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How-To: Packing for 3, 7, 10, 14, or 100 Days

Q:  How does one pack for 100 days of travel?
A:  The same way as one packs for 3 or 7 or 10 or 14 days of travel.

Apologies in advance if you were expecting a long post full of pictures and reviews on every single item that we packed for the big trip.  You won’t find this here.  Instead, we simply offer some suggestions and a downloadable resource that helped us get started and might hopefully help you navigate the topic for your next trip, whether it be for a weekend out of town or to plan for months abroad.

First:  The Freebie:  “The Kitchen Sink” Packing List (PDF Download, 116kb)

Over the course of many trips, we’ve compiled a packing list I like to refer to as “The Kitchen Sink”.  To be clear, the goal here is to NEVER actually pack everything on this list for a single trip, but instead to use this list as a comprehensive set of options that should be carefully tailored (read:  reduced substantially) to the needs of the specific travel type, location, and duration.  At 160+ items, it is a long list, but quite often we will actually pack less than 1/3 of the items from “The Kitchen Sink”.  (Note:  This list is somewhat slanted towards international travel with cruising included, but for the most part, this list still covers a majority of most travel needs.)

Download “The Kitchen Sink” Packing List Here (PDF Download, 116kb)


Second:  Define the Number of “Packing Rotations” for Your Trip

A “Travel Rotation” is the period of time that you base your packing on and is defined by a dividing the total number of travel days by the number of rotations you want to have during the travel.  Example:  If you are travelling for 12 days, your rotation might be 3 days (4 rotations), 4 days (3 rotations), or 6 days (2 rotations) in length.  The length of the rotation will help you define the amount and types of clothing, toiletries, and types of items to pack.  Once the rotation is complete, clothes can be laundered (hand or machine), toiletries/medications can be replenished (purchased or refilled), or various items replaced as you go.  For beginners, on any trip of 10 days or more, start with  2 rotations (5 days each) and as you get the hang of the process, move up to 3+ rotations (3-5 days each) for a trip of 14 days or more.  For our 100 day trip, we anticipate anywhere between 10 and 14 rotations (7-10 days each) depending on specific weather, clothing requirements (casual vs. formal & relax vs. active) as we go.


Third:  When All Else Fails — Let The Airlines Define Your Packing Allowance

On our international flights for this trip, we each get one free checked bag of 50 pounds (23kg) and one carry on of 15 pounds (7kg).  After all was said and done, our checked luggage is running about 40 pounds and carry on is running about 12 pounds.  Staying at 80% of allowance gives us some flexibility as we go for new purchases or maybe an occasional bottle (or two) of wine along the way.


A Few Additional Details…

>>  Choosing Clothes
With temperature swings expected from the upper 30s and low 40s (0-5 degrees C) in New Zealand to well over 100 degrees (40 degrees C) in Ayers Rock, Australia, and plenty of sun, wind, rain, and humidity in between, we needed to ensure that we were well prepared and packed that aligned with a single theme:  Less Pack — More Use  For us, this translates to lightweight, easy to clean, quick dry layers in basic color palettes (black, blue, gray, etc.) that can individually or in combination, accommodate cool, wet evenings and can also quickly adjust for hot, dry days.  Everything we pack has multiple uses and can be mixed and matched with everything else.  If the clothing only has a single use, it couldn’t make the cut.

>>  A Suitcase?
Quick sidebar that needs to be addressed early on…  We’re each taking a medium size roller bag suitcase and a carry on bag for the trip. (Cue the needle scraping across the surface of the record sound…)  What?!?!?

I can hear the travel purists now…  “Where’s the backpack?”  “You’re going on a 100 day trip, attempting to be ‘global travelers’ and you aren’t packing everything you own into a backpack?”  “What the #$%@?”

Now before you all go and disavow any knowledge of our existence, there are a few pro/con arguments that helped us to reach this decision:

1)  We will spend about half of our time for this trip on a cruise ship, where we will only have to pack and unpack ONCE.  Most of the remaining days, we will have a rented car, so the luggage will not be on our backs, but rather in the trunk of a car or stored under the bed, so why go out and purchase a travel pack, when we have perfectly good and working suitcases available?

2)  As we will be on the above mentioned cruise ship, we will need to pack a suit, shirts, and ties (Darin) and formal evening wear (Natalie) to be mixed and matched for several formal evenings.  Packing a suit and dressy dresses into a backpack just seems sacrilegious anyways, so to maintain the integrity of the true traveler’s backpack, we opted to stick with the suitcase.

>>  If You Have Questions, We Are Very Happy to Answer…
We expect some questions about our selections, your feedback, and plenty of scrutiny about the information shared, so drop us a comment or question below and we will answer it as quickly as we can.


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