Prep & Pack

How did we prepare for the experience of a lifetime?

Scroll down to see what we packed ⇓

Travel through India had been a goal of mine since I was in high school. While my interest in the country, and travel in general, led me to learn a little, I didn’t really start to research until 5 months prior to our trip.  After countless hours learning about the country, we decided to make it all happen only 3 months before leaving.

Since leaving our home in November of 2015, we’ve backpacked India, North to South, for 5 months and are now living in Cambodia. I can confidently say that we were well prepared for the journey.

Here is a list of all the things we had to do before getting on the plane:

  • Create a list of cool things we want to do in India (ride a camel, pick wild tea…)
  • Make a list of cities we hope to visit
  • Research health and safety concerns
  • Learn about Indian Tourist Visa Requirements
  • Stop eating out (as much :S)
  • Give notice to employer
  • Increase work hours and start saving money
  • Commit to getting rid of all the stuff we love (over and over again, until it hurts)
  • Have a garage sale every weekend for a month
  • Sell stuff on Kijiji
  • Visit Travel Health Clinic, get a ton of needles throughout the month
  • Visit Doctor, get checkup and prescriptions (inhalers and antibiotics for travellers diarrhea)
  • Visit Dentist
  • Start packing what we are keeping but not taking
  • Check flight prices multiple times a day, 7 days a week
  • Read forum after forum for between the lines travel advice
  • Learn a lot from travel blogs, most notably  Hippie in Heels  and  Wandering Earl
  • Make a list of what to take (see below)
  • Research the heck out of backpacks
  • Renew Canadian Passports
  • Make it a priority to see the people we love
  • Research Travel Health Insurance Plans
  • Order a backpack online (spend a bit more to get the colour i want)  Kelty Redwing 44
  • Order travel gadgets from amazon (see them in our list below)
  • Sew a sleeping bag liner/cocoon (for cheap hotels)
  • Register with Canadian Government’s Canadians Abroad
  • Notify Manitoba Health of our leave
  • Apply for Indian Tourist Visas
  • Make list of important numbers (emergency services, consulate)
  • Sign up and create a good profile on Couch Surfing
  • Buy a domain, create a blog
  • Purchase Travel Health Insurance with World Nomads
  • Switch banks to save money on fees (Global ATM Alliance)
  • Purchase plane tickets AFTER receiving Indian Tourist Visas
  • Book first hotel in Delhi, Smyle Inn
  • Spend a week trying to purchase Indian train tickets from Canada. Fail.
  • Make copies of important documents (passport, visa, prescriptions, insurance policy, etc.)
  • Cancel internet, phone plan and other bills day before departure
  • Pack bags, get rid of stuff we thought we’d take
  • Plan how we’ll do laundry
  • Pack bag, get rid of more stuff.
  • Clean out house
  • Have a going away party
  • Last min purchases (disinfectant wipes, toiletries, etc.)
  • Contact hosts to stay with during layovers in Toronto and New York City


Our Packing List

Chantal’s Bag – Gregory Z 55  (55litre)


  • First Aid Kit
  • 4 T-shirts / 1 Scarf
  • 4 socks / 4 underwear
  • Kodi’s clothes bag (listed with his stuff)
  • Dry Bag (for doing laundry)
  • Travel towel
  • Water pack
  • 1 Sports bra, 1 reg. bra / bathing suit
  • Misc. stuff (whistle, adapters, pocket knife, multitool, headlamp, pad locks)
  • Blue fold up day bag
  • Sleeping Cocoon (bed liner)
  • Rain Jacket
  • Small makeup bag (mascara, tinted moisturizer, bronzer, 3 eyeshadow, lip liner and gloss)
  • Toiletry Bag (toothbrushes/paste, floss, deodorant, razors, q-tips, shampoo, laundry detergent, Diva Cup & cleaner, grooming set, etc.)
  • Small Purse


Kodi’s Bag – Kelty Redwing 44  (44litre)


  • Small First Aid Kit
  • 3 T-shirts, 2 short-sleeve button ups, 1 pair of shorts, swimming trunks, and i’ve since added two tailored pants. (in Chantal’s bag)
  • 3 socks / 5 underwear
  • Medical face mask
  • GoPro accessories
  • Flip Flops
  • Hand wipes and tissues
  • Spectacles and sunglasses
  • Lonely Planet phrasebook and dictionary
  • Music notation notebook
  • Egg shaker
  • Earplugs, clothes pins, velcro straps
  • 13″ Macbook Pro w/ charger
  • Rain jacket (MEC)
  • Document folder
  • Travel towel
  • PacSafe  (passports, visa, wallet, GoPro Hero 3 Silver)
  • Medication Bag (antihistamines, tylenol, advil, Imodium, polysporin, pepto bismol tablets, gravol, 4 inhalers, Ciprofloxacin – travellers diarrhoea meds, Vick’s vaporub, towel tablets)
  • Electronics (Anker portable battery, Anker solar panel, charging cables, selfie stick, portable hard drive, mp3 recorder, usb sticks, memory cards, Lumix 16mp camera)