General Minimal Packing List

Everyone travels differently, and thus this list may not be exactly what you need, but maybe it can give you some inspiration.

These are the things I would pack if I could only take very minimal baggage with me. They have proven useful for quite a few journeys now.

  • The obvious: Passport, any tickets needed, money & credit card or whatever you plan to use to get money (I’m very happy with a credit card that lets me get money from the machines for free worldwide and even gives me good currency rates)
  • Additionally, a mobile phone is quite useful. Mine only needs charging for longer journeys.
  • Another useful item is a digital camera, even if you’re not into photography (in this case, brilliant if your phone has one). It allows you to carry a lot of visual and written information with you, such as those map signs you find in a lot of places, or rarely used maps you want to take, travel schedules, opening times, even a guide book if you take the time to take pictures of the relevant pages.
  • Something to write with – a pen will suffice. Paper usually turns up from somewhere (receipts, for example, or brochures), but better take some too.
  • A general map of the area you’re travelling. I usually pick them up en route. If you’re just free-floating it’s good to have a general idea of where you are, where you can go and where all the wonderful places are that everyone tells you about.
  • Some food. You may arrive someplace late and after all the shops closed, simply have no shop nearby or they charge horrendous rates. The thing I recommend is one or two bags of scroggin (trail mix). It can keep you going all day if needed and is quite light for the amount of energy it has. A small bottle of water is also good, but water usually is easier to come by.
  • If you’re not just going to cities, a small torch can be a very neat thing.
  • A bandana. It can be used for warmth, to support ankles and wrists, to transport stuff, against the sun, to get the oil out of a coconut, a flag… endless possibilities.
  • Depending on the location, a woollen hat and thin gloves or a sun hat and sun lotion can make your life a lot easier.

Now, if you’re adequately dressed, you can be fine with these. Of course I normally take more stuff like extra clothes and toiletries, but I always make sure to take the above things.

The most extreme example of light travelling I met was a 17-year-old guy from Eastern Europe (can’t remember the country) who had hitchhiked to France in summer and had a small daypack not even half full with one extra set of clothes, a writing pad with a pen, a bottle of water, a small camera, his passport and some money. And that was all he had with him, apart from the things he wore.

What things do you absolutely recommend for travelling?


3 responses to “General Minimal Packing List

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention General Minimal Packing List « Into the Wild --

  2. The Boys' Travel Blog

    I have a penpal in china and when I traveled there he met up with us in Guilin. He had a change of underwear, toothbrush, toothpaste, a comb, an extra tshirt and a pair of shorts, aside from the shirt and trousers he had on. I was so proud of traveling for a month with only a carry on. I’m an amateur by comparison.


  3. I’d never make a backpacker, but I like the minimalist lifestyle.

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