YOUR ATYPICAL PACKING LIST FOR INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL DURING COVID TIMES

 The top essentials your hemp backpack and other luggage must have for international travel.

Despite restrictions and limitations in place around the globe, there are a lot of countries out there still welcoming international travelers. Thanks to better awareness and education, more and more countries are opening up avenues for international tourism while keeping an eye on their healthcare and wellbeing. 

Backpackers are back to backpacking. Do you want to avail these unique traveling opportunities too? Well, there’s only one thing you should focus on then: be well prepared!

I will help you set up your backpack and your other piece of luggage with must-have travel essentials for international travel during prevalent conditions. I will also give you 6 personal travel tips I have not seen anywhere else and that you will not regret reading! Look for them as you go.

Most of this information can be used for packing other types of backpacks and handbags/messengers too before you go across oceans. You may not need all of the items suggested in this packing list either or you may need other types of items, as this list is not exhaustive and it all depends on your destination, the local climate and on what type of travel you will embark on.

This is actually my own packing list that I use for international travel and you’ll be able to tell that some of it is quite unusual, just like the backpack!

Let’s first take a look at what your hemp backpack should contain and how to organize the contents in order to take advantage of all the practical features this bag has, then let’s look at the contents of your larger travel bag and how to organize it in order to minimize hassle.

INSIDE YOUR HEMP BACKPACK

Wellbeing essentials:

You simply can’t ignore your wellbeing during the prevalent outbreak. Inside your hemp backpack, you can place a small waterproof pouch or a simple ziplock bag containing items like: 

  • 2-3 Surgical masks (nowadays airlines allow only disposable surgical masks on board) 
  • A couple of disinfectant wipes in individual packets
  • 3 ounce moisturizer
  • Toothbrush, floss, travel-size toothpaste
  • 1 hand soap for travel. It’s a tiny plastic box containing soap in the form of very thin sheets that are used individually. You will find this in the camping aisle of outdoor equipment stores. So useful for travel. Always keep it on you.
  • Disposable rubber gloves 

👉🏻 TIP 1: Before you get off the airplane, grab a vomit bag from the seat pocket in front of you and place it in the front pocket of your backpack, for use later in taxis or buses for possible motion sickness.

 Electric/Tech items:

Your hemp backpack can also conveniently hold a small tech pouch with:

  • an international travel adapter
  • earphones
  • your cables, adapters and plug-in chargers (those are so easy to forget!)


A small space-saving compression cube for clothing items:

This hemp daypack has enough room but it’s okay to be cautious. Not only will it help you create more space but it will also keep you from rummaging into the bag every few minutes looking for your masks, documents etc. and frustrating yourself with the mess trying to find what you’re looking for. Compression or packing cubes are great for storing items that you won’t need to take out every now and then, like clothes.

👉🏻 TIP 2: If you are going to check your other piece of luggage, know that it’s prudent to have minimal clothing in your hemp bagpack, just in case your checked bag arrives one or two days after you at your destination! It does happen.

 
A small compression cube will be useful for this purpose. This blue cube measures 12 x 8.3 x 3.5 inches (30 x 21 x 9 cm) and this would be about the maximum size usable in this backpack: 

Photo showing a blue compression cube and the clothing that would fit in it

Here’s what fits inside a small compression cube like this one: 

  • 1 T-shirt
  • Light summer PJs 
  • 1 Thin travel pants/skirt/shorts
  • 1 Thin long-sleeve shirt
  • 2 Underwear
  • Socks

Here is a link where you can see how to pack the hemp backpack with this small blue packing cube (that I found on Amazon), with the clothing shown on the photo above, plus other items: https://youtu.be/vlF9xYjUjGE. You can choose to watch the video in the 1080 p resolution so it’s not so blurry.

    Apart from the health essentials, it’s also important to be on top of your personal items and gadgets. You can use the hemp daybag’s organizing extension to keep your keys and other important items on-hand. These quick-access leashes and organizers will allow you to clip your wallet, USBs, keys etc. in one place reducing the chances of you misplacing or losing them. Imagine a world where no one lost their USB drives or keys ever.

    👉🏻 TIP 3: The detachable coin pouch can be used to store some small change to give as tips or to pay for small purchases in foreign countries, so that you do not have to take out your whole wallet every single time. You can keep this coin pouch clipped to the key organizer in the back of the backpack, so that you do not have to open your backpack to get to it, and the pouch can’t be snatched from you either. In many countries, this way is much safer when you are a tourist. Honestly, this is such a cool feature especially for travel (or even everyday life). Check it out:

     

    PHOTO SHOWING THE COIN POUCH ATTACHED TO THE KEY ORGANIZER IN THE BACK, NEXT TO THE CAR KEYS

    Now onto the other 4 strategic pockets that will help you organize your stuff smartly during your travels:

    1. Your passport will fit perfectly in the zipper pocket inside the main compartment.
    2. A wallet fits well in the front zipper pocket (always keep this pocket zipped up for safety!).
    3. The side open pocket will fit your reusable water bottle or umbrella (never put anything valuable like a cellphone or a wallet in this open pocket since it is not secured):

    This photo shows how to pack the hemp backpack full, with the iPad Pro against the front side of the backpack

    👉🏻 In the above photo, notice how the large tablet (13.5 inches with the protective case on) is set on the front side of the main compartment. This is the only way it can fit while still being able to close the backpack effectively. I put the softer stuff on the side that’s against my back.

