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Long Term Travel Packing List- 20+ Important Items To Bring

As well as opening your eyes to new experiences, long term travel will make you appreciate the world you live in, and the people who inhabit it. In short; it’s pretty good for both, the mind and the soul but you don’t need me telling you that. The benefits of traveling are clear for anyone who’s gone to another country and given that going away can have such a transformative impact, it isn’t unusual to feel a desire to take travel to new levels. In this article, we’ll focus on on one of the most important aspects of this journey- the long term travel packing list.

Let’s start from the beginning…

Why Should You Consider Long Term Travel?

Long-term travel has obvious benefits. Why else would so many students take gap years? Most of us listen to the stories of those who’ve taken the plunge with green-eyed jealousy and blatant envy. And, when those feelings become overwhelming, you may decide you’re going to do it. You’re going to go on the long-term travel adventure you’ve always dreamt of and it’s going to be the trip of your lifetime.


Don’t worry; I’m not one of those people that will tell you otherwise or try to change your mind. In my opinion, nothing beats the life-changing experience of heading away for an extended period of time. However, long-term travel is not the walk in the park you might be expecting. You may already know that this will be different from the typical five-day excursions you’ve had until now. Only a few of us realize just how difficult long-term traveling can be at times and to help you prepare, we’re going to look at some of the realities you might not expect along the way but are bound to happen.

So, before you start thinking about your long term travel packing list or any other plans, the first thing you should do is to…

Establish Your Time Frame

long-term travel

We know how tempting the idea of a long-stay vacation with no timeframe can seem. Isn’t that how they do it in the movies? Perhaps. But, it’s not the best option in real life. In reality, you need to know how long are you planning to stay. That involves knowing how long you’ll stop at each destination, and also the length of your trip as a whole.

While it hardly suits the carefree, nomadic lifestyle, a timeframe can keep everything afloat. It’ll help to dictate your budget, what you need to take with you, and much more. In short; that simple time frame will hold your trip together and, that’s essential. You certainly wouldn’t find that carefree attitude much fun if you ran out of money and believe it or not, even the most chilled out travelers usually take care of this before they leave.

You can also opt for a debit card that you can use in other countries. However, make sure first that your bank account is issue free because it might hinder you from using your card.

This Won’t Be Anything Like The Travel You’re Used To

post travel depression

Perhaps the most important thing to bear in mind is that this won’t be anything like the travel you’re used to. In fact, it’ll be unrecognizable compared to the experiences you’ve had until now. Long-term travel is less like a vacation, and more like a new life elsewhere. This is especially the case if you plan to be away for a year or so. Forget sitting on the beach and chilling out with a glass of sangria. You might want to do that kind of thing for your first week, but the rest of your time couldn’t be more different. In truth, this time will be much more like your everyday life than you might expect.

While you’ll be in a new, interesting setting, business needs to resume as usual. That could mean getting a part-time job and even signing up in the local gym. In short, your days will be much more ‘normal’ than you might imagine. However, that may come as a culture shock but once you adjust, you’ll be able to grasp the new experience, open your mind, and start getting out of your comfort zone. And this is where the real growth starts happening. This is where you start learning lessons that stay with you, shape you, change you…

There Will Be Times When You Hate Your “New Country”

is it weird to travel alone

To put it frankly, shit happens when you live abroad. And solving these issues isn’t a cakewalk. It’s a normal part of moving abroad and there will be times when you feel like you belong neither in your new nor in your native country. Having this complex range of emotions is completely normal, so don’t let that bring you down. Look at it as a relationship.

And we all know arguments are an inevitable part of it. You are allowed to get mad at your partner, even hate them at times. It’ll be temporary. Just make sure to not bottle in your feelings because that never ends well. The bottom line is, moving to a new country isn’t going to be ideal as portrayed in books and movies. However, I never met a person that regretted living abroad. But I have met many that regret never trying that.

Now that we covered some basic aspects, let’s get to the most important part of this article…

Long Term Travel Packing List

I have tried to make this as short and as sweet as possible, it’s based on my own personal long term travel packing list and I believe it includes everything you might need if you are looking to spend a longer period of time on the road.

The Documents

travel document number

Passport and visas: I probably shouldn’t mention this because without them, you probably won’t even be able to leave your own country but it also feels weird not to mention it.

Travel credit cards: Travel credit cards go beyond the typical cash back or rewards cards, showering you with perks that cater specifically to your wanderlust. The list includes but is not limited to airport lounge access, TSA PreCheck Credits, baggage waivers, foreign transaction fees, and of course, rewards points and miles.

Important Travel Documents: In addition to your passport and visa, there are a few things that you might need, depending, of course, on where you are traveling to. The list includes an international driving permit, medical card, travel insurance, travel checks (if you still use those), electronic travel authorisation (if it’s required from citizens of your country visiting your desired destinations), documentation related to your program if you’re volunteering (or doing something similar), and a few passport-size photos just in case (you’d be surprised how often you might need them on the road).

Clothing Essentials

camping clothes

Tops: When it comes to packing, I’m a firm believer in the adage “less is more.” Instead of hauling around a suitcase filled with clothes I’ll only wear once, I focus on a handful of versatile tops in neutral colors that can be mixed and matched with a lot of my other clothes. What I mean by this is tops, tanks, and shirts that can be dressed up or down with a scarf or a blazer – no need for fancy stuff.

Bottoms: Comfort’s my middle name when I’m exploring and when I say this I’m referring to quick-drying pants and shorts that you can wear no matter what kind of terrain you end up exploring. City sidewalks, beach sunsets, mountain trails – your bottoms should be ready for it all so keep this in mind when packing.

Outerwear: Surprise downpours and chilly nights are par for the course when you’re globetrotting which is why I always pack a lightweight rain jacket and a cozy fleece or puffer jacket on standby. From mountain hikes to city strolls, these layers will keep you warm and stylishly snug.

Sleepwear: No trip is complete if I don’t have my trusty PJs to get comfortable after long days of exploring. Sweatpants are welcome too, because sometimes you just need to channel your inner couch potato (we’ve all been there).

Enjoying this post? Then you may also like our ultimate guide to what to pack for Bali.

The Tech Toolbox

Fingerprint Technology Padlock
  • Smartphone & Charger: I think I don’t even need to mention your phone because you probably don’t go anywhere without it. The charger likely follows you but getting a portable one or a power bank is also a great idea.
  • Universal travel adapter: Depending on where you travel to, you might need this nifty device. When you’re jet-setting across the globe, the last thing you want to worry about is electrical compatibility. That’s where the humble universal travel adapter comes in, your international BFF. It’ll adapt to different voltage levels, transforming your trusty electronics from international misfits to global citizens.
  • Headphones: Music is the soundtrack to your travel adventures, so why settle for subpar sound quality? Enter the travel headphones, your sonic companions for every leg of your journey. They’ll block out the cacophony of airports and bustling streets, transporting you to your own personal sound oasis., regardless of whether you’re exploring ancient ruins or relaxing on a secluded beach.
  • E-reader: Escape into the realm of audiobooks, or ebooks with a quality pair of headphones and a lightweight e-reader, creating a personal oasis amidst your travels.
  • Laptop: Unless you’re taking a sabbatical, you’ll probably need it because it’s much easier to get thing done on a laptop than on a phone, especially if you’re a digital nomad.
  • Portable Wifi: Picture this: you’re perched on a cliff overlooking a turquoise ocean, phone begging for a signal like a lost puppy. Enter the portable Wi-Fi hero, your knight in shining armor (okay, maybe just a sleek little router). Boom, instant internet bubble for streaming, scrolling, and sharing your epic adventure. No more hunting for cafes with passwords scribbled on napkins, just pure, unadulterated Wi-Fi freedom. It’s your personal internet island, ready to follow you wherever the wanderlust bug bites. So skip the frustration and hop on the portable Wi-Fi bandwagon – your sanity (and Instagram feed) will thank you.
  • Vasco M3 Travel Device: Now, I know you might think this is a stretch or probably not necessary, you’re probably right most of the time. But if you’re like me and enjoy exploring extremely remote and off the beaten track places where people usually don’t speak any other language than their own, this device can truly be a life-safer that can turn around your entire trip.

Personal Hygiene Accessories

dental travel hygiene products

Toiletries: Pack travel-sized toiletries and eco-friendly options like a reusable menstrual cup (the Earth will be grateful).

Hygiene Heroes: Travel hygiene is important and essentials like sunscreen (it’s not just for sunny places- it helps protect your face not only from burning but from aging too), insect repellent (a life-saver at tropical summer destinations), a basic first-aid kit (if you God forbid need it), and minimalist dental hygiene products are a must.

What about make up? Travel-sized makeup bottles and containers are a lifesaver for space-saving and weight reduction. Plus, they’re great for refilling, so you can avoid buying multiple full-sized products. Bring a travel-sized foundation, or tinted moisturizer, a travel-sized concealer, some mascara, and eyeliner, and a travel-sized eyeshadow palette and you should be ready for any ocassion.

Comforts of Home: Bring small items that bring you joy; for me that’s my travel journal, my travel mug, but maybe even something like a lucky charm to bring you some comfort during your journey.

