The one question I get asked the most is – Do you have a long-term travel packing list that we used for our 1 year of travel with our family?
YES, here it is! This is the exact list that we took on our 1 year trip around the world with our family.
This packing list worked for our 1 year gap year itinerary where we travelled to 23 countries with two kids. This is a great international packing list for travelling to Europe, Southeast Asia, Oceania, South America and other regions in the world. Plus, we’ve included some packing tips for long trips to help things easier for you!
We travelled with kids who were 5 & 7 years old when we left for our trip around the world and lived full time out of our suitcases. This packing list for long term travel is for a family of four.
What You'll Find in This Post
- Ultimate Packing List of What to Pack for Long Term Travel
- Travel Pack List
- 1. Travel Gear For Full-Time Travel
- 2. Full Time Travel Items
- 3. Clothing Per Person
- 4. Toiletries Packing List
- 5. Electronics for Long Term Travel
- 6. Medicine Kit
- 7. Kids Extras
- 8. Day Pack Extras
- 9. Documents for Long Term Travel
- How to pack for a long trip? And other Packing Tips
- Other Information for Long-term Travel Essentials
Ultimate Packing List of What to Pack for Long Term Travel
The basics to start with is the travel gear that you plan on using for the entire year. These are the foundational items that you will use for the year of travel and are essential items for long term travel.
You will need to decide what kind of luggage you are going to bring. This may depend on the type of travel you plan to do, the age of the kids and how you see your family travelling. Some questions you may want to consider:
Do you plan on using carry-on luggage only?
This will then give you the criteria for how big your luggage can be. The most common carry-on luggage size is 22″ x 14″ x 9″ for major airlines. Be cautious though on the size because some budget airlines only allow smaller sizes in their overhead bin and you’ll need to check the bag. So consider how you will travel.
Use wheeled luggage or not?
Do you plan on carrying your luggage on your back or wheeling it? We used wheeled luggage for our entire trip and honestly everywhere we went this worked fine and had no issues or felt like we needed a backpack-style luggage bag.
Travel Pack List
1. Travel Gear For Full-Time Travel
- 2 x 60L Convertible Backpack/Rolling Wheeled Suitcases – We loved the Deuter Helion 60 rolling suitcase as the parent suitcases. We found the narrow shape worked well with trains, ferries, and taxis. We never did convert to a backpack but there was a comfort knowing if we needed to we could put on our back and carry our kid’s suitcase and hold their hand if we needed to. We loved the soft shell part but then have great wheels, this is another option we would consider Osprey Farpoint Wheeled 65L.
- 2 x 40L Carry on size suitcases – We would highly recommend carry-on luggage like these RipCurl F-Light wheeled suitcases. They fit in any airplane and were very durable and great skateboard wheels. It’s same idea as the softshell which makes it adaptable in size and very durable. Our kids had no problem pulling these around because of the 2-wheeled suitcase, the 4 wheeled suitcases did not work well for little kids pulling.
- 4 Daypacks – We each had a daypack and all different sizes and purposes. We had this Lowepro Photo Hatchback 16L Camera Backpack that worked well, a regular adult day pack for every day and the kids each had their own daypack. The key items to consider in a daypack is to ensure they each have space on the side for carrying water bottles and feel comfortable on.
- 4 Sleep sheets – We used these travel sleep sheets periodically but when we needed them we were so happy we had them! We brought these sleep bag sleep sheets with zippers and it worked well for the kids to adjust to sleeping in random beds along the way. We used them for when we weren’t provided with sheets or if they were uncomfortable sheets.
- 4 Travel Pillow – These Therm-a-Rest Compressible Travel Pillow were by far the BEST sleep pillows that we have ever used and used them nightly for sleeping too! Highly recommend the medium size.
- 2 Toiletry Kits – Mom had this Eagle Creek toiletry kit for the girls and dad used this Men’s Eagle Creek toiletry bag for the boys. The great thing about them both is that they were able to hang from the wall to keep off the counter or when you had no counter to put them on. Also, very lightweight.
- 4 Packing Cubes Each – We loved these Eagle Creek compression packing cubes and recommend ones that do not have mesh on them in order to keep clothes clean from loose dirt. Try to find ones that are lightweight too.
- 2 Dry Bags – We loved this 10L size for the days that we needed to keep water and sand out of our camera gear, wallet, phone and other valuables at the beach or in boats.
