Here ya go folks, here are the things I packed for my trip.
Caution: this is a long post…enter at your own risk!
1) Two ’Columbia’ convertible Pants: I can wear them as shorts, a capri or pants. I have yet to wear the light Khaki colored pants, in fact they still smell like home. I wish I would have brought my ‘boyfriend’ style jeans instead of the light colored pants – I would have actually worn those by now.
2) ‘Old Navy’ cargo pants: I wear these A LOT. It’s so handy to have cargo pants to stash things so I can be hands-free. Also, I can roll the bottom of the pants for a casual capri look!
3) Two dresses: One full length dress (that I travel with often) that works great to quickly pull over a swim suit, or dress up for an evening dinner out with friends. One shorter dress that’s a bit dresser – I’ve only worn it once and I wish I wouldn’t have brought it. I actually bought this dress just for the trip, and its not functional for what I need. Just buy dresses while traveling if you don’t have any, they are super cheap!
4) Five v-neck style shirts: 4 shirts are plan with no graphic, and than my Superman shirt! The 4 shirts that I bought from Target, just for the trip ,are nice because they don’t have graphics and can be paired with just about anything. I dislike that the cotton is thin, and due to not using dryers overseas (most of our clothes are hand-washed, and 95% of the time hung outside to dry) they have stretched out immensely. Thank goodness I’m not attached to them, which means I can easily discard them and buy new ones for around $1 to $3/shirt!
5) Three long sleeve shirts: One button down shirt, one ‘tunic’ style shirt and one sweat shirt. I wear the button down shirt the most because I can layer it easily over a tank or a shirt, then take it off if I get too hot. The tunic and sweat shirt come in VERY handy during traveling, because I tend to get majorly cold on planes or bus trips. The temp is either blazing hot, or most likely, frigid cold on a bus and/or plane – it’s good to have ‘cold’ weather clothes to throw on.
6) Four athletic shorts (one is not pictured because I was wearing them during the photo). I wish I would have cut it down to 3 athletic shorts and then brought a dressier pair of shorts. I miss looking nice while traveling. Bring what you will wear…I mostly wear the athletic shorts because I’m an avid runner, and I also sit around most days working on my computer (comfort is key for me). When I do go out with friends or walking the streets, it would have been nice to bring a pare of jean shorts to dress my look up a bit.
7) One Casual American Apparel capri: I bought these just for the trip, and I’m very happy I did. They pack nice, work for yoga, running, dressing up or dressing down, pjs, etc! I would suggest these capris to anyone!
8) Three tank tops (I actually brought a 4th nicer tank, but it has since been made into a necklace due to a major stain). Two are cotton, the mustard color I like to use for layering. I bought it at target years ago and it’s wonderful. It keeps its shape very nicely. The teal tank is my favorite. It’s a “Champion” tank, so it’s made for an active lifestyle. It whisks away sweat, so I stay more dry when I run in this tank (this humidity will keep you sweating in SE Asia) Also, due to the type of fabric the color stays truer and doesn’t get stretched out due to hand washing.
9) Swimsuit: two bottoms (I’ve since thrown one away because it got stretched out) and two tops (I have yet to wear the tankini top…wish I wouldn’t have packed it)
Clothes I’ve bought while overseas:
10) Two dresses: I love them. They are so easy, and I feel pretty in them. I wish I would have left the two dresses above that I brought back at home, because dresses over hear are so nice looking and so very inexpensive.
11) Shirts: One 3/4 length shirt I just recently bought because I wanted a shirt that was a bit warmer, not stretched out and casual. One long sleeve checkered shirt because I wanted yet another shirt I could layer over lighter weight clothes. Two short sleeve shirts: the yellow shirt I received for free when I signed up for surf lessons through Rip Curl – can’t beat free! The Texas shirt I actually bought at the mall in Chiang Mai, Thailand. I’m originally from Texas so it reminded me of home and I couldn’t pass it up!
12) MC Hammer style pants. Don’t judge. They are lovely, breezy, light weight, and gosh darn it, I just like them! By the way, these pants are all over the place in Indonesia and the rest of South East Asia…and very cheap, under $5.
13) A dressy tank top to replace my other tank that got ruined during traveling – they look great with my MC Hammer pants!
Other ‘Clothes’ I brought that are not pictured:
- Four bras (1 sports bra): a white one, a black one, a nude colored one, and a black padded sports bra. I’ve since bought another sports bra to keep up with all my running I’ve been doing overseas.
- Six Undies (3 are quick dry fabric, and 3 cotton). I’ve since bought 3 other pair of undies to keep up with laundry. I seem to go through undies fast, because I can’t re-wear undies that I’ve ran in – yuck.
- Six pair of socks- one hiking pair of socks (thicker), and the rest are sports socks for running. I’ve enjoyed the thicker hiking socks for bus trips as well, to keep my feet warm.
14) Merrell Hiking boots: Chais and I both bought hiking boots for our trip. I honestly used them more before the trip – to survive Nebraska’s snowy winter- more than I use them now. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve used them, however I think I would have been fine just having a pair of running shoes instead.