A Few Other Important Items

long term travel packing list

At last, this long term travel packing list won’t be complete without a few items that might not seem like much at first, but will be very important on your journey.

  • Packable Bags: Utilize compression bags, packing cubes, and organizers to maximize space and to keep your stuff organized (you may go crazy if you don’t- let’s not forget that this is a long term travel adventure).
  • Laundry Detergent Sheets: Ditch bulky liquid detergent and embrace laundry sheets/portable washers that allow you to wash your clothes easily wherever you go.
  • Multi-Purpose Gear: Pack a quick-dry travel towel, a spork for handy meals on the go, and a clothesline to tackle laundry challenges in unexpected places.
  • Travel Water Bottle: Ditch the bulky bottles that scream “vacation rookie!” Embrace travel-sized heroes made for adventurers, not bathroom hoarders. Think TSA-approved ninjas that squeeze like champs, leak like they’re allergic to drama, and keep your shampoo secrets safe from airport security peeps. They’ll hang out in your bag like miniature travel buddies, ready to lather, spritz, and moisturize wherever your wanderlust takes you. Plus, no more lugging back half-used bottles that belong in museum exhibits of failed vacation packing. It’s time to upgrade from bathroom behemoths to travel-sized titans, my friend. Your back (and hygiene) will thank you.
  • Combination Locks: One very often forgotten but so helpful device that you wish you won’t need but you’re glad you do if things go wrong. Make sure that all of your belongings are safe at all time with this nifty device.

Forgot Something? Buy It On The Go

travel light

Even the most meticulous planners can experience that sinking feeling when they realize they’ve forgotten something crucial for their long-term travel adventure. But fear not, the world is your oyster when it comes to finding replacements on the go, especially when you’re willing to embrace local markets.

My Item Choices For Long Term Travel

Before we complete this packing list, I just have to share a little bit more wisdom about choosing your items and which items have worked for me on my long term travel adventures.

Best Shoes For Long Term Travel

Allbirds Wool Runners

For the city slicker in you, Allbirds Wool Runners are like walking on clouds.

If comfort is your top priority, Hoka One One Bondi’s plush cushioning will make every step a breeze (there’s a men’s and women’s version).

Venturing beyond the city limits? Keen Targhee III Mid WP’s (here’s the men’s and women’s version) ankle support and grippy soles will conquer any hiking terrain.

Minimalist footwear fans, Merrell Trail Glove 6 will let your feet feel the earth beneath them (it also has a men’s and women’s version)

Serious trekkers, Salomon X Ultra 3 GTX’s stability and durability will take you to new heights (here’s the men’s and women’s version).

Best Backpacks For Long Term Travel

Osprey Aether 55

For the City Explorers: Osprey Farpoint 40– a lightweight and versatile sidekick, perfect for urban exploring.

For the Organized Packrats: Thule Chasm Backpack– a well-structured, filled-with-compartments backpack that always has your belongings organized and easily accessible.

For the Safe-Conscious Travelers: Pacsafe Venturesafe 35L Anti-Theft Backpack, practically impregnable with its RFID-blocking pockets and slash-proof design.

For the Seasoned Adventurers: Kelty Redwing 50– one of the most durable backpacks that I have ever owned (10 years and counting).

For the Serious Hikers: Arc’teryx Alpha FL 45- perfect for people looking to conquer mountains, made to carry large loads and take care of your back at the same time (thank me later).

Best Suitcases For Long Term Travel

Samsonite pieceHardsideLuggagewithSpinnerWheels

For the Flexible Voyager: Samsonite Omni Expandable Spinner famous for its adaptable design and smooth-rolling wheels made to keep up with your adventurous spirit.

For the Style-Conscious Traveler: Travelpro Platinum Elite Carry-On– known for its sleek design and telescoping handle that turns the airport navigating nightmare into a breeze.

For the Budget-Minded Traveler: Eminent Hardside Suitcase with TSA Lock made to keep your belongings safe anywhere in the world.

Finding this long term travel packing list helpful? Then you may also find value in my guide to traveling light, my minimalist packing list, my guide to extreme minimalist travel, my solo camping checklist, and this list of common packing mistakes.

A Few More Tips For Your Long Term Travel Packing List

long term travel packing list

Before we wrap up this long term travel packing list, let me share a few tips that I’ve learned through my years spent on the road.

Ditch the Overwhelm: Imagine ditching the frantic pre-trip frenzy, the overflowing suitcase explosions, and the “where-did-I-put-that-thing?!” tantrums. Long-term travel packing doesn’t have to be a warzone – it’s a mindful dance with your wardrobe, a strategic game of Tetris with your backpack. This guide, my friend, will be your packing sensei, turning you from a suitcase samurai into a long-term travel master.

