Packing list for long-term travel

In January 2016, my husband and I left for New Zealand. We bought one-way tickets. We didn’t know how long we would be in New Zealand nor how long we would travel through other countries. We put together a packing list that would work for 1 week of traveling or 1 year of traveling. I had read that it is better to have less stuff than more stuff so we packed pretty minimally. 

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We traveled for about 5 months. My bag weighed 22.8 pounds and Kyle’s weighed 23.8 pounds. There were some things we didn’t end up using. There were some things we needed such as bug repellent and extra sunscreen. We were able to easily buy these things in New Zealand. After we bought a car in New Zealand we bought camping equipment such as sleeping bags and pads, pots and pans, camp chairs and stove.

Backpack – Osprey Farpoint 55 Travel Backpack

My clothes:

4 t-shirts
1 tank top
1 long sleeve shirt
3 shorts
1 pair pants
1 pair yoga pants
1 skirt
1 fleece
1 rain jacket
1 pair chacos
1 pair shoes
1 buff (it was very helpful as an eye mask while sleeping)
1 winter hat
1 pair of lightweight gloves
5 pairs of underwear
4 socks
3 sports bras
1 swimsuit
1 belt

My bath stuff:

Toiletries bag
1 toothbrush
1 bottle of tooth powder
2 bottles of Dr. Bronner’s (used to wash clothes, body and hair)
a year’s worth of contacts
1 bottle of contact solution
1 pair glasses with hard case
1 bottle of sunscreen
Razor and two extra blades
Hair ties and 4 clips
Moon cup

Our electronics:

Surface 3, charger and case
External Hard Drive and 2 16GB SD cards
Head phones
Head phone splitter (to watch movies and listen to music together)
Camera and case, 3 batteries, charger, car charger, cloth
Kindle and cord
Thumbdrive with SD holder (the surface does not have an SD slot)
Phone and charger (used as an alarm clock, Verizon said it was unlocked but that was not the case)

My documents/cards:

Driver’s license
Airline tickets
New Zealand Holiday Work Visa
2 Debit Cards, 1 Credit Card
New Zealand Map and Guidebook
Bank statement showing adequate funds (never needed)
Vaccination list (never needed)
List of emergency phone numbers, embassy contacts, number of hostel
Eye prescription
Plastic folder to keep important documents


Spork (this broke…I recommend just buying metal utensils)
Cutting knife with blade cover
Head lamp
Money belt (buy a good one, my zipper broke early on in our trip)
Ear plugs (didn’t use often)
1 dry bag (for dirty clothes bag, to wash clothes and for a pillow)
2 collapsible water bottles
2 locks for backpack
Combination lock for locker (never used, but may be helpful if staying in hostels)
Wire cable (never used, but may be helpful to lock backpacks in hostels or trains)
First aid kit
IB Profen
Nail Clippers
2 reusable shopping bags
Travel alarm clock (never used since we used a cell phone for an alarm clock)
Journal and Pens
Backpack rain fly
Cards (didn’t use very often)
Dice (learn how to play Farkle!)
Clothes line and hair ties (we figured out a way to hang clothes by hair ties instead of pins)
Handkerchief (used instead of Kleenex)

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