Pack Light, Pack Right

(note: this post was updated in 2019)

I thought I’d take a step back from our RTW (Round the World) planning to give some thought to what we will bring with us. I actually think that this part of the trip is the most difficult. But thanks to my Dad, I’ve been “trained up right” and believe in the “pack right, pack light” philosophy of traveling.

From a very young age, Dad demanded that if we couldn’t carry it ourselves, we couldn’t bring it.

So, following on his traveling rules of life which have simplified mine, we will all carry on our stuff and we will do it in one bag or less, following the pack light, pack right philosophy.

Favorite Packing Websites

I love many websites and videos out there about packing light, tight, and right.

http://www.ricksteves.com/plan/tips/pack-light.htm
https://www.coworker.com/lab/the-ultimate-travel-packing-checklist/
http://adventure.howstuffworks.com/10-tips-for-packing-light.htm#page=0
http://www.independenttraveler.com/travel-tips/packing-and-accessories/the-carry-on-challenge-how-to-pack-light-every-time
http://spartantraveler.com/what-to-pack-for-a-trip-around-the-world/

But, even though all of these resources give great tips, I think I’m a bit of an expert of my own when it comes to packing. This is how I view our trip in relation to packing.

Really Think about What You’ll Be Doing

We sat down and really thought through the function of our trip.

Are you staying put or moving around each night?

Since we will be staying in one place at a time, most of the time, we don’t necessarily need a backpack. When my hubby and I did a week in Europe together, we used one backpack for clothes and one for electronics, etc, between the two of us. Each night, we were in a different hotel in a different city, so we had to carry our stuff with us the entire time. That means backpack. But for this trip, it probably means roller bag.

How long will you be gone?

Even though we’ll be gone for 4 weeks, it’s essentially 4 1-week trips. So, we need to pack for 1 week, not 4.

Will you bring home souvenirs?

We are going around the world and will be buying stuff. I hope and imagine we’ll find lots of cool stuff that we won’t want to live without. So, we’ll need space to bring things back.

Where and when will you buy stuff?

We will be in two shopping places for sure: in Stockholm, our first stop, is the flagship store for H&M, my daughter’s favorite store. In addition, our last stop is China. Everything in the world we could ever want or need will be there, and it will be super cheap. So, we can load up there on our last stop before LAX.

What’s the coldest/warmest weather of the trip?

It’s going to be cold. Many of the videos and websites I’ve visited are packing for summer weather. We’ll be in some of the coldest places I’ve ever been. Granted, it will be April. But I can’t imagine April in Moscow will be anywhere this side of warm. Thus, we’ll need warm clothing that is light weight and not bulky. That will be our biggest challenge.

Roller Bag vs Backpack

Despite the fact that all of us each have roller bags and small backpacks, I still want to investigate some other options. Although I think our current combinations would be good enough to allow for lightweight and room to bring things home, my instinct is telling me that we’ve got too much to lug. I also know that although the US is very roller-bag friendly due to our Disability Compliance laws, the rest of the world isn’t so.

Bumps, curbs, ditches, and all-around difficult terrain make pulling roller bags tedious.

Would three appropriate-sized backpacks be better, and then if we have stuff to bring home, we would just buy bags for those new things to go into? Or, maybe we combine pack–one roller for all of our clothes, one empty roller for the new stuff, and one backpack for our gadgets?

The good news is that as I figure these things out, this year’s Christmas list is easily being built!