4 things we regret packing and our 4 travel MVPs

Berty and I have reached the halfway point in our trip around Indonesia. It’s been so much fun seeing different places that mean so much to Berty. So far we’ve visited his parents and brother in Jakarta and Berty’s childhood home in Surabaya. Right at this moment, I am typing to you from Berty’s birthplace – an city called Kupang!


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Before this trip, Berty and I decided to pack both our things in one suitcase to make travel easier. We knew we’d be flying a lot and moving around, so less baggage = less for us (aka Berty) to carry. While I think we pack pretty smart, we still have a lot to learn. We wanted to share with you what has worked and what hasn’t while packing for a “long term” trip. Berty has a lot of travelling coming up when we return to the states so this has been a topic I have been thinking a lot about lately.

We’ve decided to share with you the things we have regretted packing as well as the real MVPs of the trip.

Here are 4 things we wish we left at home:

  1. Jackets, jackets, jackets.

    We brought too many jackets. **total rookie mistake!!** We knew Batu was going to be a little more chilly than the rest of Indonesia, but we really outdid ourselves. Berty’s puffy patagonia, Helly Hansen rain jacket, and Koala Hoodie, together were a little overkill. While they are all fantastic warm layers, we only needed to pack ONE. Also, we didn’t do our research – it’s currently dry season here in Indonesia. I’ve seen rain once.

  2. “Just in Cases”

    For some reason I felt it necessary to bring half my medicine cabinet. Next time, I know to buy band aids, creams, and medicines while traveling on a need-only basis.That way, I don’t have to carry around 1,000 band aids when in reality I’ll probably use one.

  3. Our suitcase. (Too big!)

    Our time here is halfway over and there are still some clothes I have yet to wear! I’ve always envied the world travellers who can go “carry-on only” but I thought that could never be me. However, considering the rotation of outfits I seem to wear, I totally could have gotten away with packing HALF my clothes! I might be the next minimal packer hiding in my big bad suitcase.

  4. Books.

    Another rookie mistake. I own and brought this really cool journal where you write one sentence a day for five years. I also own one called Q&A a Day. Writing down our day’s adventures are fun, but I hate toting the books around. They are still on the smallish side, but I quickly learned that I could bring a thin notebook for recording instead, and leave those pounds at home.

These are the 4 MVPs of our trip:

  1. Our REI Expandable Packing cubes

    It’s SO EASY to find things in our suitcase when they are contained in these. Berty and I can keep our clothes separate and even categories each cube by shirts, pants, etc. They utilize space in our suitcase excellently and are easy to grab out because they’ve got handles!

  2. L.L.Bean Toiletry Hanging Bags

    These bags are so easy! They zip up well, hold everything, and are easy to hang anywhere. I have a small one and Berty has a big one.We also have a set of little travel bottles which we can easily fill up with shampoo, conditioner…anything really!

  3. Universal Power Strip

    Between Berty and I, we’ve got lots of gadgets to keep juiced. Berty has his drone, computer, camera gear, our two phones, my kindle…lots. This power strip enables us to charge multiple items at once! Did I mention that it works anywhere in the world? #win

  4. Passport/Travel Organizer.

    So I actually bought this one here in Indonesia. I tried to find the exact one online, but I was unsuccessful! This keeps our money and passports safe and in one area. I purposefully chose a bright green color because it’s easiest to spot in my bag for quick access at the airport.


Finally, on this topic of packing, we are in the market to invest in some really nice, sturdy suitcases this fall. When we get back to the states, Berty has jobs that will take him to Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, and Oregon this September. We’re looking for easy carry-ons for in-country transit, and tough checkable bags for more Indonesian adventures! Any brands you love? Send us a link in the comments!


As always, thank you so much for reading!

The Mandagies


5 thoughts on “4 things we regret packing and our 4 travel MVPs

  1. Very unrelated to this post but I love, love, love what you guys are doing. I hope to travel and see the world in my life with a companion that inspires me just as much! You both are inspirations, keep up the great work!

  2. Hi lady! For one, I adore your blog. Thank you for sharing all of your wonderful adventures with your husband.

    Secondly, I love my Swiss gear carry on suitcase! It is very sturdy and has been great for quick trips. My mom has the same one and we have got a lot of use out of them!

    Best wishes 🙂

    1. Ellie! I’m so glad you enjoy reading it! I hope you are doing well! Thank you so much for the suitcase advice too – I am looking them up now! They also look pretty reasonable in price…#win 😉

  3. I too love hanging toiletry bags. I recently got one with clear plastic and mesh (on different parts of the bag) pockets and I labeled each pocket so when I am packing it is a super quick glance to see what I need to replace/refill. I also have a second set of make up that I keep packed all the time so I never need to pack that.

    I LOVE my line a day journal but for trips I will buy the bigger lined post it notes, tear off as many sheets as days we’ll be gone, write on one each day and then stick it on top of that day in my journal when I get home. I can just lift it up to see the entries underneath. 🙂

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