“Pack light—Hmm, mmm. Bag lady, you goin’ miss your bus. You can’t hurry up, cause you got too much stuff.”
When you’re country, island, and city hopping—carrying too much baggage will slow you down. Not only that, it’s unnecessary to over-pack.
I know you probably want options for the just in case, but it’s also ok to have exactly what you need.
Packing lighter has changed my viewpoint on how I travel. I can move more freely, ride on motorbikes, run through airports when I need to. All that. Lol
So if you’re wanting to pack lighter, I’ll show you exactly how it’s done.
What clothes should you pack?
Well, this depends on your destination.
Some places like India—even though hot—you’ll want to wear clothes to cover your shoulders and knees for women. Places like the Philippines, you can wear whatever you’d like.
So it’s important to make adjustments based on the weather and cultural norms.
This sample list is for temperate climates (warm summers and cold winters) when you’re going during summer.
With this list you’ll be mixing and matching outfits, so that you can spruce things up a bit—if you’d like.
- Pair of jeans
- Short x 2
- (Little black) Dress
- Denim shirt
- Cute shirt
- 2 t-shirts
- Sandals/flip flops
- 3 Bras
- 4-7 panties
- 4 pairs of socks
You’ll want to wear your heavy clothing items on the airplane since it saves space, and it’s colder in the airport.
- Light jacket
- Gym shoes
Basically, you’ll want enough undies to last you for the duration or at least a week. Then throw in an extra few, just in case.
Although your trip length will differ, I recommend only bring 2-3 pairs of shoes max (excluding the ones you’re wearing)
If you’re looking to travel to places with tropical climates and modest cultures—check out my ultimate packing list for Thailand. (This can be used for other SE Asian countries)
What toiletries should you bring?
All your everyday items, but it doesn’t mean bring the whole container. You can easily buy travel size bottles.
Certain staples you can wait to get until you’re in another country/place, like a razor. Everything else may differ depending on the country you go to. In Thailand it’s rare to find deodorant sticks and tampons with applicators.
Be mindful of the things you absolutely need to bring.
Here’s a sample of what I bring:
- Hair oil/moisturizer
- Chapstick x2
- Sunscreen (some places put whitening agents in their sunscreen)
- Shea butter or lotion
- Baby wipes
- Feminine hygiene products
For the Journey There
Chances are, you won’t just pack one backpack. You’ll have one on your back and you might wear a fanny pack, sling bag, or smaller bag to accompany that. Because you might check your backpack, or put it above the overhead.
You’ll want something you can keep closer to you at all times.
In this bag, you’ll want to have all your essentials you might need for the trip. Here’s what I keep in my small bag (some of these can go in the bigger bag, up to you)
- Travel pillow
- Water bottle
- medicine for stomach, headaches, pain relief, and emergenC
- Travel adapter
- camera + accessories
- hand sanitizer
- charging pack
How do you organize everything?
The way you organize everything is how you maximize space.
One time I packed everything in a suitcase, then packed it in my 40L backpack, and it fit perfectly in both. The difference is, I can move more swiftly with my backpack.
Packing cubes have been a tremendous life saver. You could pack about 10 different outfit combinations by using these cubes.
Everything has a container, a bag, or a box it belongs to, which not only helps you organize everything, but creates more space.
What type of backpack should you use?
My favorite brands would have to be Eddie Bauer or Osprey. Either would be an excellent choice. With Eddie Bauer, you have a lifetime warranty on their products.
So if you have a problem with one of their products, you can exchange it for a newer one.
For trips less than 2 weeks, I recommend a 30L backpack. It’s more than enough space to pack your outfits, toiletries, jewelry, and anything else you’d need.
If you’re planning a trip for longer—40L and up.
For my 6 week backpacking trip around SE Asia, I took this 40L bag and had more than enough clothes to last me.
How do you pack everything in your bag?
And how the heck do you pack all this into a backpack that’s supposed to last you your entire trip?
Seems like everything’s adding up, and you’re probably thinking you can’t make it work. Or that you need more storage because you need extra outfits, toiletries, whatever.
I was the same way; I promise.
Creating/having a packing list helps you cut out the unnecessary stuff, which means more room for souvenirs or shopping once there. I’m telling you, sticking to your list helps.
I created a tutorial below to show you all exactly how it’s done.
Now you’ll be able to do the same. Once you order your packing organizers, you can practice and get it down.
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