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I pack differently for each trip, but there are a few items that I must have with me and that I highly recommend. I receive a small commission from these affiliate links, but I use all of these products extensively and wouldn’t link to them unless I did. For more information on my specific packing lists for past trips, see above. For packing lists for nearly every destination, check out Her Packing List, a website designed to solve female packing dilemmas. And for additional posts on my favorite gear, check out the Gear category.

Backpacks and Luggage Gear


I previously had a Kelty 65 L pack but found it to be too large, so I downsized to the Osprey Sirrus 36 liter pack. It has a built in rain cover and slots for your water bottles, not to mention a front and top loading design. It’s now been with me to Portugal, Austria, Germany, New Orleans, Turkey, Australia and Southeast Asia.

>>> Osprey Sirrus 36-Liter Backpack on Amazon

PacSafe (1)

I love my PacSafe, which my friend Brooke gave me for Christmas a few years back. It’s the ideal size for a day pack and has padding for your electronics. I can carry my MacBook Pro and DSLR camera inside. It has two outer pockets for water bottles, umbrellas, and other items as well as a front pocket. There’s also clips that keep you from opening the zippers as well as a detachable strap to keep it from getting snatched. I’ve brought it with me all over Asia and never had a problem with theft!

>>> PacSafe Slingsafe GIII on Amazon

My sister bought me a compression sack for Christmas before I left for Australia and it shrunk down most of my wardrobe into half the size. While I took that as an invitation to pack more, it’s a great way to save room in your backpack. I’ve purchased another since then. It’s better for backpacks than for suitcases but is doable either way. Just don’t overfill it. I also use packing cubes for other trips.

Camera and Electronics Gear

I started looking for a digital SLR that was smaller and lighter weight than my mom’s Nikon D90. Two of my previous cameras were Canons and I loved them both. My camera has great features and is excellent in low light. I’ve recently expanded into an additional lens, the Canon 75-300 zoom lens, which I bought refurbished from B&H Photo, along with a Manfrotto monopod from Amazon for stability. I’ve heard great things about their tripods as well.

>>Canon EOS Rebel T1i 15.1 MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera with 3-Inch LCD and EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens on Amazon

>>Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III Telephoto Zoom Lens for Canon SLR Cameras on Amazon

I’ve had nice camera bags before, specifically the Lowepro Slingshot, but I really love my Timbuk2 Snoop camera insert, which you can put into any bag or backpack to protect your gear. It means I can put my gear in a purse, rather than lug around a camera bag that doesn’t have room for my wallet or other essentials. The extra small, pictured above, has enough room for my body and two lenses.

>> Timbuk2 Snoop Camera Insert (Gunmetal, X-Small) on Amazon

I keep all of my electronics charged with a Belkin surge protector, the second I’ve had after one was taken at the airport. It protects your gear from getting fried and means you only need one converter, as you can plug in three plugs and two additional USB cords.

>>> Belkin Travel USB Surge Protector on Amazon

Additional Items

Not every trip requires a flashlight, but when I was wandering in the dark to the toilets in the Australian Outback, this headlamp sure came in handy. I’ve had it for almost two years and have never had to replace the batteries. It’s also great for reading in bed once everyone else has gone to sleep.

>>> Petzl E91 PL Tikkina 2 Headlamp, Lime Green on Amazon

My life would be so different if I had never given the Diva Cup a try. Without getting too detailed, it means you don’t have to pack sanitary items, it’s eco-friendly and easy to clean.

>>> Diva Cup Model 1 Pre-Childbirth on Amazon

My biggest vice is my morning cup of tea, so my REI Camping Mug has come in handy. It’s been dropped a number of times and shows no signs of wear and tear. It’s also ideal for making ramen noodles when you don’t have bowls.

>>> REI Camping Mug on

Stay hydrated on the road with a Vapur water bottle that folds up small and can be refilled to save money and the environment. You can also put boiling water into it to keep your feet warm on a chilly night.

>>> Vapur Element Water Bottle on Amazon

My go-to brand of TSA-friendly bottles is Pitotubes, which come in two sizes. They’re made with air pumps, helping you get the most liquid out of each bottle.

>>> Pitotubes TSA Bottle Set on Amazon

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