“How do you pack for a year around the world?”  This is our second most asked question.  The simple answer is “Pack as if you’re traveling for two weeks.”  We found this advice on a number of blogs we found when we googled “family around the world travel.”  Most importantly, it all begins with the right bag.  We did our research and ended up with the Eaglecreek Orv trunk.  These bags are strong and carry a lot, but they’re not too big.  Jen, Franny, and Finn got the 25 inch trunk and Mark got the 30 inch variety.  They haven’t failed us on the entire trip.  We’ve stuffed these suckers within an inch of their lives and their zippers have never busted.  Check out how quickly and efficiently Mark’s bag gets packed up:But what did we put inside of these bags exactly?  Well, Mark boasts of only bringing three pairs of pants for the entire year, and while that’s certainly admirable, it’s not necessarily something most women can relate too.  Here’s Jen’s packing list:  5 short sleeve shirts, 10 long sleeve shirts, 4 sleeveless shirts, 3 skirts (one safari, one black, one colorful), 1 long black dress/coat, 2 linen dresses (one white, one black), 2 black cardigans, 2 striped cardigans, 2 pullovers, 1 brown cashmere sweater, 1 summer grey cotton cardigan, 3 pairs of light cotton pants, 1 pair of sweatpants, 1 workout pants, 1 pair of jeans, 1 pair of khakis, 4 bras, 1 sports bra, 10 paris of underwear plus two pairs of travel underwear (you cannot have too much underwear), 1 nightgown, 2 belts, 7 pairs of socks (three pairs of hiking socks, four pairs of ped socks), 2 bathing suits, 1 pair of sneakers, 1 pair of hiking boots, 1 pair of black flipflops, 1 pair of orthopedic black maryjanes (given away to our driver in Kenya), 1 black windbreaker with 19 pockets, 1 black down Patagonia fleece, 1 orange sun hat.

This has kept her in good stead for an entire year.  She will tell you that the one thing she missed the entire year were her clogs.  She invested in four pairs of sensible shoes for the year and well, while she was always able to walk, there was something missing.  Sometimes a woman doesn’t want sensible shoes — but such is the life of the RTW traveler.  The real trick is to bring many different types of clothing in many different weights.  While Franny had to buy a winter coat in Istanbul, Jen had brought a down shell, along with a windbreaker from Scottyvest that had 19 pockets.  There was no time when the weather got too cold for her.  She did pick up a scarf and gloves along the way, but besides that, she was set.  She also brought a couple skirts for “fancier occasions.” but accepted that she was not going to ever really “dress up.”  This whole year to think has been a real lesson letting go of our vanity.

Regarding the actual packing, we had heard about “packing cubes” for years, and truthfully they always sounded a little silly to us, but after investing in a set for each of us we are now full-on believers.  “Packing cubes” enable you to keep each of your clothing separate and allow you to unpack easily.  There is never the experience of your suitcase exploding.  Regard all that fits into a single packing cube:

We’d also like to say that one way we were all able to stay sane for the past year was that we each brought our own pillow.  We strongly recommend the pillow from home.  We packed them in compression bags and, as a result, no new bed felt entirely foreign to us.  The simple key to happy travel begins and ends with the familiar pillow.