All Posts

Suzy’s Suitcase: What I Wish I’d Packed

assortment of clothes hanging on rail

We’ve seen the best things to pack in my (not literal) suitcase, and the packing items I regret lugging about, so what did I find a burning need for? What was I kicking myself over NOT packing? Crossing over with the previous parts, here are a few of the unexpected items I wish I’d had to hand!

What I wish I’d taken: 

Sewing kit: This is an item that is not often if ever used, and I’m usually that extreme over-packer and bring my rusty little case with me. HOWEVER, somehow I thought that this just wasn’t good enough in case of a textiles emergency, and so I left it far behind and opted for the winging-it approach. Of course, within the first two months I was facing a frayed sleeve crisis, and ended up buying a little set from The Warehouse in New Zealand. I’d say even if you think you won’t need it, you might and that’s why it’s always worth it, they take up so little room and even if you don’t use it, an unsuspecting fellow traveller might love you for it!

giphy (10).gif

Jumpers: Although we were chasing summer across the world, we did still find times nearer the end of summer and early autumn where lighter layers and thinner jumpers just didn’t cut it for warmth. I first noticed more of a chill in southern New Zealand, so ended up buying a cosy and comfy jumper for the road ahead, and I’m so glad I did! When it came to sleeping in the car or a particularly rainy day there was nothing better than knowing I was cosy and warm.

Jeans: Similarly in NZ and Australia, even later on the odd rainy occasion in Asia, my slowly tanning legs were extremely appreciative of me eventually caving in to buying jeans. A cheap and cheerful pair from Factorie in NZ turned out to be the best purchase I made the whole trip – I’ve even since purchased another pair!

Summer outfits and women's clothing folded neatly.

Just a few of the best items bought during my travels across the world.

A better travel adapter: Sounds picky as the one I had was fine, however it quickly became frustrating when in this increasingly digital world I wanted to charge more than one device at a time. Priorities were made, and my ever running low on battery phone always came out on top. Eventually in Bangkok I picked up a USB and plug adapter, perfect for the multiple battery operated items that needed constant recharging. Any gadget lover would definitely find this item useful!

A better day bag: This goes for both the small day bag used in NZ and Aus, and the bum bag I’d brought along for Asia too. I adored my very purple and very comfy rucksack, but somehow I must have over-stuffed it and it developed a sizeable hole right by the zip. I continued using it for a while, until luckily my travel partner had a spare and I used that instead. In hindsight, I should have been less stingy when purchasing something I knew would be used all the time, and the saving on time and hassle would have been worth splashing that little extra cash. Pretty much the same thing happened with my old and fraying bum bag, I ended up with a new one almost immediately in Asia.

A working camera: As I tell most people when they ask about my travels, I had not just one, but TWO camera related fiascos. Causing me to spend a whopping $200 on replacements overall. The first was inevitable, the camera was old and already having a few problems, then in my first week it went caput. The second incident was entirely my own fault, having taken it in a rock pool to take a shot of the ocean, a lovely big wave came and smacked me in the face. The camera did surprisingly well in recovery, but it left a blurry salt patch on the lens and subsequently all images too, so it had to go. Long story short, I really should have invested in a good camera earlier on, and taken proper care of it. With a phone, camera, and GoPro, I had the options and means for appropriate photography!

Girl pointing a camera at the photographer with colourful mountain scenery behind

A washing line: Hear me out. At the beginning of the trip, I noticed a few people with a long piece of rope on which they would hang their washing to dry across a bunk bed. This seemed like a genuinely genius idea when I had to make do with draping wet underwear all over the place and end up packing it still damp again anyway. Although it wouldn’t have been too useful in Asia, it would have saved a lot of change and hassle in NZ and Australia!

