WHAT TO BRING TO SOUTHEAST ASIA + TIPS

 

When I was preparing for my trip, I watched a lot of “What I’m Packing” videos. I watched these for a few reasons, a) because I was curious and didn’t really know what to bring and b) because I’m nosy lol. I figured I would share with you some things I recommend bringing / what I brought and listed them in level of what I think is important. I also included my thoughts and some tips on everything, but if you don’t care about those, just check the headers and ignore the rest ;).

Some things I highly recommend bringing/ what I think I will actually use are all listed below. 

 

Money & Money Belt Clip

Obviously you’re bringing money lol… but here are my tips

  • Only take out as much money as you are comfortable with losing. Now I know this may sound weird… who is comfortable with losing money, but what I mean by this is don’t keep all your eggs in one basket. If your budget is to spend $3,000 for the entirety of your trip do not bring all $3,000 with you at once. It’s a recipe for disaster. God forbid you get robbed / lose your purse or wallet you will be stranded with no money. Personally I took out money every few weeks, taking out about $300-$400 CAD at a time. That is still a lot of money to lose, but at the end of the day it’s not the worst thing to happen.
  • Speaking of not keeping all your eggs in one basket, if you can separate your money into different cards / accounts you should definitely do so. I’ve heard stories of people’s cards being compromised and being stuck with no money, or only one credit card. If you’re traveling with someone this might not be the worst thing because you can transfer them money online for them to take out for you, but if you’re alone this could single handedly ruin your trip.
  • A money belt clip. I find money belts are awkward, but this tiny one that clips onto your pants and still keeps your money close to you body is a lifesaver. It’s perfect for days when you’re on an excursion and aren’t sure how much money you’re going to need.

 

Locks

  • All the locks. Bring locks for your backpacks and a lock for your locker (if you’re staying in Hostels). Lock your shit up and keep it safe, my friends.

 

A medical / first aid kit

  • This is SO necessary, It really should be number 2 on this list, but I wanted to break up 2 long rambling sessions. You never know what’s going to happen so I packed a small but mighty bag of all the necessities… You might think I’m crazy for bringing this much stuff but I’ll be the one laughing when you get a cut and have no ointment / bandages / creams to take care of it! This all depends on what you feel like you’re going to need and what you typically find yourself reaching for at home. Listen to your body and bring what you think you are going to use… or in my case, what you think you need / may use under any crazy circumstance .

 

My kit included some necessities, and then some things that were personalized for me. I brought:

  • Polysporin
  • A few different types of after bite (I’m allergic to mosquito bites so this is a major necessity for me)
  • Cracked skin balm
  • Canesten (I don’t know what possessed me to share this with all of you, but you’re gonna be spending a lot of time in bathing suits…. Thank me later)
  • Bandaids in an array of sizes / waterproof versions.
  • Emergen-C powder Vitamin C packs. Perfect for energy and to fight off colds
  • Tylenol. I’m prone to headaches and migraines, and was not about to be stuck in a without 2 months supply of advil. This is also great to help with sunburns.
  • Annaprox / Midol. Another thing that’s necessary for me and maybe not to you. Personally my cramps are so bad that I have prescription medication for them and there was no way in hell I was going to let my period affect my trip in any way.
  • Gravol. I am so prone to motion / sea sickness so I really needed these. I brought about 2 packs worth of the non drowsy version for plane and ferry rides.
  • Hydration packs. BRING THESE! It’s something you might not think about but I promise you it’s something you need. It’s like Gatorade on crack. Staying hydrated is so important, and when your trip revolves around beaches and activities in the sun you need to keep hydration in mind. My boss actually ended up in the hospital in Indonesia because of dehydration, so let’s all learn from her mistake and pack a few of these.

I also brought a small pack of essential oils because (have you caught on yet?) I’m insane. But honestly, all of this (minus the oils that come in their own bag.. Gotta love Saje) fit in about a 5 inch bag so there is no excuse for not being prepared.  

 

Neck Pillow

  • I love neck pillows. I literally used mine every day. I used it to sleep with at night and obviously when traveling. It’s also great when you have a long layover (ahem our 12 hour layover to get to Indonesia) and can use it as an actual pillow when lying down on a row of seats. I personally like the ones that are squishy and feel like they have the little beads inside because it reminds me the most of the actual pillow that I use at home — I’m a pillow snob. I’m not a fan of the memory foam ones or the blow-up ones, but hey to each their own.

