“If in doubt, leave it out,” were the words of my university translation lecturer. I think the same could be said about travel packing. R is pretty good at keeping things to a minimum, but I have a bad habit of taking half the bathroom cabinet with me. Now that I'm planning for longer-term travel, I'm determined not to look like a packhorse - minimalism is the name of my game. I have to say that I am extremely proud of myself with my initial efforts. Weighing in at around 12kg, I might not have the completely perfect backpack, but I think I've made a damn good start.

I've tried to tackle a variety of climates with this little lot:

  • 1 x jeans
  • 1 x belt
  • 2 x jumpers
  • 1 x fleece hooded jacket
  • 2 x long-sleeved cotton tops
  • 1 x cotton shorts
  • 1 x sports shorts
  • 1 x sports trousers
  • 6 x t-shirts (including 1 x sports t-shirt)
  • 4 x strappy tops
  • 2 x skirts (1 knee-length, 1 shorter)
  • 1 x wrap/scarf
  • 1 x bikini
  • 2 x bras (1 sports bra)
  • 9 x undies
  • 9 x socks (including 1 x knee-length – for those cold nights on the Inca trail) ;-)
And that all packs into this:

I also have this little lot:

  • 1 x trekking shoes
  • 1 x onitsuka tigers/regular trainers
  • 1 x flip-flops (only 3 pairs of shoes - how will I manage?!)
  • 1 x sleeping bag inlet
  • 1 x raincoat
  • 1 x hairdryer (would love to do without it but I tend to look like a '60s diva otherwise)
  • 2 x packaway shopping bags
  • 1 x travel towel
  • 1 x packaway rucksack
  • 1 x penknife
  • 1 x lock
  • 1 x headtorch
  • 1 x sunglasses

My toiletries, medication and washing bits and bobs look something like this (hmm...not sure that's complete photographic evidence of my toiletries):

And finally, I have my more important documents and a bunch of other stuff I'll be carrying around with me more often:

  • 1 x money belt
  • Map and phrase book
  • Passport
  • Passport pictures
  • Driving license
  • International driving license
  • Vaccination records
  • iPod (I sold my phone)
  • Notebook
  • Camera
  • Ear plugs
  • Hand disinfectant
  • Eye mask (thank you for that, office ladies!)

Altogether, my luggage looks like this. I'm sure I can fine-tune it a bit, but I'm happy for starters :-)

R might post photographic evidence of his luggage at some point, but in the meantime, I was most impressed with his toiletries list. Check out that hair wax in pole position – that's my boy ;-)