One of the most overwhelming parts of traveling is packing. What do you need to bring on a trip across the world? How much is too much? What if you forget something? Packing for a long trip can be really stressful if you’ve never done it before.
When I tell people I love to pack they always look at me like I’m crazy. I enjoy the challenge of packing. It’s an exercise in thinking, planning, and minimalism which are three things I enjoy most. How much do I really need to survive? Do I own anything I can’t live without?
One reason I love backpacking so much is that it helps me to declutter my life and remember how little “stuff” I need to be happy.
Most people have a tendency to overpack. They think about a billion different “what if’ scenarios and try to accommodate each one. It may seem obvious but keep in mind that when you’re backpacking you’re responsible for carrying however much you bring on your back. The more you bring the heavier the bag.
As a fairly in shape and big guy ( 6’ 4’ 200 pounds), I have the luxury of being able to carry more weight without it exhausting me as quickly as it would others. This allows me to bring a few extra items that may not be a necessity for my trip but more of a luxury (hammock and camping blanket etc).
Three things I always keep in mind when packing for any trip are:
1. Where am I going?
2. When am I going?
3. People live there.
Where Am I Going?
This first one is pretty obvious. A trip to Iceland requires a different packing list than a trip to Bali. When going somewhere it’s vital you take into consideration that country’s customs, temperature, and lifestyle. Regardless of where you plan on going there are plenty of resources that explain what to expect and how to act. Once you’ve done your research use the knowledge to make a list of what is appropriate and necessary to bring with you. For example, tank tops, shorts, and sandals are not appropriate attire to wear when visiting temples in Southeast Asia which means you should bring pants and closed toes shoes.
When Am I Going?
Again this may seem obvious but do your research on weather patterns throughout the year. When is winter? What’s summer like? A place like Vietnam has two different seasons: dry and wet. Are you going in the dry season or should you be prepared for monsoons throughout your trip? Does it get really cold at night when the sun goes down? The weather during your trip will have a big impact on what clothes you need to bring with you.
People Live There.
When people overpack it’s because they think they need to bring everything with them for every possible scenario. They don’t seem to realize that people live there and function every single day. It may not have the most recent style or your preferred brand of something but odds are if you forget something you can buy it while you’re gone. Instead of over packing with stuff you “may” need, leave it at home. If you do need it, buy it abroad. It will save you room and you’ll bring home some souvenirs with a story.
Okay, so what’s on my packing list for Southeast Asia? I’ve split my list into different categories based on use of an item and where I store it. Keep in mind, that when I’m not on a flight EVERYTHING (including my daypack and everything in it) can fit in my Dueter 65 L backpack to make for easy transportation. You really don’t want multiple bags to carry and move when getting in and out of taxis, trains, tuk-tuks, or ferries.
Tank Tops- 5
Button down- 1
Pullover/ Quarter zip-1
Underwear and compression shorts-7
Sandals- 1 pair
Nike Running shoes- 1 pair
Vans- 1 pair
Won’t Travel Without:
Double Camping Hammock
Cotopaxi Kusa Blanket
Eye Mask and Ear Plugs
4 Combo Master Lock 653D
Hydration bladder (Daypack has hydration sleeve)
Selfie Stick (believe it or not it comes in handy when everyone wants to be in the picture)
Travel Power Strip
Portable Wireless speakerMosquito Repellent
In My Carry-On: the Cotopaxi Del Dia Daypack Daypack
Macbook Air and charger
Ray Ban Sunglasses
Collapsible water bottle
Portable External Hard Drive
Canon PowerShot SX280
DJI CP.PT.000731 Spark Palm launch, Intelligent Portable Mini Drone, Alpine White
So there you have it, my packing list of clothes and accessories for a month in Southeast Asia. During April 2017, my whole life will be packed into a 65L backpack and hauled on my back, trudging through the excitement Thailand, hiking the gorgeous countryside of Sapa, and hammocking on the beaches of the Island of the Gods.
One last thing note. I plan on packing light and getting rid of a few items (if need be) to make sure I have room to bring back a few souvenirs from my trip. I have a tradition to always bring back a piece of art to hang in my house after every trip. I’m excited to see what I can find in Southeast Asia!
After my trip, I’ll come back and update the list to let you know what I could have left behind and if there was anything I wish I’d brought with me.
What items can you not travel without?
This is the fourth post in my “How To Travel” series. If you like what you read you may want to check out “How To Travel: An Introduction” by clicking here, ‘Utilizing Credit Cards‘, and ‘Ways to Make Money Traveling’
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