Packing… What do you take when you go away for a year?!

We visited loads of outdoor / camping shops and tried many, many different types of luggage. We finally agreed on the Osprey Farpoint range of travel bags as they are well reviewed, come with a lifetime guarantee and in a range of sizes and styles that appeared to fit each member of the family. Aaron and I have the 55L versions, which each have a detachable zip-off day pack (as seen in photos), Ruben has the slightly smaller 40L version and Rosie has a 50L wheeled version.

We decided to take carry-on sized bags to reduce airport hassles and additional costs when we book additional internal flights … Technically the 55L versions are generally over the airline maximum carry-on size limit, but I have read many blogs which state these were mainly acceptable with most airlines.  However, to be able to do this, they can’t be totally stuffed full; plus we need to be able to carry them (!), so this means we need to be frugal with what we take.

Bottom line- is it possible to take a years worth of stuff in a bag small enough to use as hand luggage?!

Everything packedYes it is ! Here’s the proof !

So, how did we do it ?

There are lots of things we must take which are non-negotiable.

  • Passports, tickets, bank cards, visas, iPhones, money…..
  • Kindles for the kids
  • Lap-top for the kids to do their work on and of course, to be able to blog easily
  • All the associated cables and plugs (plus adapters for overseas use!)
  • Pro-lite mattresses x2. We’ve read this is a popular and cheap way to travel in Asia as a family with kids, as you can check-in to a small double room and the kids can use these to sleep on, as if camping…
  • First Aid kit
  • Sun cream
  • Trainers. It may seem like a silly idea and we may be crazy to even consider it, but Aaron and I would love to do some amazing runs in some of the great locations we’ll visit. A good way to keep fit and healthy whilst on the road and a good way for some peace and quiet alone-time, which may be necessary after 24/7 travelling altogether….
  • Bikinis, trunks, UV suits for the kids
  • Flip-flops – for all of us!
  • Small choice of clothes- we’ll wear heaviest when travelling- 1 pair of trousers and a fleece jumper. Then a few changes of clothes – very patterned (to hide the dirt!), generally non-cotton (easy to wash and quick to dry!) with the assumption that we’ll get other bits and pieces on the way…

As for pants…. I won’t even go into detail about the last time I took special ‘holiday pants’ away with me. Won’t be making that mistake a second time….

Content of bag no.1

Top tip to avoid potential disaster – pack something for everyone in each of the bags. This means if your luggage goes missing, one person won’t be completely stuffed with nothing to wear!

In this bag, we all have a change of clothes and underwear, 1 beach outfit (bikini, UV suit etc), a couple of towels and a few accessories….

Spot the Shewee ?

Spot the She-Wee









Some clever little travel essentials…

  1. The Thermarest Pro-Lite mattress. Weighing in at just over 500g, these self-inflating mattresses may come in useful if we can’t book a family room and need an extra bed or two of the family
  2. Silk sleeping bag liners. Generally a great idea for keeping yourself bed-mite free in some of the less salubrious accommodation we’re likely to come across in SE Asia. Also good for wrapping up on long plane and train journeys as can be used as a scarf / sarong type thing
  3. TrekMate deluxe travel pillow. Good for long journeys and as extra pillow in dodgy accommodation
  4. LifeSystems mosquito nets. Impregnated with DEET to kill any little sods that even come close. Apparently easy to hang. We’ll see….
  5. Travel towels. These are tried and tested and quite honestly one of the best inventions ever. They are super light, fold up extra small and dry literally in minutes. And unbelievably, sand won’t stick to them !
  6. Highlander waterproof rucksack cover. This folds out over the bag to ensure that even in monsoon rain (of which I’m sure we’ll see our fair share!) the bag doesn’t leak and the contents stay dry. Fingers crossed !
  7. LifeSystems travel plugs. Apparently lots of sinks in Asia do not have plugs. Good idea in principle, but tricky if you need to do practical things like washing up, clothes washing, shaving…. These plugs are supposed to be universal and seal up any plug hole.
  8. Travel power adapters. We have quite a few of these to cover the different countries / regions we’ll be visiting.
  9. Multi-socket power extension lead. So we can charge / use various bits of equipment at the same time, without needing millions of travel power adapters. Genius.
  10. Solid shampoo and conditioner bars from LUSH. These are supposedly brilliant products that last for ages, weigh almost nothing
  11. Pacsafe backpack and bag protector. This is a lightweight, steel mesh that wraps around luggage to avoid anyone tampering or being able to remove items, either in transit, or can be used to secure a bag to a fixed item – e.g. toilet, to avoid theft in an unaccompanied hotel room. Be good to keep the tech safe whilst we’re at the beach.
  12.  Every single sample sized product I have collected from magazines from recent years… shampoo, perfume, cleansing and facial creams – you name it, I’ve got it. For a bit of hassle-free luxury whilst we’re away. And you never know, if the product is any good, I may even get a proper sized version at a duty-free store !
  13. Travel washing line and pegs. Exactly what it says….
  14. Scrunch buckets for the kids. A soft, portable bucket for sandcastles and collecting things in at the beach. They fold up small and are light and easy to pack.
  15. Packing cubes from Packeze – these enable us to organise our packing to avoid tangled cables, lost underwear and jumbled up clothes.
  16. King of Shaves shaving oil claims to contain 100 shaves worth of product in 1 tiny 15ml bottle. Whether that refers to shaving 100 moustaches or 100 full legs, I’m not sure. In 10 months time I’ll check the state of my legs and armpits and I’ll let you know. If Aaron comes home with a full beard, you’ll know it ran out…
  17. Tennis ball. You have no idea how much fun this creates at the beach. 1 ball = literally hours of throw and catch. HOURS.
  18. Mountain warehouse dry bag. For bringing home wet beach stuff. Containing dirty washing. Also can be used as an additional packing cube.
  19. Shewee. If you don’t know, look it up. This might save me from some horrors in SE Asia. Back to the toilet theme again…

3 thoughts on “Packing… What do you take when you go away for a year?!”

  1. You guys are amazing, super organised. It’s just fantastic what you are all doing. Looking forward to following your adventure over the next 10 months. Have fun Xx

    1. Glad you found it useful Karen! 9 months in, the most useful bits of kit have been the washing lines, the sleeping bag liners, the travel pillows (so many bad pillows in Asia…!), the travel plugs and the multi socket plug that uses just 1 travel adaptor but can charge up to 5 electronic devices at once! Genius!

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travelling the world with the kids in tow….

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