As I am leaving Sunday after hopefully getting my passport back from the Syrian embassy tomorrow, I have completed my packing list.
I keep a packing list for the following reasons:
- Make sure I have everything I need
- Prevent the bloating effect by not packing something that is not on the list
- Check I did not loose something or am forgetting something while moving from place to place
I have been keeping packing lists for many occasions for several years (ski weekend, camping trip, scuba-diving trip or vacation trip…) so I had some experience before but I needed some help for such a long trip especially since I am backpacking and want/need to travel light. My main source of inspiration has been the great list provided by Doug Dyment at the One Bag website. Doug has been traveling with only one carry-on bag for many years and provide a lot of great advices for someone that want to travel light. I encourage anybody that left for vacation with a huge bag and came back with half the stuff in the bag not used once to read his website thoroughly. I did!
One constant theme in the choice of the items was to always go for the lightest, smallest and most compressible without sacrificing required features. As for clothing, an additional requirement is that everything must be hand washable and quick-dry hence polyester, modal and other artificial fabrics are preferred to cotton.
I created the list while still in California and purchased the items I was missing there and in Paris. I already had most of them since my trip to Peru last year so I was not missing that much.
The packing list has its own page so that I can print. Also, I can update it without changing this post.
The list is long but these are mostly small compressible items so believe it or not but it fits!
[3/31/2006] Moved the list to its own page.
One important thing to do before traveling is to buy an insurance (#11 in the list of things to do to prepare a trip). First, since I resigned, I do not have health insurance anymore and second, even if I had, it would not really cover my needs while traveling.
The first names that come to mind when I think about travel insurance are Europe Assistance and World Assistance but with Internet, it is now easy to find information on many insurance companies specialized in long term travels. The most important I think is to find an insurance compatible with the kind of activities you plan on doing.
I bought mine a couple of days ago with the same company I used last year to go to Peru: World Nomads. it is recommended by many people and it covers for most of the physical activities you could want to try included some “extreme” sports like surfing, scuba diving, motorcycle riding… And finally, it is not too expensive, I paid $206 for 5 months!
In case you want to bring expensive items like high end SLR cameras, it is advised to buy an additional insurance for them since the default coverage for your bag under the policy would not cover these items. I am not taking anything very expensive so I do not need it.
So, now , I have an insurance for everywhere except the USA… one more reason to leave soon ;).
I think preparation is very important and I always try to be well prepared before I do something. I am not talking of planning here and I actually do not want to plan much because it is supposed to be an easy going trip.
If you ask my friends, I think they will tell you I am good at preparing and planning things. I always have been like for as long as I remember.
I added a page to the site with a list of everything one should do before leaving on an extended trip or round-the-world trip. I believe it can also serve to prepare any kind of trip in a foreign country. You can also access that page from the main menu “Trip preparation” link.
It is just a list of subjects right now but I will write articles for each of the points as the time goes. I think we can all use better preparation, me included, and writting these entries seems worthwhile for many reasons.
- It will help me focus and make sure everything is covered.
- The best way to learn something is to teach it, so I will learn and teach at the same time. And if I say/do something stupid or I forget something, then one of you (yes, you my 3 readers) might see it and tell me.
- Also, it will be useful for the other times I plan a trip since I will not have to go around to find the information since it is already here.
- And who knows, even better, maybe you will find it useful!
The list of subjects will change too since I might have forgotten something. If you see anything you think I should include in that list, please let me know :).
The traveler sees what he sees. The tourist sees what he has come to see. ~G.K. Chesterton