Lori’s SE Asia trip packing list

This is bit of a random post, but I put this together early on and decided to go ahead and comment on how the packing list has held up so far, while I’m thinking about it.

Here is all of our stuff on a king-sized bed. As you can see, there is a lot of stuff.
stuff in both our packs
And below is a list of everything that is in my pack. I found other traveler’s lists of what they took on long-term trips extremely helpful, so I put this together in case it could help someone else. John’s list is similar but he took some of the extra hardware that we only have one of (i.e. pocket knife tool, gorilla tape, crazy glue, HDMI cable for hooking the computer up to a tv, etc.). He also has the same day pack but the larger Porter 65 back pack so we can stuff souvenirs into it at the end and also so he can carry a bit more along the way if needed. So far we are extremely happy with our large pack choices – they are amazing and we highly recommend. I don’t think I’d recommend the daypacks, though. They have been fine, but slightly larger ones would be better. I’ve put notes about things where I think of them, but if you are packing for a trip and would like more detail on anything, feel free to ask.

stuff in Lori's pack
Lori’s trip packing list:

Back Packs:

  • Osprey Porter 46
  • Osprey Daylite day pack

Clothes:

  • 2 pair of pants; one that snapped into capris and both with good zip or snap pockets
  • 1 pair of prana quick drying shorts
  • 1 pair of comfy yoga pants [super happy I brought these 'extra' pants for lounging around the hotels]
  • 1 travel skirt with cargo pockets [haven't worn this as much as the pants]
  • 3 tank tops
  • 3 short sleeved t-shirts
  • 1 long-sleeved thin black shirt [only wore this in Northern Vietnam or on the planes]
  • 2 sports bras [maybe would have brought one more, but 2 is ok]
  • 7 underwear
  • 1 pair of cotton pajama shorts
  • 2 pair smart wool crew socks [one would have been ok]
  • 1 pair of Keen water shoes
  • 1 pair of comfy flip flops [bought some plastic Havianas on the beach and wear them almost exclusively]
  • 1 pair of Tom’s canvas slip on shoes [haven't worn much but happy to have]
  • 1 bathing suit [wish I'd brought two]
  • 1 rain jacket
  • 1 lightweight fleece jacket [mostly wore this in Northern Vietnam, on the planes, or in the evening. Very glad I had it]
  • 1 lightweight scarf [didn't need to bring this since I bought several here]
  • 1 baseball cap [haven't used this yet]
  • 1 bandana [this has come in really handy for various things]
  • 1 pair silver hoop earrings [have bought some earrings and rings along the way]
  • 3 mesh packing cubes hold all of my clothes and shoes (except the bulkier Keens which I usually wear on travel days)

Toiletries:

  • 1 4 oz. Dr. Bronners soap and a 4 oz of the REI brand [haven't used this except for to do laundry in sinks, most hotels have soap]
  • 1 travel sized shampoo [have been able to pick up lots of small shampoos at hotels]
  • 1 travel sized liquid face soap [was very happy to have this as I like the brand I use]
  • 1 travel sized hair spray [the only hair 'product' I use and I ran out half way, so I bought some Vietnamese hairspray, but definitely haven't seem much in the way of familiar hair products aside from shampoo.]
  • 1 razor and a few extra blade replacements
  • 1 nail brush/clipper/file/tweezers
  • Qtips
  • 2 travel sized deodorants [this wasn't enough and I should've brought a regular sized one since they don't carry US deodorant in many places we've seen]
  • eyelash curler/mascara [this is the only make up I've used]
  • 3-4 chapsticks
  • tampons
  • toothbrush/toothpaste/floss
  • small packet of ponytail holders and hair pins
  • comb
  • 1 cloth hair band
  • Several Mesh toiletry bags

Electronics:

  • Macbook Air
  • Nexus (E-reader w/ wireless, GPS and video capability)
  • iPhone
  • Point and shoot camera
  • Lots and lots of chargers and converters and cords! [it turns out most of our plugs work in the countries we've been in thus far, which is great since I left our converter at one of our first hotels]
  • Headphone splitters
  • Small flashlight
  • Headlamp
  • Digital sport watch

Medicine/First Aid [we haven't used every single item here, but we used most at least once and have run out of some. Don't skimp on the medicine/first aid kit!]:

  • Anti-malarial pills
  • Cipro
  • Ambien (sleeping pills)
  • Anti-diarrhea/Anti-constipation meds
  • Tums/Pepto tablets
  • Dramamine
  • Advil
  • Vitamins
  • Potable water tablets
  • First Aid kit: Neosporin, anti-bacterial spray, band-aids, hydrocortisone cream, Burt’s Bees mosquito bite relief, and a few other odds and ends here
  • Sewing kit w/ scissors
  • 1 ace bandage
  • Electrolyte tablets
  • A few EmergenC packets

Miscellaneous:

  • 2 pair of sunglasses
  • Hand sanitizer/Hand wipes
  • Mini Tissue packs [could've used more of these, but I just stock up on toiletpaper from hotels.]
  • Earplugs
  • REI Camping Spork
  • REI Platypus 1 liter water bottle [we loved these for the first two weeks but then mine ripped so we just started using water bottles and trying to refill them when we could by buying large things of water to leave in our hotel.]
  • 1 Silk Sleep sack [I've used this more than John but was SO glad I had it. You often don't get a top sheet even in a nicer hotel, and I like having a sheet]
  • 2 bottles of suncreen (we didn’t bring enough at all – also should’ve brought some aloe)
  • 2 types of bug repellent (1 all natural Herbal Armor, and one w/ Deet just in case) [we love the Herbal Armor and should've just brought two]
  • 1 REI travel towel [have used this a lot]
  • 1 travel clothesline (the braided kind with Velcro on the ends is handy)
  • 2 travel locks from REI
  • 1 small bike lock cord, just in case
  • lots and lots of zip lock bags (snack size, quart, and gallon)
  • several waterproof compressions sacks
  • waterproof sleeves for laptop, iPad, etc.
  • 1 journal with lines
  • Pens
  • Playing cards
  • 4 packs of my favorite gum
  • a few extra carabiners
  • Moneybelt/Neck case for passport [one of these is enough]
  • Small passport sized Sherpani ‘purse’ for valuables and to keep in safe while wearing money belt
  • Small wallet and change purse to drop in day pack
  • 1 SE Asia guidebook, cut into chapters so we can toss a country after we’ve been there (we are downloading country specific books on our e-readers) [we HATED the Lonely Planet e-book, and ended up buying a new hardcopy guidebook for every country at an English bookstore in Bangkok]
  • 1 small guidebook called “Point It” for traveling when you don’t speak the language

Along the way, I’ve picked up a couple new t-shirts, a long-sleeved shirt I wear a lot at night, some loose capri type pants, a skirt, a dress or two, a sarong, scarves, a few small change purse type bags which have been very useful, and a large purse that I wear everyday. I also bought some fake Birkenstocks, fake Raybans, and had some clothes tailored and mailed home from Hoi An, Vietnam, including a wool winter coat. I’ve picked up a few souvenirs along the way, but we’re trying to hold off and buy things in Bangkok at the end. Other things we’ve needed and bought here include: sunscreen (though it is expensive), zip lock bags, deodorant, hairspray, aloe, gum, and a float for the pools/ocean.

John reminded me that I should mention that we’ve wished we had a flask, and it certainly would’ve come in handy. The local beer is pretty cheap, but if you like cocktails – the liquor drinks are pretty expensive. As it is, we’ve resorted to putting bourbon and vodka (separately) into old water bottles and buying a mixer at the bar. Classy, I know, but pretty much all decorum flies out the door when you travel like we are, so maybe a flask was unnecessary after all. In the end, we’ve had everything we really needed and in some cases, it was really fun to be creative and improvise with what we had. For example, this happens a lot when figuring out how to hang our laundry line to dry clothes/swim suits. John also resorted to using our sewing kit scissors to saw off the bottom of a large water bottle to use as a cup for his vodka tonics because the glasses that sometimes come in the hotel rooms were too small. After all, when it is something you need to live, you’ll figure out how to get by with what you have.

Skipping Town

Skipping town isn’t as easy as it sounds. It took several months of intense planning to prepare for a long trip. Here is a breakdown of our last couple weeks in the US.

November 2: John's last day at work; thankfully, he could do a lot final trip prep and most of the packing for our move.

November 2: John’s last day at work; thankfully, he could do a lot final trip prep and much of the packing for our move.

Lori getting her trip pack ready

Lori getting her trip pack ready

We went to Kentucky for Thanksgiving and were happy to get in some quality time with my family.

We went to Kentucky for Thanksgiving and were happy to get in some quality time with my family.

The last week of November was a nonstop blur of packing, still working everyday for me, say goodbyes, and all the crazy life maintenance stuff that needs to be done when you move out and  go off the grid for a few months (such as forwarding your mail to your mom and things like that).

The last week of November was a nonstop blur of packing, still working everyday for me, saying goodbyes, and all the crazy life maintenance stuff that needs to be done when you move out and go off the grid for a few months (such as forwarding your mail to your mom and things like that).

December 1-2: John's expert packing and organizing skills helped us fit our apartment into a 12x8x8 foot POD (after donating and throwing out A LOT of stuff). Thanks to our many friends who helped with moving, loaning dollies, and plant/TV/printer-sitting! We really appreciate it!

December 1-2: John’s expert packing and organizing skills helped us fit our apartment into a 12x8x8 foot POD (after donating and throwing out A LOT of stuff). Thanks to our many friends who helped with moving, loaning dollies, and plant/TV/printer-sitting! We really appreciate it!

December 3: Lori says goodbye to the apartment, most of her material belongings, and heads into her last day at work

December 3: Lori says goodbye to the apartment, most of her material belongings, and heads into her last day of work

December 3: It was a great last day that included an amazing smorgasboard of all of my favorite sweets and snacks (even derby pies!) at a breakfast going away party; having lunch with two of my favorite people; somehow leaving a lot of stuff to do in the final hectic hours; and running down the hallway to catch the train as my team sang "So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen goodbye" and brought tears to my eyes. In short, I REALLY appreciated this amazing going away gift.

December 3: It was a great last day that included an amazing smorgasboard of all of my favorite sweets and snacks (even derby pies!) at a breakfast going away party and having lunch with two of my favorite people. Somehow I still had a lot of stuff to do in the final hectic hours and the day ended with me having to run down the hallway as my team sang “So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen goodbye,” bringing tears to my eyes. It was a bit intense and emotional, so I REALLY appreciated this amazing going away gift which I enjoyed on the train ride.

John's day was even more frantic than mine. He had to stuff the last few items he could fit into the POD, throw out what wouldn't fit (we'll see if we miss those lamps ...), and grab his trip back pack and both of our packed-to-the-gills suitcases for leaving at his parent's house in NY. As he hauled all of this out the front door to catch a cab, he ran by our apartment building's front desk, tossed the keys to the concierge, and said 'bye, email us if there are any issues.' No time for a walk-through! He met me at Union Station about 10 minutes before our train left.

John’s day was even more frantic than mine. He had to stuff the last few items he could fit into the POD, throw out what wouldn’t fit (we’ll see if we miss those lamps, and let’s don’t even talk about where the cable box may have ended up …), and grab his trip back pack and both of our packed-to-the-gills suitcases for leaving at his parent’s house in NY. As he hauled all of this out the front door to catch a cab, he ran by our apartment building’s front desk, tossed the keys to the concierge, and said ‘bye, email us if there are any issues.’ No time for a walk-through! He met me at Union Station about 10 minutes before our train left.

December 4-5: Staying with John's parents for a few days in Irvington, New York, was a much-needed sojourn before we headed to SE Asia for several months. John's parents even threw us a surprise going away dinner party! The Ryans and some extended family members wished us well on our journey with some amazing Italian food and drinks, generous gifts, and many tear-jerking bon voyage toasts. We felt very loved and had a wonderful night.

December 4-5: Staying with John’s parents for a few days in Irvington, New York, was a much-needed sojourn before we headed to SE Asia for several months. John’s parents even threw us a surprise going away dinner party! The Ryans and some extended family members wished us well on our journey with some amazing Italian food and drinks, generous gifts, and many tear-jerking bon voyage toasts. We felt very loved and had a wonderful night.

December 6: The big day was finally here. It was time to pack the packs one last time and pile on all of the warm clothes we had for bracing the chilly New York morning as we headed to the airport.

December 6: The big day was finally here. It was time to pack the packs one last time and pile on all of the warm clothes we had for bracing the chilly New York morning as we headed to the airport.