Packing for an RTW trip – what to remember and what to forget

In two weeks time I will be leaving my lovely apartment in Queenstown (New Zealand) and setting off RTW – round the world. Well, actually – I’m already halfway round the world (as my journey started in London) but for the past six months I’ve been living and working in New Zealand to save up for an epic two months around the world to finish off an awesome year of travelling.

I’ll be honest – when I set off from London I was useless at packing. I’m the kind of person who has this unjustified connection to almost everything I own. Throwing things away is hard for me, as is “slimming down” my suitcase. I just can’t bear the whole process of packing and whittling down to the bare essentials. I’d go as far to say – I’m pretty stinking rubbish at it.

So many choices...

So many choices…

So why am I offering advice on the subject?

Well, when I set off RTW via New Zealand last September at the beginning of my adventure – I came over with a whopping 30kg in luggage. It all fitted into one bag too – which was rather deceiving – especially to the many taxi drivers who offered to carry it for me.

Now however, for the last leg of the trip – and the RTW adventure we’re heading out on in two weeks – I’ve managed to cut my suitcase down to 20kg. Which (even if I do say so myself) is pretty impressive.

That’s 10kg of stuff I didn’t need.

And 10kgs is a lot of stuff to be lugging around the world if you’re not even going to use it or wear it.

What did I cut out?

Mainly things I didn’t wear or hadn’t worn yet. The thing is, if after six months you’ve still not got round to wearing something, chances are the next three months are going to carry on the same way. But it wasn’t just that – there are others ways you can pack in a smart way – not only cutting down on the weight of your bag, but also cutting down on the bulkiness too. When you’re travelling around the world you need with you stuff that’s going to be useful, not stuff you’re carting round just for the sheer sake of it.

Pack light and you can go higher, further and longer

Pack light and you can go higher, further and longer

Here are a few more tips:

1.     Buy a Kindle

I’m a book worm, and I love reading. Up until two months ago I also preferred real books to any electronic product. I was all against Kindles… until I got one. They are so cheap and they’ll make your life 100% easier. You go from being able to cart around a maximum of two to three books with you to being able to carry your entire bookshelf (I have around 30 books on mine already and that number is increasing). Sure you don’t get that “new book smell” but you do have loads of flexibility and a much lighter backpack.

  • 2.     Leave the dry shampoo at home

At home I love dry shampoo but when you’re travelling it’s useless and annoying to cart round. If you’re stopping somewhere hot or humid, the chances are you’ll be showering everyday so you won’t even need it. So forget it and leave back at home where it belongs.

3.     Wear your bulky stuff when you fly

If like me, your suitcase is still a little full then always wear your bulky stuff (jeans, hoodies and trainers) on the flight. That way you don’t need to worry about packing them as you’ll be wearing them during each flight you have. Same goes for coach and train journeys. You’ll be surprised at how much space this will free up in your case.

4.     Buy a tablet

If you’re worried about taking your laptop travelling with you, but you’re also eager to keep in touch with friends and the modern world, then a tablet is a great idea. I couldn’t afford an iPad – but I soon realised there are loads of other tablets (I have the Google Nexus) out there for smaller budgets. There is even the iPad mini now too – which is much more affordable than the full sized version. They are so much easier to carry with you than a laptop, and much lighter too. You can usually slip them in a pocket or a backpack easily.

See the paraglider? Every   bit of weight counts - so when you take off make sure you're as light as can be

See the paraglider? Every bit of weight counts – so when you take off make sure you’re as light as can be

5.     Go for light clothing

Pick light clothing that dries quickly. Not only will this be hugely helpful when it comes to washing clothes (thin, light material dries quicker) but it’ll make your life easier. Think of it this way – three light floaty dresses, might weigh the same as one chunky knit dress (which you might not even wear). Packing is a bit like math in that way. Think about clothing as currency with a transfer rate. Would you rather take two big football jumpers that take up all your space – or one jumper and five t-shirts, which equal the same?

6.     Make your suitcase stands out

My boyfriend Pad learnt this the hard way, when some random woman picked up and walked off with his suitcase once. Because his and hers were similar looking (plain black pull-along) she didn’t even think to check and walked off with his case which then (once she realised wasn’t hers) she had to have flown over to the UK again and couriered to us privately. Not great for either parties. Avoid this by making sure your case stands out. Get a thick marker pen and write your name on it, tie some cute ribbon around the handle, or even cover it with stickers. Whatever – just make sure no one would mistake it for their own.

7.     Mix and match

This is one for friends and couples travelling together. If you can, mix and match your suitcases and clothes and share your belongings between both cases. This comes in handy, for if one person’s case is delayed along the way or sent on a later flight you’ll still have some back-up clothes in the other case. It’s so easy to just throw a few things across to their bag, and if the worst happens you’ll be so glad you did it.

This guest post was written by Elle-Rose. Elle-Rose is the resident blogger for No1 Traveller, and she is currently travelling the world. You can read more about her personal travel experiences here.


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