Travel Resources – What I Pack

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What to Pack

I was asked recently what I pack when I travel. I was probably on the road for about 3 months last year and 138,000 miles so I do have some experience. Here is what is in my bag. As a rule, I pack for no more than 10 days. If I am on the road for longer than that I plan on doing some laundry just like I do at home. This might mean washing some things out in a sink or it might mean laundry in a hotel or a launderette. On rare the occasion, when I am someplace that is inexpensive it might mean a laundry service. But I find the inconvenience of a little washing is made up for in the extra mobility that packing light gives me.

Pacsafe Ultimatesafe 22L

What’s In My Backpack

Pacsafe Toursafe Lifestyle 21 Inch

What’s In My Suitcase

  • My suitcase itself is a Pacsafe Toursafe Lifestyle 21 Inch, another great bonus from the work with PacSafe. A larger suitcase will fit in an overhead bin but both American Airlines and United at SFO have been restricting carry-on suitcases to the 9″ depth of a bag like this. Sometimes for longer trips, I will use an American Tourister Luggage Splash 21″ Upright Suitcase, which claims to be not as deep but lies. My Pacsafe bag is green and the American Tourister is red, but I still have a ribbon or something so they can be spotted on a luggage carousel if I have to gate check.
  • My wife has started using the 4 wheeled carry-on bag from Away which I got from them. A 4 wheel bag maneuvers better on the plane itself (sideways),  but can also roll away on its own sometimes. This one, in addition to being a great hardshell case, has a built-in battery that you can charge so that you can recharge your device at the gate when there are no outlets available. (For $20 off your order, visit and use the promo code traveler during checkout.) She also uses packing cubes although I do not.
  • Clothes
    • Blue jeans – They dry slowly so they are not ideal for travel, but I still like jeans. On trips to warm climates where shorts are not culturally acceptable, I replace my jeans with lightweight travel pants.
    • Travel pants – These pack in less space than a pair of jeans and look dressier.
    • cotton/polyester blend button-down shirts – You will usually find me in Amateur Traveler branded shirts
    • cotton boxer underwear – These are easy to wash and dry overnight. I have a pair of Ex-Officio briefs that backpackers swear by, but they are more expensive.
    • socks
    • shorts
    • no extra shoes – I get by with only one pair of brown sneakers because shoes take up so much space
    • workout shorts
    • t-shirt
    • swimsuit
    • hat – I have what looks most like a foldable cotton cowboy hat (see Amateur Traveler home page), with a brim for good shade, although have switched recently to a more compact baseball-style cap.
    • handkerchief
    • sweatshirt
    • jacketWhat to Pack #travel #packing
  • money pouch (I use one with a felt back which is more comfortable)
  • U.S. National Park Passport (USA only)
  • laundry bag
  • shaving kit
    • razor
    • stick deodorant
    • toothbrush/toothbrush case
    • nail clippers
    • floss
    • small scissors
  • clear plastic Ziploc bag
    • shaving cream
    • shampoo
    • conditioner
    • toothpaste
    • capsaicin cream (good for a sore back)
    • sunscreen
  • Blue Yeti Microphone and cables (optional) – my standard podcasting microphone
  • Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB Microphone – mobile microphone
  • Waterproof iPhone case (optional)
  • floatation camera strap (optional)

What’s In My Pockets


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by Chris Christensen

Chris Christensen is the creator of the Amateur Traveler blog and podcast, and a co-host for This Week in Travel podcast.

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