What I Packed: Romania, Moldova, and the Transsiberian

Here is my packing list for my solo/group trip to Romania, Moldova, and the Transsiberian...

Days: 21
Weather: Winter weather, with some days as cold as -20*F
Conditions: lots of walking in a city, horseback riding in negative temps, some train lounging, a spa, a Michelin-star dinner and a couple bar nights
Pieces of luggage: One backpack and one backpack-style purse (to use as daypack)

The items listed are including what I wore on my person during the flight to the destination. I minimized like I did with my Baltics packing, but this time I challenged myself to fit way more stuff (including thicker winter wear and some snacks) into the same luggage.

Per usual, I didn't plan on buying many souvenirs. It was more important to me to travel lightly since I was constantly packing up and moving to a new destination.

Just like I predicted with the Baltics packing list, I was able to take the same luggage for a 21-day trip. Hurrah! Not even Mr. Monsoon Diaries himself packs this light. I did laundry on day 11 in a proper washing machine in the hostel, but I was able to otherwise survive with my trusty sink-laundry techniques (a future post on that, soon!).

all of this...

takes up one backpack purse and one full-size backpack (pictured...in a yurt)

I like to pack my things in smaller bags to make everything more organized. I used my packing cubes again which helped me save on space. Organization is a lifesaver when you're packing up and moving about every two days. My fellow Transsiberian travel buddies were constantly in awe of my minimalist approach.

Here is how I split everything up among my backpack and purse.

Backpack Purse:
  • movies on USB drives to entertain me on the long flights
  • SD card to USB converter (to look at pictures on my tablet)
  • 2 pens
  • camera and case, with 4 extra batteries and 2 extra memory cards
  • reusable shopping bag (this came in handy when I needed to carry my tablet with me, or go to the farmer's market, or bolt off of a train with little warning)
  • sunglasses
  • mini notepad (with addresses of my friends so I can send postcards)
  • lip balm
  • Starbucks giftcard (I don't even like Starbucks, but I occasionally get them, and then save them for free eats at the airport)
  • reusable earplugs (much more eco-friendly than those disposable ones!)
  • solid perfume (great for when you're verging on 5 days without bathing)
  • small pill case with prescription meds, vitamins and ibuprofen
  • FORGOT THIS, but I should have brought my Diamox. Thankfully my fellow travelers saved me from brain swelling from altitude sickness.  
  • Point-It book (for pointing out countries to your new Mongolian train buddy, Batsukh
  • glasses/glasses case
  • over-the-ear headphones with microphone ($5 bin at Target)
  • 2 bandanas (multi-purpose!)
  • passport (duh!!!)
  • boarding passes
  • the usuals (phone, wallet, keys)

On My Person:

Carry-On Backpack:

Exterior backpack clips:
  • compact water bottle, clipped to the outside*
  • spare carabiner clip
  • cute little luggage lock
  • Packing Cube containing
    • Toiletry Bag (see below for details)
    • some additional clothing (see below in clothing section)

Toiletry Bag:
  • toothbrush
  • mini deodorant
  • extra contacts case and pair of contacts
  • cornstarch (multi-use: as dry shampoo, or as baby powder)
  • sunscreen stick
  • floss (in a pinch can be used as sewing thread!)
  • moleskin and bandaids
  • additional ear plugs (for providing to bunk mates, in apology for sneaking in late last night)
  • compressed towels (you never know when you may need them, and they're especially handy for heavy makeup removal)
  • hairclip
  • barrette
  • bar soap in a small mint tin
  • small jewelry pouch: dangly earrings, 2 pairs of studs, one long necklace, one short.
  • lipstick and lip liner
  • brown eye pencil
  • eye shadow and brush
  • mascara
  • chapstick
  • Melatonin tablets (Talk to your doctor. I got them in case I needed to get my body on the right sleep schedule.)
  • Ciproflaxin, aka anti-diarrhea medication. (I got prescribed these before Central Asia and I've never had to use them. But the moment you don't have them when you need them...that would be a problem.) 
  • eye mask
  • shower cap
  • wide tooth comb
  • compact hair brush (similar)
  • compact travel towel
  • DIY sewing kit
  • sink stopper (for doing laundry in sinks)
  • doorstop (I saw the tip on here, but it never came in handy)
  • extra pill case with additional prescription meds, vitamins, ibuprofen, and antihistamines
  • cough drops (can never ever EVER have enough)