- 2 Stuff Sacks for Laundry – We used simple camping dry sacks to keep dirty laundry in and be able to separate the clean and dirty clothes. These were also good for taking laundry to the laundromat.
- 1 Electronic Organizer – We highly recommend the BUBM travel organizer case to keep your electronics organized.
- 1 Passport / Docs Organizer – This LUG travel docs organizer kept 4 passports, our important docs and papers all in one place.
- 4 Suitcase Locks – We used these TSA-approved locks for airplanes, trains and ferries.
- 2 Wire Cable Locks – We only had to use these travel cable wires on train and ferry when our luggage was out of sight from us.
Travel Gear Tips
- Don’t worry if this needs to change or adjust along your trip. We ended up changing our kids rolling suitcases from a 4 wheeled suitcase to a 2-wheeled suitcase because it was better for their height when pulling the suitcase. We also found that the 2-wheeled suitcases worked better on cobblestone, uneven roads and gravel roads, upstairs, etc.
- Packing Cubes! Colour code each person’s clothing with packing cubes for a quick find. It also keeps clean and dirty clothes separated.
2. Full Time Travel Items
This section is really the defining difference between when you are going on a 2-week vacation versus travelling full time in my opinion. Some of these items we brought with us from the beginning, while others we acquired along the way and kept in our luggage because of the value they serve when packing for long term travel.
- Water Purification Pen – This purification pen was the one we brought and used for times when we did not have filtered water or bottled water. Great for tap water while brushing your teeth and conserving water.
- Small Duct Tape – Always a good idea for a short-term fix of anything.
- 2 Reusable Nylon Shopping Bags – We used and loved these LOQI shopping bags almost every day for everything from getting groceries, beach bags, laundry bag or extra bag carrying sweaters, etc. I still carry these in my purse to this day :)
- Clothespins – Find ones that are plastic and light material like these to keep your bag weight down. Many places don’t have dryers so you’ll need these to utilize your drying clothesline the best for laundry.
- Small Clothes Line – This was the camping clothesline that we brought and worked great and very versatile.
- 2 Dishcloths – We brought microfiber dishcloths for drying dishes in hotel rooms, washing dishes and so many other miscellaneous things that came up.
- 2 Small Bowls – We had small bowls for travel for hotel room meals (cereal, oatmeal, etc) for the kids and then we would eat after they were done. I would suggest these travel collapsable bowls and ensure the ones you bring are microwave safe.
- 4 Spoon/Fork & 2 Knives – You’d be surprised how often we used these forks/spoons for takeaway meals in hotel rooms that we didn’t get cutlery. One of the best things you need for travelling! I also kept 2 all the time in our daypack.
- Wine Opener / Bottle Opener combo – Well when in Rome, we bought a wine opener! You’ll need this one for wine, beer bottles and even cola bottles around the world. Think small and light like this wine opener.
- 2 Headlights – We had these camping headlights for late-night arrivals, camping, dark hallways and stairways. You won’t regret bringing headlights.
- Travel Games – You are going to need some kind of game to pass the time. Our favourites are playing cards, UNO, Monopoly Deal.
- Whistle – We never had to use this, but as a female traveller and sometimes along with my kids I felt safer having this along with me.
- Food Spice – We brought a little taste of home with our favourite steak spice so when we were missing eating food that was like a warm hug we made it with our spice.
- Ear Plugs – You will need these for planes, hotel rooms and anywhere you need to sleep.
- Eye Mask – Some places have no blinds so you’ll need these if you can’t sleep in the light.
- Laundry Soap – We would buy it as we went and typically always carried powder laundry soap and enough to do a couple of loads.
- Stain Remover – This was the grandma stain remover that we love and works awesome. Since we didn’t have a lot of clothes with us, if we spilled something we would use this to help treat the stain until we could wash it.
- 4 Snorkel & Dive Mask – We brought initially just two masks but then ended up buying all four of us a snorkel set and dive mask. We did not bring the flippers to save space.
- Swim Vest or Lifejacket – We brought and recommend this Speedo swim vest for kids. It was great in the open water and helped our kids that were improving on their swimming skills. An added reassurance for us parents.
- Swimming Goggle & Dive Toys – We brought these pool diving toys and swim goggles for days at the pool with the kids.
- Soft-shelled Cooler Bag – We used a small foldable cooler for packing lunches for beach days.
- Ziplock bags – We always had some of these in our bag for VRBO we stayed it to store extra food or take for lunch.
