It always seems impossible until it’s done

How to travel the world

So how to prepare yourself for backpacking around the world?

We travelled around Australia, New Zealand and Southeast Asia for 9 months. We didn’t work on the way, we just enjoyed the freedom of backpacking. One couple, one budget and two backpacks. Here we give you some general advice about backpacking.

How to pack a backpack?

Our packing list for nine months of traveling.

Of course we also bought new clothes on the way, many souvenirs and some extra gear like camping equipment in New Zealand. And we also sent stuff home and sold equipment to other backpackers. But in general this is a good list with all the basics you need.

Clothes:

  • max. 3 t-shirts, 3 tank tops and 1 nice shirt for nights out
  • 1 sweater/ hoodie
  • 1 pair of long pants, 1 pair of shorts, 1 pair of sweatpants and swimwear
  • 1 rainjacket and a poncho
  • belt
  • hiking boots, sneakers and flip flops
  • 5 pair of socks and 1 pair of hiking socks (really important)
  • 7 boxershorts/hot pants
  • sunglasses and glasses

For the girls:

  • 1 skirt
  • leggings
  • 1- 2 sports bra (so comfortable and you feel so much better in hot countries- – you can buy them very cheap in Southeast Asia)
  • comfortable scarf

Essentials:

  • sleeping bag
  • 2 travel towels
  • earplugs
  • headlight (really important, if you need to pee in the jungle)
  • money bag (to hide your money and credit cards under your shirt)
  • rain protection for your backpack and small bag (good protection against rain, dirt or thieves)
  • laundry detergent
  • toilet paper
  • dry bag
  • travel pillow
  • cloth bag

Gadgets:

  • a camera (Fuji X100) and a GoPro
  • SD Cards (my advice: take as many as you can – maybe between 5 and …. 100)
  • netbook/laptop
  • a small bag for all your chargers
  • a power bank/power station
  • iPod, MP3 player etc.
  • mobile loudspeaker
  • plug adapter and multiple plug (very important) for charging several gadgets at the same time
  • a smartphone

Useful stuff:

  • 1 or 2 pad locks
  • duct tape (useful for taping holes in tents or bungalows – protection from vermin)
  • clothes line
  • scissors
  • sewing kit (useful for fixing your clothes or holes in mosquito nets)
  • diary
  • pocket knife (if you want to open a can or a mango)
  • paper and pen
  • lighter
  • mosquito coils
  • travel board games

Medication:

  • first aid kit
  • a bag for all your pills
  • pain killers
  • pills for sea sickness
  • medicine against diarrhoea
  • medicine against nausea
  • medicine against stomach ache
  • electrolytes (really important if you get diarrhoea)
  • clinical thermometer
  • malaria pills (we didn’t take any malaria pills in advance as many people recommend to take them when you actually get sick)
  • insect repellent
  • disinfectant
  • contraceptive (pill, condoms etc. – sell-by date is important if you travel for a long period)

Guide books

This is how you can get cheap guide books in Asia (those lonely planets are copies, so you can buy them for very low prices). It also happens that backpackers give away their guide books, that’s how we got five books on the way. We didn’t buy a single Lonely Planet before we left home.

A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.

Lao Tzu

Three easy steps to follow, when you pack your backpack:

  • I roll everything: clothes, towels etc. I use vacuum bags to compress everything.
  • Using several bags also helps to keep an overview of all your stuff.
  • Heavy items need to be stored close to your back/spine. But they shouldn’t be too high or too low to keep balance while walking.

What vaccinations do I need?

All you need to know

Depending on the countries you plan to visit, you need different kinds of vaccination. So some vaccinations (like e.g. hepatitis A and B) you probably need to check all the time you leave for a bigger journey. So see a doctor to double check which vaccinations are missing and if you need booster shots.

In general you need:

  • hepatitis A and B
  • tetanus
  • diphtheria

For Southeast Asia you need:

  • Japanese encephalitis virus
  • rabies
  • typhus
  • polio