One of the most common questions we’re asked is “what is the ultimate packing list for travellers?”

We’ve been travelling the world for over 20 years. That’s a lot of time to trial different items and products to get the ultimate packing list right. Over the years, we’ve literally packed, unpacked, and repacked thousands of times.

You could say that we’ve learned a thing or two about what items are essential and those that are not.

The Ultimate Packing List for Travellers

Updated Mar, 2023

At the time of putting this ultimate packing list for travellers together, we’ve just completed an incredible adventure to visit every country in the world

So how exactly do you pack for long-term travel through all types of climates? What do you pack to ensure you’re prepared for sub-zero temperatures at Base Camp in Tibet to sweltering heat in the Middle East?

We’ve had to consider essential items to get us through many changing climates while respecting several different cultures at the same time.

Our ultimate packing list for travellers includes our best packing tips and hints, as well as our favourite travel gear.

The Ultimate Packing List for Travellers

1. How to choose a backpack

We’re firm believers that less is more. Experience has taught us that we can travel with much less than we think we’ll need. We prefer travelling the world with a backpack as opposed to a suitcase. It gives us much more flexibility and freedom to move about easier.

We’ve learned that the more space you have in your backpack, the more things you collect to fill the space. This, in turn, will increase the weight that you carry on your back.

We travel the world independently, which means we spend a lot of time on public transport. We frequently climb up hotel stairs and walk around cities with our backpacks on, trying to find our hotel or pre-booked guesthouse for the night. 

It is absolutely essential that we don’t overpack. After a long travel day, the last thing we want to do is haul a heavy backpack. If the load is lighter, it’s much easier to cope.

We LOVE our Osprey Backpack

We’ve travelled to more than 100 countries with the Osprey 40L Farpoint backpack.

The best thing about this backpack is that it is carry-on size and for us, it is the most important item on this ultimate packing list for travellers.

southeast asia packing list

We always carry our luggage on board flights (well, except for that one time we did it and got stranded in the Pacific with no luggage).

Lesson learned – don’t check it in if you don’t want to risk losing it. Oh, and remember to include some patience in your packing list for travellers. It’s a super handy item to have, and you’ll need to get it out regularly.

Our Osprey 40L backpack is the perfect size to squeeze it in the overhead luggage storage. Furthermore, it’s easier on overnight buses or to sit on public buses with it sat on our laps.

It’s difficult to overpack with a 40L sized backpack. We worked out very quickly what items are essential for our long-term travels.

2. But what if I’m more of a suitcase traveller?

If backpacks just aren’t your thing, or if it’s just not comfortable for you to carry, that’s OK too. This packing list for travellers is suitable for everyone.

It’s cool to travel with a small suitcase too. We’ve had many debates with friends about backpack vs suitcase – which should you choose?

Marty travels with a small carry-on Samsonite suitcase when she worked as a Trip Leader during European Summer. If you’d prefer to roll your belonging along with you, these suitcases are perfect.

RELATED POST – 20 Jobs that PAY YOU to Travel the World

3. Do you need a small day pack?

Travelling with a small day pack is a personal choice. We travel with one as we prefer to keep our valuables with us at all times. This is especially important when taking overnight train/bus rides. A small day pack is essential to our ultimate packing list for travellers.

We carry this small Osprey day pack

We often lock our large 40L backpack to something stationary when we sleep and our small daypack containing our valuables will remain on our person, inside our silk sleeping sheet while we sleep – it feels much more secure to do this to deter any opportunistic thieves.

When we’re on the move, our small Osprey day pack sits on the front of our body with our Osprey 40L backpack on our backs, this makes it easy to quickly access passports or money.

4. The Ultimate Packing List for Travellers – Clothing

ultimate packing list for travellers

Ulitmate packing list for travellers – This is Marty’s pack, ready to see the world!

Below is the ultimate packing list of all the clothes we pack for our worldwide adventures.