Packing for Inter-City Adventure

When preparing to travel to multiple cities whether it is for one month, one year, or more it is important to pack accordingly.  Equally as important is choosing the best piece of luggage to carry your stuff in, for this type of trip the most versatile piece of luggage is the backpack.  It allows you to have one bag which is easily and comfortably carried on your back.  A good size is a mid-range backpack with a volume between 40 and 60 cubic liters.  This gives enough space for the essentials along with room for items accumulated along the way.  It is good practice to have about a quarter of your backpack space still available when you depart.

There are a number of different things which must be taken into account: length of the trip, mode of transport, activities planned, climate of destination, etc.  You may also find yourself running to a train with all of your luggage and would you be able to do that with the backpack you packed?

Clothing Overview
The length and season of the trip will determine the type and amount of clothing that should be packed.  For short trips this is not much of a concern however for long trips which span several seasons trade offs must be made between weight and comfort.  There are a few things to accept when embarking on a long trip, you will have to do laundry, wearing clothes for several days in a row is acceptable so long as you don’t smell, and you will find you packed things you don’t need and other items you didn’t pack that you wish you had.  The key as with every aspect of this type of travel is improvisation.

Pants or No Pants
The answer is pants!  The only possible exception is a trip which will only be during the summer months.  That being said there are a few situations where pants come in handy regardless of the season.  High altitude locations will always be cold so if you are thinking of spending time in these conditions pack the pants.  If you plan on going to a club or other fancy establishment a pair of jeans, recently washed of course, can work if complemented by a shirt which is the appropriate style for the destination.

It is always helpful to have a second pair of shoes regardless of the destination.  A good rule of thumb is to have a sturdy and supportive pair for traveling.  When you reach a stopping point whether it is a train, hostel, or couch it is nice to kick off the travel pair and put on something lighter and more comfortable.  It is nice to make the second pair both comfortable and a bit nicer, this way it doubles for nice situations and lounging at the same time.

Socks and Underwear
These are the essentials and make the trip either comfortable or miserable.  It is usually a safe bet to have 2 or 3 pairs more of each than the number of clothing sets you pack.  This is an acceptable weight trade off because is decreases the need to do laundry and it is not too much of a weight gain.  Another option is synthetic fiber socks and underwear, they wick sweat away from the body.  These fibers are resistant to microbiological build up, eliminating odor and foot infections from prolonged wear.

If you will be hostel hopping or staying at some other location where you can store your bag having another small backpack is essential.  This allows you to throw your camera, travel documents, and other important items you have into the bag and easily carry it around all day.  You do not need anything too big just enough to carry what you will need during the day along with a bit more space just in case you pick something up along the way.

Sleeping Bag and Pad
These come in handy wherever you are traveling, assuming of course that you are not staying in hotels.  A sleeping bag is the most lightweight travel friendly bed linen ever made.  It can be ready to sleep in and packed up when not in use in a matter of seconds making it the ideal choice for traveling.  The sleeping pad is for your back, because if you are traveling low budget or Couch Surfing you will at some point end up sleeping on the floor, this just makes it a pleasant experience.  You only need a ¾ sleeping pad, meaning that it is smaller and you let your feet hang of the end, it cuts down on weight for something you don’t really need.  This is also nice because it eliminates the need to carry a pillow, you can just make your own.  Use the stuff bag from the sleeping bag and fill it with a few articles of clothing, then wrap a t-shirt around it and instant pillow.  Be aware that in most hostels they give you sheets and the use of a blanket.  It is your choice whether you use the provided bed linens or your sleeping bag.  In some cases the hostel will request you use their bed linens because this will cut down on bed bugs and other such creatures, respect that request.

The best solution is a two part combo, a rain jacket and a warm jacket.  Together these two provide both warmth and protection from the elements similar to a parka but in two different pieces.  This allows you to be flexible and wear one or the other or both depending on the conditions.  A good rain jacket will be breathable allowing sweat to escape keeping you dry.  The second jacket should be chosen based upon the conditions of the destination, in the summer a light pullover is perfect whereas in the winter a heavy fleece would be the best choice.