The INSIDER Summary:
• Travel expert Lisa Niver went backpacking through Southeast Asia for 11 months.
• She advises leaving anything you wouldn’t want ruined or lost at home.
• She also says there’s no need to be over prepared — you can buy what you need when you need it.
Lisa Niver started off teaching science to elementary school students. Now, she teaches aspiring adventurers how to make the most of their travels. As the founder and curator of We Said Go Travel, a travel website that hosts 1,600 travel writers in 75 countries, she’s been to over 95 countries herself.
In between working on a cruise ship and taking a teaching job, Niver went backpacking through Southeast Asia for 11 months. She spoke to INSIDER about how she packs.
Ask yourself ‘Will I want this in three months?’
When Niver was packing up her apartment before her long-term trip, she downsized by thinking ahead.
“My theory was ‘What will I be happy to see in three months?'” she said. “And if I won’t be happy to see it, I got rid of it.”
Leave anything you don’t want ruined at home
The rewards of travelling come with plenty of risks. Don’t take something along that you can’t live without, because there’s always a chance you might have to.
“Be prepared for everything to break or get ruined,” she said. “I broke a computer, a hard drive, and several cameras. Being on the road is really hard on electronics.”
Don’t try to prepare for everything
It may sound counter intuitive to be under prepared, but stuffing your backpack full of things you might end up needing isn’t the best way to pack.
“I think one of the confusing things when you first start backpacking is ‘how am I going to prepare for everything,’ and the answer is you simply can’t,” said Niver.
Buy what you need when and where you need it
Unless you’re really going to the middle of nowhere, chances are you can pick up any essentials you’re missing along the way.
“Wherever you go, if there’s something specific you need for that region, they sell it there,” she said. “If I get someplace and I’m cold, I’ll buy a sweater.”
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