Contents of a World Traveler’s Bag

If you’re going to sell all your stuff and travel the world, bouncing from country to country, it’s important that you’re prepared with the right stuff. In my opinion, what you don’t need is perhaps more important than what you do.

After hitting over 10 countries and traveling fairly extensively, my best travel tip is to bring as little as you need. Bringing anymore than you need is forcing you to lug around extra weight, risking additional loss, and limiting what you can pick up along the way. After all my travel, the below inventory has rarely found me being unprepared. So read on to see what to bring when traveling the world.

About The Bags

What has worked best for me is to have two main bags. (I started with three and trimmed down to two.) My main bags are a large checked luggage bag and my go-to sturdy backpack.

Checked Luggage Bag

I think you can actually go fairly cheap on your checked luggage bag. In my opinion, checked luggage should be sturdy enough not to break and fairly secure and those are the main features needed. I sort of operate with the assumption that checked luggage could be lost or stolen at any time since it’s not in your sight. Don’t put precious heirlooms in checkked luggage.

I picked up my travel luggage from a discount place like TJ Max. No need to impress here. I think I paid around $40. Your checked bag should:

  • contain primarily clothes and things that aren’t irreplaceable
  • should never include valuables, tech, money, or things that might tempt a thief. One exception to this is that it might make sense to hide an emergency debit card in your checked luggage bag just in case. It never hurts to have a backup.

If you’re traveling right, you hopefully shouldn’t have to see this checked luggage all the time. I recently stored my big luggage bag at the airport for about a month, while I hopped around from Thailand, Vietnam, and Singapore.

Something like this should work

The Backpack

Your backpack isn’t the place to skimp. This is where you’ll want to do your research and choose what meets your needs. You’ll want something that is strong and sturdy, comfortable and lightweight. After a ton of research, I landed on an Osprey 40 for my backpack that almost always goes where I go.

I throw this bag around fully packed and I’m impressed nothing has broken yet after a couple years.

This bad boy has served me well for a couple years now through several different countries with heavy use and abuse

The Contents

I think it’s best to only put clothes in your main luggage piece. Simple enough. So what goes in my backpack?

Enough clothes

Enough clothes to have something clean to wear. I’m not too concerned about being fashionable. If you know me, you know this. This means maybe

  • 4 pairs of underwear/socks.
  • 3 or 4 shirts
  • 3 pairs of shorts and 1 pair of jeans


Can’t survive without tech. So tech generally goes where I go.

  • encrypted laptop and charger plus a USB stick
  • an encrypted external hard drive
  • A cell phone & charger that accepts international SIMs. I recommend a One Plus. These are great phones. Keep a SIM tool with you for switching SIM cards.
  • Some Bluetooth noise-cancelling headphones can be nice on noisy planes.

Passport Wallet

You want your passport to last a long time and stay in good shape. It’s worth it to get a good passport holder. No need to spend too much. Just get something like this to keep it from bending and also to store some emergency credit and debit cards.

It’s a good idea to keep a few passport-sized photos in here in case you need one for a landing visa at immigration.

Also consider getting some business cards. When you travel the world, you’ll often meet like minded people to connect with. (Recently while in Singapore, I had the good fortune to meet with Personal Finance blogger Liz from Splurging on Freedom and grab a quick lunch. Keep up the good work on a fantastic blog Liz!) Maybe start a business or blog first so you have something to put on the cards heh heh.

Breathing Mask

Some spots have significant air pollution. Be prepared with an air breaking mask that meets 2.5 standards.

Mask on.

Toiletries Bag

A lot of hotels in Asia will give you most of the toiletries you need. I’ve seen toothpaste and toothbrush, shave kit, shampoo and body soap in hotels. Nevertheless you want to be prepared.

I’ve got a toiletry bag very similar to this but a darker color.

A Kennth Cole Toiletry Bag..mine is like this but a darker color


  • Asthma inhaler
  • Allergy meds
  • Sunscreen. (This stuff is great and lasts a long time.)
  • cortisone if you get a rash
  • mosquito spray
  • toothpaste, toothbrush & mouthwash
  • double edge safetfy razor & brush
  • small lotion bottle (it gets dry on planes!)
  • Earplugs for noisy nights
  • band-aids and Neosporin
  • Orange Burps for digestion and because I kinda like the taste

A Second Bag to use as a “Day Bag”

Once you’ve reached your destination for the moment, there are times you don’t want to lug anything heavy around. A lot of hotels have safes inside. It’s great to lock up the laptop and passport and anything valuable, put your clothes away and then take a super light cheap day bag around just to carry the needs of the day. A cheap day bag can sort of act like a purse.

I use a Hopsooken bag I got that folds up into a little pouch and is easy to store in your main backpack. I can’t find them anymore but here is something similar.

I’ll use to store stuff like sunscreen, asthma inhaler, water, wallet, cell phone, for when I’m out and exploring.

Nothing More

As I mentioned earlier, I think it’s key to not overpack. This is about all I need to survive for months at a time. So did I forget anything? Feel free to contribute if you think I left off global travel “must-bring” item.

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