- Beach Towel – You can buy travel towels like these, we ended up buying beach towels along the way, but in hindsight, we probably could have used the travel towels. I would suggest getting the larger size because you’ll use them on the beach as beach blankets or picnic blankets.
Packing Tips for Full Time Travel Items
- We kept one reusable shopping bag in my purse and one in the daypack. So when we needed it we at least had one at all times with us.
- We also used the clothespins to keep curtains tight and closed in bedrooms when the light was coming in at night from streetlights.
- We always keep the knives in our checked bag.
- You could bring a multi-tool or swiss army knife that could duplicate a few of the items we had on the list.
- Mom carried the whistle in her backpack top pocket all the time.
- We did at first bring a water bottle for each of us and found it took too much space up. Plus, we ended up buying bottled water everywhere and just bought 1-litre bottles and reused smaller bottles we had acquired.
- We used small old water bottles and froze them in the freezers and then used them as ice packs in our cooler bag.
3. Clothing Per Person
We used the following for packing for long term travel for clothing. Each person had the following items packed.
- 4 – 5 T-shirts
- 4 Tank Tops (Girls)
- 1 Causal Dress Pant
- 2 Pairs of Jeans
- 3 – 4 Shorts
- 1 Dress or Skirt (Girls)
- 1 Dress Shirt (Boys)
- 2 – 3 Swimsuits
- 1 Swimsuit Cover (Girls)
- 2 Zip-Up Sweater/Fleece
- 2 Dress Sweaters (Girls)
- 1 Rain Jacket – We brought these North Face rain jackets and highly recommend them. We layered these up with our fleeces in cooler places like New Zealand in the autumn.
- 1 Scarf
- 3 Pairs Socks
- 7 Underwear
- 3 Bras (Girls) – 1 Black, 1 Beige, 1 sport bra
- 1 Pair Running Shoes
- 1 Pair of Flip Flops
- 1 Pair Walking Sandals
- 1 Pair Casual Runners / Stree Runner
- 1 Pair Water Shoes
- 1 Hat
- 1 Pair of Small Gloves
- 1 Beanie / Toque
- 1 Pair Sunglasses
- 1 Purse (Girls) – This Lug purse was my favourite and fit what I needs plus held a water bottle.
- 2 Wallets
Clothing Long Term Travel Tips
- Kids grow and you will have to buy them clothes and shoes along the way all over the world! So plan for this and try to ensure you shop when you can for these items.
- Bring everyday clothes you wear at home. You’ll be the most comfortable that way.
- We did bring some dry wick clothing and good quality sweaters and rain jackets, but you don’t need an entirely new wardrobe to travel!
- Try having all bottoms and tops be interchangeable and match with everything. Lots of black, white, grey and a few pops of colour.
- Roll your clothes for more space – always a great travel tip!
- You will be washing your clothes all the time, so think of clothes that are quick to dry, especially underwear!
- Adjust your clothing based on the temperatures that you will be travelling in. We followed the sun and was in spring/summer/autumn temperatures and layered our clothes for cooler weather.
- We did not bring hiking boots – instead we went with runners that were suitable for hiking trails and also for running.
4. Toiletries Packing List
- Toothbrush & Toothbrush cover
- Brush / Comb
- Hair Elastics / Hair Product (Girls)
- 1 Washcloth
- Makeup (Girls)
- Perfume / Cologne
- Flat Iron
- Bug Spray
- Contact lenses / Solution
- 2 Pair Prescription Glasses
Packing Tips for Toiletries
- We put all our toiletries in the 60L suitcases since these were always checked bags and we didn’t need to worry about excess liquids in our carry-on suitcases.
- We purchased regular-sized sunscreens, toothpaste, lotion, bug spray, shampoo, conditioner to save money. We only had one container of each and purchased more along our trip.
- Our son broke both pairs of glasses within a month, so have your eyeglass prescription in case you need to buy another pair. A must on ever packing list for travelling! It would be caused us so much more work to do this in another country.
- For any of the makeup, I purchased replacement at international duty-free airports.
- Most places had blowdryers for use. If you need a diffuser try to find one like this that is interchangeable on blowdryers.
5. Electronics for Long Term Travel
You can read everything and more about my camera gear and details of electronics long term travel checklist.
