Your Ultimate Travel Packing List and Guide, inspired by Nellie Bly

Follow us and never miss out on the best in Africa news.

An American pioneer trailblazer and reporter, Nellie Bly, in 1889 embarked on circumnavigating the globe with just a small duffle bag. Bly, an audacious reporter, challenged Jules Verneʼs fictional character Phileas Fogg (Around the World in Eighty Days 1873). Verne argued that “anything one man can imagine, other men can make real,” and oh man was he wrong to not include women. His vision for speed-circumnavigation was made real in 1889 — by a woman. A pioneer that she was, Bly would complete the trip in seventy-five days. How she did it is another topic. Nevertheless, we want to highlight Blyʼs masterful and efficient packing skills for such a long and demanding trip, especially in an era when resources were limited and technology wasnʼt as it is today.

Efficiency, strategy, and perhaps meticulous attention to detail were a few key contributing factors to Blyʼs success in beating the world record of eighty days. According to Maria Popova, “How to Pack Like Pioneering Journalist Nellie Bly,” Bly chose to take a single bag, a small leather gripsack that she would be able to pack everything. Her mindset and strategy, the ability to carry her own bag so as to prevent any delays and unforeseen circumstances especially in dealing with customs officials, baggage claim or lost baggage, and other snafus were without a doubt brilliant. That is what you call a strategy, one that every modern-day traveler must take note of from the pages of Bly.

From packing all the necessary items that any modern-day traveler would have in their bags, such as clothing to writing tools, and toiletries, to articles, that she might require or need to reference, Bly was fully prepared for an adventure of a lifetime. “As her traveling dress, she had selected a snugly fitted two-piece garment of dark blue broadcloth trimmed with camelʼs hair. For warmth she was taking a long black-and-white plaid Scotch ulster coat, with twin rows of buttons running down the front, that covered her from neck to ankles; and rather than the hat and veil were worn by most of the fashionable oceangoing women of the time, she would wear a jaunty wool ghillie cap — the English-style “fore-and-aft” cap later worn by Sherlock Holmes in the movies — that for the past three years had accompanied her on many of her adventures. The blue dress, the plaid ulster, the ghillie cap: to outward appearances it was not an especially remarkable outfit, but before long it would become the most famous one in all the world,” states Maria Popova.

Although, it is important to note that today, we no longer need to pack such things as books, articles, certain toiletries such as towels, soap, washcloths, etc. Since some of these things are already provided by the hotel or we can use an app or computer and other electronic devices such as our phones, iPad, or Kindle reader and or audible to compensate. Here are a few guides and tips for efficient and masterful packing – your ultimate packing list and guide.

Before you begin, we want to remind you that less is more, therefore, reject stuff you donʼt need. The fewer things you pack the more efficient you will be and the opportunity to buy souvenirs that will actually fit in your carry-on. Which is cost-effective, less hassle, and a win-win. These packing list tips and guides can be for a month or so. Moreover, we encourage all our customers to apply the philosophy of packing in multiples of three. Three is always a great number for many reasons. Even Pythagoreans taught that the number three was the first true number and it is also said to be a number of good fortune. You may have also heard of the saying, “third time lucky.” Not to mention Nicola Teslaʼs obsession with numbers divisible by three in addition to his infamous theory about 3, 6, 9; “If you only knew the magnificence of the 3, 6 and 9, then you would have a key to the universe,” states Tesla. Are you convinced so far? Let’s dive in. Multiples of three simply mean, three of the same or similar things, either in different colors, shapes, and sizes such as shirts, dresses, jeans, or dress pants that can be folded or packed in packing cubes without causing any damage to the original appearances of the items.

It is also important to note that, you should not pack anything that has been in your closet for about a year or so and has never been worn. Chances are you wonʼt be needing it. In addition, before you pack an item make sure you have already tried it on first or use the product prior to packing it. What we donʼt routinely use in our daily life is likely that we wonʼt need items like that when we travel, except for items such as first aid kits, certain medications, pain killers, vitamins, and sanitary items.

The Ultimate packing list must include these items and these items should also be packed in packing cubes so as to prevent mishaps and or messiness in order to stay organized and efficient: Keep in mind that these items must be in travel size and TSA approved.

Toiletries:

If you donʼt like hotel toiletries or only use specific products for skin care and hygiene, then you may want to pack your own in travel size bottles. Soap, Shampoo, Conditioner, toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, body lotion, face lotion, and other facials cleansers, creme, toners, exfoliates and masks, make-up kit, Makeup Removing Cleanser, nail clippers, deodorant, perfume, hair spray, sanitary pads or tampons, razor, blades, shaving lubricant, hand sanitizer, Natural and Gentle Solid Sunscreen, Tide to Go Pen or other stain removers.

