What to Pack?

When we first thought about doing this trip, we decided to follow the weather and have 7-month-long spring/summer.  However, due to the constraints of round-the-world airline tickets (you can only cross each ocean once) and our own personal interests, it didn’t work out that way.  Now we are going to experience brutal heat in the Australian outback and bitter cold in Beijing, and that makes packing just a bit complicated.  On top of that, we have a lot of different activities planned.  We will go swimming, biking, and hiking; we will be in cities and in the countryside; we will stay in campgrounds, very nice hotels, and many places in between; and we’ll go to the opera, the theater, and a nice restaurant or two.  So, you may see us wearing the same thing over and over again in our pictures.  I apologize in advance, but at least we won’t have to think too hard about what to wear on any given day.  Shoes have presented another issue.  We are each taking four pairs, but Todd’s are way too big, so I suggested he only take two.

what to pack horizontalIn addition to clothes, we will be taking a lot of other “necessities.” Everyone has their own electronics and accompanying chargers and headphones.  (I am taking a small computer—3 lbs. 8 oz.—and a big phone, Todd has an iPad and an unlocked phone for local SIM cards, and Lucy and Natalie each have an iPad.  Do we take an external hard-drive to back everything up or just rely on the cloud?)  My camera with my great lens weighs just over 3 pounds.  The girls have schoolwork, markers, pencils, notebooks, journals, and a few small toys.  Natalie’s math workbook alone is a whopping 5 lbs. which is the equivalent of six pairs of pants and 3 shirts.  Which would you take?  (Hint:  the workbook is also on-line.)  Natalie is bringing her beloved monkey, Jojo, which is probably the only thing that can’t be replaced if it gets lost, so that’s a little worrisome.

There’s more.  Do we really need a solar charger/flashlight?  A small speaker?  We think so.  A medicine/first-aid kit?  Absolutely, although it’s getting pretty hefty.  A doorstop?  A clothing line?  They seem like good ideas.   A hairdryer?  Todd would kill me, plus the plug would be a pain, and most hotels should have one.  A seven-month supply of daily contact lenses?  I had no idea how much space they could take up.

Our first few days will be spent celebrating Christmas in Idaho, so that’s additional clothing, accessories, and Christmas presents.  What I thought would be one extra bag for Idaho has turned into four extra suitcases.  Luckily, those can all stay in Idaho.

Something I am not taking, and the hardest thing to leave behind for me, will be my huge planning 3-ring binder.  It has everything we are doing, every place we are staying, all printed and organized by week.  It has tabs and pockets; it has things highlighted.  It has paperclips and post-its.  And it weighs in a ton.  (All has been digitized and is now on my phone, but it’s just not the same.)

In the end, for the round-the-world trip, we ended up with 4 backpacks and 4 suitcases, weighing 36, 36, 44 and 45 lbs.

I was reading a book on blogging, and it said to involve your readers by asking a question.  So, channeling my inner Carrie Bradshaw, I ask you:  what is the most important thing you take when you travel?  And what is the dumbest thing you think we are taking?


  1. Well, I would have said that you should’ve gotten a MacBook Air, rather than a Pro, but looking at the specs, it’s only a half-pound worth of difference, so not really worth worrying about.

    I would recommend both carrying a backup drive (for when you don’t have cloud access) and backing up to the cloud (in case the hard drive fails/gets stolen/falls overboard).

    I was hoping to have time to rip our kid-friendly movies to a thumb drive before you go, but things have been too busy. Sorry.


  2. The boys think the girls need to bring a razor. Razors fold up and it’s fun to zip around streets and campgrounds. You can meet othe people when riding them and you won’t get as tired. Leave behind some clothes – they’re over-rated. No pajamas because you can sleep in your clothes.

    (Jonathan said he might recommend a small skateboard instead of a razor. They’re smaller and lighter than a razor and regular skateboard)

    Happy travels!!! We’re so excited for you all and looking forward to your posts.


  3. Victoria

    Dan Pawliw here. Love the trip and will enjoy reading along. We did a mini trip compared to yours but a long one compared to others in August. It was about 30 days in Greece turkey and Tanzania. Love the packing question but beware the charger!

