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  • Writer's pictureMonica Beth

What to Pack for Backpacking Southeast Asia

Updated: Dec 29, 2023


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In preparation for our trip I did so much research about what to bring. I had no clue what to pack for backpacking Southeast Asia and I've never been to any of the countries we are visiting. I was really concerned about dressing appropriately, I also wanted to be prepared for anything. My amazon wishlist had so much stuff on it you would think we were getting dropped off on a desert island. (I mean I had straws that filtered water, Belts you can hide money in, and bracelets and stickers that are insect repellent- all good things to have, but not necessarily imperative.) Grant reeled me in or I might have spent all the money for the trip before we even left.

So to say I over packed is a true statement, but I got it all to fit in the backpack and Grant got everything into his backpack, so we're good, right? Right. Until I'm walking around airports and beaches looking for gates and hotels- then it gets not so good. So after almost a month in the Philippines I had a pretty good idea of what we needed and what we didn't need. So we went through everything and made a pile of things to send home. Then we went through it again and consolidated a bit more.

We went from two large Travel packs and two small day packs to this:

man with packs in airport

(Two regular back packs and two day packs. My travel pack is completely empty.)

So I went from 7 pairs of shorts to 2, 5 pairs of shoes to 3, 8 shirts to 4, you get the idea. We sent home a lot of seashells I found on the beaches; we sent home the warm clothes we wore when we left the states; the beach blanket (this was a great purchase and we did get a lot of use out of it, but we weren't going to be staying at the beach anymore.) and, well, if I'm being honest 42lbs in total of things we didn't need. Now hopefully we don't over do it on shopping, but if we do at least we have an empty pack to carry it in!

While I may have over done it on the initial preparations there are a few things that we brought, that seemed silly, but we have actually made good use of.

  1. Hydration packets- These are powdered electrolytes people usually use for hangovers. Here we sweat. a lot. So staying hydrated is key.

  2. First aid kit- Alcohol wipes, afterbite wipes, tweezers, and Ibuprofen have all come in handy so far.

  3. Quick dry towel- great for the beach and rolls up really small

  4. Alcohol wipes/ hand sanitizer- a lot of bathrooms don't have soap and napkins are pretty much just Scotts 1ply toilet paper.

  5. Neck pillow- for planes yes, but when you don't have enough pillows on the bed its come in handy when propping yourself up in bed.

  6. Packing cubes- We've been able to stay organized and they really do help minimize the amount of space things take up.

So that's that. What we need and what we didn't need. What do you like to bring when you travel?

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