Photo courtesy of roundabouttravel.com.au

I really like them… my Speedos.  I mean they have an American Flag on the front! I won’t dare to share what they have on the back (you really shouldn’t judge people).  But now that I have your attention I will share that the main problem with an around the world trip is that you aren’t planning on coming back for a long time, keyword: long time.  There are many reasons why I am excited about living in South America, packing however is not one of them.  When packing you have to be both practical and smart about what you actually need and what you really want to take.  You don’t want your suitcase bursting out of the seams where it’s going to fall apart and everyone is going to see your underwear at the airport, yes it does happen and you can read about it here.

Backpackers fit all of their belongings into one bag since they are fairly nomadic throughout their travels.  I consider myself a “homepacker” because I find apartments when living overseas and make a home base and then backpack from there.  As I day trade in the stock market I have to put all my technology in my carry-on luggage since I can’t afford to have it stolen or “misplaced”.  As I struggle to repack things I only need here are some tips you can consider for packing.

Everything that you want to take on your trip should be placed on your bed and then separated into what you need and what you really want.  There is a significant difference there; ladies you don’t need 5 pairs of shoes, men: leave the sponge bob boxers at home.  Here are some examples of what I did to save on space and maximize weight.  It’s helpful to make a list for your trip whether you are going overseas for an extended period of time or if you’re taking a two week vacation.  This will allow you to realize what needs actually are.  After you have your list then you can consider other items “that you really want” which can fit into the extra spaces in your luggage.  You can cut on time and weight by taking just a carry-on and a book bag.  Here is what my list looks like:

What I Need list:


-all technology  (laptops, cables, etc)

-cameras + batteries and chargers

-socks for a week

-underwear for a week

-American flag Speedos (don’t judge me, you really never know right?)

-1/2 pairs of shorts

20 t-shirts 10 t-shirts

– 20 button down shirts (really?) 5 button down shirts for those classy events

6 pairs of jeans (how many jeans can you really need?) 2 pairs of jeans

3 bottles of cologne 1 bottle of cologne

– 1 pair of sneakers, 1 pair of sandals.

– Patience and Sanity

Here are some additional tips that you can consider:

  • Make sure to pack 2/3 days in advance so you don’t have to rush and forget things
  • Make sure to write out a list of what you need and then add in extra items that you really want if you have the space
  • Bundle socks, underwear, and undershirts in your shoes to maximize space and weight
  • Place sneakers & jeans into your carry-on luggage (heaviest items).  Remember 12 oz = 1 pound
  • People aren’t going to notice the same pair of jeans if you wear them often: 1 or 2 pairs is more than enough
  • Try to bring more light t-shirts and less heavy clothes
  • Wear your bulkiest shoes to save weight


  1. I’ve found that whether it’s a two-week trip or a two-year trip, the packing often won’t be much different. All you really need, as you implied with your list, is enough clothes to last one week, as you’ll of course be doing laundry (I assume!).

  2. Yes when ppl come visit they actually bring less!! Its better to find an apt with a washer and dryer rather than paying 50 to 90 bucks for extra weight limit… thanks for the comment earl!

  3. Thats a great idea… I keep everything stored in three places… I have both my laptops and back up hard drive plus I place everything in both my cell phones also so I never lose anything. Do you save everything on your laptops as well?

  4. I can relate to some of the tips you shared above. For example, I do make a list of things I need to bring for a hiking trip like insect repellent, poncho. And yes, I wore my heavy hiking shoes to save luggage space and bring along a slipper.

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