Updated RTW Packing List – After 6 months on the road (and rails)

When I left Sydney 6 months ago I was pretty chuffed with my RTW packing list. I had spent hours researching what I would need until I came up with the perfect packing list. Despite only having a carry-on sized bag, I still managed to take heaps of things I never used. Here is my updated packing list after 6 months on the road (and rails).

The Backpack


I still love my Tortuga Travel Backpack and I literally can’t say enough good things about it. While it is carry on sized (56 x 36 x 23 cm) I still preferred to check it in. With all of my tech I found that it weighs about 10kg so is too heavy for most carry on allowances. I think by getting rid of some things though it would be possible to get this down to 7kg.


  • Tortuga Travel Backpack – 44 Liter Carry-On-Sized, Travel Backpack – still love it. Buy one right now.
  • Day bag – this broke pretty much immediately and I was holding it together with safety pins until I eventually caved in and bought another one in Vietnam.
  • Travelon Anti-Theft Classic Mini Shoulder Bag – I still think it is as lame as I did when I left. I know it is probably stupid but I think if you look too much like you are worried about being robbed then you probably will be. For the next part of my trip I doubt I will use it but instead, I will take something else instead.
  • I use Space Bag Roll-up Travel Bags travel Space Bags to shrink the size of bulky clothes – Great for bulky items like coats or separating your clothes into seasons for when you aren’t going to use them, but in general they aren’t the most practical. It meant I had to repack basically every time I used anything to make it all fit back in again. I will still use them for my coat and out of season clothes but I won’t pack all my clothes this way.


  • Havaianas Women’s Slim Flip Flop– essential for beach, showers at music festivals, day wear, etc
  • Flipsters Ballet Pumps – Yes, they are a great transforming shoe that is handy to have, but they definitely aren’t something you can wear sightseeing all day long – at least not when you walk as much as I do. Generally, I walk for about 18+km per day and I tried to do this once in these shoes and got blisters.
  • Palladium Women’s Pampa Canvas Oxford shoes – Still great shoes but I would like to look a bit more fashionable!
  • Hiking shoes – Sue brought these over for me when she met me and I was happy to have them for when I went to Nepal… but then Nepal was cancelled and I was left carrying them. I still wore them but only because they were there and I was getting angry at them for taking up space without being useful. I used my Palladium shoes for multiple hikes in Petra and they were still great. Hiking shoes would only have been useful in the snow.


  • 1 pair of jeans – Turns out sometimes you have to wash them and then you have nothing to wear.
  • 1 pair of thin travel pants – This is something I would add in for warm days, particularly when you are travelling or in a conservative country. I ended up buying some along the way.Icebreaker Women’s Everyday Leggings
  • 1 knee length skirt – I managed to lose this pretty early on. I only wore it in Jordan because it is such a strange length I felt like a loser (I even made Sue only take photos of me from the waist up!). I would switch this for a slightly prettier knee length skirt.
  • Denim shorts – Perfect for summer in Europe, especially when it is over 40 degrees!! I wore them virtually every day and never felt out of place. I ended up leaving them in England though because I was only going to cool climates or warm and conservative countries where they wouldn’t be appropriate. Turns out that I needed them when my plans fell through and I was melting in Vietnam!!!
  • Icebreaker Women’s Crush Dress – Love this – I wore it all the time and got compliments on it. Everyone should buy one!!


  • Kathmandu fleece for cold weather – I never really wore this but I had brought it for when I was in Nepal. That trip being cancelled made so much of my luggage useless!!
  • Icebreaker Women’s Cascade Long Sleeve Zip Hoodie for chilly nights – I wore this sooooooo much. A must have.
  • Winter coat – I picked up a winter coat from my last European trip that I had been storing at my Granny’s . This meant I didn’t have to lug it around Europe but I was prepared for the freezing nights and days in Lake Baikal and Mongolia!


  • Thermal leggings – when I was lounging around the Airbnb I did wear these hideous things. Next time I would just take leggings instead (I don’t believe these really were thermal anyway).
  • Thermal t-shirt – I wore this a lot in Russia/Mongolia
  • 2 long-sleeve tops (one reversible) – Two is the perfect amount. One was a bit fancier so I wore that in the evening and the other one I wore during the day.
  • Icebreaker Women’s Siren Cami – I wore my pajama top a lot as well because it was so hot!
  • 3 T-shirts (2 Icebreaker and 1 Kathmandu) – this was the ideal amount of t-shirts.

Socks, etc

DSC03622-01 DSC03626-01
  • 7 pairs of underwear
  • 2 bras
  • Sports bra – Sue brought this over for me for the hiking we were doing but it wasn’t necessary and just took up space. If you are going to go to the gym or something that is different but it isn’t necessary for just walking around.
  • 1 bikini – I am strange and managed to not use my bikini once despite being in Europe in summer. I don’t know how I managed that.
  • 3 pairs of short Icebreaker Women’s Multisport Light Micro Socks
  • 2 pairs 1 pair of long Icebreaker Women’s Hike + Mid Crew Socks – If I was in a cooler climate for longer than two pairs would have been necessary but I hardly wore one pair, let alone two.Pajamas (that I can also wear out during the day) – I wore these out all the time.


