We are getting close to our final days before leaving Chicago and the US.
In our first step toward our long term travels, we moved out of Los Angeles and packed five suitcases with paperwork, clothes, shoes and our electronics for Chicago.
While these might sound like a light move, it is way too much to carry five suitcases for our trip around the world. Here are our tips on packing down for long term travels.
Table of contents
Backpacks are our new best friends (BFF)
Even though we have traveled often as well as worked and lived in different countries, we are novices at carrying our home on our backs!
We decided to invest in two new backpack as my old backpack was outdated. We went to REI to get fitted with backpacks that are ergonomically designed for women and decided to get two that could each hold about 65 liters: the Aura 65 by Osprey and the ACT Lite by Deuter. This fitting session made us realize that this new life on the road was real and was about to start! Our biggest challenge now is fitting most of our stuff in these backpacks. We are also carrying two extra day backpacks of about 25 liters each which will contain our personal items and electronics.
We are to traveling as light as possible while needing to be able to have clothes for the summer and winter seasons. We are leaving for Argentina on August 4th which means that we will be arriving at the end of their winter, having a left a hot and sticky summer in Chicago.
In order to accommodate for varying temperatures, we will be layering. We are packing clothes made with breathable features and that are also wrinkle-free to keep us warm and dry in all conditions. Basically, we are planning to having enough clothes for one week of travel and then it will be about washing and recycling those clothes. We are not planning on bringing anything fancy except for one nice change of clothes. Our toiletries will be as simple and we will plan to buy a few items on the road as needed (soap, toothpaste, contact lenses solution, etc.)
We are using packing cubes to reduce the space our clothes take. It is our first time using them and they are based on recommendations of other bloggers, and so far they seem to be working quite well.
Gearing up for hiking and running
As we will be in Argentina, Chile and Peru, we will take the opportunity to hike trails in Patagonia in Argentina and Cusco in Peru. We will be taking our hiking boots and gear which we somehow need to fit in our backpacks.
We are planning not only for hiking but also for running. Running has become a habit and it is part of our weekly routine. Therefore we are adding running shoes to our somewhat limited packing list as well as the accompanying running gear. The good news is that we will be able to use our running gears for hiking and vice-versa.
As a matter of fact, Rosemary already signed up for the Buenos Aires marathon which is on October 11th. We will talk more about training on the road as we move forward in our adventure. These outdoor activities will help us stay fit even though we will be living our mission “to experience authentic food wherever we go”. Someone needs to be on the look out for all the good food out there 🙂
Packing for the essentials
Finally, we need to carry basic essentials such as passports, cash, credit card, as well as a pharmacy for any minor pain or wounds. In addition of the standard pharmacy kits, we are adding Activated Charcoal to help treat any food poisoning as well as anti-itch cream and mosquitoes repellent.
To ensure that we stay safe with our drinking water, we purchased a Steripen, which is a water purifier using UV rays. We thought that this might be useful while testing “not so clean” food joints or while hiking in nature. The cool thing about it is that the water sensors double up as a LED flashlight. Drinking safe water is key and it is also important to have clean cutlery. We are bringing our Sporks to keep us safe while eating.
Electronics for the road
To be able to continue our conversation and add juicy content on our blog while on the road, we are carrying our two Mac laptops (MacBook Air 11 and 13 inches). We also have our Canon camera PowerShot S110, two iphones and a selfie stick by MFLO. We picked this selfie stick as it can accommodate both our camera and iphones and it doesn’t require battery or wifi to shutter. We are also using two storage devices – My Passport by WD – to backup our data on the go. Of course all of this cannot work without our two indispensable international travel plug adapters by Kensington. The great thing about this adapter is that it allows for two USB plugs for our iphones in addition to our computers.
As we journey on our adventure, we know that some of the things we packed might not be necessary and some things might be added to our list. We will update you as you go and let you know if any of these items have become “superflu” which means optional in French, or an absolute necessity.
Have you had a backpacking experience? Anything you think that we might be missing by packing down? Or anything that we left out that you would like us to talk about? Tell us and leave your comment below.
Savor the Adventure!
Claire is a culinary explorer, digital nomad and engineer brain behind Authentic Food Quest. Together with her partner, Rosemary, they created Authentic Food Quest to help people find the best local food on their travels. For over 5 years they have eaten their way through South America, Southeast Asia, Europe, and North America while sharing the best local food experiences on their website. Authentic Food Quest has been featured on top publications such as Huffington Post, Business Insider, and Honest Cooking. Claire and Rosemary are also authors of Authentic Food Quest Argentina and Authentic Food Quest Peru, available on Amazon.