My Packing Style

Carry on whenever possible and prepare like a Girl Scout ( I didn’t earn my nickname, Global Girl Scout, for nothin’).

In my former luxe travel writer life, there was rarely a situation where my every whim wasn’t within a phone call’s reach. As I embrace a more rough and tumble, lowbrow lifestyle as a volunteer traveler this year, I’ve learned to make the most of every square inch of my luggage.

Projected sunscreen, repellant and pocket knife needs have dictated whether to check or not check bags, and thankfully, I have status on several airlines, so I’ve been able to avoid checked bag fees (knock on all hard surfaces) so far.


Here’s what I can’t live without while volunteering

  • A copy of my passport and extra credit/debit cards.
  • BlackBerry Tour with Global Email (It costs about $2 a day and gives me email and internet access almost anywhere in the world.)
  • Bug repellent
  • Camera
  • Duct tape
  • First Aid kit
  • Flash light (I have a small handheld flashlight and a Petzl headlamp)
  • Flip flops (for any funky shower scenarios)
  • Hat
  • Headset for Skype
  • Hiking boots (or other practical pair of shoes)
  • Jar of peanuts or peanut butter
  • Knife
  • Laundry detergent (powder) and a line
  • Netbook and thumb drive (I back up important documents on a thumb drive and keep it in a separate place)
  • Notebook/pen (Nothing beats good ‘ole journaling)
  • Powermonkey eXplorer solar charger
  • Rain gear
  • Rechargeable batteries/charger (if necessary to pack batteries)
  • Sleep sack
  • SteriPEN
  • Sun block
  • Sunglasses
  • Surge protector
  • Toilet paper (even a small pack of tissues has gotten me out of some less-than-savory bathroom situations)
  • Voltage converter
  • Water bottle (reusable)
  • Ziplock bags

Believe it or not, I can pack all of this stuff plus enough clothes to wear (I mean, recycle) for three weeks in the contents of a carry-on sized duffel bag and a backpack. Volunteers, what kind of things do you pack when space is a premium and amenities are scarce?

It’s also important so sign up for a good travel insurance plan, something like World Nomads, as you never know what could happen while away from home.


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