Beyond the Basics: Forget packing lists that treat clothes like disposable tissues. We’re talking capsule wardrobe wisdom, where versatility reigns supreme and every item sings in a mix-and-match chorus. Think minimalist chic, not fashion victim freakout. This ain’t your weekend getaway – it’s a months-long adventure where your suitcase becomes your nomadic palace.

Capsule Wardrobe Warriors: Picture a wardrobe smaller than your bookshelf, bursting with pieces that mix and match like magical Legos. T-shirts that morph into dresses, scarves that double as blankets, pants that conquer both city streets and mountain trails. This is the holy grail of long-term travel packing, where less is truly, madly, deeply more.

Layering Like a Legend: Mother Nature’s a fickle beast, throwing heatwaves one day and snow flurries the next. That’s where layering becomes your superpower. Think thin base layers that hug like invisible friends, mid-layers that add warmth like cozy hugs, and outer shells that repel rain like Teflon deflects burnt toast. Conquer any climate with this layering magic, and leave bulky overpacking in the dust.

Fabrics Fantastic: Silk isn’t your travel bestie, cashmere won’t survive a backpack brawl, and cotton can drown you in its own sweat. Choose travel-friendly fabrics, friends! We’re talking quick-drying heroes like merino wool, wrinkle-resistant wonders like nylon blends, and breathable champions like linen. Let your clothes be your travel allies, not your laundry lamentations.

Wash-and-Wear Warriors: Laundry days on the road should be quick pit stops, not epic sagas. Enter the wash-and-wear warriors: clothes that dry faster than a politician’s promise, banish wrinkles like magic erasers, and embrace hand-washing like a champ. Pack these travel ninjas, and conquer laundry woes with the swiftness of a samurai warrior (minus the whole sword thing).

Helpful Resources For Long Term Travel


Saving money on flights is one of the most important things for people who like to travel a lot. If you want to learn about another great way to save on flights, check out Qatar Airways’ special offer; I warmly recommend it.

If you want to save on travel insurance, go to SafetyWing for the best deals for long-term travelers.

If you want to rent a car during your stay abroad, this AutoEurope special offer can get you 20% off on car rentals worldwide.

Finally, if you’re collecting points and miles, you can track and combine all of your loyalty programs and save on every trip with

What do you think about some of these aspects of long-term travel that people aren’t usually talking about? How did you like our long term travel packing list? Did you ever go on a long term travel adventure? Let us know in the comments below!

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long term travel

blair villanueva

Wednesday 20th of February 2019

I haven't take a long-travel because I still have day-job responsibility and I think am not yet ready for it. A frequent short-term travel is what I enjoy most. Its a love-hate relationship I guess :D

Passport Symphony

Thursday 21st of February 2019

That's interesting too :) and long-term travel definitely isn't for everyone. One should find a lifestyle that suits them and stick to it and you seem to be doing that pretty well


Tuesday 19th of February 2019

I like your comment ‘to put it frankly, shit happens when you live abroad’. This is true! I lived and worked in London for 3.5 years and definitely had some tough times. People think it’s easy but it really does put you to the test! Planning including budget like you have suggested is key.

Passport Symphony

Tuesday 19th of February 2019

It sure is, Jodie. Living in London for 3.5 years must have been an amazing and challenging experience at the same time


Tuesday 19th of February 2019

hahaha so true that you don't love every country. And that's totally ok. That country probably doesn't like us either.

Passport Symphony

Thursday 21st of February 2019

I was saying that there will be times you hate your new country I didn't refer to hating it all the time but indeed, if you show open dislike towards your new home, you can't expect to be well-accepted there either.

Kevin | Caffeinated Excursions

Monday 18th of February 2019

I really like the points you bring up in this post. I am currently traveling for about a month in between jobs, and I'm finding it both incredibly rewarding but also challenging at times. It's not really as long-term as what you're referring to, but I can definitely see glimpses of the things you mention in this post.

Passport Symphony

Tuesday 19th of February 2019

Thank you for your comment and for sharing your experience, Kevin. Taking a gap between two jobs sure can be refreshing and rewarding but you're right, it can also get challenging, just like long-term travel.


Friday 15th of February 2019

You have nailed it well. Long-term traveling is a lifestyle, not a vacation.

I would just add, one could even face burnout when traveling, especially if traveling fast from one place to another.

But, as you said: I never met a person who regretted living abroad but met many who regret never trying it.

Passport Symphony

Tuesday 19th of February 2019

Thank you, Miljana- I'm really glad to hear you enjoyed this article. You're absolutely right about burnout and it can very easily happen when one jumps from one destination to another