eople we meet while traveling are usually amazed that our full-time travel pack list allows us to fit everything in carry-on luggage. We know people that take multiple suitcases with them when they go on a one-week vacation. And when I see backpackers traveling with those huge backpacks, I just want to rip their packs open and see what they have in there. We travel very light, and in this article I’m going to give you a list of everything I (Ryan) own and pack as a full-time traveler.
(Click the link below if you would rather watch a video with all of the same information that is in this article: Full-Time Travel FAQ: What is Your Travel Pack List?)
My backpack is a Mother Lode Jr. bag from eBags.com. Emily actually used this bag during our first year of travel, but then she got a new backpack and so I took her old one. It has a roughly 40 L capacity. The thing I like about this bag is that the backpack straps can be tucked away so that they don’t get caught on the airport conveyor belts. The thing I don’t like about this bag is there are so many compartments and zippers, and all of these compartments and zippers add weight to the bag. The bag weighs about 1.5 kilograms when it’s empty. This doesn’t sound like much but a lot of budget airlines have a 7 kg carry-on weight limit. The only thing I don’t keep in this bag is my laptop, which I keep in a messenger bag.
Here is the list of clothing that I pack:
- 5 Shirts (4 t-shirts and one nicer shirt in case I need to be a little bit more dressed up, such as visiting a church or needing to visit an immigration office, etc.)
- 2 Pairs Of Pants (These are the type of pants with legs that unzip to become shorts. I know this makes me stand out as a tourist. But I like being able to quickly convert them into shorts when the weather is hot).
- Pair Of Sandals (I don’t actually have any shoes right now. I didn’t have a pair of shoes last year in South American where the weather was cold. But here in Southeast Asia my feet stay toasty all the time).
- Pair Of Flip-Flops
- Light Weight Jacket
- Long-Sleeve Pull-Over (I haven’t used this at all in Southeast Asia).
- Rain Jacket (I have never used this in over two years of traveling. I’m probably going to get rid of it).
- Electric Razor (This also has attachable hair cutting clippers so Emily can cut what little hair I have).
- Nail Clippers
- Dental Floss
- Mosquito Repellent
- Cell Phone (an old iPhone 5, with charging cable)
- Canon Point-Shoot 25x Zoom Camera (This is for taking photos that require a strong zoom)
- Canon EOS Rebel (This is older camera that we bought long before we became full-time travelers. It takes really great photos but doesn’t have much ability to zoom).
- Camera Batteries and Charger
- Lapel Microphone (For making Youtube videos).
- Laptop (This is a pretty high end gaming laptop, but it is SO heavy. If I had to do it over again, I would maybe get a lighter laptop even if it isn’t as powerful).
- Headphones (Just the cheap $5 kind).
- Power Strip
- International Power Adapters
- A Little Thermometer (I like to know the temperature wherever we are. This makes me a nerd, I know).
- Luggage Scale (Many airlines have a weight limit for carry-on and we need to know the weight of our bags before we get to the airport).
- USB Memory Stick (If we need to print a document, we can save it to the USB stick and take it to a copy center).
- Two ATM Cards (We have cards from two different banks in case there is a problem with one of them).
- Credit Card
- Small Foldable Backpack (for carrying groceries or to carry stuff while going out for the day).
- Duct Tape (We have used this a lot)
- Ear Plugs
- Extra Pair Of Eye Glasses
- Luggage Lock
- Neck Pillow (For sleeping on overnight flights).
- Rubber Bands (We weren’t planning to bring rubber bands. But we had them when we were getting ready to leave and just threw them into our luggage at the last minute. We use these a lot! For sealing food containers, compressing clothes, and many other things).
- Small Scrub Brush (for removing stains from clothes, cleaning footwear, etc.)
- Seasoning Packs (Italian Season, Paprika, Rosemary, etc. Since we do a lot of our own cooking. These are lightweight and don’t take up much space).
- A Pac Safe Cage (This is for locking up our valuables. See our article on safety here).
- Water Filter (We use a Sawyer water filter to clean and filter our tap water. This has saved us a lot of money by not needing to purchase bottled water. It also helps the environment by not wasting plastic).
- A Few Zip-Lock Bags
So all together, my bag with all my stuff weighs 12 kg or about 26 pounds. If you don’t include my laptop it goes all the way down to 7 kg or about 15 pounds. Like I said, we travel light, and when we first started as full-time travelers we worried that we might need something that we didn’t pack. Things like a flashlight, hand lotion, a screw driver, etc. But we learned that we can buy stuff as we need it while traveling. In hindsight there wasn’t really anything to worry about. We are happy with our travel pack list!
Some of the things on this travel pack list might seem weird to take while traveling on vacation. But remember, this is not a vacation for us. We are long-term, full-time travelers. And that means our packing list needs are different compared to traveling for a short vacation!