HOW TO TRAVEL LIGHT ON LONG TRIPS: My backpack checklist

My trip to India was going to last 21 days, but I didn’t want to carry around a lot of weight. So I did some research and found a couple of websites with good tips on packing light.

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I’m pleased to say that my packing for this trip was really spot on, so I compiled the list below. I have since used the same list for my 20 day trip to Provence (even a little bid reduced).

Here’s everything I took:


  • My trusted Jansport backpack: this has been with me for 9 years and I love it. It’s only 30l capacity so it can be taken on a plane. It’s not a fancy travel backpack but it’s sturdy and reliable.
  • A foldable day bag: This is something to use as my bag during the day, but it can be put in my backpack for travelling.
  • 3 packing cubes: These were the best purchase! They help keep everything organised when we were on the move, and I really recommend them.
  • A foldable shopping bag: To be used for shopping or as a laundry bag.


  • 5 t-shirts (4 would do),
  • 3 trousers (2 would do),
  • 2 dresses,
  • A jumper.

This was plenty, and it’s much easier to wash a couple of items per day than having to do a whole load once a week.


  • Slip on trainers,
  • Flip flops,
  • Sandals.

You’d never need any more than that.


  • 5 pairs of socks, ideally merino as they dry quickly (3 pairs are actually enough),
  • 5 pairs of underwear,
  • 2 bras,
  • Bikini,
  • Shorts and t-shirt for sleeping,
  • Leggings.

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  • 2 small tubes of toothpaste,
  • Toothbrush,
  • Johnson’s baby shampoo (the full body one, which I used to shower but also to wash my clothes),
  • Moisturiser,
  • Deodorant,
  • Repellent,
  • Suncream,
  • Antibac gel,
  • Band aid,
  • Lip balm,
  • Comb,
  • Tweezers,
  • Nail file,
  • Loperamide and rehydration salts (which thankfully were not needed),
  • Tissues,
  • Ibuprofen,
  • Vitamins.


  • My Canon G16 and charger,
  • My Mini Diana and 2 rolls of film,
  • Mobile phone and charger,
  • Universal adaptor (I bought this one which was good and small).


  • Passport and cash,
  • Printed copies of documents and reservations,
  • Money belt,
  • Wallet,
  • House keys and oyster card,
  • Sunglasses and spare pair of glasses,
  • A spork,
  • Luggage tag in case I wanted to check my backpack on the way back (not needed),
  • Lock,
  • 2 carabiners (for extra safety, but not really needed),
  • Travel kit with inflatable pillow, sleep mask and earplugs,
  • A book,
  • A notebook and pen,
  • A travel towel (which was really useful not only as a towel but also as a throw),
  • A poncho (not used),
  • A clothes line (not used).

There were a few items which I didn’t need in the end but mostly this was a really great travel kit. And because it had everything I needed, it could easily be used for longer trips too.

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