packing principles: our core 4

Posted on Updated on

In 3 sleeps, we will be travelling for about 3.5 months! The last time we were away for that long, was back in 2006. This time, we are 8 years “wiser”(??) and travelling with backpacks. We have packed often for our travels but this time it’s different!

Packing what we need into backpacks seems almost impossible as we stare at our mountain of things to bring and the size of the backpacks. How to pack when travelling for several months? How to fit everything we need/want? Our walking boots for the Camino alone already take up HALF the pack.

And yes, we know… we should lay everything we want to take and then leave behind half! It goes something like that, right?

After packing for this trip, we have concluded that these would have to be our 4 core packing principles.

#1: If the item is not a MUST, it can probably be purchased along the way.

Items of “MUST” will be different for everybody but may include medicines, contact lens, at least a few pairs of underwear….

#2: Use packing cells!

They keep your clothes contained inside your luggage/backpacks. You won’t find that after getting off a flight, your clothes are in a jumbled heap.


#3: Make sure you pack at least one change of clothes including underwear on your carry-on.

If you are flying, it comes highly recommended to do this. Situations where you wish you had a spare change of clothes at hand include:

  1. bags going on their own vacations the minute they were put on that conveyor belt at airport check-in;
  2. you being stranded at an airport due to flight delays/cancellations and having to stay overnight but your bags are still checked-in;
  3. during transit being caught in the rain running from the tarmac or between terminals

These are possible as these are actual scenarios which our friends have experienced. In all scenarios, even just a fresh set of underwear can make the world of difference.

#4: If travelling with a significant other, make sure you split your clothes between the two cases.

This will be a life-saviour should one bag go astray. This is where packing tip #2 is helpful with packing cells to keep clothes separate.

Here is David’s pack with half of Le’s stuff inside!


So we are finally packed! This is the FIRST time we are travelling with backpacks – we will let you know at the end of it, how it all goes.

So long cold, wintery Sydney!

It is now official, we have been farewelled! Our families threw us a farewell party: a Christmas in July (with a lit fireplace, leg of ham and roast turkey). It was so wonderful getting both families together so we could just enjoy one another’s company before we head off.



55 thoughts on “packing principles: our core 4

    Maria from said:
    July 13, 2014 at 3:56 pm

    Great packing tips! We always travel with backpacks, but have just bought packing cubes/ cells (#2). They are a must and helps packing and organizing so much easier! Have a great trip to Europe!

    Hehe, Christmas in July!! What a nice way to have a farewell party! 🙂

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      July 14, 2014 at 4:25 am

      Thanks Maria for stopping by and leaving us a comment 🙂
      Those packing cells/cubes certainly make organising soooo much easier 🙂 We are loving them!!

    Heather @ TravelingSaurus said:
    July 11, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    Totally agree! I’ve learned #3 and #4 the hard way!

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      July 12, 2014 at 3:11 am

      We live and we learn, right?? Thanks for stopping by 🙂

    Shelley @Travel-Stained said:
    July 10, 2014 at 11:12 pm

    Have an amazing trip!! Can’t wait to read the updates! 🙂

    the eternal traveller said:
    July 10, 2014 at 10:26 pm

    Bon voyage! Have a wonderful time, stay safe and keep us all up to date on all your adventures.

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      July 10, 2014 at 10:44 pm

      Thank you for your well wishes!!! Only one more sleep 🙂

        the eternal traveller said:
        July 10, 2014 at 11:04 pm

        How exciting. I hope the flight isn’t too arduous.

        We’re in the middle of our Western Australia holiday and really enjoying it. I am hoping to have some great stories coming up.

        Take care.

          wisemonkeysabroad responded:
          July 11, 2014 at 7:44 am

          Look forward to your tales of travel in WA too 🙂 Flight is nothing compared to what we endured to get to Brazil 😉

    Savvy Kenya (@savvykenya) said:
    July 10, 2014 at 5:44 pm

    I wish you all the best in the new travels, I will be sure to follow your blog 🙂

    Curt Mekemson said:
    July 10, 2014 at 9:44 am

    Couldn’t help but note the poppers. They always seem to show up at our family get-togethers as well. 🙂 Great advice on the packing. And I know the feeling of cut, cut, cut. E-readers help. We no longer have to pile in the books. (grin) –Curt

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      July 10, 2014 at 9:48 am

      Yes – we bit the bullet and bought e-readers for this trip 🙂 And who doesn’t love Xmas crackers!!! Thanks Curt for dropping in!!

