Around the World Travel: How to Pack For Your Trip

Pack it in the wilderness

Written by Alexandra Baackes on

Alexandra Baackes is a traveling writer, designer, and underwater videographer. She is currently in her fifth year of living as a full-time nomad—follow along on her website.

Pack it in the wilderness


If you're taking a sabbatical or full-stop quitting your job for a round-the-world trip, you've got some packing to do! Peek inside the backpack of a long-term traveler who has been all over the globe. Her solid packing tips for round the world travel will have you ready to strap on your travel backpack in no time flat.


Stressed by the thought of packing your entire life into a single bag? Ease your mind—it’s all going to be OK. Although packing for weeks, months, and years of around the world travel has its challenges, you’ve already done the hardest part: quitting your job, requesting that sabbatical, or cashing in all of your  vacation time. Every trip is different, but  budget destinations and dates aside, some items are universally beloved by backpackers all over the map. Read on for a list of the must-packs for your next globetrotting adventure.


1. Pick the Right Backpack for World Travel

There is no single packing decision for an around-the-world trip more critical than choosing the right  travel backpack. This one item will become your constant companion for the duration of your travels! 

Look for something lightweight, durable, and secure. Ideally, find a pack that is both top loading and front loading, which allows you full access to everything you pack without tearing apart the entire bag. For traveling ladies, buying a  great women’s fit backpack is essential to long-term comfort. 

Keep your bag organized and tidy no matter where you roam with a  set of packing cubes—these are great for any type of travel, but especially those opting for a  large travel pack or  roomy duffel.


2. Bring the Right Guidebooks

Guidebooks offer a great way to get background information on a new destination, information on the  local culture,  daydream-worthy travel inspiration for places to go, and practical transportation tips, among other things. On an around-the-world trip, you’re visiting too many destinations to sensibly bring one guidebook for each. Thanks to the modern marvel of smartphones and e-readers, gone are the days of hauling these books in your backpack—you’ll absolutely should use downloadable versions of key guidebooks, as well as destination based  travel apps

Also consider buying tomes such as Lonely Planet’s  Southeast Asia on a Shoestring, which consolidates a major region into one book, and Rough Guides’  The Rough Guide to First Time Around the World, which offers information on visas, insurance, vaccinations and more (no matter where your international travels take you).

If you’re still an analog traveler, book swaps at hostels, guesthouses, and local bookstores mean that as you finish one guidebook you can pay it forward for a traveler who is just entering the region—and hopefully pick one up for your next destination.


3. Pack Your Security Essentials

TSA-approved cable lock will not only to secure your backpack on travel days, but also secure the lockers commonly available in hostel dorm rooms. All of Eagle Creek’s locks are TSA-approved, so fear not: It won’t be clipped off by airport security before you even leave the country. When you’re traveling with a computer and want to leave it in a hotel or hostel while exploring, a Kensington Laptop Lock can provide extra peace of mind. 

If you’re visiting areas infamous for pickpockets, hide any valuables that you carry on your person. For women, a  silk undercover bra stash  snaps discretely over a bra strap and holds credit cards, cash, and even room keys in a place where you will certainly notice prying fingers. For both genders, an  undercover neck wallet  slips under a t-shirt and to keep secure your most precious travel documents and valuables.


4. Carry Your Own Hostel Must-Haves

Circumnavigating the globe is usually done on a shoestring budget, meaning more nights are spent saving cash by  staying in hostels than splurging on hotels (although I am loving this  “poshtel” trend!). Social atmosphere and frugal-friendliness make hostels beyond worthwhile, but some special packing considerations are required. 

It’s rare for a hostel to provide you with a free towel, so pack a  quick-dry travel towel. Look for one that’s equal parts bacteria resistant and super absorbent. When you’re desperately ready for some shut-eye, an  eye mask and  earplugs guarantee a full night of sleep even as your new roommates come in and out of the room at all hours, potentially making noise and turning on lights (and, of course, rustling plastic bags—they clearly missed the  packing cube memo) .


5. Prepare to Make Memories

It’s the trip of a lifetime, so you’re going to want to remember it! Writing down your thoughts in a travel journal preserves memories that will be cherished for years to come. Too tech-savvy to go old school? The are also  digital travel journal alternatives you should absolutely consider. 

Still not convinced? You know what they say—a photo is worth a thousand words. A micro-four-thirds camera (Lumix, Canon, and Sony all sell them) is the perfect hybrid between the fantastic image quality of a DSLR and the compact size and affordable pricing of a point-and-shoot. Or you can always use your smartphone.

Don’t forget these five key pointers when you’re peacing out from your former life, and when it’s time to actually pack those bags before you board your flight, use our  Ultimate Travel Packing Checklist to remember all of your basic packing essentials.


Related Links (from Eagle Creek blog)

Buying Guide: Backpacks

Weatherproof Your Trip: Pack This to Protect Your Stuff

5 Budget-Friendly Destinations to Visit in 2019