As I am nearing the end of my working holiday year I’ve got to dust off my 65L massive Osprey backpack and figure out how to cram all my stuff back into it. Turns out I’ve accumulated quite a lot of stuff over the last 9 months and it’s time to pick through the items that made the cut and those that did not.
You know what they say: hindsight is 20/20… here are five pieces of advice I wish I had paid a little more attention to back when I was just setting off.
- “Don’t pack white clothing”
Oh for the love of God PLEASE don’t pack white clothes when traveling. If you don’t listen to a single other thing in this post, learn from my mistakes and listen to that. I LOVE wearing white. I think it makes me look tan, it matches with everything, I feel poised in white. I just really like white. Despite going to university in New York for four years, the whole all black everything trend really didn’t rub off on me and I loaded up my 65L backpack for year of travel with white tops, white socks, white sweaters, white bikinis all white everything. IT WILL GET DIRTY. YOU WON’T HAVE ACCESS TO WASHING MACHINES. End rant.
- “Don’t pack trendy things that aren’t usually your style”
This is that piece of advice you don’t want to admit is true but know it totally is. Everyone has those items of clothing that you think will look sooo cool as soon as you get off the plane. But the thing is if that wasn’t your style at home you’re probably not going to be comfortable with it when you’re traveling. It’s just gonna take up precious room in your bag that you could be filling with souvenirs… or chocolate.
- “Don’t pack ‘going out’ clothes
If you’re traveling long term, like a working holiday, chances are you’re not going to be going out half as much as you think you are. It’s just too expensive. And the places you will be going out to are probably not going to be the type of places that have a dress code. You’re going to be saving your money for experiences, plane tickets and tours not at fancy clubs.
- “Avoid cotton fabric in warm climates”
I don’t know if it’s fair to say I really ignored this piece of advice, I think I just didn’t fully understand how important it actually was. Lululemon, Nike, Athleta… really any activewear brand will sell quick-dry, wicking, sweat-free materials that are SO SO SO ideal for hot climates and backpackers. You can sweat and sweat and sweat and instead of having to walk around a clammy, damp cotton shirt this magical fabric will wick it away from your body and quick dry. Best of all, some of them have this anti-stink thing going on where you can get a few good wears out of it between each wash.
- “Pack all basic staples”
Obviously it’s nice to have a few special items of clothing that are fun and trendy to wear. But I’d say about 10% of your clothes should be trendy and 90% should be classic, basic staples. The more workable outfit combinations you have, the better.
And one piece of advice I am so glad I did listen to!
- Do splash out on a great bag
I can’t say enough good things about my Fjallraven Kanken bag. I LOVE LOVE LOVE it. Best thing I brought on my trip to Australia by far. Traveling means loads of day trips, trips to the beach, days out in the city, overnights, etc, and it’s always best to be prepared! You’ll want a water bottle, your camera, your wallet, phone, snack and maybe even a towel or light jacket with you at any given time. You and your bag are going to be spending a lot of time together so make sure you love love love your day pack.
What bits of packing advice do you swear by? I’d love to hear some more advice!
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