  • Small Dry Sack – handy for dirty clothes to stop the rest of your bag getting stinky.
  • Silk sleeping bag liner – useless. They say you need it for the Trans-Mongolian but you don’t. Every train we were on had clean fitted sheets. 
  • Laundry kit – pretty handy because we rarely had washing machines and paying for laundry was expensive until I got to Asia.
  • Sea to Summit DryLite towel – mine was tiny and a complete pain. Make sure you buy a large/extra-large
  • Rain-cover for my backpack – I used this once but I was glad I had it.
  • Kathmandu fold-up rain jacket (even if you go to Europe in summer, it will definitely rain) – I left this on a bus but I have already replaced it. As predicted, it rained a lot in Europe. We had some very wet nights camping and my phone was destroyed in a flash storm in Serbia.
  • Dream Essentials Dreamlite Sleep Mask – I replaced my free plane eye mask with this incredible one.


  • Seagate Expansion 1TB Portable External Hard Drive – with music, movies, audio books, etc and for photo storage
  • iPod – ditched this and just used my phone instead
  • Spare Memory Card for my camera – I have just been backing up my photos regularly but I still like having them there.
  • Sony NEX-5TL Mirrorless Digital Camera  (not pictured). I have an additional lens but will take that on the second half of my trip when I need it for animal photos – Scrap that, I don’t think I would use the extra lens and it will just take up heaps of space.
  • Kobo Glo HD 6″ Digital eBook Reader and case
  • External battery case for my phone- I broke 3 phones on this trip so this became useless pretty quickly.
  • Microsoft Surface Pro and case – I love it. So much. Wouldn’t travel without it!
  • Worldwide Travel Adapter with Dual USB Charging Ports – this also has multiple USB charging ports so you can charge multiple devices at once
  • Belkin Speaker and Headphone Splitter – very handy if you are travelling with someone so you can watch the same movies, etc. This was PERFECT for buses in Eastern Europe and for the Trans-Mongolian. The buses and trains are so old that they are incredibly loud so you can’t hear anything otherwise.
  • Spare passport photos – often you get asked for these during visa applications
  • 2 carabiners 
    – I have only come up with a use for these in the last week. I’m now using them to hold all my hair ties.
  • Rubber bands – These are so handy. I used them all the time to tie up packets of herbs/spices when travelling or to fix things, etc.
  • International travel sim card – this was great but I still bought local sim cards whenever I was in one place for a few weeks.
  • All of this is stored in a small plastic container which protects electronics from water and being bashed about but also can be used to store delicious snacks if needed.


  • Medicines – any that you use regularly e.g. the pill, allergy medicine, etc. Don’t go overboard with medicine, they sell it everywhere in the world so you can get it as required. I also have malaria medication but will be using it in the second half of my trip so I’ve left it in Australia.
  • Shampoo – small travel sized containers .When I realised I wasn’t checking in my luggage I just started carrying full sized bottles.
  • Conditioner
  • Body Wash
  • Cleanser – I just bought sensitive skin body wash and used that instead.
  • Moisturiser
  • Deodorant
  • Razor
  • Comb
  • Hand cream
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste and floss
  • Hair ties and bobby pins
  • Perfume
  • Necklace
  • Tweezers
  • Nail scissors
  • Light My Fire Titanium Spork– I used this more than I thought. Some of our Airbnb places said they were fully equipped but didn’t even have cutlery, and I used it to eat my noodles on the Trans-Mongolian.
  • Tarriss TSA Lock  – I have three different ones – a combination lock for lockers, a TSA approved travel lock for my bag, and a lock with wire that you can wrap around things (e.g. poles, chair legs, yourself).


  • Travel notes/copies of train and bus tickets
  • Pens and a permanent marker
  • Passports
  • Copy of travel vaccinations
  • Notebook
  • Diary
  • Spanish books (trying to teach myself) – we all knew I would give up on that pretty quickly.
  • Money and bankcards

Along the way I also bought and discarded things like a sleeping bag for INmusic festival in Croatia which I donate to some other travellers when I left, as well as some thin travel pants which I threw away just before I came home.

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What do you take with you when you travel? Do you travel light or like to pack everything to make sure you are never caught without something?

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I’m also a light packer, although most of my recent trips have been short which makes it easy, except for a longer trip to Europe last winter where I needed to check-in a second bag. On recent trips I’ve used a small cross-body handbag from H&M. Just big enough for wallet, phone, folded up city map, etc, but doesn’t scream tourist. And it was only $14.95 AUD! I’d also do regular leggings, rather than thermal ones. I’ve used mine previously under a skirt when my jeans have been in the wash.

Grassroots Nomad

Hi Shandos – That bag sounds great! I think I will have to invest in a few pairs of leggings for the next leg (hahaha) of my trip. That bag sounds so handy!! Maybe a trip to H&M is needed 🙂


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