Long-term travelers learn lasting luggage lessons.
How’s that for some travel-related alliteration? In this post, I discuss how to pack for long term travels without breaking your back carrying a shit load of luggage.
I have been traveling the world with my wife Kelli for over 6 years.
We gradually accepted the fact that digital nomads like ourselves need to be minimalists.
Not because we wanted to be labeled as minimals. But out of necessity.
After carrying around huge suitcases and packing enough clothes to last us 6 lifetimes we finally realized that less is more.
If you are a digital nomad or plan to travel for months or years follow these tips to pack effectively for long-term travels.
Suitcase and Backpack
Another great tip on how to pack for long-term travel is to travel with a moderate to smaller suitcase.
Travel with a backpack.
Rolling around a suitcase and carrying a smallish backpack makes your life easier as a long-term traveler.
Resist any temptation to travel with more than this delightful duo.
Lighten your energetic – and physical – load while being on the road for months or years.
Light and Laundry Please
I learned this lesson the hard way.
When I began traveling the world over 6 years ago I recall buying a suitcase that would have suited King Kong.
I proceeded to fill the suitcase with clothes for a month. I wish I were kidding. But I am not.
I also packed jeans, sweaters and all manner of warm clothes even though I was planning to travel through Southeast Asia.
After months of lugging around a massive suitcase filled with a heavy load of clothes I vividly recall seeing the suitcase literally burst at the seams with a bent frame and tattered cloth hanging from the edges.
The huge size along with the overweight load literally destroyed the case.
Now I pack light, with smallish suitcase and I do plenty of laundry wherever we happen to be staying.
Pack for 7 to 10 days. Do laundry when you are out of fresh clothes.
The minimal investment made on doing laundry frequently both saves you money by staying below luggage weight thresholds on airlines and also lengthens the life of your suitcase itself. Forget about the stress you’ll avoid by not having to carry around your suitcase as if you were Sisyphus rolling a boulder up a hill.
Plan for Climate
Packing jeans, sweaters and dress shoes and dressier, fancy-wear clothes was a silly mistake if I planned to spend almost 2 years in Southeast Asia.
Which of course, I did.
I recall being afraid that I’d find a cool weather climate at some higher elevation in that region and believing I’d freeze into an ice cube.
Outside of some chilly, 50 degrees Fahrenheit nights in Chiang Mai during December I rarely saw temperatures drop below 70 in virtually every location during our trip.
Even in Chiang Mai, I could have bought a pair of sweatpants and ski cap if I felt a wee bit chilly during late night hours.
Pack with the climate in mind.
As a rule of thumb, if you foresee spending time in a varying climate, you can always buy clothes in the location and simply leave them behind after you move on.
The exception; if you plan to travel to steamy hot and icy cold climates during the same long term trip be at peace with the fact that you will have to pack more clothing. Even then, you can still pack relatively light and do laundry more frequently to lighten your luggage load.
Go Minimal on Your Work/Pleasure Tech
You may love your tech.
But you may need to leave a few things behind to lighten the load.
At most, consider taking your smartphone, laptop, and digital camera. Or switch the digital camera to a tablet if your smartphone camera is high quality.
Tech stuff can weigh you down unless you limit your tech luggage.
Remember; you are lugging this stuff around for months if not years. Go light. Go lean. If you do bring 3-4 techie devices pick out the lightest weight pieces.
I travel with a lightweight (literally) Chromebook, a small smartphone and a little but quality digital camera.
If you are a digital nomad or plan to do long-term traveling and want to know how to pack buy my eBook:
What packing tips can you add to this list?
About the Author
Ryan Biddulph is a blogger, author and world traveler who’s been featured on Richard Branson’s Virgin Blog, Forbes, Fox News, Entrepreneur, Positively Positive, LifeHack, John Chow Dot Com and Neil Patel Dot Com. He has written and self-published 126 bite-sized eBooks on Amazon. Ryan can help you build a successful blog at Blogging From Paradise.