during adventure activities
Really good deodorant / antiperspirant
This can be hard to find abroad, especially in Asia where most contain whiteners.
Toothpaste and toothbrush
Don’t wait to buy toothpaste abroad if you’re particularly attached to a flavor. Salt toothpaste is a real thing.
Dr. Bronners does double duty as soap too! This is necessary if you bring few clothes and do sink laundry to save money!
Notebook and pen
Wallet containing passport (2 passport scanned copies stored elsewhere in backpack)
Credit cards, and money
Water bottle (reusable)
Even better if it purifies at the same time like this one!
Essential for the beach! You can also put any water-damageable items inside, and then inside your backpack, in case of rain
PB2 – powdered peanut butter
Awesome for protein (I’m a vegetarian) AND taste (ILOVEPEANUTBUTTER) and it’s only 45 calories for 2 tablespoons. It can be really hard to find peanut butter in other countries. Super light in the backpack and great for snacks.
I first heard about this travel safe from Adventurous Kate here, and it’s brilliant! They’ve got a bunch of different sizes / prices to fit your needs – Peace of mind during travel and while at the guesthouse, if your room does not have a safe
Important to remember across ALL clothing choices: – Research the cultural expectations of all of the places you will be going (especially smaller/rural villages), and make sure that you are packing in line with what is appropriate – When in doubt, bring less. You can always buy more, but if you bring too much, you will probably not want to trash anything
At least one is black and versatile (for dressing up or dressing down) – Make sure they are NOT polyester (polyester in the heat, you don’t want to go there: stinky sweaty sticky). If I’m planning on attending a nice occasion, I’ll be sure that one of the dresses is dressup-able.
So versatile! This can be dressed up or dressed down. If it tears or gets unrepairably well worn, it is easy enough to replace it anywhere in the world for cheap.
Necessary for hikes and even just walking around town in the super hot weather (and also fast drying in the rain). I try to get nice-looking tanks that don’t look like they’re meant for workouts (so you can pair them with shorts/skirt/leggings and some jewelry and they look cute). The main point is the sweat-wicking / fast-drying ability. At least one needs to look like the afforementioned nice-looking tank, you will need this if you end up going to a nicer restaurant/bar/random local wedding (it happens!!!! and you don’t want to miss out and have to say no or end up scrambling to find something borderline appropriate at the harem-pants full night market).
1 slouchy open front sweater
But its so hot!?! … Trust me, when you are on that plane/ferry/bus/train that is blessedly blasting the AC while you try to sleep or just not turn into a popsicle, you will be glad you brought it!
1 pair of “workout” shorts
1 pair of jean shorts
Dress up or dress down. Make sure they are comfortable and not too tight.
1 or 2 pair black leggings
Bonus points if these are “workout” material (sweat wicking and fast drying) but look nice (not like they are workout pants), then they can do double duty as “going out” leggings.
1 long flowy skirt
Make sure that it is lightweight and cotton or similar natural material. You will NEED this (unless you want to wear the leggings) in order to get into temples. Knees must be covered.
2 sports bras
I end up wearing these more than anything else. Like shirts, fast-drying, breathable fabric is important. Also – comfort!
1 or 2 regular bras
7 pairs assorted undies
Zero socks. Because, Vibrams.
Travel Blogging Classes
TravelBlogSuccess was the course that really helped me jump start and professionalize my blog. The community of travel bloggers and student-only facebook group both share so much knowledge and lets you learn from other’s mistakes. Read my review here.
Siteground is the winner above every other webhost I’ve ever worked with. They are perfect for people who panic with tech terms like me – they even did my site transfer and setup for me! Plus they have unbeatable prices. Perhaps best of all, they have online problem tickets available – OUTSTANDING for anyone working remotely. You simply submit a ticket with the issue that you’re having, and they respond with how you can fix it AND an offer to fix it for you. On average, response time is under an hour. It’s incredible. Above and beyond HostGator and GoDaddy, both whom I’ve worked with in the past.
Notes: My packing list is basically the same for any trip I take. Probably because I always end up in a hot and sometimes rainy-weathered country (seems to be my favorite destination).
If you bring more, you probably won’t end up wearing all of it. And, if you are going someplace REALLY cold, you will need to change out some items.
Most of the this list won’t apply to any men reading – sorry!
**all of these products have been found, used, and loved firsthand by me. some of the Amazon links above are affiliates, meaning that I will earn a tiny percentage from the provider/retailer for your purchase. this costs you nothing and helps support My Quarter Life Epiphany and excellent content creation. any questions please don’t hesitate to ask.**