Well, I’ve been waiting to write our official packing list posts till it’s closer to our departure date—so seeing as this is one of those posts, it must mean our trip is close. 18 days as of today!
I’ve already shared some of my basic packing tenets when I travel: no one cares what you wear as much as you do, quality over quantity, go capsule, and look decent. They hold true for packing for a year as well, I’m finding.
Sure, it feels daunting to prepare—What will I wear for an entire year?, but really, the packing isn’t that different. It’s helpful to remember that if you need more of something, or if it doesn’t work out, you can always buy it on the go. (There are stores all over the world, I’m told.)
Here’s the one additional maxim that’s proving true for long-term packing: don’t pack what you wouldn’t wear in your real life. You’ll want to be comfortable—you don’t want to look like a tourist, because you often won’t feel like one, especially if you stay in one location for a few months.
Sure, you’re a visitor, but it’s a good idea to look like a regular person. In other words, leave the convertible pants, track suit, and white running shoes at home if that’s not your thing in real life anyway.
I’m going to share our year-long possessions over the course of several posts, so to start off, I’ll explain my own clothing choices. Keep in mind—we’re more or less chasing warm weather.
This wardrobe can fairly evenly garner responses of both “That’s all?” and “That’s so much!” I get that—read a few other round-the-world travel blogs and you’ll see that I could technically get by on much, much less. But after months of deliberation, here’s where I’ve landed, and I’m content with this stockpile.
1: Short-sleeved t-shirts, 3—I prefer a looser style because they stay fresher while traveling (Etsy, Twice) | 2: tank tops, 2—one casual, one slightly nicer (Sevenly, thrift store) | 3: Long-sleeved shirts in a variety of styles, 3 (Twice, Stitch Fix) | 4: Long-sleeved, simple cardigan, 1 (Twice)
4: Knee-length pullover dress (quaint little shop in Tuscany) | 5: Striped maxi skirt (Twice) and knee-length travel skirt (Patagonia at REI) | 6: Bermuda travel shorts (Prana—they’re now discontinued) | 7: Travel pants (Lolë at REI) and skinny jeans (Twice)
8: Running shorts, for running, sleeping, and swimming (not at the same time) (REI) | 9: Capri yoga pants (Uh, I think years ago at Costco) | 10: Sports bra tank (Albion Fit) | 11: Super-thin leggings (to wear under pants or with skirts) (REI) | 12: Camisoles, 2 (Amazon)
13: Swimsuit (I love this one—super flattering) (Albion Fit) | 14: Lightweight jacket (Columbia, though it looks discontinued) | 15: Thin reversible loop scarf (Eddie Bauer, also discontinued) | 16: Minimalist running shoes (Merrell) | 17: Ballet flats (more on these below) | 18: Travel sandals (Merrell)
These ballet flats by Tieks are seriously the most I’ve ever spent on a pair of shoes (please be cheaper!), but they really are remarkable. Made of real Italian leather, they conform to your feet and become more comfortable the longer you wear them. They also fold up super-tight, making them ideal packing shoes. (They didn’t pay me a dime to say this—I just really dig this brand.) (But please be cheaper.)
Not pictured are my under-undergarments—I do have my dignity, after all. But I’m a massive fan of Exofficio’s travel underwear (5), and I’m also taking wireless bras (2), simple running socks (2), and one pair of thin white dress socks.
I’m also bringing a simple silver necklace, a gold one (both from Lisa Leonard), and a longer colored one. One pair of small silver hoops and a pair of gold stud earrings, and that wraps up my jewelry stash.
The whole family will carry their own dirty clothes in these lingerie-turned-laundry bags, so I’ll just transfer clothes that need washing in mine and keep on trekking. Once we’re ready to wash, we’ll use a handy-dandy Scrubba. I hear they’re super cool, so I’m eager to try it out.
And I’ll carry all this in my Tom Bihn Aeronaut 45. Tom Bihn is my favorite travel bag and gear brand, with its ethical material sourcing and manufacturing (from nearby Seattle!), ridiculously strong construction, and thoughtful design. This summer I took their TriStar for a week in Tuscany and absolutely loved it. Plus, every single person in the company I’ve interacted with has been stellar. Thumbs up.