 

Silk Sleep Sheet/ Pillow Case

  • This is a lifesaver when traveling. It’s basically a thin silk sleeping bag that allows you to never touch hotel sheets. This is a literal blessing. Even if the sheets look clean, god only knows the last time they were washed. If you can find one of these for cheap, pick it up.

 

A Shitty Pair of Sneakers

  • Do not bring sneakers that you care about. Just don’t do it. Everyone I talk to had their sneakers get destroyed while they were there and a few of them ended up throwing them away at the end of their trip and not bothering to bring them home. Either bring a really old pair or just a pair that you don’t care about. You can also consider buying a cheap pair of fake Nike’s in Bangkok that you won’t be upset about if they get filled with dirt and mud. Native slip on’s are also a great option to bring because they are made of rubber and are super easy to clean. 

 

Solid makeup / toiletries

  • If you can get it in solid form, get it. I’m talking foundations, eye shadows, eye liners, shampoo, conditioner… I think that’s about it. Getting things in solid forms ensure that you have 1 less thing to worry about spilling in your bag. If you wanna see exactly what products I brought with me, check out my 5 Week toiletries packing list HERE.

 

Snacks

  • This is a big one especially if you’re a picky eater. I’m not super picky, but snacks are great for breakfasts on a travel day when you don’t have time to grab something substantial, for when you’re tired of Asian cuisine, or for literally anything. We brought Oatmeal and Cliff Bars and it was perfect.

 

A Watch

  • Now you might be thinking 1 of 2 things. 1. I already wear a watch every day, or 2. Why do I need a watch? I have my phone. Well if it’s number 1, then you’re set. And if it’s number 2 I’ve gotta say it’s not a good idea to constantly be pulling out your phone in a foreign place. Especially one where people are notorious for stealing phones right out of people’s hands on the streets.
  • I picked up a fitness tracker to use a watch because “If you can snap two chickens necks with a single motion, why use two motions to slaughter those chickens” (P.S if you get that reference, I love you forever. P.S.S I don’t condone the snapping of chickens necks). But seriously I wanted a simple, discreet watch and I figured it would be perfect to have a fitness tracker because I was also curious to see how much walking we would be doing.

 

A Journal

  • If you couldn’t already tell from the fact that I have a blog, I love to write. I think even if you’ve never used a journal before it’s a great idea to bring one with you on a big trip. It’s so important to write down some favorite memories, places you stayed and things you did. My friend brought a Journal on her trip to SEA and it ended up being so helpful for us when planning! She has a list of all her favorite bars and local spots, hotels she stayed at etc. it was amazing to have as a reference. And even though I have (am and putting) all of that info on the blog, I just love physically writing things down and having a space that’s just for me.
  • I even turned my journal into a sort of scrapbook. I bought THIS Rifle Paper Co Travel Journal and it was perfect because it has one blank page and one ruled page. This allowed me to tape my Polaroids / business cards / other mementos to the blank page and fill the ruled page with the details.  

 

A Heavy Duty Phone Case

  • I love my Sonix Palm Case, it’s functional, it’s pretty, but at the end of the day it’s not going to be able to withstand a big drop. Now this isn’t a necessity but it’s something I recommend getting. A Lifeproof case is exactly that, Lifeproof. It’s gonna withstand major drops, water, dust, sand, you name it.

 

A Portable Speaker

  • A bit of a luxury item to bring but definitely necessary for long days at the beach, when getting ready in your hotel, and just hanging out. I originally bought an Aztec one from Best Buy and it was alright, it got the job done. But after my trip I ended up getting  THIS Ultimate Ears Wonderboom one and really love it. It’s a bit more expensive but the quality is amazing. Plus it can sync up to other UE speakers to make it even louder. This takes up essentially no room in your bad but is really something to consider bringing. 

 

A Good Water Bottle

  • Not something I brought but that I thought of after. There are usually no fridges in the hotel / hostel rooms so your water gets warm pretty quickly. It’s honestly not that big of a deal because there is a 7-Eleven on every corner that you can get a new water bottle from, but this might make it a bit easier for you if you’re really into cold water. We just went over how important hydration is so either way, keep a bottle on you. 

Alright, that was a long one… I brought a lot of crap but loved having it and used it all. Of course, this is all subjective so I hope this gives you some ideas of what you need and what to bring with you! I’d love to hear your thoughts on my list as well as what your necessities would be!

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