Have you ever wondered what to pack? Have you always ended up packing too much? Take a look in my backpack and see what I pack in. I hope this helps you leave out some unnecessary things or it might give you some ideas that make your travels easier.
For most of my travels I use a backpack of the brand FJÄLLRÄVEN. It has 35L and can easily be used as carry-on hand luggage. The maximum weight is supposed to be 7kg. On my last travels I had 11kg and had to sneak it though Check-in. Most of the time they did not weigh it, but it depends on the airport. Thailand (DMK) was very strict for example.
Some Tips to sneak in luggage that is too heavy:
- Attach a small string to your backpack and lift it up whilst they weigh it. Talk to them by asking stupid questions while you do it, so you can distract them. This helps most of time, but make sure the other counters can’t see you, or get a person to stand by your side.
- What I did most of the time with my Carry-on: Find people you can leave your luggage with and check in without a bag or only part of your bag. Walk around the airport until you spot someone reading or waiting. Trust your guts if you can trust them (it takes some time to find someone). Don’t choose people who look too dodgy or too conservative as they might steal your stuff or decline your request. I always try to look desperate asking them to watch my stuff for a second whilst I use the bathroom. As a girl: cute boys do a great job guarding your stuff 😉 – Make sure to get them some chocolate or any other “thank you” gift after!
- Just go and try! If they tell you it’s too heavy, respond by saying you got a LOT of food and water inside. They will tell you, you can’t carry-on water. Act stupid and pretend to empty your backpack. Follow option 1 and 2 above.
Here’s a useful link to all airlines and their carry-on restrictions.
I simply LOVE this bag. You can buy it online and sometimes directly at some airports in Asia. If you buy it online: make sure not to order from China, as the quality is terrible and your clipper most likely breaks soon. Get a more expensive original one (20-30€) and you’re set. It’s waterproof if you fold it three times around the closing clip. I travel with the 5L. I use it when I jump in waterfalls and want to use dry clothes after. It also keeps my drone dry in case it should rain whilst I am walking somewhere. You can easily take it as a second carry-on with most airlines. It makes it easy to pass customs if you just put all your valuable electronically equipment inside (batteries, chargers, cameras, phone…etc). I never pack them out and directly throw the bag on the assembly line. I also like to have my valuable items close to me. This small bag just fits right below the airport seat in front of you. The strap also includes a clip, I normally clip around poles on ships, so my bag doesn’t get thrown over board. It also makes it harder to steal.
One of the most important items for me to bring to a long flight is a travel pillow. I hate waking up when my head falls down! I normally avoided bringing travel pillows as they just took up too much space and (I have to admit) I always forgot them at some hostels! This one is just perfect! The brand is “SEA TO SUMMIT” and it can easily be inflated. I attached a snap hook towards it and always hook it onto my Ocean Pack. This way I can easily use it, won’t lose it and can sleep like a baby. LOVE it! Best thing I’ve ever bought!
A document bag comes in pretty handy if you have several flights. I always put all of my plane tickets, visas, as well as my passport, inside. I normally store it somewhere in some outer backpack pocket, where I can quickly reach for it. Make sure you have one with a loop attached. This way you can put it around your wrist and fumble in your bags without losing it.
Vacuum Zipper Bags are the most useful thing I’ve bought for a while. I randomly read about those on the internet and tried them out. They are amazing! You can roll up all of your stuff, which leaves you with a LOT of extra space. As there is no air, your clothes won’t stink moldy when you travel in the tropics. I always use one for dirty laundry, one for shirts, one for shorts and one for bikinis and underwear. This way you bag is organised, and also your stuff can’t get wet. I have an extra one for my laptop- just in case my backpack would fall off a boat or I drop it in puddle (Yup, happens to clumsy people). Anyways! Those bags can save your life!
..and they are cheap! You can buy a ten pack on Amazon for around 8-10€
You can bring a bottle of over 100ml with your hand luggage if it is empty. It’s a good way to stay hydrated. Make sure it is isolated, so you can enjoy cold water or hot tea, depending on where you travel to.
By the way: drinking hot tea in the tropics makes you sweat less!
One of my basics: A sketchbook and pens!
It can get boring on airports or in planes. If you are creative and like to draw, bring your sketchbook!
Good pens are PRISMACOLOR. I prefer them to COPIC markers, because you can draw smoother with them. They are alcohol based and make your sketches look better than any regular felt tip marker.
Interested in some of my drawings? Click here to see what I am drawing whilst I travel.
I always bring my MACBOOK AIR. It is slim, light and doesn’t take up much space. At the same time it is easy for me to transfer files from my GoPro or drone and store them on an external hard drive. I also prefer to Skype from my laptop rather than my phone. I am using a keyboard cover, in case I should spill water over it. Plus I always pack it inside a zipper bag when I travel to prevent it from getting wet.
I like to travel with my phone (iPhone6), because it provides fast access to the internet.
All airports have free wifi. Sometimes you have to sign up, but it’s possible to use a fake name or a fake email as they basically never really require you to confirm anything.
Sometimes the internet is limited to 1 hour. Just go and find a Starbucks- they always provide free wifi!
A powerbank comes in handy if you are without electricity. You always have to bring it with your carry-on luggage. Never with the checked in baggage! Airports restrict them quite strictly though! It is NOT allowed to bring any powerbank higher than 32000mA.
But you could trick customs if you have one > 55000mA: Just color it black! You could use an EDDING, but any Sharpie would do aswell. Make sure it looks neat or they will ask questions. In case they asked you how much mA it had, you could just say the following:
“I bought it on eBay, the dude said it was 32000mA, but it’s basically shit- I think I got scammed!” (*laugh).
In case they should see that someone had coloured it, they might believe it wasn’t you and let you go! Just look them in the eyes and believe what you’re saying.
By the way: Don’t get tricked by buying one that can be charged by one (!) solar panel. The panel is too small to provide energy for the battery. The solar power just covers the built-in torch. Make sure it has several ones.
UE MEGABOOM. As the name indicates, this music box has a GREAT bass! Provide the hostels with your own music or bring it to the beach. It is splash proof and the sound is just great! But they are a bit heavy. In case you’re traveling light – stick to earphones!
I never travel without my GoPro (HERO 5). The lense’s wide angle makes it impossible to shoot any bad picture. It is waterproof and you can drop it several times without breaking it. Happened to me on lava rocks, flat floors, sand … never gave up on me!
When you use it in salt water I would recommend to rinse it after. If you want to avoid having drops of water on your lense – just lick it! Sounds weird, but works!
Lick the lense: no water drops!
If you want to take good pictures fast, just take a video and extract the best picture! Works with selfies aswell 😉
Some useful accessories for the GoPro, I am using, are:
- A selfie stick. The GoPro one has a nice foldable angle, where you can’t see the stick itself.
- A head and body strap (forgot both in Germany, that’s why there are no pictures provided yet 😉
- Multiple microSD storage cards!!
- a floatie (the yellow thing below) … it makes your pro visible in the water and can be used as a mini selfie stick as well as a handheld when you dive down.
- a double charger! This one is really useful- especially if you don’t have electricity around. I always travel with at least 3 battery packs!
The Mavic Pro DJI is a foldable small drone that can easily be taken in your carry-on luggage. The camera has 12 Megapixels and a gimbal that stabilises your video footage. You can fly up to 500m as well as to a distance of 7km. In cities you are not allowed to fly higher than 60m; outside a city it is 120m.
It weighs 750g and needs to have a fireproof badge with your name, address and phone number on. If they catch you without one you have to pay 1500€ as a fine (Germany).
I’ve had no problems in customs, though I got various reactions when I was using it. I guess it’s like coriander: people either love or hate it! Make sure not to fly around airports or large crowds of people and you should be fine. I also always end up asking people if it is okay for them to be on the video.
The remote can easily be used with any phone. You can just download the “DJI GO 4” App and you’re ready to go! It is possible to steer it by using wifi (code below the battery), but the signal is bad and I would be scared of losing it! If the battery is empty, the drone will come back to the GPS data it flew off from. It is quite user-friendly and once you’ve practiced a bit, it is impossible not to fly it well!
It has a built-in obstacle avoidance, but watch out when you’re flying backwards: It does not recognise obstacles here!
I always travel with 3 sets of batteries, which I store in LI-PO SAFE BAGS. They basically prevent the batteries from burning.
Other important items to bring are a torch and padlocks. This torch I actually found on the beach in Costa Rica and I’ve been using it ever since. It is small and shines bright. The padlock I use is extendable. I use it for lockers in hostels and sometimes on doors or bags.
PACK FOR 3 DAYS ONLY! It’s totally fine not to bring more! You’ll end up wearing your favourite clothes all the time anyways! And by the way- no one cares what you’re wearing! If you’re always on the go, people won’t realise!
Just make sure they don’t smell and don’t look dirty.
PACK YOUR FAVOURITE CLOTHES AND WEAR THEM ALL THE TIME.
Do not think about “What if” whilst packing. This just takes up too much space!
- SHOES: – SNEAKERS – SANDALS – WATERSHOES … that’s all you need!
