Pack & Protect Height-adjustable Puts my load firmly on my hips. Air-channelled cushioning against my back. This workhorse has held up to many years of torture. Available at Amazon
REI Flash 22 Day Pack
My purse,carry-on, and day pack Lightweight Comfortable Stuffs inside my big pack Holds all my electronics & a change of clothes Only available at REI
Compresses a LOT of clothing into a small space SUPER durable Only suitable for travel clothes that don’t wrinkle I carry a Large and a Medium Available at Amazon
Almost as good for compression as the Eagle Creek bags I carry one Large and one Medium Wears like iron I use one for laundry, one for odds & ends Available at Amazon
Holds a TON of stuff Keeps your toothbrush away from your hairbrush Thin foam layer offers protection without bulk One bag to carry to the hostel shower Available at Amazon
Protects without bulk Pocket holds memory cards & thumb drives Cute as a bug! Fits my camera (Sony DSCW830) perfectly Available at Amazon
Fits my standard prescription reading glasses Lightweight and durable Easy to get in and out of in a hurry Available at Amazon
TSA compliant Use to secure hostel lockers, cabinets and more Set your own combo so you can remember it Flexible band makes is versatile Lightweight, rust-free Shirts Lightest, fastest-drying thing I own Resists wrinkles, stains, odors Small hidden pocket on the side Cool & comfortable Available at Amazon Fast drying Ultralight fabric Moisture wicking Resists odors Outerwear or base layer Available at Amazon
All-season shirt Never too warm or too cold Icebreaker wool never stinks, wrinkles, or stains. Featherlight, dries super fast Available at Amazon
A long-sleeved shirt is your light jacket, modesty cover, sun shield, and insect protection Weightless, resists wrinkles, stains and odors Dries in a flash Vented panels at the back Stretch panels at the sides Available at Amazon No wrinkles, no odors, no stains. This heavier-weight piece is my go-to base layer when it’s cold. Add the long-sleeved shirt and cardigan and you will be nice and cozy. Outerwear or base layer Available at Amazon
All the Icebreaker features in a lightweight, pretty design perfect for all but the hottest and coldest temps.
Amazon Treated to repel mosquitos – lasts through 70 washings Great for malaria & dengue protection Lightweight mesh is moisture-wicking and quick-drying Thumbholes, big pocket & hood Available at Amazon
Pants Feel like yoga pants, look like dress slacks Zippered security pocket Lightweight, stretchy, SO comfy Drawstring to adjust fit. Remarkably stain resistant Wrinkle-free, fast-drying Available at Amazon
Softest, stretchiest fabric imaginable Dry quickly, resist wrinkles and stains Lightweight, packable Capri length is more wearable than shorts Available at Amazon NOTE: Less durable than the other pants on this page. Mine are pilling at the inner thigh.
REI Endeavor Pants Wind and water resistant Warmth without weight Secure zipper pockets, including one on the thigh Wear like iron Resist wrinkles, stains, odors Dry quickly Available at REI Roll-up style converts to capri without ugly zip-off legs Cargo pockets & zip pocket Teflon-treated to resist stains Lightweight, fast-drying Available at Amazon
Skirts/Dresses Shelf bra really works! So easy on a hot day Never wrinkles Resists stains Holds its shape Available at Amazon No wrinkles Dries fast Shorts = no chub rub Hidden pocket holds cash & credit cards Cute! Available at Amazon
Note: Short skirts and dresses have limited usability in conservative countries.
If you’ll do a lot of dressing up in your travels, pack a little black dress and foldable flats, too.
Underwear & Socks Dries quickly Lasts forever Doesn’t ride up Breathable, lightweight, odor-resistant Treated with an antimicrobial Available at Amazon
Bras – 3
I travel with a couple of comfort bras and sports bras. I like that they don’t set off metal detectors at the airport, and I can sleep in them if necessary. I hate that they take two days to dry.
I haven’t fallen in love with a specific brand yet. f you’ve found the perfect travel bra, please tell us about it in the comments!
Socks – 4 pair
I carry four pairs of lightweight hiking socks, but mine seem bulky and take too long to dry.
If you know of a fast-drying sock that takes up less space in the pack than usual, please tell us about it in the comments!