Few other items that people tend to overlook and these items are found in my globe-trotting grandma’s carryon are; safety pins organized from the smallest to the biggest each in threes and a sewing kit. You are allowed to bring a quart-sized bag of liquids, aerosols, gels, creams, and pastes in your carry-on bag and through the security checkpoint. These are limited to travel-sized containers that are 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less per item. Placing these items in a ziplock bag, and separate the bag from your carry-on baggage while going through security screening. Pack items that are in containers larger than 3.4 ounces or 100 milliliters in checked baggage. For more information visit TSA site on know what you can pack in your carry-on and checked baggage before arriving at the airport.

Pack Comfortable Clothes:

Be mindful of bringing your beloved or most expensive clothes and shoes. In situations like baggage loss or theft you donʼt want your trip to go sour before it began simply because you will never be able to get back your beloved shoes or dress that you spent your hard-earned money on. Minimize such snafus by becoming aware of packing things that you need vs. things that you want to pack. A need is a necessity and a want is not. Remember to also pack socks, underwearʼs, scarves, comfortable jackets, blazers, sweaters, a cap or hat, hoodie, yoga and or regular training gear you use for working out.

Shoes:

Every marathoner knows that good running shoes are one of the keys to a successful marathon without injury. Invest in a sneaker as while you will be on tours most of the time visiting different sites it pays to make sure you are treating your feet right. Other shoes such as flip-flops, neutral color heels, and a shoe you regularly wear and love depending on the season and climate condition of the place you are going should also be considered when packing. Just be sure the shoes are comfortable.

First Aid Kit and Medications:

When packing be sure to pack your medications first and or a first aid kit. Medications such as prescriptions, pain killers, and vitamins that you have to take daily should not be forgotten to avoid issues. You can put them in travel-size bottles and label them. As recommended by the 2018 New York Times 52 places to go in 2018 traveler, Jada Yua, recommends getting foreign correspondents to help you design your first-aid kit. Beyond the basics (Band-aids, anti-bacterial ointment, ibuprofen), you also need:

— Lavender oil for bug bites, lavender is a popular essential oil and a favorite for treating bug bites. This oil (unlike most other essential oils) can be applied directly to bites. It has soothing properties much like chamomile, and it can also be pain-relieving. It can be especially helpful for spider bites, fire ant bites, and bee stings. Lavender was found to have notable anti-inflammatory effects on a cellular level, according to a 2012 study. Try it for relieving bug bites of all kinds.

— Loperamide (Imodium), Cipro, and oral rehydration salts for the inevitable G- I issues. And Travelan, which you take before meals to prevent the inevitable.

— A SteriPEN water purifier, can be handy when no bottled water is around.

— Lacrosse ball for rolling on sore muscles (a physical therapy trick).

— Compression socks, If you have a friend who is a nurse then ask them for a pair or you can buy a pair the best I’ve tried are from Cep Compression

— Noise-canceling earbuds, Sometimes we all need a quite time especially in a crowded airport in the airplane. You do not need super expensive ones but ones that works.

—Electronics and apps: Whether a camera, chargers,extra batteries, headphones,an iPad or Kindle reader a personal laptop, and of course your cell phone especially if you like to take pictures on your phone or liked to capture a scene in a video; these items should be packed in your hand back instead of your carryon. They should be in an easy-to-access place and safe. Avoid packing books or heavy items that can easily be accessed or downloaded through an app or an electronic device. For more information on gadgets, apps, and electronics you can visit our blog for more.

—Empty your wallet then add your travel credit card, debit card, state ID or driver’s license, an emergency contact number, something we tend to overlook, and a few other items you would like to travel with. The goal is that if in case you lose your wallet you donʼt have to worry about how many items are in your wallet and if your privacy and or important items could affect or jeopardize your identity, safety, etc. I will also add that when traveling to travel with an aluminum wallet or any wallet with scan-proof protection. A lot of scan-proof wallets protects the internal RFID chips embedded in your credit/debit cards etc. from being electronically scanned by thieves. You may already know this, that thieves can use hi-tech equipment to steal your private information without even toughing you or your wallet. Hence, why traveling with a scan-proof wallet is important to ensure that your information is safe and that you are protecting yourself from prying radio waves wherever you go.

Take caution traveling or packing items that have intrinsic value. Also, remember to pack sleep aids to avoid jet lag, and the most important document, especially for international travelers, your passport and vaccination booklet. Another important item that should go in your handbag is a sustainable water bottle, preferably, the hydaway collapsible ultra stashable, planet-friendly water bottle. “Breeze through airport security faster than you can say “sip stash repeat” with new Travel Packs.” In addition, perhaps your favorite protein bar mints, two packs of gum, napkins etc.

We hope these helps, but feel free to share with us items you never travel without.

Read the Latest

Your journey to
Africa begins here!

Subscribe to our newsletter to receive exclusive travel tips, postcards, inspiring stories and stay up to date with our latest specials on flights & travel deals. Never miss a beat!

P.S. Before you go check out our most read and popular
newsletter!

Your journey to
Africa begins here!

Thank you, click the button to download your pdf.

African Homecoming

This page is only available for participants. Please login to continue.

Call Now Button