15) Two Sandals (1 dressy, 1 plain ‘Old Navy’ Grey colored- rubber flip-flops): The Old Navy flip flops broke while I was eating at a restaurant in Kuta, Bali, Indonesia. Thank goodness it was a short bare-foot walk to our hotel to get my other pair. I love my “bling” sandals. I’ve had them for over a year, and they’ve held up so nicely – not to mention they help any outfit look a little nicer!
16) One pair of Silver flats: I’ve only worn these twice, but they are nice to have just in case!
Not Pictured: I had to buy a pair of running shoes. I’m an avid runner, and chose not to bring running shoes – stupid! I ran in my hiking boots for almost a month before buying shoes in Chiang Mai, Thailand. In an ideal situation, I would have NOT brought hiking boots and brought running shoes instead.
Accessories (Not pictured):
- One hat: Love having this for days I want to keep my hair out of my face, or days I had greasy hair from not getting a shower in.
- One scarf/shawl: This by far has been the best item. It’s a plain grey color so it goes with anything, and can be used in several ways, such as: as a scarf to dress up an outfit, a shawl to keep me warm or cover my shoulders in a temple, a towel, a sarong over a swim suit, twisted into a belt, a head cover for entering certain temples, etc.
17) Jewelry (pictured below): 3 rings (my wedding ring, an owl ring and snake ring), 3 pairs of earrings (2 studs, and 1 dangle pair). Jewelry is a great way to dress up any outfit. I wish I would have brought a universal necklace to wear, as well as a couple more pairs of dangle earrings. They are easy to pack and don’t weigh a lot!
18) Three headbands (1 pictured below): 2 sports style and 1 dressy style: I haven’t used the dressy head band, but the sports style I use at least 4 times a week!
19) My Mary Kay cosmetics have been wonderful to have with me, in fact I wish I would have packed more of my favorite items:
- Mary Kay Acne Treatment gel
- Mary Kay Face wash bar (not pictured): It last for what seems like forever, much longer than liquid face wash…and stays clean in my pack.
- Mary Kay Face moisturizer
- Mary Kay eye-make up remover
- Mary Kay Mineral Foundation w/ brush: This has been wonderful with hot weather. When I start to sweat, it tackles it and still helps me look good!
- Mary Kay Liquid Foundation: I rarely wear this because it doesn’t seem to hold up in hot weather like my mineral foundation does!
- Mary Kay Foundation Primer: I’ve only used this twice. Honestly, I sweat so much I don’t think this will help keep my foundation on.
- Mary Kay Eyeliner (liquid and dry)
- Mary Kay Concealer
- Color: Mini Compact with 3 shades of eye shadow (Granite, Copper Glow, Espresso), Citrus bloom Cheek Color, and small application brushes
20) One pick and one collapsible brush with mirror: Doesn’t take up much room in my pack and gets the job done!
Toiletries Not pictured:
- Lipgloss: I’ve since lost this, but thank goodness there are several places to buy stuff like this.
- Chapstick with sunscreen
- 2 travel size wet wipe packages: These have been great to have!
- Lush Shampoo Bar: This was compact, so nice to pack, however it left my hair feeling dull and dry. Pack products you know and love!
- bag of Q-tips
- 2 travel sized body lotions: I wish I would have brought a full bottle, because nearly all the lotion in SE Asia is “whitening” …not good for my skin.
- Travel size hairspray
- Travel sized tooth-paste
- Travel sized tooth-brush
- Nail file
- Finger Nail Clippers
- Hair cutting scissors
- Small bag of bobby-pins, hair ties and hair clips
- Bar of soap w/ container
- Roll-on Mary Kay perfume
- A bag of tampons (these are very expensive overseas…either bring a lot or get on a birth control.)
21) Small bags for packing things in: These have been very handy to separate my shirts, from shorts, from undies, etc. I think they are called “Ditty” bags which we bought in the camping section at Wal-Mart.
22) Resistance bands: These are easy to pack, and I can work out anywhere with them. I’ve enjoyed having them!
24) Two wallets: I have NOT used the mustard colored classic wallet. I don’t carry it around with me, so it just stays in my pack. I guess it’ll be nice to have it when I fly back into the States. The ‘coin’ style purse has been wonderful. My friend, Angela, bought it for me as a going away present – she wanted me to own my first “Coach” item. I’m not a name brand kind of girl, but it has been amazing. It slips over my wrist and I can easily carry a few bills, coins, and a credit card – it’s light weight and I know I’m not going to lose it because it’s hanging from my wrist.
25) Photo album: I haven’t used this, however I had several other travelers suggest I bring one so I could show ‘host’ families or friends what my family looks like. I have taken a few pictures out of the album, which are now taped to my mirror.
26) Two pairs of prescription eye glasses – just in case I lose one!
27) Bug “Spray” Wipes: Bug spray and sun screen are expensive overseas, so just buy some at home and put it in your packs!
