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Packing for the RTW

Packing for nine weeks – carry on only, yes CARRY ON!

As we prefer to fly carry on only, packing for this long trip was a bit of a challenge complicated by the fact that we wanted/needed to bring our snorkeling gear, including flippers.

Fran started with the packing lists we used last year for Hawaii and added a touch of the list from our South African adventure in 2009.

We were able to do it: two roller bags and two backpacks with some wiggle room.

It did help that just about everywhere we were going would be hot except maybe parts of Tanzania and maybe Turkey.  Even these places would not be cold.  So to make it easiest we would do layers.   We left Vancouver in long pants, shirts and a sweat shirt which quickly went to the bottom of the suitcases in Manila.

Shoes are always a tricky item; how many pairs and what kind? Doug opted for his runners and flip flops and Fran brought hiking runners, flip flops and her trusty Keenes.  We both brought water shoes as well.

In case of rain we brought light waterproof windbreakers.

Doug loves hats and Fran hates wearing one at all.  Doug brought three kinds, Fran just a visor type and we each brought a useful bandana.

As for clothing, we brought about 8 shirts of varying types, four pairs of “bottoms”, some socks, 10 underwear, two swim suits each and a travel vest each.  Fran also had pj’s and a couple of bras (should have three tho).

Next came snorkeling gear: flippers (Doug’s just fit diagonally in a roller board), snorkels and masks.  Our masks have cases.  They all do fit.

Another packing consideration is electronics.  We brought three cameras (one each and an underwater one) along with the charging gear and spare batteries that go along with that.  That all fits into our camera case which fits well into a backpack for safekeeping and assurance it won’t get put as checked luggage if we HAVE to check our bags at any time.

Another must for the backpack are laptops and their paraphernalia.   Doug brought his slim 14” laptop and Fran brought a windows surface tablet.  These of course, have lots of extras, like flash drives for storage, cords etc.  We each also have cell phones and their charging cords.  Fran brought two watches and Doug brought one.  We also each wore our Fitbits.

For reading material, Fran was able to get her Kindle books on her surface and Doug brought his wiki reader which is also useful for planning what to see as it has wiki travel on it.

We each have passport pouches for the obvious and extra cash.  It’s impossible to bring all the cash you need for seven countries in nine weeks so debit cards for different bank accounts as well as a few different credit cards with no foreign exchange fees.  Using debit cards is the easiest way of getting foreign currency and getting the best rates.  Our go to debit card is the Charles Schwab account as we pay NO ATM fees worldwide.  We brought both our Canadian and US passports.

We each have “shoulder bags” to use as day bags and Fran opted for no purse but rather used her travel vest instead while flying and as it was usually too hot to wear on land, her shoulder bag.

Liquids, of course, need to be small when flying carry on, so we brought small versions of everything, intending to buy more as needed.  These included:

  • Sunscreen
  • Shampoo
  • Toothpaste
  • moisturizer (x2), aloe and Vaseline,
  • lip balms
  • eye glass cleaner and contact lens solution.

The usual toiletries included:

  • toothbrushes and floss
  • razors
  • nail clippers and files
  • hair brush and a couple of combs.

We also had some basic first aid like:

  • different sized Band-Aids
  • antibiotic cream
  • Bug spray
  • molesting
  • Imodium and Tylenol
  • Tweezers.

We bought anti malaria pills in Manila as they are over the counter there and much cheaper.

Fran had a small amount of jewelry and a small amount of cosmetics (mascara – both regular and waterproof and blush) and makeup remover wipes.

A few odds and ends like:

  • suitcase locks
  • a bottle opener
  • some plastic cutlery
  • a couple of wash cloths and a micro fibre towel
  • head lamps, mini flashlights
  • A monocular
  • pens and notebooks
  • a  nylon shopping
  • A laundry bag
  • Fran’s collapsible walking stick
  • Playing cards
  • Batteries
  • Two inflatable neck pillows
  • a plastic folder with all our reservations, etickets, photocopies of pages from travel books and a couple of visas that we were able to get online  (Cambodia and Turkey)

were also added.

Yes, ALL of this fit in our bags.