Packing The Essentials: 16 Things We Never Leave Home Without

Like marmite, you either love or hate packing, there doesn’t ever seem to be an in-between but no matter who you speak to, everyone has a favourite item of clothing or a specific thing, that always get packed into the suitcase, regardless of destination. 

We are no different; there are certain items that neither of us would leave home without, regardless of whether we are heading to a warmer climate or one where we are hoping for a glimpse of snow.  Some of these items are of course packed out of necessity whereas others are more of a nice-to-have.

What is on Our Packing List?

#1 Osprey Farpoint 70 Litre Backpack

If someone had said to me years ago that I would opt for a backpack over a suitcase I would have told them they were insane.  After all, a suitcase has wheels, I can pull it along and it opens in such a way that I do not have to pull the entire contents of my bag out just to find the top I wanted to wear for dinner.

Well, let me introduce to you the wonderful creation by Osprey.

Ok, so it doesn’t have wheels, but it does have a side handle so when flying you can neatly cover up your straps with their ingenious zip-up compartment whilst still being able to carry it around with you.

 Secondly, it opens like a suitcase.  No longer do you have to fight with your bag in order to find the one thing that you automatically assume will be at the bottom of your not-so-convenient top-loading pack.  It also allows you to fit in several packing cubes which means that you can keep things nice and orderly which is always a great solution when moving multiple times during a trip.

Lastly, and for me, this is one of the main reasons for buying this pack, it has a second removable day pack which is just big enough (15 litres) for you to store all of your daily essentials in.

A multi-purpose 2-in-1 backpack that suits all of our needs, what more could we ask for.

#2 Jack Wolfskin Waterproof Jackets

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Glad we packed our Jack Wolfskin Jackets when we headed to Iceland

Some may say that these are an extravagant purchase but believe me this is one of our top purchases in recent years.

Not only are they highly waterproof, but they are also lightweight at the same time so you can easily roll them up to fit inside our daypacks just in case it looks like rain is on the horizon. 

Add to this the fact that we purchased jackets with removable fleece linings so should we be travelling to colder climates we have both the warmth and resilience to the wind included whilst still remaining dry.

#3 A Camera

To say that we only pack one camera would be a complete and utter lie.  No matter where we are travelling to we always take at least two cameras with us. 

Go Pro Hero 4, camera, travel, packing list, travelling, Travelling Book Junkie

Firstly, we never leave home without our trusty Go Pro Hero 4 (silver) because not only does it fit in a pocket, it records videos, is waterproof and is one of the few cameras in its price range to off such a wide-angle, meaning that we can capture more of the scene around us.

Fiji XT 10, camera, packing, packing list, travel, travelling book junkie

 Secondly, Paul never goes anywhere without his Fuji XT 10 mirrorless camera.  As a photographer, he has many cameras and lens but if we are on a long trip and he doesn’t wish to carry his oversized bag of camera gear around with him, this particular one takes excellent quality images.

#4 Our Tablets

Whilst not an ideal solution for creating articles long term, we both pack a tablet on each trip we take in order to keep up with work-related tasks. 

I have been known to write an article or two on my I-Pad which whilst it takes longer to format, means that I can leave my heavyweight laptop at home and Paul uses his Hudl 2 for editing images on the road.  Both of us also use it to manage social media accounts and to check emails meaning that we can still keep readers up-to-date with our trip without having the burden of heaving clunky laptops around with us the whole time – even though most would say that the Macbook Pro 13 inch couldn’t be described as bulky when you are living out of a backpack it still takes up far too much room.

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Sometimes my laptop is just too much-added weight

The great thing about packing both tablets also means that on long bus rides or plane trips we have the flexibility to watch what we want or to listen to whatever music takes our fancy.

#5 My Kindle Paperwhite E-Reader

There was a time when my backpack would be considerably heavier than Paul’s and not because of the clothing inside. 

I am a bibliophile and a bookaholic which means for me to travel anywhere I need to have a good supply of reading material.  Going on a trip without a couple of good books is not an option for me and therefore thanks to the creation of the E-Reader my backpack is now considerably lighter.

Don’t get me wrong there is still nothing better than sitting down with a ‘proper’ good book but whilst we are on the road, the Kindle is a great alternative and it means that I always have hundreds of books to choose from.

#6 Portable Chargers

With the need to stay connected more so today than ever before, we never leave home without our portable chargers.

Our Tecknet chargers allow us to recharge phones, tablets, and my Kindle up to 5 times before they themselves need to be charged which is great if we are camping without electricity or if we are working on the road where there are no charging portals available.

It also means that we have no excuse for not keeping in touch with loved ones at home because they now know that is always online no matter where in the world we travel to.

#7 Multiple Charging Pack

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We now pack just one charger for everything

When packing for a long trip, space is a precious commodity and therefore filling our packs with cables is just not an option.

When we discovered that Tecknet does a multi-charging pack we knew we had to have one.  No longer do we have to pack multiple chargers because this little dream can charge up to six appliances all at the same time and even has a quick-charge point included. 

Now, all we need is to pack this tiny little box along with six USB cables and away we go.  Such a fantastic find and one we wish we had discovered years ago.

#8 Mobile Phones

This may sound like a silly thing to include on a packing list but I still know many people that, when travelling, simply switch off from the world. 

Don’t get me wrong, when we are on the road our batteries seem to last far longer than when we are stood still but work doesn’t stop just because we are travelling (life as a travel blogger means that we are always working to some extent), and I still want to be able to communicate with loved ones.

Sometimes when we are away from home that is when I think about home the most, and so have the ability to Skype whilst lounging around on an exotic beach or from a hammock really is something I wouldn’t want to be without now.

Likewise, thanks to the numerous different apps now available, Paul has been able to add his photo editing software onto his phone which means he can now work from anywhere at any time.

#9 Flip Flops

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An essential item wherever we go

Yes, even in wintry locations I never go anywhere without my trusted Havaianas.

Years ago my sister introduced me to this brand of flip flop when she was working abroad and now neither of us buy anything else. 

Ok, so they may not be the cheapest of footwear but there are durable and long-lasting. 

In the past, I have brought cheaper flip flops and within a week I can feel the stones beneath my heels or they have started to split meaning that in the long run, these cheaper brands end up costing far more because I need more of them.

Havaianas, on the other hand, seem to be indestructible.  I have had pairs that last years and for someone that spends most of her time in them, this is a bold statement. 

If however, you are someone that still freaks out at the price tag, take a look on the internet because there are always great deals to be had, you just need to know where to look. 

One website that I return to is Skatehut, a branded website that has many different high-quality brands listed included my trusted Havaianas at reasonable prices and they deliver to several different countries around the world which is always a bonus for those that travel as much as we do.

#10 Waterproof Stuff Sacks

Versatility is key when trying to pack light and we use this in a number of ways. 

Firstly when travelling in the rain we use them as extra protection inside our backpacks as a way to keep everything dry.  When staying still for a while they become a great laundry bag and finally when we decide to be more adventurous they can use as a waterproof sack to protect our cameras and keep extra clothes dry.

Likewise, we have been known to use them as a day pack when near the beach meaning that we do not need to worry if we decide to go for a wander along the shoreline and a larger wave takes us by surprise.

#11 RFID Slim-line Bum Bag

I don’t care how geeky this one sounds, when travelling around we want to know that our valuables are safe and this provides us with the protection we desire.

It sits discreetly around our waist and hides our passports, cards, and money from prying eyes.  Pickpockets really don’t stand a chance with this and with the added scan-proof protection, even the smartest of scammers are no real challenge for us.

#12 Travel Pillows

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My Osprey backpack with both travel pillow and waterproof stuff sack attached

No matter where I am travelling to, comfort really is a key component for me.  I don’t want to struggle with sleep because I am uncomfortable and unlike Paul who seems to be able to fall asleep anyway I need to feel cozy and snug before I can sleep.

Before our trip to Thailand, we decided that because we would be spending time on planes, trains and buses that we needed to invest in a good pillow and spent hours researching until we found a highly-rated memory foam one that supported the neck but also rolled up into a ball for easy packing.  These memory foam pillows also have a removable cover meaning that after each trip we take we can wash away the dust and dirt away before heading off again.

Definitely one of the most recent top buys and now I don’t leave home with it.

#13 Tiger Balm

If like me, you seem to be attractive to mosquitoes you need Tiger Balm in your life.  Not only does it smell nice it takes the itchiness away and for a while numbs the area around the bite. 

Coming in two forms, the red herbal ointment relieves your muscles and helps with headaches whilst the white one elevates pain caused by bites and stuffy noses. 

#14 Guidebooks

The River Kwai, Kanchanaburi, Thailand, Hellfire Pass, Death Railway, Travelling, Travel, Travelling Book Junkie, packing list

We never travel anywhere without a guide book

I don’t care what anyone says, we never travel anywhere without a good old fashioned guidebook.  Yes, I know the internet holds a wealth of information and thanks to the growing number of bloggers, ourselves including, there is now far more knowledge available to us than ever before but I still like a physical copy of something to look at sometimes.

It is thanks to these guidebooks that we have stumbled across relatively unknown restaurants, visited places less well known and enjoyed nights in some of the best hotels around the world. 

Don’t get me wrong I love the flexibility that the internet brings but I still enjoy reading a guidebook in a coffee shop whilst watching the world go by.

Unlike some, I am not embarrassed to admit that I am a tourist in town, wanting to visit the best that the location has to offer.

#15 Clear Plastic Bags

After years of plane-hopping, I have learnt that having a stash of clear plastic bags on us is a godsend.  Having had to pay out £1 for a single plastic bag before at a very popular London-based airport I have learnt my lesson and now before each trip, I head off to the supermarket to stock up.

#16 A Notepad

Never a day goes by when I do not jot down a few notes about a place I have visited,  Perhaps it is a sight, a smell or a feeling I want to capture and remember but for me, there is no better feeling than putting my thoughts down on paper.

I know I have a phone and a tablet that I could use, but for me, I like the old-school act of writing things out and often feel that I am at my most creative when I do so.

I want to remember the experiences we have and whilst in the short-term I have a great memory, I may not write an article about our trip and encounters for some time and therefore I want to capture everything in such a way that I can use those details again at a later date.

Is our Essential Packing List too Long?

For some reading this, I know you will be thinking that we pack too much and perhaps we do but because we travel at length and sometimes for a longer period of time we want some creature comforts around us. 

It also may sound like a lot but even with our clothes and footwear we still manage to fit everything into our backpacks, so when considering that we pretty much travel the world with everything we own on our backs I would consider that this isn’t too much after all, although of course, I am sure others will disagree.

What is the one thing you can’t leave home without?  What would you add or take away from our packing list?


  • This is a nice list. I don’t know much about backpacking so I appreciate the list & suggestions.

    So you prefer a paper-white e-reader over using an e-book app on a phone or tablet?


    • Hi Grant, I find that an e-reader’s battery lasts far longer and therefore when travelling for longer periods I do not have the fear of the battery dying on me. I use to read off of my ipad but then I was significantly reducing the time I could read for on a longer trip. I know others however prefer a tablet to read on.

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