    I realized when travelling that a kid and their charger is like a hippo and water in Africa – don’t ever stand in the way of one once you get to a hote. We did not fight often but when we did it was all about the charger – whose was whose, where is mine, can I use yours since I need to charge two devices, can I use yours since I forgot to charge mine last night etc

    I assume you have an extra battery pack which is great for long trips but horrible when you realize that needs charging as well.



    • A friend gave me a multi-usb-port charger for 5 devices to charge at once, so that will ease some of the tension. However, I do not have an extra battery pack which would come in handy right about now.


  4. Dumbest thing is probably the doorstop…you can use a chair.
    Most important thing I take when I travel is my phone, I guess!

    Have an amazing, enthralling time!!!!

    Merry, Merry!


  5. Nati and Lucy,

    If anyone knows about being pictured in the same clothes over and over again, it’s me!

    Since you asked, I’ll say two things about the packing list.

    1) The aid kit is very important. I carry an aid kit when I leave the North Pole on Christmas Eve, and it’s completely empty when I arrive back home. Many people don’t know this, but Rudolph gets bad blisters on his hooves and I need to patch them up constantly. I recommend bandaids and stomach medicine.

    2) It’s best to have some dry food or granola bars with you at all times. I know the reindeer and I are spoiled on Christmas with all the carrots and cookies, but we get really hungry when we’re crossing the Pacific. I saw that you are flying all the way to Australia, so I just wanted to warn you of that.

    The elves and I are nearly finished loading up the sleigh. It seems heavier than usual, I must say. Could it be that I have packed some extra presents for you two?

    Let me know what you think of my tips, and I will try my best to get back to you before we depart!



    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Santa Claus,
      You said that you are always pictured in the same clothes. How many red suits do you have? Do you have any other color suits? It is probably warm inside the house. Do you wear your suit in there too?
      Do the reindeer ever steal the dry food? It seems that they would like the food. I bet they get hungry too. Merry Christmas! I hope you have safe travels!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Santa,
      thank you for the tips.I will be sure to follow them.I hope Rudolph feels better. I really miss Hermie. Can you send him back to watch over us? I will really like Hermie.I think he is cute.I also want an elf that does bad stuff like put toilet paper all over the house.I want two elves Hermie and a bad elf.I think Hermie needs a friend to play with.I Want the bad elf to be a girl with a St.Stephen’s jumper on. I want the girl to hide in a good place so I will have to look for her every morning like Hermie used to do.I would like Hermie to wear a base ball uniform like he used to wear. I really like that uniform that he wears all the time.I would like the girl to have earrings on her ears.I would like the girl to have yellow hair and blue eyes.I think she would look pretty like that.I do not want hermie to change. When you come there will be a surprise snack for you and your reindeer.I hope you can come to Idaho without a blizzard.Merry Christmas and a happy new year!

      Love, Nati

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dear Nati and Lucy,

        Lucy — I have about 5 or 6 red suits, but in different patterns. I once had the elves make me a blue suit, but Mrs. Claus did not like that at all, so I haven’t worn it since!

        And of course, the reindeer steal the food but I don’t mind because they are really doing all the work.

        Nati — I’ll see what I can do about Hermie. He’s told me that he enjoys watching over you and he wishes he could do it more. A bad elf! I’ll see if I can find one, but I wonder if your parents would like that. I can’t wait for this surprise snack, I hope it will be tasty!

        I really have to run. We’re already on the move, and we’re experiencing some bad weather over Ankara.

        Merry Christmas to both of you!


        Liked by 1 person

  6. The most important thing is “sleep aids”. The least important is the extra pair of shoes that are not brown or black. Safe travels and enjoy one another…

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Love the running dialogue in the blog! I think the thing to leave behind is the hair dryer – all hotels have them. If there isn’t one, I have learned to accept having natural hair while traveling. One thing I always bring – a book. I am old school and don’t have a nook or kindle. However, I don’t know if I would get one since I love the feel of a book in my hands. Have fun!!


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