Helpful Long-Term Travel Packing Tips To Avoid A Meltdown

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Helpful Long-Term Travel Packing Tips To Avoid A Meltdown - My Normal Gay Life Blog
Packed and Ready!

Packing for a trip is one of my least favorite activities. Now, you know what’s worse than packing? Forgetting your luggage at home. Yeah, Alfred and I once left all of our clothes at home when we took a road trip to Gainesville, Florida so he could take a final exam for his graduate program. We spent all day driving down to the University of Florida and when we arrived at our Airbnb, we realized we’d left our luggage at home. I say “we”, but Alfred packed in the morning and it was his responsibility to put it in the car. Needless to say, I was a bit stressed out and a bit annoyed. Ultimately, it turned out fine because we simply bought new clothes for the trip but it’s not something you want to do. But a packing list would have helped make this situation less stressful.

While it’s just no fun trying to figure out how many shirts, pants, and other items you might need; it’s even less fun not having these items during a trip. On top of this, trying to remember all the essential toiletries, electronics, and anything else you might need is such a huge bother. But it’s absolutely necessary. For any trip, it’s a good idea to create a short packing list.

  1. Sit down and write everything you think you might need.
  2. Then walk away from it for a bit.
  3. Come back
  4. Review the list
  5. Remove at least one item.

I employ this method with every trip, no matter the length. Treat a 1 week trip the same as a 1 month trip when it comes to packing. Employ the method above and try to only pack enough for about a week. It’s important to make the list because it will help keep organized and you’ll definitely realize whether or not you are packing too much. In the end, you really don’t need to take your entire closet full of clothing. Trust me, I understand wanting to have choices. What if you attend a ball? You might need your glass slippers, right? But the reality is you should only take a week’s-worth of clothing and other items because you’ll be able to do laundry in most places and there are stores where you can purchase an item you might need. Just try to pack clothing and colors that are versatile and can be worn in various combinations. Then it’ll seem like you have tons of outfits when you don’t!

If you’re still struggling, here’s my packing list for long-term travel. You might notice, it’s a relatively short list. That’s because I try to pack as little as possible although I do pack a bit more than a week’s-worth. What can I say? I like choices! In October 2016, I traveled around Ecuador for about a month. If I had a closet-worth of clothing, the weight of my pack alone would have ruined it for me. Instead, I had enough clothing to be able to change it up and did laundry when I needed it. I also recommend only caring one main piece of luggage and a carry-on sized backpack. Most your stuff will be in the main luggage and the backpack will hold more important item such as electronics…not to mention it’s easier to haul around a backpack.

*Traveling to Europe this fall? Check out the complete packing list for Europe! 


Side note: I make use of packing cubes. Essentially, they’re awesome little zippered bags to help you organize all your clothes. Make sure to roll your clothes and then just put them in the packing cube. This list is for a trip spanning many climates, so I would need pants and shorts but you can adjust based on the climate your visiting. 

  • T-shirts x 5
  • Tank Tops x 3
  • Jeans x 2
  • Shorts x 4
  • Button down shirt x 1
  • Underwear x 15 (I always take more than enough)
  • Socks x 10 (I always take a more than enough and a mixture of crew and short socks)
  • Swimsuit/speedo x 1
  • Fleece pullover x 1
  • Jacket x 1 (you can wear this as you actually travel)
  • Athletic shoes/Hiking boots x 1 pair
  • Sandals x 1 pair
  • Casual shoes x 1 pair (wear while you fly etc. Nice enough to go our in or to dress up)

Side note: There are certain things you will definitely miss so make sure you bring those with you. Additionally try to buy travel sized items and keep in mind you can always purchase items so you don’t need to bring your entire medicine cabinet. 

  • Shampoo and Conditioner
  • Contact lenses and solution (if you use them)
  • Face wash
  • Deodorant
  • Travel towel or wash cloth
  • Sunscreen
  • Body lotion
  • Fingernail clippers
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss
  • Chapstick x 2
  • Q-tips
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Drugs
    • Pain relievers such as Aspirin/Ibuprofen
    • Multi-vitamins, supplements, Vitamin B, Vitamin C, zinc, fiber, probiotics, etc.
    • Anti-Malarial (if needed), alkaseltzer, any prescription meds
    • Band aids and first aid (but don’t go overboard)
  • Condoms (I hesitate to add this but sex is part of life. If you think there is a chance it might happen, be prepared)
  • Cologne (not necessary but I like to pack it)
  • Cell phone
  • Laptop computer
  • iPad
  • Camera/GoPro
  • Earphones
  • Chargers for phone, computer, ipad, camera, etc
  • External Hard drive (thin and compact…only pack if you know you need it)
  • Memory cards
  • Collapsible water bottle
  • notebook and pens
  • passport
  • travel insurance
  • flight information
  • Cash stash
  • Debit/credit card
  • Rubber bands
  • Travel lock and key
  • Sunglasses
  • Travel bug spray (if you’re going to an area where you’ll need it)
  • Travel pillow and blindfold

Now this list isn’t exactly definitive. Your packing needs might be different based on your own personal preferences as well as your gender. However, this packing list will definitely help streamline the process. No matter what, remember to make a list. It helps immensely!

