Tag Archives: extended travel

Packing List – For Warm and Cold Weather

OK – well we’ve talked about packing for cold weather and packing for the beach so the obvious next post – is what if you are combining several distinct climates on one trip.  With some luck (or some planning) – you will have cold and then hot – or hot and then cold. This way you can ditch – or mail home the clothing you will no longer need, and/or buy the stuff you will need as you arrive in the new climate zone. You packing list doesn’t have to remain constant!

Photo: Jay Morrison via flickr.com

The cold weather gear is the expensive and heavier stuff to carry particularly a good pair of a walking shoes (you’ll wear sandals in the tropics), and good waterproof jacket (in the tropics you will get wetter under it with sweat than from the rain falling – use an umbrella instead).  If you are doing cold second and transiting through the same city twice – then leave your gear in an extra bag at the hotel and collect it when you return – most places in Asia will do this for free or next to nothing – if you stay with them of course.  If you are going on to hot weather after cold – consider mailing your warm gear home to yourself.

Items I almost always buy – and give away while travelling include:

  • sun hats – almost impossible to carry, and baseball caps don’t count – you need a hat which protects the back of your neck particularly;
  • umbrellas – these appear for sale as soon as it rains in the tropics – they are much more effective protection than a rain coat – and will stop you pack getting soaked through  – these can be useful in cold weather too so long as its not windy
  • warm hat and gloves – too limited a use and too cheap to buy as required
  • light weight shirts and shorts – available in any tourist area – cheap and usually will have fallen apart after a few weeks anyway – or bring old stuff and throw it as you leave the climate zone.

Ultra lightweight travellers almost always stick to warmer climates – so the reality is if you have to carry warm weather gear its going to take  up a bit more space – on the other hand if you are wearing it then it makes little difference to the size of your pack.

One other trick if the only cold weather you will get is on the way to the airport in your home country – or on the way home  – try to get friends to drop you. Then give them the heavy winter gear at the airport and ask them to pick you up with extra jackets on the way home!

Starting to Plan a RTW Trip

One of my most popular pages is my Travel FAQ which I think reflects people’s confusion as to where to start with all the information bombarding them when they start to plan an extended trip. The amount of information out there is just too over the too and although the Internet is great for research tool you can end up going down endless dead ends.

Step 1: Brainstorm where you want to go

I’d suggest that you don’t initially hit the big travel forums and the airline sites. Instead turn the computer off and get out a blank bit of paper and a pen (quaint eh!) Write down the places or countries that you’ve always wanted to see, think about the activities you’ve always wanted to do! Don’t worry about whether its possible, whether you can afford it on any other practical detail – just brainstorm your ideal places to go. You won’t be able to do it all but it gets you focussed on what you want to do – not what everyone else thinks you should do! If more than one of you are going on the trip – why not both do this exercise, separately and then compare notes – the overlap should be a good starting point, if there isn’t an overlap maybe you have some other discussions to have! Rank your lists to see what is more important than others.


Step 2: Join the dots

So taking the list you created from step one – lets add the countries to it.

  • Taj Mahal (India)
  • Everest (Nepal)
  • St Peters, Rome (Italy)
  • Antarctica
  • Easter Island (Pacific)
  • New Zealand’s South Island
  • learn to cook Thai (Thailand)
  • Mandalay (Burma)
  • Timbucktoo (Mali)
  • Ayers Rock(Australia)

For the purposes of this exercise lets decide that you live in the UK.

To cover the above wish list we are looking at Europe-Africa-Indian Sub-continent- SE Asia-Australia-New Zealand-Easter Island-Chile-Antarctica-South America-UK

Where did South America come into it – well that’s the only way to get to land anywhere near Antarctica, actually South Georgia, is by cruise ships which depart southern Chile or Argentina. You happily go off to price this routing from your friendly travel agent, I hope you are sitting down because between the expensive Antarctica trip and including Africa and South America in a RTW airfare its not going to be cheap! You also discover that flying into Mali is a bit problematical and the only options most RTW airline tickets offer are via southern or western African countries.

Step 3: Check the weather!

Yes the weather can be a problem in some places of the world – for our itinerary:

  • Rajasthan best time to visit is considered December – February
  • Antarctica ships can only run in the southern hemisphere’s summer: December – February.
  • Australia’s deserts are best between season when its neither very hot or very cold – March – May would be good time to visit
  • You will only get views trekking in the Everest region from December to April avoiding the monsoon.

Step 4: Fit your budget to your destinations.

Is it important to see what you want regardless of the cost? Can you only afford the cheapest destinations? Or like most people are you somewhere in between?

Lets do some research on the prices involved on our wish list :

  • Antarctica – is going to be expensive – we have to go on an organised trip and the cruise is at least 10 days because of how far south we have to go.
  • Australia and New Zealand will be cheaper than Italy especially if we have £ to spend.
  • India and Thailand are very cheap destinations and great value for money too. You could stay in an ex-Maharajah’s Palace hotel for less than a 3 star hotel in Italy – that appeals! Burma is cheap too – a quick flight from Bangkok and train from Rangoon will get you to Mandalay.
  • Mali is going to be expensive because of the lack of tourist infra-structure.


  • Drop Antarctica – it can be a once-in-a-lifetime trip some other time;
  • Drop Mali – it just seems too difficult and you have some safetly concerns too.
  • Drop Italy – its close enough to home to do another time

Step 5: Fit your time-frame to your Itinerary

Now how long do you have to do the trip – for this exercise lets assume you have 6 month’s leave of absence from your job and you have to be back home by August for a family wedding – so you are traveling February to July. The logical order of countries that you have left, flying east, or the reverse flying west, is:

  • Taj Mahal (India)
  • Everest (Nepal)
  • learn to cook Thai (Thailand)
  • Mandalay (Burma)
  • Ayers Rock(Australia)
  • New Zealand’s South Island
  • Easter Island (Pacific)

Unfortunately February is the ideal time to be in New Zealand as well as northern India – so you have a conflict! What to do – you are probably going to have to choose one. You realise too that you want to spend at least 1 month walking to Everest base camp, a month in India, 6 weeks in Burma and Thailand, and a month in New Zealand so that would only leave 6 weeks for Australia which seems too little – again you need to drop something!

The final itinerary – well that’s up to you – its the process which is important not the final result! Leave me a comment and let me know how you did with your itinerary? Was this post helpful?