What I Pack

I travel quite a bit, both personally and for work. Next week, I’ll be heading all the way to Kobe, Japan for a conference for just under two weeks. I’m also prepping for a competition and, at the very last minute, decided to sign up for the 2019 Crossfit Open.

There’s never a good time for travel, nor is there ever a bad time. Sure, traveling does complicate my routines and practices to help maintain my health and training schedule. Over the years, I’ve learned a few things about what to take, what to prioritize, and how to approach my health when I’m constantly on the go.

Ayurveda oils I pack for traveling.
My Banyan Botanicals collection. I use these every day.

Morning Routine

I’ve been working on developing an Ayurveda-influenced morning routine. I’ve mentioned previously that I’ve had a lot of success with Ayurvedic doctors in the past and it’s usually the first resource I turn to when I’m facing a lingering health issue.

For me, that means bringing my routine with me. In the mornings, I practice oil pulling, nasya, meditation, and yoga. While it can be a pain to bring so many extra toiletries along for the trip – especially since I only travel with carry-ons – I also feel that it’s worthwhile to maintain these practices. Traveling is un-grounding by nature, so bringing these tools with me helps me to feel more balanced.

Quart liquid pack
A clear, 1-quart bag helps keep things organized.

Skincare and makeup

I learned the hard way that you can only bring up to one quart of liquid items in a carry-on. (Thanks, Heathrow.) I keep all of my liquid toiletries and make-up in this bag (I got it on Amazon) to keep things clean and separate.

I don’t wear a lot of make-up these days, but when I’m traveling I try to pare down even more so I only bring the essentials. I also keep my “dry” toiletries, like blush or face powder, in a separate bag to help maximize the space available.

All the gym equipment I pack.
Choosing small, portable, and high-impact gym items helps keep things manageable.


While traveling, I do my best to maintain a regular training schedule, albeit not at the same intensity and frequency. The beauty of Crossfit, of course, is that there are boxes everywhere. So even in Kobe I plan to drop in a few times at the local Port Tower Crossfit.

I carry a lot of crap with me to the gym on a regular basis, but I certainly don’t need all of it. So when I’m traveling, I bring only the things I use pretty much every time I work out. Here, I have:

  • my knee sleeves,
  • resistance bands,
  • my weightlifting belt,
  • barbell clips,
  • grips (for pull-ups, toes-to-bar, etc.), and
  • my jump rope.

I love bringing my jump rope and resistance bands everywhere since they’re also good in a pinch if I don’t have access to a gym.

Shoes I pack
I use my No Bull’s for everything.


At home, I’m usually wearing my gym clothes on a daily basis, so it’s always a funny exercise to prep for a professional conference. I still haven’t nailed down a specific formula for what to bring. However, I generally start by pulling out everything I might want and then eliminate from there based on how much stuff I can mix and match as the trip goes on.

For gym stuff, that usually means about one pair of shoes – I use my No Bull’s for everything – three/four workout pants (especially if one can double as leggings), tops, and sports bras. I don’t always smell the best by the end of the week. Nevertheless, washing and air drying have always worked well for me.

For my “I can look like a human being” wardrobe, I generally take at least a few pairs of pants, sweaters, skirts, and dresses. I wear what’s bulkiest on the plane, especially if I’m bringing alone a pair of boots (which, I always am). For some people, comfort on the plane is most important. For me, it doesn’t make that much of a difference and I usually take my shoes off anyway. I sleep better knowing I had enough room in my carry-on to not need to check a bag.

And everything else

I only pack a hair straightener since it can be used to curl and/or straighten my hair. I never bother with hair dryers, though. I generally shower at night, letting my hair air dry while I sleep. Though I work out in the mornings, I’ll just sprinkle in a little dry shampoo (a.k.a. baking powder and lavender oil) to refresh things.

I don’t bring supplements with me anymore, but I do use a pill pack to sort any vitamins I’m taking. Right now, that’s just a probiotic, fish oil, vitamin D, and iron. I’ll also pack a small baggie of Trader Joe’s Super Green Drink to help get some extra veggies in. Likewise, I usually bring about one protein bar per day, just in case I’m not getting enough.

That’s it!

The hardest part is traveling during the winter, when clothes are bulkier. Otherwise, I generally have more than enough room in my carry-on to, well, carry on. I also keep things like my camera and my computer in my personal item. For that, I use another timbuk2 backpack, which I’ve had for about eight years now.

Keeping it simple and light helps me feel prepared for whatever may come my way while traveling. Without too many bags, or oversized luggage, I can navigate taxis, subways, sidewalks, and what have you, while still keeping everything I need with me.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: