Packing Tips: Things I Actually Used

I’ve noticed recently that my Packing List post is one of the most popular posts on my blog. When I wrote it 1 day before my trip to Southeast Asia began, I had no idea what a backpacker took with them on such an adventure. I searched in vain to find a comprehensive list, and felt even more confused after doing so. Most of the ones I found were for men, with the occasional mention of “feminine products” thrown in to make it gender neutral. Needless to say, they weren’t very helpful, so I decided to write my own. Now that my trip is over and done with, I’m writing another one to dissect what I took with me to give you a list of what I actually ended up using.


Clothing I took: 1 fleece, 3 t-shirts, 1 long sleeve shirt & 1 long sleeve cardigan, 3 pairs of shorts, 1 pair of jeans, 1 long skirt, 5 tank tops, 2 pairs of sandals and 1 pair of canvas shoes. I also packed the necessary underwear, swimwear, and socks

Clothing I Wore: my fleece, 3 t-shirts, cardigan, 2 pairs of shorts, my long skirt, all 5 tank tops, both pairs of sandals and my pair of canvas shoes, and obviously my underwear, swimwear, and socks

Clothing I added: 1 pair of silk shorts, 6 tank tops, 3 pairs of light travel pants, 2 dresses,1 pair of tennis shoes, and new sandals

** Unless you’re headed somewhere long-term and need lots of clothing, I suggest packing basics and acquiring items you like along the way. I had a few things stolen early on, but ultimately I either got rid of unused clothing at hostels or shipped items home to save space and make room for things I picked up and/or actually wore. **


Toiletries I took: toothpaste, toothbrush, shampoo, conditioner, face wash, soap, deodorant, mascara, eye shadow, lip balm, lip gloss, razors, fingernail clippers, a small mirror, mouth wash, dental floss, q-tips, tampons, large bottles of lotion, sun screen, bug repellent with 40% Deet, cleansing wipes, 2 small bottles of hand sanitizer, aloe vera, after sun lotion, a bottle of dry shampoo, and a container of hair gel


Toiletries I Used: toothpaste, toothbrush, shampoo, soap, deodorant, lip balm, razors, fingernail clippers, q-tips, tampons, sun screen, bug repellent, hand sanitizer and aloe vera

Toiletries I Added: toothpaste, shampoo, soap, deodorant, sun screen, toilet paper, aloe vera and bug repellent when needed


** First and foremost, steal toilet paper wherever you can and carry it with you at all times. For girls I suggest over-packing on items like Tampons and deodorant because you might not be able to find suitable substitutes in some countries. Also, the bug repellent I ended up purchasing along the way worked better than the 40% Deet stuff my Travel doc recommended. **

First Aid Kit

Items I took: cortisone cream, Aleve (regular and pm), Pepto, Zantac 75 and Imodium, my malaria medication & azithromycin from the travel clinic, band aids, alcohol wipes, antiseptic cream, motion sickness medicine, cold/flu medicine, a thermometer, and vitamins


Items I Used: cortisone cream, regular Aleve, Imodium, band aids, alcohol wipes, antiseptic cream, motion sickness medicine and all of the cold/flu medicine I had

Items I Added: Tiger balm, better motion sickness medicine and headache medicine


** I’d make sure you have the basics like band-aids, alcohol wipes, Imodium, and maybe even a little extra cold medicine if you’re prone to sickness. Otherwise, I had no problem finding a pharmacy and getting what I needed (I can’t guarantee this is the case in all countries). I also advise you to grab some Tiger balm in Thailand because it really does come in handy. I decided not to take the malaria medication I had with me, but I wouldn’t let that determine what you do. **


Items I Took: guide-book, phrase book, sunglasses, travel scissors & a knife, an alarm clock, a small flashlight, 2 journals, a travel sheet, an umbrella, travel towel, laundry bag, small tote bag, adapters, a military grade can opener, a small calculator, ear plugs and eye mask, 3 carabiners, and 2 locks


Items I Used: guide-book, phrase book, travel scissors & knife, alarm clock, small flashlight, journals, travel sheet, travel towel, laundry bag, adapters, my small calculator, all 3 carabiners, and 1 lock

Items I Added: 5 pairs of sunglasses, a stolen towel, and 3 books


Items I Lost & Dearly Missed: travel towel, small calculator, and all 3 carabiners

** Everything I used, I used often and rarely found that I had a dire need for anything outside of what I had with me. The only thing I would suggest altering is maybe bringing a Swiss army knife for all its extra attachments instead of a regular knife. I highly suggest bringing a travel towel with you. I was lost without mine after it was stolen, and found it hard to find a good replacement. **

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