Packing Tips for Long Term Travel

Featured, Packing & Wardrobe — By on October 6, 2011 at 2:48 pm

International Travel Suitcase

Ready to take off—but not sure how to plan for the getaway? Check out our new Guide to First Time Travel!
By Amanda King
Special to the Lost Girls 

Packing is always tricky, but packing for a long term trip can be especially daunting. To ease your pre-trip trepidations, we’ve compiled a list of packing tips that will allow for smoother sailing through train stations and airport terminals– or as you set up residency in a foreign locale. Keep these tips in mind, whether you’re packing for an around the world jaunt or moving abroad for a year.


Pay attention to details

When traveling long term, it is especially important to look-up, and follow, government recommendations and travel precautions before you leave.

No matter where you’re headed, always keep these four points in mind:

• Be sure to make copies of your passport and all-important documents, and keep them with someone at home. Make a second copy to keep with you, and we recommend keeping an electronic copy on your computer or in your email account. This may seem paranoid, but better paranoid than stranded.

• Register with the nearest U.S. Embassy at your long term destination.

• Bring all necessary prescriptions and refill scrips.

• Two words: travelers insurance.

 Know what isn’t available

Take this with a grain of salt if you’re doing a RTW trip, because if there isn’t something in one city or country, you should be able to find it elsewhere on your trip.

Keep in mind, that in some countries it will be much harder to find the feminine hygiene products, and toiletries you’re used to at home. One way to make sure to pack all of your familiar necessities, is to just go through your bathroom and list everything that is in there, and stock up on whatever you really can’t live without. You don’t need to take your favorite shampoo or your favorite perfume – part of the fun of being somewhere long-term is getting confused (and usually ripped off) while shopping locally.

You only have 100 pounds

At first, 100 pounds may seem like a lot, but you’ll be surprised how fast it fills up. First off, take into consideration the weight of the bag itself, which probably will take up about five pounds. Also remember – you are packing the essentials for four seasons! You’re going to have to cut out a lot of what you thought you would be able to bring, and don’t forget any necessary prescriptions. To be the most efficient packer, focus on the basics for each season and your prescriptions, plus the necessary toiletries.

Consider the weather

If you’re going to be living in one place for a long time, know what the seasons will be like. Packing for Singapore would be much different than packing for Russia. If you’re going to countries that only have one or two seasons, you will be able to fit a few more discretionary items in your luggage. You may also want to consider other environmental factors, for example, if you’re packing for China, it may be a good idea to avoid white clothing– as the pollution would make it difficult to keep clean.

More money, more problems

Check with your bank before you go. How are you going to be getting funds? Are there sister ATMs abroad that you can use that don’t have ATM fees for usage (Bank of America, has quite a few sister banks)? Check what the transaction fees and exchange fees are with your credit cards – and if you don’t have a credit card it is recommended you get one, simply as an emergency backup.

Are you going to be carrying around cash? Traveler’s checks? Pre-loaded debit-credit cards? And if you’re staying in one location will your employers be setting up (or at least directing you on how to set-up) a local bank account for you? Money is an important thing . Look into what your countries’ inclinations are towards credit cards. For example, China doesn’t really understand the idea of credit, so only the larger international chains accept credit cards, and even then sometimes it can be a hassle.

Overall – make sure to do your research – thoroughly. And always remember to pack light. Even if you’re traveling around the world – most hostels and hotels will have a laundry service! These tips may seem straightforward and obvious, but keep them in mind and your back will thank you.

Oh, and one more thing – leave room for souvenirs!


Amanda King is a writer and traveler. Currently, she’s happily ensconced in Saratoga Springs, NY – but is starting to itch to go somewhere new. She’s thinking Romania. Anyone like to join? (Or have a couch to crash on?)


Thumbnails courtesy of Elitatt

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  • tobi says:

    Please I’d love to contribute an article on your blog with the topic “top 5 ZOO you can visit as family for a vacation” but dont know if should send it through this medium.