A traveler’s guide to packing lightly

… Of course, what you pack will depend on where you go, for how long, and what your activities will be !

This guide divided in two sections: the planning of your backpack according to your destination and such; and then what an actual ideal backpack should contain. If you have any suggestions please let me know!!

Plan carefully…

… According to the local clothing customs, the temperatures and the climate.

If the country is conservative or very religious, you might want clothes to fit in. Similarly, if there is a lot of sun or mosquitoes or if it is cold at night you might want to bring some long pants and sleeves. I would say that long pants and sleeves are a must have actually… Your best protection against sun and mosquitoes is long sleeves and long pants !!

 Weight:

all in all, your bag should be about 10kg! The lighter, the better !! Especially if you plan on shopping! In that case, my recommendation is that you bring clothes you want to replace. This way shopping will not make your bag any heavier.

If you are a camera and photo addict, I really recommend you go for a light camera model or… just compromise 🙂

Comfort:

By far, this should be your main concern !! If you bring a very pretty but uncomfortable top, chances are, you will wear it… twice… in a year ! Tell you what… imagine you are going in a sauna or a hammam… which of the tops you selected would you actually wear for one hour in there ? Take those. Leave the others.

I prefer, by far, silk-like large clothing items… Tight tops just make me feel uncomfortable in warm and humid weather…

WHAT YOUR BACKPACK/SUITCASE SHOULD CONTAIN

This is a guide destined for adventurers that go to South East Asia and other warmish countries such as North Australia for a few months to year-long travel. The bag should not be more than 10kg in the end.

A. Underwear
  • 7+ undies
  • ♀ I would say 2 or 3 bras, the most comfortable ones you can find. Still, as comfortable as mine are, I have not worn them yet ! If you are comfortable with that freedom, do not forget to choose tops you feel comfortable wearing in those conditions ! 😉
B. TOPS
  • 4 or 5 comfy tops or tee-shirts,
  • 1 jumper
  • 1 very light sweater or scarf to cover your shoulders when needed, from the sun, the mosquitoes, the cold, etc.

(I have actually made myself what I call a “travelling kimono” in a piece of silk I bought from India. It has pretty much saved my life from mosquitoes, burning sun, and all those temples where they ask you to hide your shoulders even in extreme heat and humidity situations ! I really recommend it if you like sawing, it is a really simple design !

Here are the links that offer free patterns and instructions… in French but with plenty of pictures and easy to understand: https://deavita.fr/mode/veste-kimono-femme-idee/ or http://kateya-crea.over-blog.com/2015/09/kimono.html)

C. DOWNS
  • 1 pair of shorts
  • 1 large thin pair of pants, for the sun, mosquitoes, etc.
  • 1 (optional) pair of jeans or legging (for cold nights or cold weather)

Has anyone tried those pants that turn into shorts ??

D. Shoes
  • 4 or 5 pairs of socks (good walking socks that go up the ankle, there is nothing more annoying than socks that fall down in the shoe!!)
  • 1 pair of walking boots
  • 1 pair of flip-flops

I brought a pair of small flats with me (converse) but as soon as I bought my flip-flops I stopped using them…

E. Toiletries

Concerning the liquids, make sure you check out the plane regulations. In cabin luggage you can usually only get 100ml containers but if you are checking in your luggage, you have no such restrictions.

  • bar of soap and a little plastic box to keep it,
  • shampoo: if you are planning short trips, fill in little containers with your shampoo (make sure the containers say “100ml”), if it is a long trip before taking the plane again, just buy a bigger bottle on arrival.
  • little bottle of sunscreen (50+ is best since the only times you actually remember to put it on is when the sun is the worst possible for your skin!)
  • hand sanitiser (quite useful, can be used to disinfect wounds)
  • toothbrush + toothpaste (usually sold in 100ml tube but do check in case)
  • comb or small hairbrush (I actually cut my hair for my trip, couldn’t be asked ;))
  • nail cutter, tweezers (essential for splinters)
  • towels: I would suggest only bringing a really small microfiber towel. But, if you are planning on going to the beach, you have a few two options so your shower towel is not constantly full of sand: #1. only book hotels that offer towels when there is a beach nearby (most will), #2. ♀ bring a sarong that can pass as a beach towel as well as a skirt/dress, #3. bring a small and a bigger towel for the beach.
  • ♀ I wrote an article on the “cup”, women only !
F. Electronics
  • a cheap phone for the local sim if you plan on getting one (if you have a dual sim phone it’s perfect!)
  • chargers for your phones, tablets, etc. I recommend USB chargers, they take less space, all you need is the different coils for your different items and they are easy to replace.
  • a multiple socket. My very own advice to you. Multiple advantages: you only need one adapter for all your electronics and as you often find a single socket for the entire dorm… you will be the hero!
  • adapter: if you have a multiple socket, you only need one
  • I have bought a tablet to write my articles during my travels but as soon as I get the chance, I use a computer… There is just no comparing the two.
G. Others/Misc
  • a hat (I bought myself a conical hat in Vietnam, does the trick perfectly but it is not easy to pack…^^)
  • sunglasses
  • a swimming suit, of course, essential.
  • a book (could be an electronic book or a magazine), this I also recommend since you will be able to exchange it. Take a light and cheap one preferably!
  • first aid kit: this should contain scissors if you can (essential), plasters, paracetamol/doliprane, ♀spasfon, and whatever else you might need.
  • one of my friends gave me a pepper spray… I have never used it but it does make me feel safe so I bring it along in all my travels! Thank you Mallu!
  • sleeping bag: I always take a small silk sheet sleeping bag with me, it has always been very helpful. I also carry a really small sleeping bag, made out of silk again. They are both really light and perfect for travel. I bought mine at Decathlon.

 

Don’t hesitate to comment if I have forgotten anything !!

Thank you all for your support !

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