I traveled the world for 6 months with only a carry-on suitcase, and there are 5 things I wouldn't bother packing again
- In March, I left New York to travel around the world as Business Insider's international correspondent. In more than six months, I have so far visited 12 countries.
- Though I only brought a carry-on suitcase and a backpack, I packed it with everything I thought I would need for the trip. I created a very meticulous packing list.
- Now having returned home to reset and reflect, it's clear that there were a few items I could have left behind.
As Business Insider's international correspondent, I've spent the past six months traveling through Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Greece, Israel, and Russia, among other places.My trip had a wide range of scenarios to plan for, and that's before I included the copious photo and video equipment I had to carry with me to document it all. My trip spanned from Beijing's frosty early spring to Israel's oppressively hot summer and situations ranging from boardroom meetings with executives at Chinese tech startups to hiking China's Zhangjiajie National Forest Park (the mountains the 2009 film Avatar was based on).
If you haven't, I'd encourage you to check out my packing list before reading this.
TL;DR, I brought a lot. Too much, in fact. Even a month into my trip, it was clear that there were things that I just wasn't going to use, weren't right for traveling long-term, or were taking up valuable real estate.
Here's what they are:
I have a lot of expensive camera equipment and I planned on doing some adventure-type activities. I figured it would be take away some stress to have a bag that would keep all my equipment bone-dry. The main problem is that I just didn't use it. Usually, I was in a situation where my backpack was protective enough, like hiking along a beach. The few times I was in much more dangerous waters (i.e. kayaking), it just didn't make sense to carry my camera on me.
Before committing to bringing a piece of gear, have a definite use-case for when you are going to need it.This is the last time I get fooled by one of these fancy "nylon braided" USB cables. They're supposed to be unbreakable and yet they break faster than any cable I've ever bought. Seriously, before you get fooled by these, click out of that Amazon tab and just pick up one of the regular ones. You won't regret it.
I listen to a lot of music, particularly when I'm editing photos or writing. I figured having a good pair of headphones - particularly ones that could block out sound - would be essential. I was wrong.
I'm sure I would feel differently if I was only going on a one or two-week vacation, but when you are traveling for an extended period of time, every square inch of packing space counts. Carrying around a set of bulky over-the-ear headphones was a pain. They were heavy and took up valuable space in my backpack.
To top it all off, I found myself using standard iPhone earbuds far more often because they were easier to take out and put away. Next time, I'll just bring the earbuds.
Hanes ComfortSoft Boxer Briefs
I brought these boxers as extra pairs to go along with the ExOfficio Give-N-Go boxers and the Uniqlo AIRism boxers, which were more or less built for travel - and it showed. They were both lightweight, durable, odor-blocking, and could be washed and dried in a matter of hours.
While the standard Hanes are comfortable, they ended up being bulky and unnecessary. Next time, I think I'll just grab an extra Uniqlo AIRism and ditch the cotton boxers.
Marrone Scurro Creme
I probably should've seen this one coming. I packed a very expensive pair of boots (Fracap M120 Ripple Sole Scarponcino Boots) that I intended to serve a pretty ridiculous dual purpose: heavy duty enough that I can hike in them, while snazzy enough that they can pass at a business meeting.
They came with a tube of leather cream to care for them, which I assumed I would use at some point. I did not. It stayed in my toiletry bag and never left.