Posted by: The Travelling Mallorys | September 10, 2010

How do you pack for a year?

Before we came away everyone was asking us “How do you pack for a year?” and we didn’t know because we’d never done it. Now we’re two months into our travels so it’s time for another post of reflection.

We’re each going to nominate 3 things we’re glad we brought, 3 things we wish we’d packed and 3 things we shouldn’t have bothered with.

3 things each we’re glad we brought:

  • Our little netbook – which not only brings you regular Travelling Mallory updates, but keeps us in touch with the family and friends. Plus it’s good for keeping me busy when Erin’s reading.
  • Suncream – I am a milk bottle and I use copious amounts of the stuff. That first tube kept me going to Thailand. It turns out our anti-malarial tablets make your skin even more photosensitive, but in my case I think that is not possible!
  • My trainers – I almost left these behind, thinking I’d only need flip-flops, but flip-flops rip holes in your feet if you wear them all the time, plus they’re not good for clambering up steep temple steps which we’ve had to do more of than we thought we would.
  • 2 x pairs of flip flops – You know, when I fancy a change. Or when we need to use one pair to wade through our bathroom to the toilet after we’ve had a shower. Most of the bathrooms in the places we stay at are wet rooms.
  • First-aid kit – big love to all those who gave us medicines and plasters before we came away. Coming in handy on an all-too-regular basis!
  • Earplugs – I wore these anyway back in Blighty but Asia is noisy in a way we have never experienced. Constant road noise throughout the night, cockerels at the crack of dawn, men hacking their guts up outside your bedroom. Delightful!

3 things each we wish we’d packed:

  • More pants – mark my words, you can never have too many pairs of pants.
  • More shorts – I only brought one pair, what was I thinking??? Once we got to Singapore I bought two great pairs. Phew.
  • Clothes that hide the sweat – I’m sweating loads and all the time. I wish I had brought lighter shirts and dark or white t-shirts so I didn’t look like I waded through a river to get everywhere.
  • A giant can of mosquito repellent – thank you to my Guild Care buds for the little insect war kit but it was quickly consumed and I was not prepared for the Asian mozzies who ate me alive when we first got here. Before I discovered the genius of Off!
  • A hanky – to mop my brow. Hey, maybe I can buy one!
  • Certain feminine hygiene products – I won’t go into detail, suffice to say they are a much more precious commodity here.

3 things each we shouldn’t have bothered with:

  • All my music – I spent more time buying a passport drive and copying all my music onto it than I have listening to it.
  • Money belts – permanently at the bottom of the rucksack. We use our bags and purses just like at home. In any case we would have sweated the moneybelts off I am sure.
  • Warm clothes – “In case we go somewhere cold” I whined as I packed jeans, a long-sleeved t-shirt, a jumper and a fleece into my rucksack. No need for any of them, but I can’t throw them out because as soon as I do we’ll go somewhere cold, I know we will!
  • The extra pair of nice sandals – I had actually forgotten I had them which tells you the story!
  • My Southern Railpass – forgot to check my wallet before leaving!
  • Travel towel – I have hardly ever had to use it as most places provide nice towels. When I have used it, it is small and unpleasant. And it was expensive. But it does fold up small!

Someone asked us the other day “Is it difficult living out of a rucksack” to which we replied “Not as hard as the 12 months saving up to do it” which feels pretty accurate.

Expect an update from Vietnam very soon. In the meantime, have a look at the photos and our all new travelling by numbers page where we’re counting up the funny stuff.



  1. we love you guys xxx

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