Packing for Long Term Travel | What I Could’ve Left Behind

You already know the 8 items I can’t leave behind while traveling. Now, here’s a breakdown of everything I packed for my trip; and below, a list of the items I either didn’t use or didn’t need.

Sleep sheet & travel towel

I haven’t slept in hostels as much as I thought I would, so these items have spent much time in a dark corner of my bag. They’re nice to have now and then, but I could just as easily rent towels upon arrival to save space. My sarong from the Surf Goddess Retreat in Bali has been a much better beach companion than any pocket-sized, absorbent travel towel could ever be.

Extra Contact Lenses & Prescriptions & First Aid Supplies

I’m coming up on my second visit home, so the stockpile of medicine & contact lenses I have was just extra weight & space in my bag. It’s wonderful that my first aid kit has rarely been touched, but I think next time I head out I will leave almost everything in it behind and buy items if the need arises. The exception to the rule is Ibuprofen. I don’t dare cross the street without Ibuprofen.

Money belt & wrist wallet

I’ve never used either of these items during the whole of my travels. I suppose if I had I might have avoided pick-pocketing in Athens; but in truth I could’ve left both at home and done just fine.


I used my portable safe a few times at first, but I found it too cumbersome to lock & unlock & find something to attach it to. I gave up after the first two weeks.

Olympus Stylus Tough 8000 – Waterproof/Shockproof Camera

I just had to have this camera before I departed for my trip and sadly, I haven’t taken it out of my bag in months. Picture quality isn’t spectacular, and since it’s only tested for 10 meters, I can only take it on the most shallow dives. It certainly would’ve been helpful if I’d been using it instead of my Canon G12 during my fateful Bali bike ride, but I wasn’t. And though I did use it for whitewater rafting in New Zealand, I also ended up buying the professional shots taken by the staff anyways because they were so much better.  Between my iPhone & Canon G12, this extra equipment has been redundant for me and I definitely regret not purchasing the underwater housing for my Canon G12 instead.

Eagle Creek Twist 65L

This bag has been a wonderful traveling companion – super durable – and it has served me well these 8 months, but I’ve never used the convertible backpack straps. Not once! It’s just too heavy for me – I’ll topple like an upturned turtle and I’d rather not suffer that humiliation. The extra hardware adds a few pounds and I think I’d rather use that extra space for more clothes. If you definitely will use the straps, it’s an awesome bag… but I think I might convert to a simple wheeled suitcase on the next go ’round.

Note: wallets, camera, PacSafe, etc. for sale =)

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17 thoughts on “Packing for Long Term Travel | What I Could’ve Left Behind”

  1. Interesting post. Although, most of the things you have listed above we certainly have used quite often in our travels. The quick-dry travel towels were a must in South America, and we used our sleep sheet when we had our first bed bug attack in Argentina. We didn’t have a pacsafe, but I did lug around a laptop lock and ensured our macbook was secured to something in our rooms (gave me a little piece of mind).

    First aid, I can pretty much agree with you in that the only thing we used quite often were bandaids and moleskins for scrapes and blisters, so that probably could have gone, That being said, if I did get rid of it, I would probably need it soon after.

    Too bad about the camera, sounds like you had pretty high expectations and it didn’t even come close…

    All in all, we learn right? and travel allows us to do so.

    Happy lighter travels and good luck with the item sale 🙂

  2. I just wrote a post like this from our road trip (not published yet). Though it says something like, things I didn’t need: 57 sundresses, sandals, all things summer. Things I did need: rain boots, my parka. Heh.

    1. I feel like I can never have enough of what I need. My bag is such a hodge-podge. Backpacker clothes, beach clothes, nice clothes to wear out, nice clothes to wear to church… I need a portable closet, not a 65L bag!

  3. Definitely agree about the travel belt. I never use it. Also, about the travel sheet. Just never seen the need. The spare/backup camera is also true, though they can be nice when going out partying. Still, even that seldom ends up happening. Once bagged. Always bagged.

  4. I totally agree with the money/ankle belt. I find it dreadfully uncomfortable and my money belt actually came off once without me even noticing! I lost a credit card and money 🙁 I think if you wouldn’t use it at home why have it on the road.

  5. So much of the gear people say we need, we don’t actually need. Still, at least you weren’t lugging a PacSafe.

    And, wow, the emotional progression from the nervous traveller lined up with things to protect you from thieves and someone happy in our largely safe world. There’s a journey right in that little list.

  6. Just stumbled onto this now. I’ve been on the road almost 3 months and I have yet to use my travel towel or sleep sheet once. Although I’m convinced if I toss them, I’ll end up needing them. 🙂 I decided last minute not to bring a PacSafe (just seemed too bulky and I was running low on space) and haven’t regretted that at all. Most places I’ve stayed, including trains, I’m not sure where I could’ve even attached it.

    And I have a regular Eagle Creek backpack but I am wishing I had a suitcase instead. I find the backpack so cumbersome and just doesn’t fit everything I wish I had with me.

  7. Interesting persepective. We’re seven months into our RTW and have been tossing things along the way. Goodbye men’s sport coat, umbrella,first aid kit and stuff we can’t even remember so we guess we don’t miss it.


    Larissa and Michael

  8. And here I was feeling guilty for never using my money belt… thinking all the ‘good’ travellers would laugh at me for taking unnecessary risks! Nice to know that we’re all just winging it 🙂

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