J Harvey

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Packing List for long-term travel by My Normal Gay Life Blog

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J. Harvey

J Harvey is a travel writer based in North Carolina. With two masters degrees, he decided to forget working a normal 9-5 job and instead create a travel blog focusing on travel for a more inclusive community. He hopes to increase LGBT representation within the travel industry while inspiring others to travel in whatever capacity.

J. Harvey has 185 posts and counting. See all posts by J. Harvey

20 thoughts on “Helpful Long-Term Travel Packing Tips To Avoid A Meltdown

  • August 15, 2017 at 8:14 pm

    Nice list. I also have a list. My list is long and depends on a trip I can tick what I need. By the way, I never left my bag home, I can’t believe you did it, but I always say as long as you have your documents with you, the rests are not very important and you can buy them in the destination

    • August 16, 2017 at 1:18 pm

      Well, I don’t like to spend money on things I already have so I try to pack smartly. But you’re right…you can usually find anything you need wherever your going!

  • August 15, 2017 at 4:08 am

    Really great tips – I try to travel as light as possible, and even on my longest trips I’ve come home with things I never touched or saw wear. I LOVE that you mentioned you use packing cubes – I’m obsessed! Keeps my luggage so organized, and makes it 10 times quicker and easier to pack.

    • August 16, 2017 at 1:17 pm

      Packing cubes completely change the way I travel! They help me not over pack and I even use one for my toiletries. I love those little cubes of cloth.

  • August 13, 2017 at 6:37 pm

    I’m trying to convince my god daughter that a list is essential. I’ll be sending her your post. And, I am curious about the packing cubes – I was wondering if they were useful…

    • August 25, 2017 at 7:31 pm

      Packing cubes are a necessity when I travel now. They help me keep organize and ensure I don’t overpack!

  • August 13, 2017 at 3:03 am

    This is my waterloo, packing list for long term travel. I always end up buying things, having things sent or sending things home. I should learn to pack better.

    • August 25, 2017 at 7:33 pm

      I tend to take at least one thing I don’t need with me as hard as I try to be smart about it all. Sending things home is fine as long as you can afford to do so. My husband visits me during many of my trips and when he leaves, he usually takes some stuff home for me. 🙂

  • August 12, 2017 at 11:41 am

    You’ve provided a nice-to-go list. In my travels, I usually forget at-least one of the important things. Pinning your article for my future travels.

    • August 14, 2017 at 3:02 pm

      Oh awesome! Well, I tried to be a thorough as possible!

  • August 12, 2017 at 11:26 am

    Fantastic packing list! It is true, you only need 7-10 days worth of clothes. Love reading your articles!

    • August 14, 2017 at 3:03 pm

      Yup! Most places will have a way for us to do our laundry. I always say traveling should be similar to living at home. Why change out behavior when it comes to these things. And thank you so much!

  • August 12, 2017 at 11:00 am

    I always overpack, it is slightly easier to pack clothes for hot countries rather than cold ones. I see you pack the speedos, brave man, for the sake of others I tend to opt for the board shorts.

    • August 14, 2017 at 3:04 pm

      Speedos are liberating! They are my swimwear of choice but I always pack a more conservative suit too just in case!

  • August 12, 2017 at 9:11 am

    Haha, I’ve actually seen something similar to your first piece of advice about making a list, walking away, then returning and removing at least one item – but the version I saw suggested removing HALF the items!! Seriously, this is good advice – I prefer to travel light too, and my list isn’t significantly different to yours. I tend to take travel-sized toiletries, then replace them with local products when they run out – but obviously this will depend on which country/countries you’re travelling in!

    • August 14, 2017 at 3:05 pm

      Exactly! I really don’t agree with reducing what you take by half. I find that my packing list is pretty small as it is if I am traveling for 2-3 months or more. Even trying to account for every scenario that could come out, I typically am missing something.

  • August 12, 2017 at 8:29 am

    Great tips here and I absolutely agree that you should plan for a month long trip like a week long trip because that really is all you need and all you’ll want to carry. I did this for my three month-long trip as well and you can always do laundry on the road. I used to be that person who overpacked but when I started traveling light, I thanked myself each time for being sensible to not bring luggage that equalled half my weight!

    • August 14, 2017 at 3:06 pm

      Indeed! I love traveling fairly light. It reduces the amount of money spent on luggage as well…especially with airlines that seem to want to get every dollar they can out of us!


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