A large part of travel safety is packing in a way that keeps you from being overloaded and vulnerable. Going into this trip, I knew that packing light for three weeks in Scandinavia would be more challenging than my week to Nicaragua. For starters, it was going to be colder than Nicaragua; additionally though, I was planning on doing a few decent hikes and going on two running tours (one in Copenhagen, the other in Stockholm). To top it off, the whole point of the trip was to attend a travel conference in Stockholm, which would require at least a somewhat presentable attire.
This would also be the first trip where I took an actual camera, which, in its own travel bag takes up a lot of space. I initially had fit everything into my backpack (except the camera), then decided at the last minute to add a Timbuk2 roller, my Cocoon board and some additional clothing options. I’m glad I did, the hikes turned out to be pretty chilly and I’m happy to say I used everything I took with me.
A note on planning travel to Scandinavia: It turns out, that you want to reserve train tickets and hotels in advance here… which I did not, so this left me scrambling to make connections on the timeline I had originally planned on. It all worked out in the end… albeit a tad more squeezed than I would have liked. The lesson: It pays to be organized in Scandinavia. I would plan and book hotels and transportation at least a month ahead if I were to do it again.
Here’s my pre-trip walk-through:
- Called the bank to let them know I’d be traveling with a debit and credit card.
- Finalized and laminated my travel crib sheet then forwarded a copy of it + my passport and TripIt itineraries to someone I trust back home.
- Reconfirm arrival times with hostels, Airbnb hosts and campgrounds to make sure someone would be there when I arrived.
- Printed off all tickets and itineraries: Train tickets, flights, any events I have booked (running tours, etc.) are put in a folder and packed into my carry on.
- Placed PDF copies of all the tickets onto a flash drive and Into a Google drive folder just in case.
- Additionally, I created an encrypted folder on the flash drive with front and back copies of all credit card and debit cards I’ll be taking with, shot records, passport and crib sheet. I provided a copy of the encrypted folder and all tickets to my emergency lifeline back home. Read my series on Virtual Safety for more on protecting your tech and data while on the road.
- Also on the flash goes PortableApps, in case I need to use someone else’s computer. Using Portable Apps keeps your activity on someone else’s computer isolated to your flash drive, see the full run-down here.
- Since I’m taking a camera I created secondary and backup camera flash drives per Ralph Velasco’s recommendations.
- Take screenshots of google maps for directions to camp grounds in small towns where the guidebook does not contain a map and storing them on the phone.
The Travel Phone
- Reformatted my travel phone and installed the following apps:
- Prey: Theft recovery and data protection app.
- Maps.me: Download maps that you can use anywhere, even without wifi. My new favorite app!
- Private tunnel: Secure your 1s and 0s while using open wifi, because “The internet is dark and full of terrors.”
- Lookout: Mobile virus protection.
- Evernote: Take notes while walking around and sync them up with your devices back home. *Evernote is moving to a two-device limit on their free plan.
I then checked the weather, which was deceptively optimistic and got to packing.
Here is everything I took:
- Timbuk2 Roller
- Pacsafe backpack
- Pacsafe camera case (review coming shortly)
- Pacsafe portable safe
- Sea To Summit day bag
- Throwaway wallet (Instagram link)
- Flyaway kit
- Three button up shirts
- Two pairs of the super comfy prAna Zion with built-in belt (which makes TSA screening a breeze)
- Three pairs of dry wicking underwear to include safety travel boxers
- Three handkerchiefs
- Five T-shirts
- One long sleeve thermal
- One Rab hoodie, light base-layer
- One superlight Brooks rain jacket
- Three pairs of socks
- One pair of compression socks for the flight over
- One pair of Keen low-profile shoes
- One light beanie
- One sun hat
- One pair of Solomon trail shoes
- Running shorts
- Two pairs of light, low cut socks
- Wicking T-shirt
- Go2Towel pack towel – this was such a good addition that I’ll be writing a full review on it!
- One pair of sunglasses
- Two Master lock padlocks
- One Master Lock
- One Cocoon gear organizer board
- One Canon camera
- Travel phone / home phone
- AA batteries
- Triple-A batteries
- Flash drives
- Two adapters
Edibles (for hiking):
- Five Probars
- Two packs of Clif Bloks
- Three Stinger waffles
- One Clif shot
- Nuun electrolyte tabs
- Four magazines
- Scandinavia guidebook
- Folder with all my reservations in it
- One headlamp
- One Surefire flashlight
- Emergency flashy lights
- Paracord bracelet
- Duct tape
- Small shampoo
- Small deodorant
- Travel ibuprofen (I plan on some serious hiking)
- One small lotion
- Sunblock (because sunblock is like liquid gold overseas
- Hair gel
- Toothbrush / travel toothpaste
- Nail clippers
- Tecnu poison ivy wash (just in case, I don’t want a replay of the Nicaragua outbreak of 2015)
Whenever I write this out, it seems like I totally over pack; however, it always packs up quite well and is easy to get around with. While I don’t normally take this many things, and most likely would not have in a less-developed country, having a good roller makes the experience easier. I would definitely avoid dragging a lot of gear around as you explore town, but in the end, getting through the airport and then from the train to wherever you’re staying is the only time you really notice the extra gear.