28) A watch: I didn’t wear watches back home, but it’s been handy to have here, because I don’t normally carry my phone around with me to check the time. It’s a nicer watch, so it dresses up an outfit, however I wish I would have brought an athletic watch instead. It’s very hot here, so sweat is inevitable. I think an athletic watch would hold up to moisture better.
29) A phone: This is an iPhone 3G which is really handy overseas. You can buy the local SIM card and stick it in your phone and boom, it just works with a local phone number…even though I haven’t used mine really at all since we’ve been here. We normally use Chais’ iPhone to text and call local businesses and people we meet. If I didn’t bring my laptop, something like this would almost be essential for getting on the internet and what not.
Other Misc. items not pictured:
- Heating pad: I used this weekly back in the States to help cure stomach craps, however since my diet has changed due to living overseas I haven’t had any stomach problems. I’ve only used the heating pad once.
- 2 Ponchos: These have been very nice to have…even though you can buy low quality ones over here for $2. It really does rain a lot in SE Asia during the summer and fall!
- Travel Towel: Sea to Summit Dry lite towel: A must have item. Not all places will provide towels to dry off with…we’ve used our towels A LOT.
- Sea to Summit sleeping bag liner: I’ve used this once at a hostel that didn’t have sheets. It’s nice to have in case the bedding isn’t clean where you are staying, etc. You could also just pack an old sheet instead of buying this expensive liner.
- Mini French Press: Our Friends Mike and Chelé gifted this to us as our “going away” present. They had traveled before us and enjoyed having a similar french press with them. It gave them that comfort of home and helped regulate their system. We have used it a lot, but we do love our coffee!
- Utility Tool: I have yet to use this, however I have a feeling that when I need it, I’m going to be glad I packed it.
- Ear plugs: These were very handy at noisy hostels!
30) Kindle reader loaded with e-books: This has been wonderful. I’m an avid reader, and didn’t like the idea of carrying around a heavy stack of books with me. I’m also an avid “I forgot to charge that” person – thank goodness the battery has a long life! I love adding on new books while I travel. My recent purchase was “Born to Run…” by Christopher McDougall, and thankfully because of my Kindle it doesn’t add any weight to my pack.
31) Journal: for all those important thoughts and doodles that need jotted down.
32) Deck of Cards and Sudoku books: I do love a game of Solitaire and Sudoku!
- Kindle with power cord
- iPhone with power cord
- Canon Digital Rebel Camera with rechargeable battery
- Laptop with power cord
- Birth Control (Seasonel)
- Tylenol PM
- Prescription Pain pills
- Zantac 150 (acid reducer)
- Mefloquine HCL (Malaria pills): We took these for about a month and then stopped. I don’t see us continuing to take them. (Here’s a post about our pre-trip shots)
- A handful of meds. our doc. gave us for “just in case” (pink eye meds, meds for ulcer, migraine med, etc.): We haven’t used any of these!
AND this is all carried around in my handy “big” Kelty backpack that I bought on clearance at Cabela’s…and I love! It’s durable and has so many pockets to store even more stuff. I also carry around a separate back pack (also a Kelty that I also bought at Cabela’s), as my “big” Kelty is the back pack that gets checked during flights. My other back-pack I use is a carry-on that I put all my electronics in, a change of clothes, and all the essential toiletries to touch-up after long flights (make-up, deodorant, toothpaste, etc.). It’s also been very nice to have this small back-pack to go hiking with, to carry as a “purse”, etc.
Note: I bought a simple duffel bag in the ‘camping’ section at Wal-mart to put my “big” Kelty in during flights (it was less than $20). This protects the straps from getting ripped off due to luggage conveyor belts, etc.
Well…I’m sure I left out some things from the “what I packed” list, however this is a good start for any soon-to-be traveler. Also, keep in mind, Chais had other things added in his pack that I didn’t, such as: duct tape, a blow up pillow, laundry-line (for drying clothes), zip-loc bags, etc.
My advice: Pack what you love, pack what feels right, pack the things you want, pack the things you think you can’t live with-out, but pack what you can carry. Also, determine what kind of traveler you are. Will you be a nomad, traveling about from place to place frequently, or will you be a traveler that settles in places for a month (or more) before traveling to the next location?
When we first set out we thought we would be nomads, but rather we’ve turned into settlers. With that said, I wish I would have packed a few extra things, since I’m not a nomad that tends to worry more about the weight of their packs than looking trendy.
Here are a few things I wish I would have packed: a few of my cuter clothes from home, a fashion belt, a few extra earrings, my mini- hair straightener, a few extra crucial skin care products, more running clothes, my favorite boy-friend style jeans, etc. With that said, these are all things that I can buy here – I just don’t like to spend money on things I know I already own at home.
Travelers will consistently give you advice on what to pack, such as:
You can follow our advice, however I would also suggest that you just follow your instincts. No amount of advice is going to prepare you for traveling, you just have to step out and experience it yourself. If you haven’t read it yet, make sure you read the crucial pre/during/post travel book called Vagabonding.
Let me know if you have any questions about packing, that I may not have mentioned in this post!