Mission Minded Packing
Tips & Tricks
Packing well is vital for any trip you go on, especially missions. The best advice we can give you is to pack light and pack early. Last minute packing is the main cause for over packing. Make a list and set up a small pile in your room to place your items, so when the time rolls around to pack it up you will be able to edit your belongings and leave unnecessary items behind. For items you need to use the week of (chargers, toiletries, etc.) we suggest making a list either on your phone or on a post-it and place it on top of your existing pile.
For toiletries we suggest to go small or go home! Don’t pack big toiletry items. Use small travel bottles and take advantage of hotel stays (if you have a layover or stay at one before an expedition) by taking your extra shampoo, conditioner, and soap that are already in the perfect travel size.
For clothing we suggest wearing pieces that can hold the ailments of this world. Whether it be dirt, blood, or sweat, earth tones can hold and hide a lot. It is also a good idea to wear earth tones if you are in a region that has a large mosquito population. Mosquitos are known to be attracted to bright colors and fragrant scents. Mosquitos do not like tea tree oil, which is a good alternative to a scented shampoo/soap. You also want to make sure you wear a lot of bug spray. The higher the deet, the better protection you will have against bugs, especially mosquitos. For clothing it is also important to do some research on where you are going. For example, women in some places have to wear a long dress or skirt to church. For men, a nicer dress shirt and pants are usually required as well. It all depends on what country you are going to, so do your research and make sure what you are wearing is culturally appropriate.
While packing stick to the “Rule of 3”, you never need more than 3 of these items: shoes, electronics, and bags. Depending on where you are going you should only need a couple pairs of shoes: one pair of sandals, hiking boots or sturdy closed toe shoes, and dress shoes for church. In most places you can get away with just a pair of sandals and a pair of closed toe comfortable shoes. You also don’t want to lug around all your electronics. A phone, tablet, and computer should be more than enough. We recommend the Macbook Air, which is light and sleek, which will save you weight and space while traveling. An iPad mini is also another great option. A phone is important to have for emergencies but your service and plan will vary depending on where you are going. T-Mobile has a great international plan that gives you data, texting, and calling in more than 120 countries at a great rate. Take advantage of Wifi whenever you can and use apps like Skype, Whatsapp, and Facebook to stay in touch with family and friends while on your journey. For luggage, you don’t need more than a large luggage or backpack, a carry on, and a personal item (purse, messenger bag, camera bag, etc.) The less luggage the better! Try and fit everything into one bag even. In the video clip below you will see that when we left for our 2-3 year journey we only had carry ons! If you are going on a long trip, take advantage of local markets. All throughout Seasons 1-3 of Travel the Road you will see us wear our clothes for long periods of time, give them away to people in need, and purchase new ones for the journeys ahead.
Some miscellaneous items that are good to pack are Ziploc Baggies and a scarf or bandana. Ziploc Baggies come in handy very often. You will want to have a handful of these for leaks, organizing, and trash. When traveling in a developing country it is good to have a scarf or bandana to cover your neck, mouth, and nose. This will protect you from any gasoline, dirt, sun, or rotten smells. You will notice that in our series, 7 Days in Haiti, we wore bandanas around our necks all the time to keep out the smell of decaying bodies after the 2010 earthquake. Another great miscellaneous item to have is a towel. You never know when you are going to need it and when you are showering the Sepik River in Papua New Guinea like we did in Season 1, you will want to have something to dry off with.
A great way to save space while packing is to layer on flights. Most airlines have extremely cool temperatures and allow you to adjust the temperature in your own personal seat. Wear your biggest and bulkiest pair of shoes while flying as well to free up more space in your luggage or backpack. To save space in your backpack or luggage, roll your clothing and stuff them into items such as shoes and hats. You will have more space to work with and will also keep your clothing wrinkle free.
And lastly, make sure you know your airline. Most international flights charge to check a bag and even a carry on sometimes. Know their weight limit and their prices for baggage. Some airlines charge for bags both on the way there and on the way back, so make sure to factor that in to your budget if needed. Below is a clip of us from Season 2 of Travel the Road preparing for our 2-3 year expedition all around the globe. Remember: Pack light and pack early! For any packing or traveling advice feel free to e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Travel the Road