- 1 DSLR Canon Camera
- 1 POS (Point and Shoot) Camera
- 8 Memory Cards
- Waterproof memory card case
- 1 Laptop
- 2 External Hard Drive
- 2 USB Flash Drives
- 2 Phones
- 2 Ipads
- Go Pro
- Universal Plugin Adapter
- USB Multi Charging Cable
- TV Adapter for iPad
- 4 Earphones
- Ear Phone Splitter
- Car Charger
- Chargers & Cables for all electronics
Packing Tips for Travel with Electronics
- We used this BUBM travel case to keep all our chargers and cords in and was awesome! We never lost one cord and everything had its place in the case so we knew if we were missing anything.
- We had a durable Targus iPad case for travel with kids, it was great because it would stand up for movies on the planes, could cover the screen to prevent scratches and cracks.
- Label iPads with your name and email. So if you forget it on a plane then there is some type of identification on it in the lost and found. These are easy to leave behind in the seat pockets on the plane.
6. Medicine Kit
One of the most important things on your long-term travel checklist is medicine to keep you healthy and comfortable on your trip.
- Thermometer – These are the smallest and easiest with kids to bring.
- Allergy Medicine
- Cold/Flu Medicine
- Ear Infection Drops
- Eye Infection Drops
- Swimmers Ear Drops
- Emergency Medical First Aid Kit – We took this smaller camping first aid kit that worked great and had everything we needed in an emergency.
Tips for Medicine Kit for Full Time Travel
- Bring both for adults and kids dosage with 2-3 days worth of each.
- Buying or refilling your kit can be a good idea to do in international airports or duty-free.
7. Kids Extras
- 1 Small Blanket
- 2 Small Stuffed Animals
- Few Small Toys
- Colouring crayons and books
- School books
Packing Tips for Kids
- All the above items had to fit in the kid’s day backpack. Plus, they had their iPad, earphones and space for their hat and sweater. For some of the heavier school books, we did move them to their suitcases for easily pulling them.
- Let your kids choose these few items that bring them joy.
- We printed off the list and let our kids finished their own checklist for packing!
8. Day Pack Extras
- Hand Sanitizer & Hand Wipes
- Tissue Paper
- Snack for Kids
Day Pack Travel Tips
- We always kept the snack in one packing cube in the parent’s day backpack. We then knew how many snacks we had left, made sure there were no liquids for when we went through security at airports, and never had crumbs all over the kid’s backpacks that would make a mess.
- We brought hand wipes for messy kid’s faces and wiping down surfaces.
- Our travel backpack list changed daily based on our activity. So if we were going to the beach it would be beach stuff, if we were hiking or having a city day this would fluctuate and change. Typically we would have at least one backpack along.
9. Documents for Long Term Travel
- Credit cards, debit cards, and drivers license
- Original Birth Certificates for Kids
- Immunization Records
- Tourist Visas
- Extra Passport Photos
- Travel Insurance
- Copy of Medication Prescriptions
- Copy of Eye Prescriptions
Tips for Documents while Traveling Full-Time
- We kept all the documents in a travel organizer in the parent’s backpack and were always in the same place every time.
- If we had electronic visas we would either take a picture on our phones or have them printed out at the hotel before we left for the country. This would help in case we did not have data or wifi to access these.
- You will need sometimes extra passport photos for visas.
- Keep a copy of all documents and cards (front and back) electronically on the cloud so you can access them from your phone.
- Bring the long form copy of the birth certificates, the one with the parent’s name on it. You will need this for some entry into some countries (ie. South Africa)
How to pack for a long trip? And other Packing Tips
- Remember you can buy almost anything EVERYWHERE in the world!
- Less is more when travelling long term.
- If you bring too much or find you aren’t using items… send them home!
- Have a test run at home with only using what is packed in your suitcase before you leave on your trip.
- This packing list is ideal for anyone travelling for longer than 2 weeks and is a great outline of what to pack for a month long trip!
- We brought many of these items off of Amazon and looked through many reviews of the products to find the right ones for us.
- We used this also for our 1 month campervan trip and can confirm it is great for long term road trip essentials!
- Print off this long term packing list and check the items off as you start your planning and prep work.
Hopefully you have found this list to be vaulable as you plan your long term travel packing list and resolved many questions about how to pack for a long trip.
Other Information for Long-term Travel Essentials
- Everything you need to know about Planning a Gap Year and Before you Leave for international travel
- 1 Year Full Time Travel World Itinerary
- Long Term travel insurance – Who we use and our review of family travel insurance.
- 25 Best Countries to take Kids
- Find other FREE printable packing lists HERE