We have decided to embark on our round the world journey to shoot and edit photos and videos, update our blog and website, and start an e-commerce store during our travels and needed the right gear. This is our ultimate packing list for our trip which encompass varying climates (super cold in Harbin for the Ice Festival, super hot and humid in South East Asia) and for the types of activities we plan on partaking in like hiking. We took some stuff we already had, acquired new items from Amazon or REI, and even upgraded our DSLR cameras to mirrorless cameras for the smaller size. We left with a back pack, front pack, and for May, a side pack in tow and share with you our belongings for this trip. Overall, our main backpacks (our home) weigh in at around 15-16.5 kg (33-37 lbs) and our carry-on bags weigh in at around 10 kg (22 lbs).
Initially, we wanted to travel with carry-ons only to avoid additional baggage fees, lost baggage, dealing with insurance claims and to also reduce the overall weight of our pack so we won’t break our backs during this trip, but, because of all our photo and computer gear and Josh’s need to carry a pocket knife and May’s need to carry vital medicine (see how she packed for her diabetic needs here), we opted to use our existing backpacking-style backpacks by checking those in and carry-on our personal bags. For those with less needs, if you can travel light with a carry-on only, do it! Even with our carry-on, we have encountered that flying on budget airlines (i.e. TigerAir Australia) enforced a strict 7kg carry-on limit or else you pay for the overage.
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Josh’s Gear & Packing List
The main backpack, the Gregory Baltoro 65L houses everything in this section except for the PacSafe Metrosafe 22L Gii, which Josh carries all of the electronic gear with and is worn on the front. Though the tripod goes in the main backpack since it can only fit in there. During travel days, both main backpacks are placed in the Sea to Summit Pack Converter Duffel and is locked so the backpack will remain clean and protected from the elements and thieves. The strap to convert to a duffel snapped off of May’s pack, so it’s not recommended to use it duffel-style unless you have a lighter bag.
May owns 3 bags, but carries 2 on travel days. The main backpack is the Osprey Ariel 65L which houses everything in this section and is compartmentalized in other bags and pouches (clothes in eBags Packing Cubes, toiletries in the toiletries bag, makeup in the pouch, feminine products in the gold fish and smaller packing cube). The frontpack on travel days and day bag on more active outing days is the JanSport Onyx Watchtower 22L which is water-resistant and contains all of the electronic gear (laptop, iPhone, battery charger) along with peripherals (multi-cord, universal travel adapter, wall adapter, cords), diabetic medicine (all orals and injectibles with some syringes, extras go in the Osprey), plastic envelope with copies of travel documents and an official note from her doctor about her health condition, the Lug Travel Safe Wallet (important cards, cash, travel tickets, pen, passport/visa photos), battery charger (lasts 3 full charges), and snacks (peanuts, wheat crackers, gummy/hard candies) for travel days. The third bag only used on light sightseeing days is a PacSafe CitySafe 200 Gii cross-body handbag. It is anti-theft and slash proof, has RFID blocking (to protect credit card chips and U.S. Passports from being scanned), with zippers that lock. When not used it’s packed in with the Osprey.
Antibiotics: Ciprofloxacin and Azithromycin to treat food poisoning, strep throat, other bacterial infections. Easily purchased cheaply over the counter in SEA. Bring some with you to start.
Oral Rehydration Salts: When you have food poisoning or are dehydrated, these help bring electrolytes back. Better than Gatorade because it’s less sweet.
Activated Charcoal: Take two pills to absorb anything upsetting your stomach. I take these before resorting to taking antibiotics like Cipro. Also great for teeth whitening.
Anti-Diarrhea (Imodium): Only take these during these situations where you can not find a toilet due to a long journey because you will end up just trapping bacteria that needs to get out of your system.
Tiger Balm: For motion sickness and nausea take a whiff, for pain in the stomach or sore muscles, massage the salve into the skin. Good for itch relief too.
Tums: For heartburn, indigestion
Anti-Malaria Pills (Malarone): Prevention of mosquito-borne diseases. Check whether or not you need to take these.
We ditched a lot of stuff because we packed it thinking we’d use it or discovered it wasn’t useful for us.
Laptop Cases: We have a designated slot in our backpacks for laptops. The extra protection the cases provided us were nice, but they added weight and were too clunky in our bags and was a hassel when we have to pull them out at airports. We gave our newly purchased laptop case to an AirBnb host in Melbourne and the other we tossed away (it was a 6 year old case that was getting worn and was much too large for the size of our laptop).
Electric Toothbrush: We sent home May’s electric toothbrush, the weight and size got to her compared to her travel-size toothbrush; Josh still has his.
CamelBack UV Sterilization Top: The top of the CamelBak bottle which featured a UV light to sanitize the water along with the accessories came with it were sent home because it was heavy and we already have a SteriPEN that did the same thing).
LifeStraw Bottle: This was lost either on the bus ride in Bali or during the ferry ride crossing from Bali to Java. Josh didn’t mind as the filter was heavy anyways.
Extra Clothes: May ditched 4 shirts (one had holes, the two shirts were cotton, the tank which was new was never worn), 2 pairs of pants, and 1 pair of shorts. Josh ditched his blue jeans as they were heavy and he prefers khaki pants anyways and tossed out a ratty t-shirt.
Extra Cables: We consolidated and tossed out 5 cables.
Headlamp: May lost her headlamp somewhere in Indonesia. When we find a suitable replacement we will get it. Now the iPhone is her backup light source.
Things We Acquired of During our Travels
GoPro Accessories: We purchased a floaty stick with a secret storage compartment and a set of filters for the GoPro.
Coin Purse: 10 Thai Baht to hold all the coins we would use frequently. Another coin purse for Josh we won from the carnival at the TBEX conference.
Tripod: May picked up a tripod to shoot long-exposure photography.
Laptop: May also picked up a new laptop since her old one was lagging badly. Sold the used laptop.
Laptop Sleeves: We needed a little protection for our laptop so dust and dirt won’t get into our electronics.
We carry our primary travel identification, backup cards, extra cash in the Lugs travel wallet and our backup documents in the gray plastic envelope. Both are always carried on person during travel days or when we are not traveling, we leave them in the hotel room safe. If a safe is not available, we leave it in our own portable PacSafe that we chain to an object in the room. It’s also recommended that you scan or take photos of your documents so you have it stored in your email inbox, Dropbox, Google Drive, with a family/friend and even on your mobile device if you have no internet access.
Travel Document Holder
International Certificate of Vaccination (Yellow Card) obtained by your health provider
Tickets for traveling on the plane, train, ferry, etc.
Copy of Passport (x2)
Copy of ID Card
Copy of International Drivers License
Copy of all your credit cards and debit cards (front and back)
Before leaving, we discovered a way to lower our travel costs by signing up for travel credit cards which offer generous rewards in the form of bonus sign up miles or points to erase purchases. The only catch is they require a minimum spending of $1,500-$3,000 during the first 2-4 months of signing on which we were able to do by paying rent, utilities, groceries, and other bills. We will cover this in more detail later. It’s important to keep your backup card in a different location from your main wallet at all times.
Credit Card (Main): Capital One Venture Visa [No Foreign Transaction Fees]
Credit Card (Backup 1): AMEX Blue Cash Back
ATM (Main): Charles Schwab Investor Checking (Personal) [NO ATM Fees]