Quality headphones: I somehow managed to get through 3 or 4 pairs of headphones in 6 months. I used them almost every day, and my pair were pretty old to begin with, so after a while the wires were fraying and with only one ear bud actually working it was time to say goodbye. Repeat this a few times having lost/broken them and you get that this was more than a little bit annoying. With the few pieces of luggage you use every day, I really began to understand how much of a difference having quality items would make. Travelling goes beyond wear and tear for your belongings, so I absolutely valued the need for making life a little easier and just investing in those few key items.

giphy (9)

Deet: Packing toiletries for any trip is always a struggle. There’s that niggling thought that says “I never need this, why do I think I’ll need it now?!”. However, bug spray is one of those things that always comes in handy and is begrudgingly packed because our poor European skin is apparently irresistible to bitey bugs. Being the stingy buyer I am (there’s a definitive theme in this list) I bought the store brand variety, which lasted no time and did a grand nothing to protect me from sand flies, mosquitoes, and god knows what else. I soon learned that Deet is the way to go, and its industrial strength protection is not a force to be reckoned with, so use with care. So once again, past Suzy, please just buy the good stuff.

The right backpack: My backpack saw me through some spectacular ordeals and was a handy little thing, however, it was also old and completely the wrong size for me (designed for a man’s torso and therefore considerably larger than me), and could really have done with being updated. I was finding myself very jealous of anyone with zips, secret pockets, and proper adjustable straps!  Since returning I’ve said a final adieu to the trusty rucksack, and although it’s treated me well the next time i extensively travel with a backpack i’ll get an upgrade for the sake of my back and my sanity!

So there we have it! It’s been a good exercise for me to think about packing, and I hope it’ll help for next time. I actually keep thinking of things I’m so glad I had with me, so at least I was doing something right! Most of what I wish I’d had with me are things that I could have just improved on my existing luggage, which I believe shows that you can think of anything and everything when packing, but it’s always worth splashing out on quality items that will last and withstand the adventures you embark upon. Happy packing!

What are the items you just wish you’d remembered to squeeze in? Share a story!

Text overlay of girl holding camera with mountains behind

Pin it for later!




You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    Planes, Trains and Champagne
    08/30/2017 at 6:43 pm

    I have thought about this every time I go on a trip. I bring a bunch of unnecessary items and always forget the important things, like deet or great headphones. I have started making a list to help me remember!

    • Reply
      08/31/2017 at 7:19 am

      It’s so handy! Where would a traveller be without lists right?!

  • Reply
    08/30/2017 at 7:56 pm

    Great packing list! I always make sure to travel with a cardigan/pullover sweater since you never know when you will need it.

    • Reply
      08/31/2017 at 7:19 am

      Exactly! Especially if you’re the kind of person who has a tendency to get a little chilly, can’t go wrong with a jumper ??

  • Reply
    08/30/2017 at 10:53 pm

    Such a good checklist before packing for trips! Never thought about taking sewing kit with me before, but camera is a must for me!

    • Reply
      08/31/2017 at 7:20 am

      They’re great, they take up almost no room and have saved me from clothing disasters!

  • Reply
    08/31/2017 at 1:37 am

    I so agree with all of this. I did a long trip with a backpack designed for men too — now that I’ve got one that works better for me, I can’t believe what a difference it makes. And I went through the same thing with the sewing kit! Won’t take a trip without one now.

    • Reply
      08/31/2017 at 7:21 am

      I’m so glad it wasn’t just me, I didn’t even realise you could get men’s and women’s backpacks!

  • Reply
    08/31/2017 at 11:55 am


  • Reply
    Ana -
    08/31/2017 at 12:32 pm

    I know what you mean by the right backpack and the right day bag. I still haven’t found an ideal one.. it’s like looking for an unicorn :))

  • Reply
    Trailing Abroad
    08/31/2017 at 12:39 pm

    I totally agree with your list.. I had a similar experience while I was in Bologna, Italy where my travel charger stopped working. It was 7:45pm and I was unable to find a single shop open to buy the fuse for my travel charger. The first thing I did when I got back home to Dubai was to go buy a good Travel charger and some spare fuses.

  • Reply
    08/31/2017 at 6:44 pm

    The proper backpack is probably the most important item to me. I splurged a little on my backpacking trip and was so glad I did because my back didn’t suffer. Also, agree with a good adapter. I have so many things that need charging (headphones included) that a good adapter is a must!

  • Reply
    Why can't I sleep? Expert Tips for Sleeping in Strange Beds.
    07/31/2018 at 6:15 pm

    […] in a busy city, then those friends might not be best to stay with. When staying with friends, pack any essentials you know you might need for that situation, whether it be a mosquito net, an extra blanket, or […]

Leave a Reply