I love packing! Really, I do. I like getting everything organized for an upcoming trip to an exciting place. My style is minimalist, functional and logical, with some added things that I might need, for fun.

My take on the best backpacks for women’s travel

For most trips, I take my green 50L Quechua front-loading backpack Affiliate link and a 20L Camelbak daypack. I bought the Quechua bag at a Decathlon in Shanghai in 2011 (to replace a blue one of the same model and size that came down with an ant 🐜🐜🐜 problem in the Philippines).

The updated model Affiliate link is available at Decathlon stores. The Camelback Affiliate link was originally Dan’s and I liked it better than my 25L Quechua of a similar size, as it’s slimmer and supports weight better. I don’t use the water bladder and use the compartment for other things. Both bags have held together in all types of environments and situations.

New addition: TOPO 30L Mid-Size Backpack

A new backpack I’m using is the TOPO Designs 30L Travel Bag, which I enjoy because of the big sturdy zippers and flat-lay opening. This bag is durable and good for a short trip, carry-on or weekend excursion.

Fanny-pack for travel day

I have a hack, and it’s my fanny pack by LeSportSac Affiliate link. I’ve found that having my passport, wallet, and phone(s) close to my body and in a place where I can always have my eye on them is key during a travel day.

If you’re looking for another type of fanny-pack, you may like this one Affiliate link as well!

If I’m wearing a fanny pack and it’s comfy, I may even keep it on during a short flight. During a longer flight, I can keep it on the floor under the seat in front of me, and snap it right back on when we land. I’ll be ready for passport control and customs in no time, with all my necessities at my fingertips.

These are some items that I can’t travel without:

  • The FlipBelt Affiliate link: I used this tight belt when I went jogging in various countries in Europe all summer, and it was perfect for keeping keys, an ID and a credit card or cash when I went for a jog. It can also double as a money belt.
  • Quick-dry towel: I use a Quick-dry towel by Shandali Microfiber Affiliate link because this towel folds up into a tiny square and dries fast, so it’s great for taking to the beach, using for hair, using in a hostel that doesn’t give towels or even laying out in a park.
  • 🔒 Small locks Affiliate link (with keys): for locker use or for locking my backpack zippers on long bus rides. Because locks come in pairs, I share mine with Dan (we split the package half-half 😆).
  • Birkenstock sandals Affiliate link: they’re durable, not too heavy and have tons more support for your feet than most other sandals. These are my new favorite.
  • 📖 Lonely Planet guidebook Affiliate link: I collect these and buy them used on Amazon in paperback. Usually I’ll wind up with an edition that’s a few years old, but it’s okay because we use updated websites for current information as well. I love reading the history of a place I’m traveling to during the ride there.
  • 🍫 Granola and snack bars: I usually take as many as I can, for snacking on bus rides and as backup food. I usually pack Larabar and GoMacro bars.
  • 💰 My travel wallet: I take a small wallet that has pockets for my credit and bank cards, along with a zipper part for coins (some countries use so many coins!).
  • 🔌 Adapter plugs for wall outlets: it pays to have one that can adapt to a few different countries.
  • 🔋 Backup battery power: I’m so glad these exist, and in small travel size! My small Anker battery Affiliate link is usually good for a few charges, and it has saved me on bus rides or flights that don’t have outlets.
  • 👂 Ear plugs Affiliate link: these may be your savior when someone is snoring loudly in a hostel dorm or bus/plane/train.
  • A light scarf: I typically bring a scarf that qualifies for travel in all seasons. It can double as a way of covering shoulders when entering a religious place, too.
  • 👡 Flippy flops: crucial for beaching, and taking showers in hostel shared bathrooms.
  • A Ziploc bag (gallon size): useful for storing toiletries or things like socks, because you can squish out the air.
  • Plastic shopping bags: I hide these in the pockets of my backpack and use them when needed for laundry and wet clothes. Some countries charge at stores for plastic bags. I recommend bringing some with you!
  • 🛂 Passport: an obvious item, for leaving your home country! I have a passport case, also, which is nice for storing a boarding pass or entry papers.

What I pack for travel photos

For travel photos, I’m using the Canon 77D Affiliate link and the Pixel 2 by Google Affiliate link. I’ll use my camera if the weather is good and I know I’m going to be somewhere safe, and I use the Pixel 2 phone camera for everyday stuff and for adventure travel experiences like sand surfing in Peru or hiking in deserts.

I’m now obsessed with my Airpods Affiliate link for running, jogging and making calls.

I like paper printouts, and I make sure to print these things for travel days and emergencies:

  • Copies of my passport, hidden in all backpacks and purses
  • A print-out of my flight info and some pre-made reservations, in case my phone gets misplaced/stolen (it never hurts to be prepared for a worst-case scenario).

Last updated on September 23rd, 2020