How Do You Pack For a Three-Month Trip?

How do you pack for a long trip?

For my trip to Asia, I packed the following items into my 35 Liter bag and small day pack:

7 t-shirts
7 boxer shorts (a mix of gray and black if you were curious)
2 boardshorts
2 shorts (1 athletic, 1 with many pockets and a built in string belt)
3 pairs of socks
1 fleece (for the mountains)
1 long-sleeved shirt (for mosquitoes)
1 pair of zip-off pants (for mountains, mosquitoes, and courteous dress at temples)
1 light rain jacket (for monsoons)
1 pair of running shoes
1 pair of flip flops
Goggles, a speedo, and a swim cap
Medicines, toiletries, and emergency items (essentials only)
1 copy of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
2 copies of The Atlantic magazine (to throw out after the plane ride)
A folder of important documents (ie: visas, passport copies, flight info, etc.)

Oh yes, and two other items that I’ve never carried before: A wedding band and electronics so I can blog for you lovely people.

After I finished packing, I had enough room in my bag to smuggle in a ten-pound baby if need be. But once I arrived at my wife’s parents’ house to help Marissa sort through her things, my free space had disappeared.

She had emptied her dresser onto the bed. I am not exaggerating when I say this: Marissa had four times the number of items on my list (minus the goggles, speedo, and swim cap. Also, instead of four copies of Huck Finn, Marissa only took two books, but then again, they were hardcover and more than quadruple the weight.)

“I need that,” she would insist, tugging on one sleeve of a long-sleeved shirt as I pulled back on the other.”

“You don’t need eight.”


This went on with each category of clothing.

“You should not take four pairs of pants to the humid, tropical climate of Southeast Asia.”

Eventually we cut her wardrobe down by half and filled her pocketbook and 70 Liter sack to just before their bursting points. There was no room left for her five pound toiletry bag, so that fell on my shoulders, literally.

“Oh my god,” Marissa said during our four hour layover in Toronto. I was in the process of emailing one of the many BEACHfront hotels we would be staying at. “I forgot all of my bathing suits.”

How do you pack for a long trip?

How would you pack for a three-month trip? Post your answers below in the comments section.



Posted on by Noah Lederman in Travel Tips

20 Responses to How Do You Pack For a Three-Month Trip?

  1. Eric

    Dont worry mar. Next time u come to nonnas u can bring whatever u like. No forgot to mention that he packed his bossy pills

  2. Jake

    The one thing she really needed she forgot! Things are cheap in S.E Asia do buy a bathing suit and possibly another bag…and a Sherpa.

  3. jessica

    OMG her bathing suits!! nooooo!!! hahaha. I could literally picture you guys during that entire story. love it! 🙂

  4. Ronnie

    Leave my daughter alone … she did listen to you!

  5. Lester

    Nylon,nylon,nylon wore the same shirt while pack backing through Europe for 5 weeks… wash in sink at night dry in am!

  6. Mrs. Gross

    To answer the question you posed, I would do exactly what your wife did, except for the bathing suits. And then, I would double everything I packed, just in case. In case something gets lost. In case something gets dirty and I want to wear it NOW. In case the weather is between this shirt’s weight and that shirt’s weight. In case my shoe breaks. In case the shoe gives me a blister. I commend you, Noah, on your packing skills and high degree of organization. It must be something you learned in elementary school. I am in complete agreement with Marissa and approve of every item she packed. She does need eight!

    • Somewhere Or Bust

      Mrs. Gross, you must make luggage companies very happy. Marissa thanks you for supporting her. Lester, you win. You are today’s best packer.

      You will all be happy to know Marissa finally found H&M, the only store in Hong Kong that sold two-piece swimwear.

  7. paula

    the wise thing to do is pack your bag and then empty out half. marissa probably knows this so she packed twice as much stuff knowing noah would empty half her bag. therefore she got to pack all of what she wanted. that’s no fool you got there.
    tip- pass the hard cover books to other travelers when finished or better yet trade in for soft covers

  8. sam

    life is good…….real good!

  9. Matthew Jay

    Soon as I started read your packing list I knew Marissa was in a for quite a surprise. Ha. Enjoyed that.

  10. Eve Lashar

    Can’t a bathing suit work as underwear?????? Vice a Versa isn’t true though……………I hope xoxox

  11. Katie

    I just laughed soooooo hard out loud. Leave Marissa alone! You would have died if you traveled with me. I am certain I took 4x the amount of clothing. Hope you’re having a blast! We miss you!

  12. Ari

    Less = more. Agreed that lighter is better!

  13. jason magida

    pick me up one of those conical raiden hats

  14. Ariel

    You knew what you were getting into when you married her….or at least the rest of us did 🙂

  15. Nomadic Samuel

    Nice packing list! I always advise others to bring as little as possible.

  16. David

    ‘Go light,’ is my mantra. Having a 40L backpack rather than a 90L simply gives you much more flexibility. Hop on a little moto, squeeze onto a local bus or nip onto KL’s skytrain. It’s all easier if there is less of you.

    I always work out what clothes I think I need then cut it by a third. In places like SEA its so easy to pick up cheap tees that you need not worry about not having enough.

    • Somewhere Or Bust

      I’m with you David. Except if you travel with a wife or girlfriend, you must also make sure that their pack is around 40L or else you’ll soon be carrying their 90L bag while they enjoy singing your “go light” mantra.

  17. Sally Leamer

    Thank you this wash handy.
    I personally have decided if it all does not fit I’m an 18 gallon toat it doesn’t go.
    Makeup reduced to face powder and mascara. Every thing is light weight and breathable. It all fits into my pack beautifully. Your qantaies helped out a lot. I even packed light weight extra shoes. Thanks again.

    • Noah Lederman

      Glad it helped, Sally. It sounds like you got the packing down pat.

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