If you’re planning on traveling for a longer term, you’re probably going to need clothes for any kind of weather. Last year I went to Asia during the winter months in Europe and I thought I’d spend most of my time relaxing on the beach, only wearing my bikinis and dresses… I was wrong. It was autumn in Japan, winter in northern Vietnam and summer in Indonesia. The only season I missed was spring.
I brought my 70 liter backpack plus a small one. I think it weighed 12 kg the most. I didn’t really pack smart during this trip I have to admit, but learning from my mistakes, I can give you some advice on what to pack if you’re going on a longer trip.
Nr. 1 rule though – pack as lightly as possible. I learnt this the hard way when I cursed my backpack for being too heavy and had to run to a bus. My back is still hurting. And the good thing is, when you travel, no one really cares about what you wear. I remember I went to a club in Cusco with black leggings, an alpaca shirt and my Nikes. Let’s just say I’ve had better days, but. No. One. Really. Cares. That is, if you’re not a travel blogger who has to bring 1,500 dresses OR you’re in a big city and want to party in Gangnam for example. Then they’ll definitely care (I got denied in Japan for having ugly shoes, dead).
So, this is what I brought with me in my backpack when I traveled to Asia (+ other things I advice you to bring)
Small first aid kit
To be honest I didn’t bring this with me, haha. But I learnt it the hard way when I tripped and fell in Bali, cut my toe really badly and needed to take care of it. Luckily my friend Tobias had a first aid kit and cleaned my disgusting toe. Whoops, sorry about that.
I always bring aspirin, pills for diarrhea, “resorb” which are effervescent tablets for rehydration (really useful) and strepsils for throat infection. That’s basically it and I’ve had to use them at one point.
Tampons (well, for the girls)
I ran out of tampons in Bali and was going to buy a pack when I realized that 4(!!!) tampons would cost me 10€. Oh heeeeeeeeell no. I thought it was only expensive in Indonesia but turns out – it’s kinda the same everywhere in Asia. Tampons are not a popular choice here and therefore they cost a fortune.
Clothes: Let’s break it down
Underwear: I try to bring a lot so I don’t have to wash my clothes as often, but I’d say I bring about 10-15 pair of undies and 3 bras.
Socks: maybe 5 pairs whereas 2 where thicker socks
Jeans: I only brought 1 pair
Pants: 2 loose pants
Shirts: 5-8 shirts usually (oops). Lots of basic ones though such as black t-shirts
Dresses: about 5 (I bought 3 more while traveling)
Gym Clothes: 1 pair of leggings, 1 sports bra and 2 shirts
Shorts: 3, but only used 2
Jackets: 2, one rain jacket and another leather jacket. The latter I threw away after Hong Kong (it was old). My rain jacket was not really enough for the cold weather up north, so I’d advice you to bring something a bit warmer if you’re planning on going to colder places.
Knitted sweaters: 2. I literally lived in these shirts. When did I wash them you may wonder? Not sure myself…
Gloves: 1 pair – so worth it
Warm hat: 0. Regrets
Bikinis: 3-4 which was more than enough
Tote bag: 1
Shoes: one pair of sport shoes, one pair of flip flops and another pair of sandals. I think my sport shoes were enough for the places I went to, but I have to admit that it was a bit cold at times. But the two pairs of warm socks helped me a lot. Shoes takes a lot of space so I wasn’t going to bring winter shoes with me.
Hygiene products: shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, facial cleanser, toothpaste, deodorant, night and eye cream for my face, toothpaste and brush. I don’t use makeup so didn’t bring any.
That’s about it. Of course as time passed, I brought with me a ton of souvenirs, jewellery and a beach towel. But other than that, this is usually everything I bring. If I forget something, I know that I can buy it wherever I am (even tampons, although they cost a fortune).
To summarize: bring a rain jacket, you’ll need it for sure. Always bring a pair of jeans and pants, no matter where you’re going. Bring some basic t shirts but also long sleeved shirts. These became my most worn clothes. 2 pair of shorts is usually fine if you bring a few dresses with you too. I prefer dresses because it’s such a simple thing to put on. When it comes to shoes, don’t skip the sport shoes. Your feet will thank you. And try to bring only the most important hygiene factors because it weighs a lot. The basic medicine can help a lot if you’re feeling ill and brining a first aid kit will eventually either help you or a friend.
Packing for a long trip is never easy. You have to think far in advance where you’re going and what you’ll be doing. Even if you’re only going to warmer places, it’s always smart to bring at least one pair of long pants and a warmer sweater. Other than that… if you’re missing something, you’ll be able to buy it wherever you go.
Have fun packing!