My favourite sneakers are CONVERSE Chucks, as they are light and airy! If you wear them without socks and they start to smell at some point: Put them in any plastic bag and leave them in the freezer overnight to kill all of the bacteria.
Next morning they are fresh as new!
Apart from my Chucks and a pair of sandals I always pack in some water shoes. They come in handy if you have to walk over edgy rocks or climb waterfalls.They are comfortable and don’t slow you down, so you can reach picture worthy spots way faster.
- 2 PAIRS OF SOCKS are enough, if you travel to a country with a warmer climate. Use one- wash one! I always wash them with the soap I am showering with and then hang them somewhere to dry. Don’t pack more! Same with your underwear. Pack 3-5 pieces of strings or panties and you’re set!
- a HOODIE for the plane. They usually turn up the aircon in such a crazy way, you think you’re in Alaska! I guess they want to prevent bacteria from spreading or something. Anyways, a hoodie comes in handy. I bought one for guys. Love to wear oversize sometimes. Make sure to check your hoody is the most comfortable thing on earth! Combined with a travel pillow you’ll sleep like a baby.
- BUFF! This one’s important! You can use it on the plane (it can get quite cold) or you can use it if our hair looks messy! I also use it to cover my hair from stinky sweaty helmets. And I can tell you, the used ones always are! Better prepare with a BUFF.
- SUNGLASSES. I never wear them on the beach or on the streets, because I look damn weird in those, and I kind of think people are staring at me when I wear them, hahaha. Nonetheless, I need them when I ride on a scooter! Get one fly in our eye and you know what I mean!
- SARONG. Get this small piece of fabric! You can use it as a dress, a towel, a shirt and much more! Very useful!
I don’t use many cosmetics apart from some basics.
Whilst I was studying, I worked for LUSH- and English company that sells handmade cosmetics: solid shampoo bars, solid body lotion and much more… I could now start and talk about all of those amazing product, but I won’t 😉
One thing I really like about them though is, that they do not test on animals. Plus they sell solid stuff you can take on your carry-on luggage. The products also last ages!!
H A I R
LUSH SOLID SHAMPOO BAR.
Just rub it over your hair and it foams up! No conservatives inside! Keeps your hair smooth and soft!. LUSH has plenty of different shampoo bars for all kind of hair types. Check out their website to get some information! They also have stores all around the world.
With shampoo I always bring a solid conditioner aswell, to make my hair softer. I use a brush that is ergonomically shaped to make my hair be brushed easier. The brand is called KENT and those brushes (I have NO idea how they work) are designed to brush your hair neatly with one stroke… they just float through messy hair, haha. LOVE IT.
My lifesaver is this one though: It’s an oil you can rub in your hair. It repairs damaged air, smells like heaven and is perfect when you spend a lot of time at the beach! It prevents your hair from breaking and has saved mine so many times. I have to admit with 30- 40€ it is quite expensive, but it is definitely worth the money, as it last really long.
F A C E
Whilst traveling I use some basics for my face: One is a covering make up. I tend to get reeeeally dark circles under my eyes after long nights. I go with any cover up Anti-Age MakeUp as it is the one that hydrates the most.
The best mascara is CHANEL INIMITABLE. After trying out that one I never looked at any other one! It keeps your lashes long and separated and the waterproof one stays on really long, even after a day at the beach!
For my lips I only use LIP SERVICE by LUSH. It has natural Sheabutter inside and makes your lips incredibly soft! Try it once and you’ll never go back, hahaha. It also repairs cracked lips within a day.
One thing that comes in handy for girls is this face serum sold by LUSH:
It is sold as a bar. I just pressed it in a small box, so it doesn’t melt in hotter climates. It is meant to be put on the face but for me it is too oily.
I use it everywhere after shaving, to prevent skin irritations. No more rushes, just put a little bit anywhere on your skin and there you go!
Last but not least: An absinthe hand lotion sold by BODYSHOP. A good friend once gave it to me and I soon found out that it was healing some scratches on my fingers pretty quickly. I then started to apply it on any scratches or small wounds and they were miraculously healing faster! It also purifies your skin and soaks in dry quickly without leaving your hands oily.
Hope this helped you a bit with packing your bag! That’s also basically all I ever bring and you don’t need much more! I rarely use sunlotion as I try to stay in the shade, but if I do, I buy it once I arrive at my destination… or I use coconut oil (SPF10!) on my face. If you don’t have hair oil, coconut oil is also awesome for your hair after a sunny day.
I also always leave some space in my bag, in case I find something nice to buy 🙂
I squeeze all of this in Carry-on luggage. (Sometimes I leave the speakers at home).
Most of the time they don’t weigh it. If they do, just follow the steps at the beginning of the article.