    4.   Additionally, the cellphone pocket on the side of the backpack caters to all smartphone sizes. You can also store your music player, small tablet, earbud case or external battery in there:

    Last but not least, your small travel backpack checklist also includes:

    • passport
    • Covid test certificate and other travel documents that may be required.
    • wallet
    • cellphone
    • black pen for filling immigration forms
    • reusable water bottle
    • thin shawl for cold ACs and airport waiting halls (and for covering up your shoulders inside temples)
    • tissues
    • small tablet or reader if needed
    • case for your glasses if needed

    👉🏻 Remember you can wear your hemp backpack in the front instead of in the back when you find yourself in a crowded area. This gives you more control over your belongings.

    A middle-aged man is weary the backpack in the front, with a desert background

    Can you tell this backpack gets a lot of love? Actually, I use it every single day, whether traveling or not.

    INSIDE YOUR LARGER PIECE OF LUGGAGE

    Inside your duffel, carry-on or suitcase you will be traveling with, it is recommended you place the following electric items while packing: 

    • Portable charger or power bank (if you still have room in your hemp backpack for this one, it’s best to have it there)
    • Extension cord
    • Power strip (yes!)
    • Extra batteries for your camera and whatnot (in many countries these are hard to come across) 

    Toiletries and personal Items: 

    You obviously know this part the best but it’s still better to have a checklist. 

      • Deodorant, perfume, mouthwash, etc.
      • Ear plugs
      • Coral-safe sunscreen
      • Hand soap
      • Shampoo in bar
      • Small bar of laundry soap
      • Disinfectant spray
      • Hand sanitizer
      • A few extra disinfectant wipes (very useful at times!)
      • Extra disposable surgical masks
      • Mosquito spray, possibly mosquito-repellent clothing and your own mosquito net
      • Basic emergency medication (include motion sickness meds if you intend to be on buses, and anti-traveler’s diarrhea meds if you’re going to a third-world country)
      • Small first-aid items
      • Thermometer
      • Travel hair-dryer
      • Camera
      • Microfiber travel towel
      • Thin cotton sleeping bag liner (to use as a sheet in case you end up with a dirty bed in some hostel)
      • Mesh laundry bag
      • Flip flops for grimy shower floors
      • Swimsuit and UPF swim shirt
      • Sewing pins for closing hotel curtains 
      • Rain shell or umbrella
      • Sun hat/winter hat/gloves
      • Hand warmers, scarf
      • Sunglasses
      • Long-sleeve UPF shirt for effective sun protection
      • Bra, leg or waist invisible pouch to wear under your clothing for hiding cash and credit cards
      • Extra coin pouch for storing your home currency while abroad.
      • Tiny sewing kit (use dental floss as an all-purpose repair string, it’s very strong)
      • Travel journal
      • Finally, all the other everyday clothing you will need for your stay: use more packing cubes and compression cubes of all sizes to organize everything by item type or by usage type. Cubes act like drawers in your luggage, you’ll never be fumbling for your socks again. I would recommend the ones on ebags or Amazon (until MyShittyBackpack® make their own!).

      👉🏻 TIP 4: If you are two to travel and you are going to check your luggage on the airplane, you can swap a packing cube or two from each other’s luggage so that you each will have something to wear even if one of your bags gets lost or is delayed.

      👉🏻 TIP 5: Instead of packing cubes or compression cubes, you can use 1 gallon+ Ziplock bags and place your clothing tightly rolled up into them. They will be almost as practical as packing cubes (the real stuff is easier to use though), but not as durable.

          TRAVEL DURING THE PANDEMIC

          If you maintain robust health and hygienic standards along with all the necessary precautions, it’s a unique opportunity for you to see how the world is doing in the face of an ongoing pandemic. It can be a perfect chance for you to spend more time at your favorite sites and enjoy the experience in less crowded spaces, relaxed airfares, lower hospitality expenses and cheaper food. Let’s have some fun!

          👉🏻 TIP 6: Never ever drink water out of an airport fountain in a third world country. Water coming out of any of these taps, even in airports and luxury hotels, can be contaminated and get someone very sick. Instead, buy water from a store, making sure that the lid seal has not been tampered with beforehand. Yep, super important.

           
          Reminder: before you even start scheduling a trip abroad, in addition to being aware of all the requirements of your destination country, it is important for you to know what obligations you will have to comply with in order to reenter your home country at the end of your trip. You will find this information in the travel section of your government website. You will also need to find out what kind of coverage will be necessary for health insurance, as always. 

          👉🏻 Lastly, and this is common sense, do your best to dress in a way that is respectful of the local dress code. For example, I’ve seen women tourists wearing bikinis in some oasis in Africa. Even though the weather may be hot, one needs to observe the customs and act accordingly. You understand the dress code from watching the locals: if they do not show their shoulders or their knees, even though it’s 45°C outside, please do the same thing. Another example: in some area in Mexico, women do not wear dresses or skirts and men do not wear shorts. They all wear only jeans year-round! Therefore you know to wear only pants in this area. Travel pants are a great choice for several reasons: they do not take up much space in your luggage, they are sturdy, easy to wash and dry, some of them turn into shorts by unzipping the lower part, they have a secret pocket and you can use them pretty much anywhere with peace of mind.

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