What to pack for a ‘Round the World’ trip

What to pack for a ‘Round the World’ trip

30 August 2011 | By Lavanya

Topics: Trip Planning


Before you start any backpacking trip, there are always a few important questions you ask yourself. One of them being – what all do you possibly pack for this?

Packing has never been my strength. I somehow always manage to successfully over-pack oscillating in a confused state of mind between ‘you never knows’ and ‘what ifs’.

And one could often wonder that if you pack 5 pairs of clothes for a 5 day trip, so for a 10 month long trip you pack… your whole wardrobe?! Fortunately for me, neither is that the right answer nor do I have the upper body strength to carry all that on my back anyway.

So it seems like all you need are clothes enough for a week and then you just reuse them. And yes, you’re right, that means doing laundry on the road! (Guess which part of the trip I’m not looking forward to the most)

Contents of Lavanya's backpack

Lavanya's stuff


To give you a better idea of what we finally decided to take with us, here’s the packing lists of all the things going in to our backpacks:

My list

Pawel’s list

Backpacks – Lavanya

Backpacks – Pawel

  • Northface Terra 55 ltrs women’s backpack (black):
    This pack fits perfectly even though I went against all the advice on choosing a pack and bought it online without trying it out first.
  • Karrimor Hot Rock 30 ltrs day pack:
    This one is a hand me down from Pawel but is as rugged as they come. Good thing too as its gonna carry my  all my precious gadgets for the entire trip.
  • Campus 80ltrs men’s backpack
  • North Face Surge Men’s backpack (black):
    Pawel chose this general backpack over a camera specific backpack for the ample space it offers.

Electronics – Lavanya

Electronics – Pawel

  • Canon 550D + 18-55mm IS kit lens:
    Replacing my 2 yr old Nikon D40 which worked like a charm but I felt it was time for an upgrade and having the same brand between us would mean being able to share lenses on the road.
  • Canon 50mm lens:
    I got this one free with the Canon 550D kit, sweet deal.
  • 2 UV filters for both lenses
  • 1 lens pen
  • 2 memory cards of 8GB and 4GB each
  • Packard Bell VR 46 netbook:
    Replacing my old Compaq which had lasted me 5 long years, seen me through college, been dragged around Europe wrapped only in a shawl and thrown in my backpack. Not so long for a laptop you think? It was a hand me down from my brother!
  • 1 Nokia 1616 phone:
    Costs 25$, battery lasts a week. Need I say more?
  • Seagate 500GB external hard disk + cover
  • Transcend 8 GB pen drive
  • 1 camera bag:
    Goes into the smaller backpack
  • Canon 5D mark l camera
  • Canon 17-40 mm lens
  • Canon 35 mm lens
  • Canon 70-210 mm lens
  • 1 UV filter for the 17-40 mm lens
  • 1 lens pen
  • ASUS U31J 13” laptop
  • iOmega 1TB external hard disk
  • 1 plastic lunch box
    To serve as a cover for the hard drive
  • 8GB Sandisk pen drive
  • 1GB BASF pen drive
  • 2 memory cards 8GB CF each
  • Memory card reader
  • 1 spare battery for the camera
  • 1 Nokia N51
  • 1 Nokia 1600
  • Sony Walkman MP3 player
  • Philips Electric shaver
  • Screen cleaning cloth
  • 1 wristwatch
  • 3 lens covers
  • 1 camera pouch

Clothes – Lavanya

Clothes – Pawel

  • 1 Northface rain jacket
  • 1 Attiq 300 fleece jacket
  • 1 light fleece 100 jacket
    (ok so sue me I tend to get really cold)
  • 5 short sleeve t-shirts
  • 5 long sleeve t-shirts
  • 3 pairs of outdoor pants
  • 1 pair of cotton indoor pants
  • 1 pair of shorts
  • 1 pair of thermal leggings
  • 1 thermal shirt
    (did I mention I get cold?)
  • 2 spaghetti strapped tops
  • 6 pairs of undergarments
  • 5 pairs of socks
  • 1 sarong
  • 1 scarf
  • 1 swimsuit
  • 1 woolen cap
  • 1 Sea To Summit quick dry towel
  • 1 hair band
  • 3 packing cubes from ebags.com to put all of this in. They’re really helpful especially when you have a top loading backpack and tend to lose sight of what is where, like me.
  • 1 Northface rain jacket
  • 1 Karrimor 200 fleece jacket
  • 4 short sleeve t-shirts
  • 1 long sleeve t-shirt
  • 1 button down half sleeve shirt
  • 1 thermal shirt
  • 2 pairs of pants
  • 4 pairs of boxers
  • 1 pair thermal leggings
  • 4 pairs of socks
  • 1 warm cap
  • 1 pair swimming trunks
  • 1 Sea to Summit quick dry towel

Shoes – Lavanya

Shoes – Pawel

Miscellaneous – Lavanya

Miscellaneous – Pawel

  • 2 rain covers for both backpacks
  • 1 compass cum safety whistle
  • 1 pair of sun glasses
  • 1 cotton sling bag from Goa
    (for days when I don’t want to carry a backpack)
  • 1 Sea to Summit sleeping bag liner
  • 1 wallet
  • 1 headlamp
    (‘cos all the cool travellers are carrying it and say it’s really important ;))
  • 2 notebooks and pens
  • Few Ziploc bags
  • 1 Swiss army knife
  • 1 Guidebook for Egypt
  • 1 book for general reading
  • Passport (duh!)
  • Set of documents – passport copies, travel insurance, tickets etc
  • Passport size photos for visas
  • Slap-wrap reflective wrist bands
  • 1 Sea to Summit sleeping bag liner
  • 1 baseball cap
  • 1 wallet
  • 1 notepad and pen
  • 1 book for general reading
  • 1 headlamp
  • 1 Swiss army knife
  • Set of documents – passport copies, tickets.
  • Passport
  • 1 Sea to Summit Dry sack 20 ltrs
    To keep the cameras and electronics dry during heavy rain.

