The Ultimate Packing Challenge

Ultimate packing challenge???  Well, at least it is for me.  I’ll be gone for a month, visiting countries that have temperatures ranging from Lhasa’s average low of 31 F  to an average high of 105 F in both Delhi, India and Chitwan National Park.  Fortunately, I “met” a new virtual friend via OAT’s Forum.  She gave me lots of helpful hints, and most importantly, clued me into the existence of laundry facilities that are plentiful and cheap.  Thanks to her advice, I am able to be safely under the airlines’ 44 pound checked luggage maximum.

In the spirit of giving back, this post is all about what I’m packing.  Maybe a future OAT traveler to Bhutan, Nepal and Tibet will find my information as helpful as I found Janet’s.

There’s nothing like a visual, right?  P1140314

Being your obsessive compulsive kind of gal, I start packing many days before departure, loading articles on the bed in our spare room.  I use a paper list and check off as I go.

One of the many nice things about OAT trips is no one cares what you look like.  No one dresses to impress–it is all about comfort and adventure, so you will notice a total absence of makeup, jewelry, fancy clothes and dress up shoes.  But then, my family would tell you that’s how I normally roll.

Checked luggage:

Toiletries:  toothbrush, paste, floss, shampoo, conditioner, brush, comb, moisturizer, deodorant, soap, face cloth.  

I’m not bothering with a hair dryer because some of the places we will be visiting won’t have electricity.   I let my hair grow just for this trip, so I can pull it back and forget about it.

Miscellaneous: binoculars, sunscreen, Insect repellant, anti itch gel, lip balm, lotion, Ibuprofen, Pepto bismol, gasex, Imodium, Hydrocortisone, Bandaids, bonine, moleskins, z-pak, granola bars, small duffel (supplied by OAT).

I’m hoping I won’t need any of the medications.  Whatever I don’t use on the trip, I’ll give to the trip leader.  Might as well have someone make use of it before the expiration dates.

Clothes:  Rain jacket, down jacket,  Sun hat, Sweater, Underwear  (14 days),
socks (10 ), long underwear (2), Pajamas (2), Shorts (2), Short sleeve tops (7), long sleeve tops (5), Long pants  (4), capris (1), Sneakers, flip flops, keens, bathing suit, buff, chill band.

For the colder parts of the trip, I figure  I can wear long underwear beneath my lightweight pants.  No need for corduroys.  I’m counting on layers to keep me warm.

My goal is to get by for at least a week, maybe two, without having to do laundry.  I may have packed more  than I need; I will report back after the trip is over, identifying anything I took that I didn’t need, and anything that I didn’t take, but wished I had.

As with other OAT trips, we will be visiting a local family, so I packed gifts.  Our guide told me that warm socks are always appreciated for the cold winter months, something I never would have thought to bring.  Of course, I had to include toys for the kids, plus an inflatable globe.


On our OAT trip to Africa, we discovered that a duffel holds more than we ever imagined  possible.  We also learned there is no need for those fancy packing cubes.  My jumbo zip lock bags work just fine, allowing me to pull out only what is needed.   Take a look.


Shoes in the bottom, along with items I expect to need at the end of the trip.    P1140320

Yep. It all fit and I even have a tiny amount of extra room.

I know you’re wondering, so yes, that white decoration on my teal LL Bean duffle was my very own creation.  Nobody is walking off with MY bag and claiming it was a mistake!

Because I have a direct flight to Delhi, I don’t need to pack a change of clothes into my carry on.  Here’s what’s going inside.

Backpack:  Money, credit card, passport, etickets, travel info,  camera, batteries, charger, iPad connector, iPad, ipod, Bose headset, sleeping aid, Wipes, hand sanitizer, Glasses  & case, water bottle, cell phone, pens, pencils, notepad, gum, cough drops, copy of passport.


 That little black bag with the white decoration?  That’s my “comfort case”, which holds the small items –cough drops, pens, gum, etc. so that I don’t have to rummage through the many pockets of my back pack.

The good news?  I did indeed score the first class upgrade I requested back in November, so I probably won’t need to be digging into that comfort case the way I would have if I were back in economy.  United, you have been forgiven.

The sad news?   Because of some late breaking events, Mike and Greg won’t be able to come on this trip.  Thank heavens for trip insurance!

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I am intensely curious, with a spirit of adventure that is tempered by my very strong aversion to anything with potential to cause pain. I love travel, photography, reading, gardening, yoga, music and propelling myself through space (biking, dancing, walking, dancing while walking). I've never considered a lack of proficiency in any of the previous activities to be a hindrance, counting on abundant enthusiasm to make up for my shortcomings.

16 thoughts on “The Ultimate Packing Challenge”

  1. I am impressed with how thoroughly organized you are! I used to be better about packing only essentials when I cycled solo with just my panniers…now I stuff my suitcase with far more than I ever need.


    1. I have ibuprofen. Your note made me realize I have a typo–it should have been Z-pak, which is an antibiotic that works like cipro. I need to fix that.


  2. Great packing ideas! Thanks for sharing them. I”m so sorry Mike and Greg can’t go along with you and hope the reason isn’t tooooo serious. Looking forward to your blogs on this trip!


      1. Whoops–I responded in the wrong spot, Nancy. Both of my guys are okay now, but traveling would not have worked. Mike and I will be going on a trip in July, so he’s not feeling too badly about missing this one.


  3. Great visuals! I’ve been working on a travel wardrobe for a trip later this year based on just a few colors that will work together. Unfortunately, that mostly casual trip includes two dress-up events. I love trips that are all about the adventure and not at all about makeup and fancy duds. Good job making it all fit… with room to spare! Have a marvelous time!


  4. The hardest part about dress up? The shoes. They weigh too much and take up too much space. (Plus I don’t like the way they feel on my feet.) Where are you going? I hope you will blog about it.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Whoa…you are the packing goddess! I would be organized for the first 3 days (maybe) and then all hell would break loose! 🙂

    We’ve been fortunate enough to go on multiple overseas trips for the last 4 or 5 years so the “list” is emblazoned in my brain. And minimalist is the way to go for sure! Layers is the key! I have been collecting a travel wardrobe over the years so most of what I take is wash in the sink and it’s dry by morning. After a few weeks, I get kinda bored with what I’m wearing but so what?! Ha!

    You seem like you are more than ready for your adventure! Can’t wait to read about it. And I guess I’m out of the loop – who are Mike and Greg? Sorry…!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mike is my husband and Greg is my son. Up until two weeks ago, both were coming on the trip. As my favorite philosopher, John Lennon once said “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”

      Liked by 1 person

  6. This is so useful as a guide for packing for any trip: thinking and organizing ahead, making a list, assembling everything and then packing, the breakdown between backpack and duffle, etc. I’ll be interested in your analysis of your packing job after you return. I always count my packing a success if I use everything I took (except the medicine and first aid supplies) and didn’t wish for anything more. Once in a while I get lucky and it actually works out that way.


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