How We Pack

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series How We...:

  1. How We Budget
  2. How We Pack
  3. How We Choose Where to Stay

Sara did a great job explaining what we packed for our trip, and I thought it would be interesting to discuss how we pack. Packing is something we did very frequently; we were on the move usually every 2-4 nights. With everything she listed, we fit it all our gear in two 40L bags and one 15L backpack. We have met some travelers who carry this much as one person! Because of this lack of bulk, we can pack our whole bag in roughly 15 minutes. How? By following the old adage, a place for everything and a thing in every place.

There are usually three scenarios that we have to pack for:

  1. Normal travel
  2. Flights
  3. Overnight land travel (night trains and buses)

Normal travel is just that, normal. Kyle is usually in charge of packing the smaller backpack, which always (in all situations) holds the items that are most valuable and items we always need accessible. This includes all the expensive electronics and their chargers, headphones, deck of cards, rain coats (you never know when it’ll downpour), screen cleaner, mini-medicine kit (with tums, antidiarrheals, ibuprofen). The other bags get packed normally and we usually just split up our own stuff. So Kyle takes his clothes, plus a few of Sara’s, and Sara takes the rest of her clothes and all the medicine. Choose an item from the list, and we can tell you what bag it’s in – consistency is key, and it makes packing (which we do far too often) less of a chore.

For flights, we usually only check Kyle’s bag, so that means moving anything valuable out of it, and moving all big liquids (shampoo, sunscreen, etc) and sharp objects (pocket knife) over to it. We keep all the big liquids together in one bag all the time so it’s easy to just move the entire bag over. We also move as much heavy stuff over to Kyle’s bag as well (shoes, other non-essential toiletries), since all our gear is < 50 lbs, there’s no way we would ever reach the weight limit with just one bag.

Overnight land travel happens infrequently, but just often enough we have to be conscious about what we pack. The key is making sure what you need for the overnight (sleeping clothes, toothbrush and contact solution, etc.) is accessible and available in one bag. It also means making extra sure that all bags are locked up and the keys/valuable valuables are on our person, as this is the means of travel most susceptible to theft.

Each of these scenarios caught us by surprise the first time we encountered them (“Crap! Where are our toothbrushes?” on a train in Thailand) so hopefully this will give you a bit of insight into what packing is like for us.

<< How We BudgetHow We Choose Where to Stay >>
This entry was posted in Trip Planning. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.