    MiaMusings said:
    July 10, 2014 at 2:31 am

    Have a great trip! Look forward to tons of pics and posts. Travel safe

    White Postcards said:
    July 9, 2014 at 10:12 pm

    Never thought about splitting our stuff between our two bags – I’ll be sure to do that from now on! Have a fun and safe trip!

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      July 9, 2014 at 10:27 pm

      Thank you so much and glad to hear you might be taking away one of our tips :-)!!
      Splitting stuff isn’t for everyone so hopefully it works for you guys!

    Retired2Travel said:
    July 9, 2014 at 9:13 pm

    All the best on your new venture. It seems you’re leaving Sydney at the right time of year 🙂

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      July 9, 2014 at 9:27 pm

      Thank you! Yes – it’s sooooo cold! Got a head cold as soon as we got back from Brazil. So happy to be escaping the germy season 🙂

    John Rose said:
    July 9, 2014 at 8:16 pm

    All great points except number 4. It removes the thrill of the baggage carousel (i.e. not knowing if you, your partner or both of ye will have clothes to wear after the last flight). It also gives rise to the continuous outburst of ” Well I have clothes!” when said baggage is spotted on the carousel.

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      July 9, 2014 at 8:34 pm

      Hahahaha – you guys are hilarious 🙂 Think somehow it will be more fun when you are the one with clothes! So much for your entertaining comment, simply brilliant!

        wisemonkeysabroad responded:
        July 9, 2014 at 8:41 pm

        Oops… Meant to say .. Thanks so much for your entertaining comment 🙂

    Indah Susanti said:
    July 9, 2014 at 6:45 pm

    Awesome! Thanks for the tip and have a great trip!

    kayrpea61 said:
    July 9, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    Hey, kids, how about a larger font for your posts, please? Surely that wouldn’t increase the pack weight! Why, you may ask? I missed the decimal point in the first line and thought you were going for nearly three years i.e. 35 months instead of 3.5 🙂 Anyhow, have a great time, and I’ll have my spectacles prescription reviewed before you get back.

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      July 9, 2014 at 5:28 pm

      Hi Ken, Sorry for the small font! We wish we were off for 35 months – maybe one day 🙂
      Will look into font size increases for you 😉

    thetravellush said:
    July 9, 2014 at 12:56 pm

    How exciting! I can’t wait to read about your adventures. I traveled for seven months in Southeast Asia, living out of my backpack. It’s entirely possible 🙂 Just make sure all the clothing you pack is stuff you’ll actually wear. I brought way too many nonessentials that I ended up ditching along the way. You’re itinerary sounds fascinating. Safe and happy travels!!

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      July 9, 2014 at 2:15 pm

      Thank you!!! Yes, we don’t want to overpack but we don’t want to not have something we may need. Think we got it right! Only problem might be clothes not fitting after a while because we are eating all that wholesome European food 😉

    Melinda Lusmore said:
    July 9, 2014 at 8:50 am

    Have a wonderful time! Looking forward to lots of new posts and photos 🙂

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      July 9, 2014 at 9:14 am

      Thanks Melinda!! Hopefully wi-fi won’t be an issue and we can share lots of our adventures with everyone 🙂
      Hope you have a lovely rest of the week!

    Tanzalongs said:
    July 9, 2014 at 2:11 am

    Thanks for the tips 🙂

    Tanzalongs said:
    July 9, 2014 at 2:11 am

    For our packing for Tanzania we’re each going to have a large trolley case and a back pack – the thought of two large trolley cases or even larger back packs doesn’t bear thinking about. Of course ours is a move not a holiday. 🙂

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      July 9, 2014 at 6:48 am

      Gosh, you guys are doing well though to be ale to fit what you are taking into 2 cases each! Well done 🙂 Mustn’t be long now til your move, right?

    matyldasays said:
    July 9, 2014 at 1:46 am

    One trick that worked for me (when I wanted to pack light )was to buy a 50l backpack, I squeezed 9kgs of stuff there so it’s easy to carry around! Not sure If that was tour goal though! Enjoy your trip!

