Pack vs. Purge: What You Bring For A Year Abroad

Pairs Well With… “There are far better things ahead than any we leave behind.” – C.S. Lewis

Disclosure: There are a shit ton of affiliate links within this post, which means a) I may get a commission should you purchase any items via links on my site b) your purchase supports me while I travel (so shop often) and c) I only recommend products that I use and love.  So on and so forth.

But what are you going to pack for a full year? How much can you take?”  Yes, folks. This has been the number one question asked by everyone.


The simple answer is, I’m working on putting the final touches on my packing. Still. And it’s Tuesday. I leave Friday. I know, I know.  But, I’m close.  I think.

The packing piece stressed me out and annoyed me the most, which is likely why I left it for last. I’ve spent countless minutes staring down and side-eyeing my suitcases thinking, “I thought you were bigger.” (That’s what she said?!)

The clothing piece I could semi-manage, but it was my tech set up that I was all WTF about. I am grateful to have a tech guru and expert packer living in my clown car of a house right now.

In case you’re not familiar with international travel, baggage size and weight requirements vary between airlines and countries.  Because of the variations, I packed on the side of less weight and smaller luggage to avoid additional baggage fees.  Also, have you seen me trying to haul more than two bags up an escalator?  It’s a disaster, and it’s only a matter of time before either my bag or I bite the dust.  (For the record, there have been too many close calls – and lots of pointing and laughing by whoever is traveling with me.) Long story short, it’s critical to pack lean and mean.

Everything I’m packing will fit between a small carry-on sized roller bag (that I will check), the coolest carry-on bag around (to join me onboard), and my laptop bag (serving as my personal item).

Coolest bag ever by New North, a Kickstarter company with a killer product!

And without further ado, my packing list:

(1) Raincoat
(1) Blazer
(1) Sweater
(8) Shirts (long-sleeved, short-sleeved, tanks)
(1) Swimsuit coverup
(2) Swimsuits
(4) Dresses (they’re my jam)
(3) Yoga/workout pants
(7) Shorts (jean, dress and workout – and because it’s warm ALL year ’round. #rubbingitin)
(2) Jeans
(2) Hats
(6) Shoes (3 heels, 2 sandals, 1 tennis shoe)
Socks/Underwear/Sweatbands (just kidding, no sweatbands. Sorry!)

Personal Care items (including Off Wipes; I’ve got zero time for Malaria.)
First Aid Kit/Meds

TECH SET UP: (It’s critical to have the right set up if you’re running a business while overseas.)

Anker PowerCore+ mini, 3350mAh Lipstick-Sized Portable Charger (3rd Generation, Premium Aluminum Power Bank), One of the Most Compact External Batteries

BESTEK Portable International Travel Voltage Converter 220V to 110V with Interchangeable Worldwide UK/US/AU/EU Plugs + 4 USB(6A Max) Charging Ports for iPhone, iPad, Samsung, Tablet

RECHARGEABLE BATTERY (10+ Hours of charge!!!)
Jackery Giant+ Premium 12,000 mAh Dual USB Portable Battery Charger & External Battery Pack (Total 3.1A Output) with Panasonic Battery Cells for iPhone 7, 7 Plus, Galaxy & Other Smart Devices (Orange)

HARD DRIVE (Because everyone needs to back it up once in a while!)
WD 1TB Black My Passport Ultra Portable External Hard Drive – USB 3.0 – WDBGPU0010BBK-NESN [Old Model]

DOOR STOP ALARM  (I’d like to see the person who tries to rob me while this is active. Just sayin’.)
GE Personal Security Door Stop Alarm

Logitech M310 910-001675 Wireless Mouse (Silver)

Apple 13 ” MacBook Pro / MD101LL/A / 2.5GHz Intel Core i5, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD

Samsung Galaxy S5 SM-G900A GSM Unlocked Cellphone, 16GB, Black

MICROPHONE (Guess who is starting a podcast?! Stay tuned!)
Audio-Technica Cardioid Dynamic USB/XLR Microphone (ATR2100-USB) with Pop Shield Universal Pop Filter Microphone Wind Screen with Mic Stand Clip

HIGH DEFINITION CLIP ON CAMERA LENS KIT (I wasn’t about to haul a DSLR around.  Nope.)
High Definition Clip-on Camera Lens Kit, Universal 12x Zoom Telephoto Lens + 15X Super Macro Lens + 0.45X Wide Angle Lens For iPhone, Smartphones (Pink)


Joy Susan Women’s New Lux Crossbody Wristlet Clutch Synthetic Handbags

DAY PACK (Lightweight for all my hiking!)
Venture Pal Ultralight Lightweight Packable Foldable Travel Camping Hiking Outdoor Sports Backpack Daypack (Black)

Waterproof Pouch with Waist Strap (2 Pack) | Best Way to Keep Your Phone and Valuables Safe and Dry | Perfect for Boating Swimming Snorkeling Kayaking Beach Pool Water Parks

Soft Instant Cooling Towel 2 Pack, 48-Inch Long Natural Bamboo Charcoal Healthy Scarf Cool Cloth, Fitness Sports Travel Running Hiking Camping Gym Yoga Golf Workout Must Have! (1Gray, 1Blue)

DUAL VOLTAGE HAIR STRAIGHTENER (& life saver – because my hair has a mind of its own.)
HSI Professional Ceramic Tourmaline Ionic Flat Iron, With Travel Size Argan Oil Leave In Hair Treatment, Worldwide Dual Voltage 110v-220v

Conair 1875 Watt Compact Folding Handle Styler / Hair Dryer with Dual Voltage; Grey
INFLATABLE NECK PILLOW (Super space saver!)
Airplane Pillow MLVOC Luxuriously Soft Inflatable Travel Neck Velvet Pillow with Ear Plugs, Eye Mask and Carrying Bag for Airplane or Commute Transportation
Something about the process of packing has made this trip real for me.  Like, scary real.  I’m between emotions of denial, excitement, panic, curiosity and craze.  Once I’m on that plane, everything in Minneapolis becomes hindsight.  All that’s left behind are material things, which are easy enough to find when needed.  It’s the memorable experiences that I need to leave the most room for.

Days Til Takeoff: THREE (Holy crap!)

All these items and more are in my Amazon Store.  I’ve got a slew of other goodies (what I’m reading, favorite plane snacks, etc.) on my travel lists, so check them out.  I’ll be adding collections of my favorite findings by country as the year carries on, so you can experience with me, but from home! 

As always, feel free to email me with any questions, suggestions, or a friendly hello.

2 Responses to “Pack vs. Purge: What You Bring For A Year Abroad”

  1. cracTpot

    I saw that bag on kickstarter! Amazing. If I was the lucky girl that was spending the next year travelling I would absolutely have invested. All the best and good luck. Can’t wait to check out your podcast!


      I’m presently in Korea (halfway through my travels to Kuala Lumpur) and the bag has already been a lifesaver and has kept me organized!


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