Double as leggings, long johns & pajama pants Moisture wicking Fast drying Lightweight Available at Amazon
Outerwear Foul Weather Accessories Lightweight but cozy warm Layered with a rain shell (right) this kept me warm in Iceland in winter Wad it up and cram it in your pack; give it a shake and it looks fresh and new. Fitted shape fits easily under rain shell Secure zippered pockets Available at Amazon Waterproof yet breathable and moisture wicking Wear by itself or layer over fleece (left) for extreme warmth Underarm zips let you adjust for breathability Chin guard keep zipper off your face Full hood Fits in your pocket Available at Amazon Lightweight yet warm, perfect in your layering arsenal Packable, resists wrinkles Breathable, washable, resists odors and stains Dries quickly Available at Amazon
I avoid cold climates, so I don’t carry gloves, hat, or muffler. I buy cheap ones locally and then give them away when I’m done with them.
If you’ll be spending a lot of time in cold climates, consider getting some high-performance accessories and more long-sleeved Icebreakers.
Shoes & Footwear Athletic or Hiking Shoes one pair
Good arch support Good heel cushioning As comfortable as a sandal can be and still look good with a sundress Lighweight Water safe Adjustable fit Available at Amazon Hiking shoes or athletic shoes are much lighter than hiking boots, and work just as well for most hikes. Without these, I couldn’t tolerate all the walking & hiking I do in my travels.
I can even buy cheap cute flat and boots on the fly and pop these in them.
Read my full review here.
Amazon Amazing arch support and cushioning for tired feet It’s a hiking shoe! A water shoe! A sandal! A camp shoe! A slipper! A shower shoe! Resists odors Lightweight Mine look like new after years of hiking and trudging on cobblestones. Available at Amazon Miscellaneous Scarves are endlessly useful on the road. The greatest scarf I ever owned was this one.
Rainbow colors go with anything and bring a pop of life to any outfit.
Amazon. Good to have even if you’re not camping, in case the power goes out or you have to walk home after dark.
You don’t need anything fancy or expensive. Lightweight, small and economical is good —
something like this. A few pain relievers, cold tablets, band-aids, and antibacterial wipes are good to have with you. I carry a knee brace, too. Most parts of the world have pharmacies on every corner, so don’t go overboard.
You can buy
prepackaged kits on Amazon, but you probably have everything you need to pack your own. This one has worked for me on five continents and counting. Two USB ports on the side let you charge several items simultaneously Easy to pack Lightweight Available at Amazon Toiletries Baggies & Rubber Bands Swimsuit
Lightweight Uses minimal space in your bag No worries about carrying or finding feminine supplies Surgical silicone is easy to clean If you haven’t used one before, get familiar with it at home before you travel; they take some getting used to and aren’t right for everyone
Amazon I also carry a cloth pad for backup. Ziplock sandwich bags store bar soap and leftover foods. Fill one halfway with water and use it to plug a sink while you do laundry. A dozen is plenty.
Rubber bands — the big size — are so handy. Two of them will hold a pair of shoes tightly together in your bag. They can be used to bags in the kitchen, from frozen foods to rice or coffee. I never stop finding uses for them. A dozen is plenty. I can’t recommend one for you, it’s just too personal. But bring one! Unlocked cell phone (or iPad air)
The only travel mat that’s worked for me Lightweight but doesn’t stretch Easy to pack, roll or fold Sticky surface, even when you sweat Durable & resists odors I cover it with a towel on cold or hard floors Available at Amazon SIM cards are usually available at newsstands and stores. $10 usually buys a gig of data.
Calling home is free with Skype, Google Hangouts, or FaceTime.
This will also be your e-reader, alarm clock, kitchen timer, GPS/maps, music player, video viewer and travel planner.
You might want some headphones for that.
No estrogenic plastics Double-wall keeps water cool or coffee hot Unbreakable Pollution-free alternative to buying plastic bottles Available at Amazon
Good quality photos Tiny size slips in your pocket Lightweight Easy to use Face detection Available at Amazon Note: If you’re a serious photographer, you won’t be satisfied with this. The small size is better for me right now, but I miss my big Sony Cybershot! Slash-guard panels, slash-proof strap Locking zipper mechanism Strap opens & locks around a chair; I’ve even used it to lock my backpack to my chair at cafes, like a bike lock Wipes clean Available at Amazon Organizes and protects a huge collection of small items in a compact case Cute enough to use as a clutch for a dressy night out Jewelry, sim cards, memory sticks, hair ties, barettes and more Available at Amazon Stuffs into attached storage pouch with built-in carabiner I use this for shopping, laundry, and as a cute tote Durable yet weighs nothing Washable Available at Amazon Cooling vents Snazzy chin strap Roll it, pack it, stuff it, it comes out looking…exactly the same. Immediately identifies you as a tourist When I wear it I feel like a dog wearing the Cone of Shame, but cute sun hats that say they’re packable are lying Better than sunburn, I guess Available at Amazon