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      July 9, 2014 at 6:44 am

      Thanks for your comment!! Glad to hear that “squeezing works! We feel a whole lot better that that works 🙂
      Yes, we want to pack light but we are always hesitant to “squeeze” as also want a little space in the pack as we know packing at home seems to always fit much nicer than when we are on the road.

    Packing my Suitcase said:
    July 8, 2014 at 11:51 pm

    Awesome!! Enjoy your trip…I will stay tuned for new posts!! 🙂

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      July 8, 2014 at 11:56 pm

      Thank you soooo much 🙂 Excitement is settling in!

        Packing my Suitcase said:
        July 9, 2014 at 12:05 am

        hahaha uhuuuuu!! which countries are you guys visiting here in Europe? 😀

          wisemonkeysabroad responded:
          July 9, 2014 at 6:31 am

          Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Czech Republic, France, Switzerland, Luxembourg and Spain 🙂 Whereabouts are you?

            Packing my Suitcase said:
            July 9, 2014 at 5:28 pm

            Amazing choices!!! I live in Munich? ahahah in the middle of everywhere you are going 😀 you have a great Itinerary, you will love it!!! 🙂

    dianaroggenbuckebrown said:
    July 8, 2014 at 11:10 pm

    Have a safe trip. Look forward to reading all about it 🙂

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      July 8, 2014 at 11:14 pm

      Thank you so much! It’s been a long time in the thinking & planning so cannot believe it is finally here 🙂
      Have a great rest of the week!

    worldjourneysdiscover said:
    July 8, 2014 at 10:41 pm

    great tips! Bon Voyage!

    Vlad said:
    July 8, 2014 at 10:06 pm

    Have loads of fun! I’ve always wanted to backpack in Europe, maybe one day I’ll have enough time (and money) to do it 🙂 Where are you heading, do you have a schedule?

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      July 8, 2014 at 10:14 pm

      Thanks Vlad 🙂
      We are starting in Russia, travelling through Baltics down through Poland, Czech Republic, over to France, Switzerland, Luxembourg and then the Camino Walk starts….

    Mabel Kwong said:
    July 8, 2014 at 10:01 pm

    Seems quite a long trip you’ve planned there and i hope you get to see the world, once again. I’ve never traveled with backpacks or gone on a backpacking adventure as I barely have the strength to lift my own luggage (I am a very tiny person). Maybe…one day. Happy walking and see you soon 🙂

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      July 8, 2014 at 10:23 pm

      Thanks Mabel! We are not backpacking in true style! We are only carrying backpacks instead of wheeling cases 🙂 We hope the trip is long enough… we figured that if we have to fly all that way to Europe, we might as well make the most of our time there!

        Mabel Kwong said:
        July 8, 2014 at 10:28 pm

        I’m sure you’ll have enough time on your hands, you experienced traveler monkeys 😉 Ah, rough and tumble backpack style. Why not? No one’s ever too old to try that. Hope you have some room in your backpacks to bring home a few things. Looking forward to hearing about your travels 🙂

          wisemonkeysabroad responded:
          July 8, 2014 at 10:57 pm

          Nah, it isn’t about age… it’s just not us 🙂
          We have very little room left in the backpacks, very little will be coming back with us!! Enjoy the rest of your week!

    Liz said:
    July 8, 2014 at 10:00 pm

    Some great tips here, thanks – I’m really bad at travelling light! Have a great trip 🙂

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      July 8, 2014 at 10:14 pm

      Oh dear! We are struggling really hard to pack light too… but we think we got it right this time! At least, we hope! 🙂
      Thanks so much for your comment and well wishes!

        Jaspa said:
        July 19, 2014 at 6:35 am

        Three months? We’re off this evening for three weeks, and Rich and Sue are getting no end of ribbing about it. 😉

        Tonight we fly to Vienna, then on to Bratislava, followed by the Formula 1 race in Budapest. After that we’ve got a week driving around Croatia and Slovenia, before meeting up with friends for a week in one of my all-time favourite places… Venice.

        Oh, what I could cram into 3 months! 😀

        Travel safely, Monkeys!

          wisemonkeysabroad responded:
          July 19, 2014 at 6:38 am

          Thanks Jaspa!! Well about 45 days will be on the Camino so really its about 8 weeks of travelling beforehand. But it sounds like a fun-filled few weeks for you guys. Enjoy 🙂 We look forward to seeing all your adventures!

leave us a comment...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s