Packing can be a huge pain for any given trip, but packing for long-term travel is a totally different animal. When we went to Australia for a summer we had many regrets in regards to the items we packed so we were determined to make it different for our 3 week trip to Japan. Here is what we took along for our trip!
1) 65L High Sierra pack & Crumpler small soft camera case: since we are walking so much in Japan, a good sturdy hiking bag is much more practical than a suitcase. The Crumpler case allows me to keep the camera and accessories together while providing extra protection without sacrificing space.
2) Camelbak Antidote water reservoir: going along with the theme of having to walk a lot, it’s important to stay hydrated in warm temperatures. This allows me to carry enough drinking water for Kallsy and I to share, with plenty left over.
3) 128GB iPad Air| Otterbox Case: not only does having the iPad give me something to pass the time on long plane and train rides, it allows me to store photos and videos from all of our devices. It is also essential in doing research of places to go, maps, and brushing up on my Japanese.
4) JR Rail Pass | Japan Experience: in Japan, the railways and bullet trains make traveling extremely efficient. However, long treks can get expensive when going across the country. The JR Rail Pass allows you to utilize any JR company for any distance for a money-saving flat rate. I personally think Japan Experience is the best site to purchase the pass from, due to being the cheapest as well as providing a free rail map and guidebook.
5) Snacks: Perky Jerky, Quest Bars, Gatorade – no matter how much you think (or know) you’re going to love a particular countries cuisine, it’s always good to bring a little backup just in case. The Gatorade is especially helpful if you are unlucky enough to get a foodborne illness. It will restore electrolytes and help get you back on your feet.
6) Rain Jacket: we will be visiting Japan during the rainy season. By rainy season I mean on record 75% of days during this time have at least some amount of showers. So to stay dry I have my waterproof Columbia jacket, as well as a waterproof cover for my backpack.
7) A variety of clothes: with it being summer time I packed mostly tee shirts, tank tops, chino shorts, and quick-drying athletic shorts. My favorite item is a pair of Under Armor fast drying athletic shorts. They have deep pockets so I don’t lose my possessions, and with the quick drying material, it keeps me comfortable all day. I also recommend packing a pair of your most comfortable, best travel pants as you never know when it can be cool or rainy.
8) Shades: Mine are Rayban Wayfarers
9) Portable Power Pack: getting directions, translation apps, taking pictures, and many more useful tasks are performed by electronics. With this huge demand for power comes the solution in this Lumsing power bank. This amazing backup power source can charge two devices at a time and provide multiple full charges for our cell phones and tablet.
10) S-biners: these lockable carabiners might be designed for climbing, but come in real handy attaching bags and accessories during our travels.
11) Collapsible Backpack: Once again this folding lightweight backpack is perfect for traveling light and providing full functionality. The Hikpro bag is light weight, but durable enough to carry the cameras and other supplies we might need for a day trip.
12) Sandals: I like Tevas because they are comfortable, durable, and don’t weigh a ton like other comparable footwear brands.
13) Essential Toiletries: the standard toothbrush, deodorant, and medicines are an obvious must. Bug spray and sunscreen are often overlooked and can be the difference between a pleasant trip and a miserable time.
14) Sony a6000 Camera: For us, the Sony a6000 has it all, it’s compact, user-friendly, and takes great photos. We also have the 55-210mm lens, which allows us to take pictures of subjects a little further away while still fitting in our Crumpler.
Other accessories we have included: extra batteries, external charger, lens filters, PNY professional SD cards, and a Hufa lens cap holder.
15) GoPro Hero 3: the GoPro is revolutionary for a reason. It’s compact size and waterproof capabilities makes it perfect for on the go photo and video recording.
Some of our accessories include: our tripod, LCD touchbak screen, Wireless remote, head mount, backpack mount, floating back door, and of course a “selfie stick.”
Update: We now have a GoPro Hero 4 Silver as well! Check out this post if you are looking for a list of GoPro Accessories to purchase.
Kallsy’s Travel Essentials
1) Swimsuit: no matter where you go, you never know when you’ll need one.
2) Shoes: I am bringing three pairs of shoes to Japan all of which I feel are essential but my top priority were these Teva sandals for comfortable walking. They are great because they can get wet and are very comfortable for long periods of time. I am also bringing my gray Sperry flats. These are so comfy and are also cute to wear with daytime outfits or to dress up for nighttime. Not pictured: a pair of comfy tennis shoes.
Update: Now that I am on the flip side of our Japan trip I would say that three pairs of shoes would still be a great number but I would have swapped my Sperry flats for something a little more versatile, such as, another pair of sandals or my hiking shoes for those long distances we walked.
