Packing for an Overland Trip Across the World in Just a Carry On

If you haven’t heard, I’m going on an adventure. It’s going to take me from Bali to London, and I’m not getting a single flight. Instead, I’ll be taking trains, buses and (a few) boats. It’s going to be one heck of a journey!

There are so many things that I’ve had to think about: Which visas do I need to get in advance? Which travel jabs do I need? Is everywhere I’m going safe for a solo female traveller? What route am I going to take across the world?

I think I’ve dealt with all (most) of these now, but one question remains: what the heck do I pack?

If I’m lugging myself halfway across the world, I don’t want to take two bags. Acutally, I don’t even want to take a normal size bag. I want to pack everything in a carry on.

So this post (and it’s accompanying video, keep an eye on my YouTube for details!) will detail just this. How to pack for a five month trip across Europe and Asia, with just a carry on. I hope you’re excited, cos I am.

Packing for an overland trip with just a carry on

Which Backpack?

I thought long and hard about which backpack to take on my overland trip, and finally settled for the Osprey Women’s Fairview 40 Travel Pack. It’s the maximum size for carry on baggage, it’s compact, it has lots of hidey holes and it has straps making carrying it easy. It also has a lifetime guarantee, which is pretty impressive. I’m excited to carry this halfway across the world! (Check in with me somewhere in Kazakhstan, and I’ll probably say the opposite). 

Click here to learn more about the Osprey Women’s Fairview Travel Pack


Of course, as I’m travelling with just hand luggage and will be initially taking a plane before I begin my overland return journey, I won’t be taking any large liquid toiletries. Instead, I’ve opted for solid where possible, and where not, I will be taking mini bottles of liquid toiletries.

Solid products include:

As far as liquids go, I’ll be taking some small refillable bottles and decanting suncream, moisturiser etc. into them.

For toothpaste, I’m giving Georganics Natural Toothpowder a go – and of course, I always travel with bamboo toothbrushes to save on plastic.

Other toiletries that I’ll be taking include:

  • My non-existent make-up kit (which consists of a mascara and an eyebrow pencil)
  • Immodium cos, yaknow…
  • Paracetamol
  • Rehydration sachets
  • Suncream (it’s actually a lot more expensive to purchase this in Asia!)
  • Bug spray (easy to purchase in Asia, but I already have some leftover from when I was in Thailand before)
  • My mooncup – check out my mooncup review here

Digital Nomad Things (Electronics)

Being a digital nomad means I have so many electronics. I’m trying to whittle these down to as few as possible so they actually fit in my bag, and I’ve ended up with the following:


Not owning/ packing many clothes is one of my best skills in life; it’s where I can really cut down, because honestly, I normally wear the same thing every single day. Not even sorry.

I’m planning on taking:

  • Birkenstocks
  • Hiking Boots
  • Trainers (I may leave these at home depending on how heavy my bag is)
  • 2 x pairs of hippy pants
  • Tracksuit bottoms
  • Running leggings
  • 2 x pairs of shorts
  • 5 x t-shirts
  • 1 x dress
  • 1 x bikini
  • 7 x underwear
  • 5 x socks

And that’s it – I really don’t want any more clothes.

Stuff for food and drink

Because I want to leave as minimum impact on the places I visit as possible, I’m trying to use minimal plastic. Which means taking a lot of my own stuff with me!

This includes things like: