Packing Lists

5 Unusual Items to Pack for Long-Term Travel

Packing for long-term travel is stressful, and despite the many packing lists out there it’s still hard to know what to bring for YOUR trip. Everyone has different needs and wants, and some people want more comfort than others.

Eventually you’ll figure out what’s worth carrying around and what’s not, but to give you some guidance: here’s 5 things that I find particularly helpful and that I don’t see on many other packing lists.

They’re not 100% necessary items– I won’t DIE if I don’t have them– but they bring me a small level of comfort that makes it worth carrying them around. Use this as start for ideas on what comfort items you want to bring on your travels!

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1. Silicone Mug Cover

This is maybe one of the handiest things I carry around, even though it only does one thing: cover my coffee mug. Keeps bugs and dust out of my cup, and my coffee stays a bit warmer for longer. It’s very lightweight and doesn’t take up much room, so I always have it with me.

I have a sturdy mug cover I got years ago that’s still going strong, but you can also find them at Daiso if you’re in Asia or the US.

2. Rubber Bands

These are endlessly useful, but I mainly put them around bags of stuff to keep them closed. Snacks, laundry soap, a broken Ziploc bag of liquids, etc. They take up less room than clips, and they’re so cheap that if they break you can just get another one without worrying about it.

Bring a few with you to start you off, and then save a couple whenever you find them abroad. I got quite a stash in Malaysia and Thailand because every food delivery came with a couple bands around the boxes.

3. Coin Purse

I don’t really use cash in the US and so I don’t carry a lot of coins around, but in Asia it’s useful to have some even if it’s just to top up my metro card.

Having a small coin purse, where I only keep coins and nothing else, means I don’t have to dig around my bag trying to find a 10 cent coin. Plus, it’s a bit safer to pull out just a coin purse rather than my whole wallet if I’m somewhere a little sketchy.

If I’m somewhere where I don’t need to carry coins around, I use it to keep rubber bands. šŸ˜›

4. Taco Seasoning (or just Mexican spices)

Do you crave Mexican food when you travel in Europe and Asia? I sure do, and the few Taco Bells that exist outside of the US don’t really cut it. Even the “Mexican” restaurants I found don’t have the right flavors I’m used to.

I specifically bring taco seasoning because it’s one small packet that you can use with any meat (or even tofu), so it doesn’t take up a lot of room and I’m not dependent on finding something specific to use it with.

Of course, if you’re a good cook who makes Mexican dishes regularly, then bringing actual spices as part of your travel kitchen pantry will work best. I find it’s the chili that’s specifically unique to many taco seasoning blends, which you can’t find easily while out of the US/Mexico area.

But for those like me who just crave a small taste of something familiar, a few packets of taco seasoning (or similar) can help scratch that itch. I also have a small bottle of Tajin!

Note: Old El Paso brand is surprisingly global. I’ve seen their seasoning packets and taco shells in Malaysia, Japan, France and England. It’s maybe not the highest end quality, but at least it’s something.

5. Small Laundry Net Bag

Not a huge one like you’d use for your dorm laundry, this is a small netted bag that corrals your dirty underwear and socks during the wash cycle. Very useful for keeping track of small clothing items and you can even use it like a soft packing cube if you want.

Also good for when you’re splitting a load with friends, or just don’t want to chance your personal underthings falling onto the laundromat floor when you’re transferring loads between the washer and dryer.

Anastasia is a former librarian turned digital nomad. She's been traveling the world full time for two years and has visited 18 countries so far! Just Gone Wandering is a travel resource for solo female travelers on a backpacker's budget-- or slightly more-- and highlights amazing places to visit as well as providing tips and tricks for traveling smart and frugal. Read more...

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