Hey guys! If you’re visiting our site for the first time, thanks so much for checking us out! If you’ve been here before, thanks for coming back!
We just left for a pretty big trip! A 5 month backpacking trip through Asia and Oceania. We’ve backpacked before, but our longest trip to date has been 5 weeks. SO, this will be an amazing learning experience for us! Let’s just say that this trip took quite a while to plan and execute and we are delighted to share it with you. Even as much as I’d love to say that I don’t stress about trip planning, I do. Everyone does. You go over your packing list 500 times, you make sure you take care of everything before you leave, and you hope that everything goes as planned…
In this post, I’ll cover how we prepared for such a big trip and our packing lists!
- We got travel insurance. A lot of travelers use World Nomads, which is a good company, but we got AAA health insurance because we didn’t need our trip insured since it’s a series of “small trips”, aka all booked on separate one way flights. This made the cost much cheaper and World Nomads doesn’t give you the option to leave out trip cancellation insurance. World Nomads would have been $900 for our trip, and AAA was $96. Emergency health, dental and luggage protection are included.
- We contemplated getting vaccinated. Please, PLEASE do some research on the CDC website and make this decision for yourself! We are up to date on our routine vaccines but based on the areas we were going, we decided not to get the other suggested vaccines, such as typhoid, malaria, and Japanese encephalitis. This was a personal choice, so again, please get educated on the possible diseases and illnesses you could get while traveling and make the decision for yourself if you’d like to get vaccinated/take preventative measures.
- We got licensed to drive. You never want to be overseas and decide to rent a car or moped but can’t because you don’t have an international driving permit. It’s quick and easy to get and you shouldn’t go overseas without one! We also got this through AAA for $34 each.
- We got a no fee ATM debit card. The last time we went on a big trip, we didn’t have this luxury. We probably spent $150 just in ATM fees in a month. Charles Schwab reimburses all ATM fees when you open a checking/debit account with them. However, you also have to sign up for an investment broker account as well. You don’t have to use the broker account and there’s no minimum amount you must have in your accounts, so no worries there.
- We assigned DPOAs. This might sound morbid, but it’s never a bad idea. If you have any assets and you and your spouse die together, your assets are essentially locked up. Traveling can be risky, so we thought we better be safe than sorry and assign someone to take over our home, retirement and bank accounts.
- We set travel notifications. We alerted all of the banks and credit card companies that we use about our travel plans. It’s easy to do online and takes only a few minutes. This way, we don’t have any problems getting money when we need it.
- We got a mobile internet device. Shawn will continue to work ~30 hours a week and he needs really good internet to do his job as a computer programmer. We got a Tep wireless device, which uses the networks from countries you’re in and acts like mobile wifi hotspot. It has some of the best reviews on the market and we haven’t used it yet, but we’re hoping it does the trick!
There’s also a travel resource page on our blog that includes our top sites for bookings, planning and insurance, so check that out for more information!
Now on to packing. Raise your hand if you’re an over packer…
But, every time we travel, we take backpacks. We’ve found that they just make life easier. We always feel bad when we see people dragging their suitcases through cobblestone streets or struggling to get them into and out of trains and buses. Seriously, backpacks change the travel game! But, of course, you have to learn how to pack light and pack efficiently. Even after 4 trips overseas, we kept overpacking our backpacks and come home having not worn half of the things we packed. Things had to be different this time..
This trip was a tough one to pack for. We will be in Japan in November, which will be in the fall/winter season and then the rest of our trip we will be in the Southern Hemisphere from December to April, which is in the summer season. So, our clothes needed to be warm and respectful for Japan; beachy; semi nice for outings in Australia; and pro hiker status for New Zealand. No problem, right?!
So, if you’re like us at the beginning of planning this trip, you’re probably thinking: HOW?! What the heck do we bring?
Well, behold: our final list!
- Black cardigan
- Long sleeve shirt (thrown away after Japan)
- Plaid flannel
- 3 casual tank tops (white, green, grey)
- 3 basic v neck tees (yellow, grey, black/white striped)
- 3 quick dry workout shirts
- Black jeans
- 1 pair of jean shorts
- 1 pair of black jean shorts
- 2 pairs of workout capris
- 1 pair of quick dry running shorts
- Prana convertible hiking pants
- 1 maxi skirt
- Black pant suit
- Plain summer dress with pockets
- 1 maxi dress
- Infinity scarf (thrown away after Japan)
- 3 sports bras
- 3 bralettes
- 10 pairs of underwear
- 5 pairs of socks (2 hiking pairs)
- 3 bathing suits
- 2 pairs of PJ’s
- Merrell Women’s Moab Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot
- New Balance tennis shoes
- Chaco Women’s Z2 Classic Athletic Sandal
- Black slip on close toed shoes
- Cheap black flip flops from Old Navy
- Black zip up hoodie
- Dry fit long sleeve shirt
- 4 casual tees
- 2 button up t shirts
- 3 quick dry workout shirts
- 1 pair of jeans
- 2 pairs of Hurley dry fit chino shorts
- 2 pairs of workout shorts
- Marmot convertible hiking pants
- 6 pairs of underwear
- 4 pairs of socks (2 hiking pairs)
Azure: Sherpani Laptop Backpack
Shawn: Case Logic laptop backpack
Other travel necessities:
- Space Saver Bags! These are CRUCIAL to save room!
- Inflatable pillow, eye mask and earplugs. We use this Compact, Cheap Comfort Set
- Luggage locks
- Quick-Dry Towels
- Playing cards and dice
- Belkin Surge Protector
- Worldwide Travel Adapter
- Exercise resistance bands (gotta stay fit!)
- Waterproof Phone Case
- Lightweight Foldable Hiking Backpack — these things are AWESOME if you’re a hiker!
- Double Camping Hammock
- Dry sack, which also serves as our “beach bag”
- Laundry bags
- Hydration Pack Water Bladder
- GoPro + accessories
- Kingree Multi-Function UV Resistant Headbands
- Travel first aid kit
- Medications: probiotics, activated charcoal (good for upset tummies), nausea meds, airborne, ibuprofen, anti-diarrheals and dramamine
When it was all said and done, everything fit into our backpacks and our day packs. We are even able to carry on our backpacks and save on checked luggage fees! Will we be re-wearing these clothes hundreds of times? Yes. At the end of the day, does it really matter what you’re wearing, anyways? Nope. The ease of backpacking makes it all worth it and I hope this post has helped you all realize the benefits of it as well!
What are some of your travel essentials and packing tips? Leave us a comment!