3) Essential Toiletries: Japan has MANY basic toiletries in hotels, ryokans, and hostels for your convenience. Items like shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and even a razor are items that are provided for you. I, of course, took the regular essentials that I would normally take (toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, hairbrush, etc.) but these are a few items I chose to take as extras:
Airborne: I always take this because it’s a huge help when traveling for extended time
Tide-to-go: these are always a good choice, especially when you don’t have as much access to laundry facilities,
Febreeze: I use this to freshen my clothes after a long flight or when you can’t wash them as often,
Sunscreen: I love this one by Neutrogena because it’s very light and oil-free
Bug Spray: this one by Cutter is great because it is smooth and dry. I have always hated the smell of bug spray and this one has a very light scent.
It’s also important to realize that being a girl, “that time of the month” doesn’t get put on hold when you’re traveling. To make traveling easier, look into buying a menstrual cup. This guide to the best menstrual cups should help in your search!
4) Compression Socks: These are really important when traveling internationally. You don’t want to get deep vein thrombosis! Plus the flights can be chilly so they’ll also keep your feet warm.
5) Lumsing power bank: This nifty gadget keeps all of my electronics charged for the flight and while out and about.
6) Fujifilm Instax mini 8 + extra batteries + extra film: I bought this Polaroid camera a month ago and absolutely love it! It takes unique photos and I love that I can have them printed instantly.
7) Belkin headphone splitter: Logan and I love movies so this was essential for us when traveling! While most airlines offer in-flight movies nowadays, we had downloaded some on his iPad for the plane ride.
8) Lewis ‘n Clark travel pillow: I was a little skeptical about the comfort of an inflatable neck pillow but have been pleasantly surprised by this one. It easily fills with 1-2 breaths of air and deflated at the push of a button. I also really like that it has a soft washable cover over it! BONUS: you can find it on Amazon for around $12!
Update: while international flights typically provide you with a travel pillow having our extra one kept our necks from aching.
9) Makeup bag: I like this makeup bag because it’s small but easily fits all of my makeup essentials.
UPDATE: A lot of women ask me what kind of makeup I bring while traveling check out this post to find out!
10) Instant Japanese books: these books have tons of phrases and pictures so I can easily refer to them as needed.
Update: before arriving in Japan we were unsure on how our portable wi-fi device would work. Knowing what we do now, we would have saved the space and left these translation books at home.
11) Passport Case: When looking for a passport case you might want to consider one that has RFID blocking inside. This will protect your identity while traveling to foreign countries!
12) Baggallini: this purse is made of water-resistant nylon, has MANY pockets, comfortable straps, and is still cute for everyday use. I wanted an over the shoulder bag for Japan to have ease of use and access.
13) Card case: I just purchased this card case from Target because I didn’t want to carry my wallet while in Japan. It’s perfect because it has many card slots and a zipper pouch to put coins and money in.
14) Luggage tag: When purchasing a luggage tag, make sure you get one that will withstand baggage claim!
15) Athletic shorts: These are an essential no matter what the destination might be because of their comfort and versatile wear.
16) Light Scarf: while it is going to be fairly nice weather while we are in Japan, flights can sometimes be chilly. I always bring one scarf wherever I go.
17) Columbia rain jacket: I love this rain jacket because it’s light weight and compacts easily for travel. We are going to be in Japan during part of their rainy season so this was a must!
18) Clothing: obviously I do not have everything pictured above. But here is an idea of what I packed: shirts (8), shorts (5), rompers (2), dresses (2), cardigan (1), lightweight jacket (1) and pants (2). I tried to pick clothing that is comfortable but also solid colors so that I could mix and match to make new outfits.
Update: I definitely wish I had packed less clothing items on this trip, but alas, how could I have known there would be laundry facilities readily available throughout the duration of our trip? It was my first time backpacking in another country after all!
For our next trip I would pack:
- 4-5 lightweight solid colored t-shirts
- 3-4 cotton/comfortable shorts/pants (depending on the time of year)
- 2-3 rompers (I loved these because it was one outfit, but they take up less space)
- one dress (incase of an evening at a nicer dining establishment)
- one cardigan
In Japan, there many laundry facilities and hotels often have laundry facilities as well. The less you bring, the less you have to carry!
19) TravelOn Packing Cubes: these came in handy when packing smaller items such as toiletries and also larger items like my shirts. They lay pretty flat so they also fit easily in my backpack.
20) High Sierra 50L backpack: we decided to go with the backpacks for this trip because we are going to be moving around so much and taking a lot of trains. I really like this one from High Sierra because it is affordable, great quality, and they have many color options.