Toiletries – Lavanya

Toiletries – Pawel

  • Toothbrush + toothpaste
  • Dental floss
  • Shower Gel
  • Face Wash
  • Body lotion
  • Sunscreen
  • Shampoo + conditioner
  • Deodorant
  • Face wipes
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Eye pencil
  • Tweezer
  • Toothbrush + toothpaste
  • Shower gel
  • Skin protection cream
  • Shampoo
  • Deodorant
  • Hand sanitizer

Common/Shared Items

  • 1 Canon Ixus 220 digital camera
    (that’s probably one too many cameras for 2 people but there are many situations where it isn’t convenient to pull out an SLR)
  • Multi socket plug
  • Multi socket strip
  • Sink plug
    (for the aforementioned laundry on the road)
  • Nail clippers
  • Money belt
  • Medicine Kit:
    painkillers, antibiotics, Aspirin, pills for stomach problems, motion sickness pills, bandages, lozenges,  Strepsils, cold & flu meds, basically we have enough medicines between the 2 of us to start a mobile pharmacy store
  • 2 Thermal bags to store the medicines
Pawel's stuff

Pawel's stuff


As you can see from the differences between our lists, I wasn’t kidding when I said I tend to over pack… but still, this here is a huge improvement compared to previous years of travelling.

Of course this list will keep changing while on the road. Some items may be discarded or added along the way. We plan to update it here so you can have a better idea of what’s relevant and what’s not for a RTW trip.

Anything else that comes to your mind that we didn’t include? Is there any item that you would take along on such a trip? Do let us know below in the comments.

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30 Comments For This Post I'd Love to Hear Yours!

  1. David says:

    Wow….you guys must be super excited. I know I am, just reading about it. Make sure you dont pack your bag to full capacity, else you wont have any space for souvenirs along the way.
    And do you guys really need hand sanitizer? share your toiletries, it doesn’t make sense carrying two tubes of toothpaste/shampoo.

    • Lavanya says:

      Hi David!
      Yes we are excited as ever! only 4 days left too :) Luckily the packs aren’t full so that’s good news for souvenirs and for our backs too!
      Pawel had packed his things in Poland a month ago before heading to Dubai thus the 2 sets of toiletries.
      And when you eat as much street food as we do, hand sanitizer does come in handy! :)

  2. Voytush :) says:

    scissors, the cheapest converse-like shoes, pareo (beach-blanket, fast-drying towel, pillow), scarf, padlock.

    • Lavanya says:

      Hi Voytush :)
      Thanks for reminding me, need to go buy some scissors before we leave!
      By pareo i think you mean -sarong? That’s in my pack already :)

  3. Magda says:

    We used to take with us small chain to make sure our backpacks are safe when travelling on overnight buses / trains. And a tape to close air conditioning “holes” in some buses in SE Asia :D Now it seems to me a bit exaggerated :) The fewer things you have, the fewer things you have to remember about. Just keep your money / camera safe and HAVE FUN!

  4. Rakesh says:

    Dude how you fitting all that into a 55 ltrs bag ?

  5. Rakesh says:

    You forgot a water bottle with a attachable sling , the best thing to carry around instead of a pet bottle!

  6. Karan says:

    Um, did you notice Pawel isn’t carrying any pants?
    Or was that intentional? :P

  7. Nayona says:

    This sounds fascinating! I’m so excited, and can’t wait to see all your pictures and read your stories!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Super excited for u both!!!! :) :) :) have loads of fun and be safe too! Dont forget to post all snaps here to help non-facebookers like me !!

  9. Alifia says:

    Love how ur list is always double of Pawel’s! Lol!

    Good luck girl! :D

  10. Sumanth says:

    Hey guys.. all the best… Pawel: perfect assortment of lenses..envy u man:)..expecting beautiful photographs from u guys!!…
    n hey lavanya: looks like u do all the talking(as usual HR..HR truly roxx!!) …Pawel..poor thing..just packs up his stuff n when u pack up ur stuff..u must be talking wat all to write on ur blog..hehehe..just kidding… will be following ur blog..

  11. Boyana says:

    I wish you could pack me into the bag! I’m so excited for you guys, and the lists are great – i think i’ll be coming back here for reminders not to overpack next time :) good luck and awesome travels!

  12. Abhishek Jha says:

    Hi Lavanya….I had never thought u were so good in planning (though had never any doubt over ur leadership skill…the ‘CR’)…It’s really amazing…hats off to u and Pawel…I have become big fan of ur blog…:Willl keep on following..Wish u two to have all the enjoyment during ur future trips..

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  15. santhosh says:

    Try as I might, I’m not able to find your trip plan(s).. you know, the places you guys plan to cover and the approximate timeline, etc. I’d love to know what’s in store. Wonderful blog, btw. Cheers!

    • Lavanya says:

      Hi Santhosh, Thanks for stopping by. We have mentioned the places we plan to visit and approximate time here on our About Us page.
      We’re currently waiting to here about our Iran visas here in Istanbul and depends on the news our plans will change/stay accordingly :) so crossing fingers!

  16. Krishan says:

    Hi Lavanya and Pawel,
    Some serious thought provoking stuff on your blog, had fun going through it.
    Rashi and Ashim told me about the blog few days back,Thanks to them!

    Have fun and keep writing!


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