A general level of fitness is a good idea to do a RTW trip. You will be walking a lot and often carrying your heavy pack. This includes everything from hiking on volcanic beaches, carrying your pack on and off buses, walking up a steep set of stairs to your hostel, or battling the heat of the jungle while looking for wildlife. If hiking in isolated areas, you may need to be in great shape. You may be hiking up and down mountains, in extreme heat, and carrying a large load of food and equipment.
Gear Requirements/Packing lists
What can you bring with you to prepare for a trip the covers multiple regions and climates and lasts for a year or more? You can’t. The best thing you can do is leave some space in your bag and buy whatever else you need along the way.
It goes without saying that your back pack will be your most important piece of equipment. Your pack is your lifeline to back home and the rest of the world. In it you have everything you need to survive. Not only is there room for your clothes, but cosmetics, medicine and first aid, books, papers, maps, tools, extra shoes, sometimes a sleeping bag or camping gear, and whatever else you can stuff in there. When picking out a backpack keep in mind how often you are going to be using it. This will be tied to your back almost everyday and over long distances. Don’t skimp for a cheap pack. Get one that fits you well, feels comfortable, is light, and is large enough to hold what you need.
In general you should try and pack as light as you can and leave some room in your bag to buy souvenirs. When your backpack gets too full and you want to lighten your load you can ship some items home, the slowest and cheapest way possible, and it will be there by the time you get back. If you need something shipped to you it is a bit more difficult and if you need it quickly expect to pay a handsome fee.
Shoes or sandals are some of the bulkiest items you will have. A good pair of boots or hiking shoes are ideal for the rugged conditions you are likely to face. You need a pair that will hold up for a long time and is versatile enough for a wide variety of conditions. You will use sandals far more than you ever thought you could on a RTW trip, whether this means on the beach, in the shower, or walking the streets. A pair of rubber Velcro strapped sandals is a good idea to have around. You can wear them hiking, in the water, on the beach, or just walking around and they hold up quite well.
Many hostels and small guesthouses have theft problems. Sometimes in backpacker on backpacker crime, not just the locals. Therefore a lock is a good idea to have around. Try to find one that can both seal your bag tight and also lock it to a piece of furniture.
An iPod or MP3 player can do wonders for killing time in buses and trains. Not only can you store your entire music collection here, but language lessons, movies, photos, files, games, and much more. The Swiss Army Knife is an invaluable tool for an RTW trip. These little tools don’t weigh too much and can include literally hundreds of useful items to make your trip much easier. A small flashlight is also a good idea for locations where there are power outages and little or no lights.