MMM… packing your bag! The single LEAST exciting/motivating thing to think about when forming your travel plans, HOWEVER it is the SINGLE MOST VITAL DECISION MAKING PROCESS!
First tip: DO NOT pack your backpack with your mum in the room! Mine, came under the illusion that she was all for the idea of minimal packing, UNTIL it came to actually doing it. Packing with my mum began as “don’t pack too much, remember you’ll have to carry that backpack around Asia” and ended with 1837826327 shirts, 23846 shorts and 1 jumper. “You can just cull it down now” she says!!! The biggest problem with packing with your mum in the room is that she’ll convince you to pack a few particularly ugly items of clothing because it is ‘practical’, ‘easy washing’ and ‘breathable’, which is all well and good in the planning process. UP UNTIL THE MOMENT YOU’RE AWAY AND HAVE TO THINK ABOUT WEARING THAT HIDEOUS ITEM OF CLOTHING! I mean it is no fashion contest, backpacking, no glamour in a hostel, but when you spend every day covered in sweat and dirt and feeling particularly gross, the last thing you feel like doing is wearing a shirt to match your face.
THE BACKPACK – Okay, my backpack is kinda cool. It comes with a detachable day backpack which is super handy in practical terms. However, once the backpack is full and attached you look an awful lot like a fucking teenage mutant ninja turtle… For times you don’t have to carry it, like checking your luggage on to the plane and long bus trips, it is super practical. You can find a suitable backpack in travel/bag shops or online, mine is a 65L bag from the brand Explore Planet Earth – bought a few years ago (my brothers got theirs from Ebay).
WHAT TO PACK – When I originally packed my backpack I got the packing advice from another travel blog called ‘Goats on the Road’ (Goats on the Road – Backpacking Essentials), however there are PLENTY of travel blogs/websites that suggest items to pack when travelling. The one LIFE SAVING thing I learnt from Goats on the Road is ‘packing cubes’! These little zip-up mesh squares are a life saver for an excessive packer like myself, and are SOOOOO helpful when you’re constantly packing and unpacking your backpack moving through different hostels. I just bought mine from EBAY (as I am a god damn traveller on a budget) and they have done the job well – Ebay – Mesh Packing Cubes.
This is what I packed:
Note: minimal packing, as I am planning on travelling for a few months. Also this is for Southeast Asia, this packing list will obviously differ in cooler countries.
1 x singlet
2 x t shirt
2 x crop tops (I wear a lot of high-waisted bottoms)
3 x bras
1 x thin jumper
1 x thin jacket
2 x bikini
2 x shorts (one sports type shorts)
1 x maxi skirt or hippy pants
1 x short skirt
1 x exercise tights
1 x sarong (so helpful for the beach/as a scarf to cover up/a makeshift skirt or dress etc.)
5 x underwear
2 x socks
1 x thongs (flip-flops for americans, and jandals if you’re a kiwi – a common debate to be had between travellers, ps. kiwi’s even my spell check doesn’t recognise ‘jandals’ as a word 😉 )
1 x nice-ish shoes – personally I don’t wear sandals but if you’re a sandal wearer, definitely pack a pair for going out etc. I just packed thin low-cut boots, and they have been great!
1 x sneakers (or hiking shoes if you own them)
1 x laundry bag (literally any small bag, can just use a plastic bag or cloth shopping bag etc.)
1 x sunglasses
1 x lot of hair elastics and bobby pins
1 x microfiber towel (another LIFE SAVER (also purchased on ebay) – able to dry super quick so you wont be drying yourself with a wet towel, and perfect to use at the beach also)
1 x first aid kit – mine contains: a swiss army knife, antiseptic, plastic gloves, paracetamol, bandages and band aids (many travellers along the way have also carried nausea tablets)
2 x hand sanitizer
1 x pillow case and doona/quilt cover (used as a makeshift sleeping bag for buses/hostels with bed bugs/overnight trains etc)
Electronics – many travel with laptops/tablets for entertainment, also I carried my DSLR (camera). Don’t forget phone chargers, battery chargers, memory cards etc. Also, you will need most likely an adapter for the country you are travelling to.
1 x toothbrush
1 x toothpaste
1 x bar of soap and soapbox
1 x shampoo and conditioner (some pack 2 in 1’s)
1 x deodorant
1 x moisturizer
1 x bottle of sunscreen
1 x razor and blades
1 x small bag of sanitary items (available in most cities but harder to find in smaller towns in Asia)
– (I also packed blue hair dye)
- Many travellers choose not to travel with makeup, however as I am a 2/10 I prefer to travel with my makeup. If you can cull it down to a few items, it will be easier to carry around.
I’m very exited to bring you my next posts on the beginning of my journey around Southeast Asia, first destination: Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam!
I hope you’ll stick around and follow me on my adventure,
The Virgin Backpacker xx
Ps. If you have any travel questions/queries or feedback, don’t hesitate to comment, hit my socials, or use the contact form below!