Packing for a 3 month trip is not easy. It becomes even more difficult when you have to consider the amount of weight you can handle on your back. It is recommended to carry maximum 1/4 of a person’s weight if possible. Otherwise, it could get uncomfortable especially if you have to carry the backpack for a while. I have always been one of those people who pack extra stuff for business trips and vacation thinking that I might need something just in case. Learning how to pack efficiently has definitely been one of my challenges for this trip so far.
I’ve spent the last several weekends doing research over what to bring for a backpacking trip, shopping and returning stuff multiple times as I plan my packing list. Since tomorrow is my last day, I have finally decided what I will bring for my adventure. I would like to share with you my recommendations if you ever plan on doing a long-term backpacking trip on your own.
- Clothes (including what I will be wearing) – 2 t-shirts, 2 pairs of shorts, 1 dress, 1 cardigan, 1 rain jacket, 2 pairs of long yoga pants, 1 tank top, 2 sports bras, 2 sets of PJs, 5 sets of undergarments, 2 pairs of socks and 4 swimsuits.
- Shopping in SE Asia is extremely cheap. It is actually recommended to shop for extra outfits if needed there. Plus I’m a shopaholic so I will definitely be buying some dresses at the night markets to expand my wardrobe if I wish.
- Shoes – I will be wearing a pair of tennis shoes with me and bringing a pair of flip-flops and a pair of Teva sandals.
- I highly recommend the Teva sandals because they are extremely light, comfortable and are perfect for walking for a long time during hot and humid weather. I bought mine from REI and if you sign up as a member you can get 20% off the sandals!
- It is so important to bring a pair of flip-flops for a backpacking trip because you never know when you will be running into a nasty hostel bathroom.
- Important Documents – Passport, ID, international vaccination booklet, passport photos, ticket and itinerary printouts, and multiple photocopies of passport
- It is highly recommended to have your doctor record all the vaccinations you have taken prior to your trip and bring it with you just in case if you end up being in a hospital and being asked about your vaccination history.
- Health and Beauty – I’m trying to bring the minimal amount of makeups so I will only be bringing my BB cream, eyeliner, eyebrow filler, lip balms with SPF, and a lipstick. Other basic health and beauty items include toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, lotion, makeup remover, face wash, facial cream, sunscreen, travel size shampoo, conditioner, dry hair shampoo, body wash, deodorant, hair brush, cotton balls, Q-tips, tampons, a small bottle of perfume, a travel size hair spray, a small hair dryer, a hair straightener, an eyebrow tweezer, a nail clipper and a couple of razors.
- I have to bring a hair dryer and hair straightener because my hair goes crazy if I don’t blow dry it, but most people don’t consider this as a necessity.
- Apparently I’ve read that it’s hard for women to find a razor in SE Asia, so it is recommended to bring a couple just in case if one breaks.
- Electronics – Iphone, DSLR camera, GoPro camera, GoPro handle, Ipad, a small wireless keyboard, Kindle, Voltage Converter, Portable Phone Charger, Fitbit, a selfie stick, a small tripod, and chargers (2 Iphone chargers just in case).
- Anyone who travels out of the country should always bring a converter and a backup phone charger. I’ve also read a lot of posts about bringing a backup camera for a long trip just in case if the original one breaks.
- Medicine – Tylenol, Excedrin pain-killer, Pepto-Bismol, Dramamine (motion sickness relief pills for boat rides), cough medicine and cough drops, Tiger Balm, itch relief cream, prescribed antibiotics for diarrhea, prescribed malaria medicine, and Neosporin.
- This seems to be an excessive list but I’d rather be safe than sorry because I do not feel safe taking pills from SE Asia where I cannot read the labels.
- Always plan your medicine list early just in case if you need any prescribed medicine from the doctor.
- Other Useful items for travel – A swiss army knife with multiple functions, a small pair of scissors, two travel locks for hostel lockers and backpack, mosquito repellent, a small umbrella, a small poncho, a small flashlight, an inflatable travel pillow, an eye mask, earplugs, lightweight foldable hangers, a water bottle and water treatment tablets
- Most of these items are useful when staying in a hostel. Most hostels provide lockers, however, you will need to bring your own locks.
- An eye mask and earplugs are absolutely necessary since other travelers who share the same room with you might have a different sleep schedule.
- Foldable hangers can be used if there are no washers and dryers in a hostel and if you have to hand wash your clothes and hang them to dry. You can get these hangers from Amazon pretty cheap.
- Tap water is not drinkable in SE Asia. Water treatment tablets can be used to purify water into drinkable water if you don’t have access to clean water or if there is nowhere to buy bottled water.
- Sanitary and storage items – Kleenex tissues, wipes, hand sanitizer, and Ziploc bags.
- I know that SE Asia does not provide free toilet papers in most of their restrooms so I will definitely be bringing tissues everyday just in case.
- Having Ziploc bags is helpful since it can hold various small items or they can also be used as waterproof bags when it rains.
- Bags and purses – I will bring a drawstring bag and a small wallet with me. I plan to buy a small purse when I am in SE Asia to hold small items when walking around. The travel backpack that I bought also comes with a detachable daypack that will also be helpful. I suggest getting a waist security pouch from Walmart (about 6 bucks) to store your passport and large value currencies underneath the shirt when traveling between cities just to be safe. I also highly recommend buying some organization packing cubes to help you organize different items so that everything is easily accessible when digging through the backpack. There are many different kinds of packing cubes, including some really fancy and expensive brand name ones, but I don’t think it is necessary to spend too much money on packing cubes. I bought a set of 4 packing cubes that comes with laundry bag and shoe bag for less than $25 from Amazon and I really like them so far. I included the link just in case if you want to check them out. Packing Cubes from Amazon
- Other items – 2 pairs of sunglasses, a baseball cap, daily disposable contact lenses, a pair of glasses, hair pins and hair ties, a pen and a small notebook.
And that’s it. I think this is a pretty good packing list for a long duration backpacking trip. I’ve done quite a lot of research before I finalized these items so hopefully this post will give you some insight on what to pack if you consider backpacking in the future.
I will still have to buy a few things while I am in SE Asia. For example, I might need to buy a sarong to cover myself when entering temples (ladies cannot wear sleeveless shirts or shorts in most of the temples in SE Asia). I also plan to buy some laundry detergent there. I read a lot of articles that suggest backpackers to buy daily necessity items there since they are so much cheaper due to the currency differences. I cannot speak to it at this point but I will definitely post another article at the end of my trip to go through the list again to see what are truly some necessary items to bring!