Pack light. Stay organized. Don’t bring stuff you don’t need… Your journey will be so much lovelier because of it.
How to approach it…
From my experience, there are 2 ways you could approach packing for a long uncharted adventure.
- You could ask yourself unanswerable and overstimulating questions like “how many days? what kind of weather? formal? casual? what if I need meds?” – so much to consider! Yes, this is a logical approach, but it’s far too easy to overpack this way. or…
- You could bring the absolute, bare essentials and pick up what you need along the way. No use lugging a bulky coat for months through the tropics, if you only plan to be in cold regions for the last 2 weeks. Why carry a medicine cabinet with you when there’s a pharmacy in every neighborhood? Deal with it then. Everything you need is a memorable (and quite reasonable) shopping experience away.
Material is key!
Southeast Asia is hot.
I’m from Florida, I know hot.
But Southeast Asia is next level hot.
The tank tops and shorts I packed for the tropics were useless because they were heavy cotton, body fitting, suffocating and most importantly, took too long to dry! It’s humid in the tropics, so thick cotton gets a moldy smell if it sits too long. We lost our first batch of clothes that way. Lesson learned.
The key to packing super light is wearing materials that you can hand wash and dry overnight, or in some cases, 10 minutes in the jungle sun. They sell individual packets of liquid laundry soap at the little stores, so it’s pretty easy to keep up with. Street vendors are happy to help you choose from a wide selection of lightweight shirts, pants, etc. Bamboo silk is one of my favorites.
Designate a “sub” space
I’m a huge fan of “sub” bags – bags within bags. I have a small brown canvas tote I bought in South Korea a dozen or so years ago and it’s become my closet, containing the bulk of my clothes. This way, you don’t have to entirely unpack to pull out your entire wardrobe and the rest of your backpack stays in place.
My favorite space saving, organizing, all around everything travel necessity… ziplock bags. I usually have a dozen or so of these, in various sizes, keeping my clothes contained – tank tops in one, slinky black pants in another, every item rolled like a burrito and kept vertically in my canvas bag. It not only keeps everything easy to see at a glance, but the plastic bags make it easier to slide things in small places.
Keep it light
Sometimes, the easiest, fastest, cheapest and most fun ride from the train station to the hotel is on the back of an easy rider. It’s much easier hopping on impromptu opportunities with one small backpack, vs multiple packs and suitcases. Not to mention, most hotels don’t have elevators, so… you brought it? you carry it.
Daisey is a UX designer for Art+Logic by day, soul/funk singer by night, full of love and always smiling.