Main and side compartments:
  • kleenex* (in Asia...you're DEFINITELY gonna need it for the bathrooms. TP is not prevalent)
  • chelsea boots for going out (similar)
  • deck of cards (for making friends at hostels, and for those looooong train rides)
  • 3 extra ziploc quart size bags
  • extra pair of sunglasses (If mine break, I don't wanna buy more if I have a spare)
  • plastic bag for dirty laundry
  • Soft fabric cosmetic bag with zipper (similar) used for snacks: homemade oatmeal mix with nuts and maple sugar, homemade larabars, tea bags, candied nuts, smokehouse almonds, hot cocoa powder, instant coffee, dark chocolate, beef jerky. (I can't tell you how many times that beef jerky helped me out in hungry times. Thank you, beef jerky)
  • sleep sheet in drawstring bag, also containing padlock (for hostel lockers) and pillow case (I didn't need the sleep sheet to avoid linen fees at the hostels this time around, but it was nice to have a thin barrier between my skin and questionable comforters on the trains)
  • Chrysalis Cardi, rolled up in the back zipper compartment

"Practical" Items Packing Cube:
  • gorilla pod tripod*
  • camera battery charger
  • tablet charger*
  • international plug converters
  • foreign phone and charger
  • earbuds*
  • camera to USB cord (in case my SD card reader fails me)
  • pocket flashlight* (great for when you need to pack in the wee hours)
  • running belt to use as money belt (go to the $5 bin at Target for a knockoff)
  • small purse for going out at night
  • extra packing cube, rolled up (never needed it, but it fortunately didn't take up a lot of room)
  • N95 Respirator masks, because you don't want your Mongolia/China souvenir to be lung cancer. 

"Clothing" Packing Cube(s), split between one inside the bag and the one mentioned above that was strapped on the outside:
  • 3 pairs of wool socks
  • over-the-knee wool socks (similar)
  • 2 pairs of sock liners (similar)
  • 11 pairs of underwear (no fancy "travel underwear" necessary, just go to the 5 for $25 at Victoria's Secret and pick out mesh, lace, or a quick dry Nylon blend, since you'll be doing hand-wash)
  • 2 bralettes (the packable solution to a regular bra)
  • fleece-lined tights (similar)
  • dress pants/leggings
  • sash for Chrysalis Cardi
  • snazzy belt (similar), in case I needed it (I didn't)
  • long sleeve travel shirt (similar)
  • cashmere cardigan (for dressy and warm layering)
  • mesh-sleeved black dress shirt for dressy outings (similar)
  • bikini
  • pajama pants
  • thermal tank (for a sleep shirt, or for accidental extra layering when you don't have time to take it off)
  • Flipsters foldable flip flops (for hostel showering, for train lounging, for the spa...they're great!)

Ziploc Quart-size bag of liquids:
  • artificial tears/eyedrops
  • hand sanitizer*
  • liquid peppermint castile soap (it's body wash, toothpaste, laundry detergent, deodorant...ALL IN ONE)
  • contacts case
  • mini conditioner (I have blue hair...I gotta use fancy stuff to keep it lookin' good!)
  • contact solution
  • sunscreen (it's just sunscreen, but also works as hand lotion or face lotion)
  • homemade cream (it's face cream, makeup remover, hand cream, and lip balm ALL IN ONE)
  • hand warmers

Backpack back flat pocket:
  • book (The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath)
  • notebook
  • tablet computer* -- on it, a couple movies, all my hostel information, saved maps of the area around my hostels, transit directions and itineraries for travel

Poly file envelope (it doesn't rip even after heavy use)
  • currency cards/language phrase reference cards*
  • small envelope for receipts
  • 1 photocopy front/back of each: driver's license, debit cards, credit cards, health insurance card
  • 2 extra passport photos (you never know when you may need them)
  • photocopy of passport (always carry one on you in case the real thing gets stolen)
  • ferry, train, airplane, bus tickets and itineraries
  • hostel information
  • maps (I put them in this folder as I accumulate them)

*Upon arriving at my destination, I transferred these items to my daypack/backpack purse or on my person to carry around with me all day.