Packing List

I know everybody says this, but it’s so true – try to pack as little as possible! You don’t want to carry around a heavy pack and most hostels have cheap laundry services. You just have to embrace being dirty! The following list is what I would suggest bringing if I were doing this trip again (particularly for female travelers).

Clothes & Shoes:

  1. 1-2 pairs of lightweight pants. I brought 2 pairs and ended up only wearing 1 pair infrequently because it was so hot.
  2. 7-9 shirts, including a couple of tanks, short sleeves shirts etc (try to avoid white). You can get away with bringing less, but you will sweat through your shirt almost every day, so just something to keep in mind.
  3. 3-4 pairs of shorts, including athletic shorts and regular shorts
  4. 1-2 lightweight skirts
  5. 1 lightweight dress
  6. 1 beach cover up
  7. 1 lightweight rain jacket
  8. 1 bathing suit (we bought cheap beach towels there)
  9. 2 weeks worth of underwear and bras (including sports bras)
  10. 7-8 pairs of socks
  11. 1 pair of sneakers
  12. 1 pair of flip-flops
  13. 1 pair of tevas – this one is optional. I brought a pair but didn’t end up wearing them very often like I originally anticipated. They’re heavy and bulky so if you don’t think you need them, don’t bring ’em!
  14. 1 lightweight fleece or sweatshirt
  15. 1 set of pajamas

Technology:

  1. 1 digital camera
  2. 1 kindle – this really came in handy on long bus rides. If you don’t have a kindle that’s backlit then make sure to bring a small reading lamp so you can read in the dark. (And if you decide to bring an ipad then obviously you don’t need a kindle).
  3. 1 iphone or similar smartphone – almost every hostel offers free wifi nowadays and you’ll be so happy you have a way to check email and do research. You’ll also be surprised by how many backpackers travel with iphones, ipads, laptops etc.
  4. 1 ipad – this one is entirely up to you (and obviously only if you own an ipad). I didn’t bring one because I didn’t want to carry it around with me everywhere, but Brit brought hers and it was helpful for uploading pictures off her camera and onto facebook etc.
  5. Viber app – this is a free app and it allows you to call anybody’s cell phone, anywhere in the world for free! If you’re outside your home country, or wherever your service plan works, then you must be connected to a wifi network to use it. However, so long as the person you’re calling is within their service area, then that person doesn’t need to be connected to the internet and can work fine on 3G or LTE (although sometimes the connection is better when both groups are connected to wifi). It’s a great way to keep in touch with your family and friends for free.
  6. Thumb-drives – you’ll definitely want to back up the pictures off your camera from time to time. Alternatively you can also save your pictures to a dropbox account or another cloud storage service. We met a guy who had been traveling for 6 months and got his camera stolen. He didn’t back up any of his pictures, so don’t let that happen to you!

Other:

  1. 1 big pack & 1 small pack – I have a 60L osprey pack that I bought a few years earlier when traveling in South America. Now they make packs where the small backpack zips off the front or is otherwise attached somehow, which seems easier than having to carry 2 separately.
  2. 1 quick-dry towel
  3. 1 cocoon or similar travel sheet – sometimes you don’t want to sleep on those hostel sheets!
  4. 1 universal travel adaptor
  5. Sunblock! It’s expensive in Asia, so bring as much as you think you’ll need for however long you’re traveling. The sun is very strong so you’ll probably end up wearing sunblock multiple times a week, maybe even daily on your face.
  6. Tampons – bring as many as you can. They don’t sell them in many places and they tend to be expensive (at least from what I’ve seen). You also don’t want to be stuck in some remote place without anything. I know it’s a bulky thing to pack, but you’ll be happy you brought them.
  7. Mesh bags (including one for dirty laundry): I highly recommend buying some stuff sacks to organize your things. I put all shirts in one, pants/shorts in one, skirts/dresses/beach cover ups in one, and one for dirty laundry. Rosie didn’t organize her stuff so everytime we got to a new hostel she had to dig through her entire bag and take everything out, which was a total pain!
  8. Small flashlight or headlamp – Personally I think it’s better to bring a headlamp as sometimes you will need to use both hands and shine a light at the same time.
  9. Toiletries that you might want to bring: razors, deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrush, purell etc. I brought make-up but didn’t wear any! You can buy most of your toiletries as you go along, but those are ones that I would bring from home to get started.
  10. 1 Brush or comb
  11. I used a travel document organizer that was really helpful to store my passport, money , credit card etc. It’s definitely not necessary but I used it as my wallet and it kept me very organized.
  12. Medicine: Advil, pepto bismol, midol, immodium etc. If you’re susceptible to motion sickness then bring some dramamine with you for those bumpy and windy bus rides. You can get most things over the counter in Asia, so if you forgot something you can just go to a pharmacy. I got a bad tooth infection when I was in Thailand and I just went to a pharmacy and they prescribed me some antibiotics.
  13. Granola bars/snacks – very handy for long bus rides, Clif bars are particularly filling, the crunchy peanut butter flavor is my favorite. Goldfish and nutrigrain bars are also good.
  14. 1 plastic jar of peanut butter – you can buy peanut butter in Asia, but it’s much cheaper to bring it from home. Often times we ended up making sandwiches for our long bus rides. We’d  buy bananas and bread wherever we were and we’d make peanut butter and banana sandwiches.
  15. First aid kit: bring lots of bandaids and neosporin!!
  16. A couple extra plastic bags and zip-lock bags, handy if you have some clothes that are wet and you need to put them back in your pack
  17. Sunglasses and croakies
  18. Neck pillow (totally optional but I liked it for long bus rides)
  19. Pack cover: I didn’t bring one and I don’t think it’s necessary, but I saw a lot of people using them when it rained
  20. Baseball hat