What I Packed: Silk Road

Here is my packing list for Central Asia/The Silk Road...

Days: Fourteen
Weather: Winter weather, in general around 30-40* F
Conditions: lots of walking in a city, some light hiking, a spa day, and a couple fancy dinners
Pieces of luggage: One backpack, one purse and one small wheely suitcase (Carry on size, used as checked)

The items listed are including what I wore on my person during the flight to the destination. I had plenty of room for souvenirs, and my bags were very underweight.

Any traveler would tell you that the key to organized packing is a variety of smaller bags within your luggage. Here is how I split everything up among my two main pieces of luggage and purse.


  • Camera and spare battery
  • 2 pens
  • earplugs
  • passport
  • boarding passes
  • the usuals (phone, wallet, keys)

Carry-On Backpack:

Exterior backpack bungees:

Electronic bag:

  • camera charger
  • phone charger
  • tablet charger
  • mini tripod (Gorilla pod)
  • International adapter/converter plugs
  • earbuds
  • extra memory cards for camera
  • over-ear headphones (combined with foam earplugs they become noise-cancelling)
  • mini flashlight (so helpful on those night walks through old cities)

Jewelry and makeup bag (I'm young...I don't need daily makeup! This is only for the special nights out):

  • eyebrow crayon
  • tinted lip balm
  • eye shadow
  • mascara
  • barrettes/hair clips/bobbi pins
  • 2 necklaces
  • 2 pairs dressy/dangly earrings
  • 2 pairs stud earrings
  • 1 simple brooch (for hijab, if necessary)

Toiletry Bag:

  • the essentials (toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, etc)
  • medication, including traveler's diarrhea meds (luckily never needed these!)
  • compact travel towel
  • eye mask
  • cough drops

Backpack side compartment/Ziploc food bag:

  • gum
  • healthy snacks: tea bags, walnuts, carrots, raisins, and a couple chocolate bars because you sometimes just need chocolate.
  • empty reusable water bottle (to fill once I get through security)

Backpack main compartment:

  • 1 pashmina scarf (can use as a pillow or blanket on flight)
  • 1 empty drawstring bag (to transfer carry-on essentials from large backpack to stow under seat)
  • 1 bandana (multi-purpose)

Backpack back flat pocket:

Poly file envelope (it doesn't rip even after heavy use)

  • 3 photocopies of passport (one kept in checked luggage)
  • 1 photocopy front/back of each: driver's license, debit cards, credit cards, health insurance card
  •  flight itinerary
  • 4 extra envelopes (for receipts, cash, etc. These always come in handy!)
  • United Club passes
  • 2 extra passport photos (you never know when you may need them)
  • International vaccine yellow book (get it from your doctor)
  • Written prescriptions for all medications (only necessary for international travel, I think)
  • Visa paperwork
  • contact info for guides and hotels
  • Russian language cheat sheet (something I made with the Cyrillic alphabet and some basic greetings)
  • maps (I put them in this folder as I accumulate them)
  • Point It book (great for international travel)

Checked Wheely Luggage:

Drawstring undergarment bag:

  • 14 pairs socks (one of which is thick wool)
  • 15 pairs underwear
  • 1 pair thermal tights (to wear under either jeans or pants when necessary, or to wear with a dress)
  • 1 sports bra (can be used as swimsuit in a pinch)

Exterior Pocket:

  • 3 Ziploc sandwich bags (they always come in handy)
  • 3 plastic grocery bags (for dirty laundry, wet pool clothes, etc)

Interior mesh pocket:

  • First Aid Kit (Bandaids, moleskin for shoes, Sudafed, Advil, Benadryl, etc)
  • 1 deck of cards (great for group trips, or for making friends when traveling solo)
  • 1 bandana (multi-purpose)
  • 4 mini Kleenex packs
  • pads/tampons
  • facial cleansing towelettes/baby wipes
  • cable ties (for luggage without locks...but be weary about scissor situation)
  • pocket knife or Leatherman multitool
  • Ziploc sandwich bag with additional toiletries (keep only necessities on carry on...put hair products, shave cream and razor in this plastic bag in checked luggage)
  • refresher spray (lavender oil and vodka in spray bottle, for refreshing clothes or hair or body)
  • small gifts for the new friends you meet (in my case I brought WLUW pins and stickers)

Main Compartment/Clothes:

  • 1 pair Timberlands (good for snow, rain, and walking)
  • 1 pair chelsea boots (dressy shoes, but good for walking)
  • 1 pair flip flops (good for wearing in the hotel room or shower if it's icky)
  • 1 camisole (good for layering)
  • 1 long sleeve thermal shirt
  • 1 dressy button-up long sleeve shirt
  • 1 casual button-up long sleeve shirt
  • 1 short sleeve thermal shirt
  • 3 short sleeve shirts, two casual and one dressy
  • 1 pair of nice pants
  • 1 pair of dark jeans (can be dressy and casual)
  • 1 chrysalis cardi (Cardigan, scarf and dress all in one)
  • 1 pair thermal leggings (to wear under either jeans or pants when necessary)
  • 1 set of pajamas
  • 1 strapless bra
  • 2 regular bras
  • 1 swimsuit