Packing List for 3 Months in Southeast Asia

We’re heading off to Southeast Asia next week for a 14 week sabbatical, so I thought I’d share our packing list with you.

When I was planning, I found these kind of lists really useful to make sure I hadn’t forgotten anything and build my own plan. I hope you’ll find this one just as useful.

At the top of the page is my packing list, and if you scroll to the bottom you’ll find Becca’s list.

Referring to the photo above, this list goes left to right, top to bottom, but it is sorted by category.

We have also gone back and edited this list after the trip, adding in things we needed, and removing those we didn’t use. All edits made are in green.

Before you start, why not download this as a simple, editable text document so you can use it to build a customer list for your own trip?

Men’s Packing List

Bags & Packing

  • Osprey Farpoint 70 Rucksack (not pictured)
    THE rucksack for backpack travel. A large main bag, with a clip on day sack meaning you don’t always have to take your big bag with you. The top of the bag zips open, suitcase-suitcase style for easy packing. The straps can be packed away so they don’t get caught in luggage carousels, and their are lots of handles that turn it a suitcase when needed.
  • PRO Packing Cubes (not pictured)
    Until I started using packing cubes I wondered what all the fuss was about, now I’ll never look back. They organise your bag so you can quickly find what you need, without unpacking everything. They barely add any weight, but add lots of convenience.
  • Karrimor Drybag 25l (just below sleep-mask)
    Just in case of monsoon style rains, or days at the beach. Also useful to hold washing.

Footwear and Clothing

Accessories

  • Bedtime Bliss Eye Mask
    I always take an eye mask travelling. Sleeping on a plane is hard, and you never know when you’re going to get a room with a streetlight right outside! I’ve tried a number of different types, but like this one because the it’s indented, meaning the mask isn’t sitting right against your eyes.
  • Sawyer SP128 Mini Water Filtration System
    This is really handy, as it screws onto the top of most plastic water bottles. It is very light, and will filter around 10,000 gallos of water. We did not use this at all on the trip. Bottled water was easy to find and we were rarely that far away from the backpacking routes.
  • Rolson Travel Clothes Line
    This has suckers and hooks, so you’ll always find a way to secure it.
  • ECOdept Microfibre Travel Towel
    Super absorbant, but packs down much smaller than a regular towel.
  • Leatherman Wingman & New Wave Nylon Leatherman Pouch
    I like this version of the Leatherman because it has the scissors tool, which is really handy on the move, but not included in all the models. It is also great value.
  • Lonely Planet Guide to Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Northern Thailand
    It do alot of my planning using travel blogs, however I do find it useful to have a guidebook to hand, and the Lonely Planet ones are the best for information in my opinion.
  • Passport !!
  • Uni Ball Jetstream Pens
    I like to write in notebooks, as well as on the laptop. These pens are brilliant, really smooth to write with and cheap to buy. Much better than struggling with a biro.

Electronics & Cases

  • Petzl Tikkina Headlamp
    Small, light and with three brightness settings depending on what you need. Runs on 3 x AAA batteries, so easy to get more on the move.
  • iPhone 7 Plus (not pictured)
    I switched to an iPhone plus this year for the extra battery life and improved camera.
  • Waterproof Sealable iPhone Case with Strap
    Perfect for the Asian rainy season, and also for hiding your phone out of your pockets if needed.
  • Travel Adapter
  • Anker Powercore 20100 High Capacity Power Bank
    Enough juice to recharge a phone seven times from scratch, and two USB sockets.
  • Sony a5100 Mirrorless Camera with a Zenness PU Leather Case
    We debated long and hard about whether to take a camera on our trip or just use our phones. We decided that we wanted the extra photo quality, and we thought having to sort through the photos daily would mean we would keep our photo-taking a bit more in control. Mirrorless cameras are great, a small version of a DSLR meaning you have the benefits of switching lenses at a compact camera size. This camera will grow with us, and adapt to different environments.
  • Amazon Kindle E-Reader
  • Apple MacBook Pro 13″ 2013 Model with a Aqua Quest Monsoon Waterproof/Padded Laptop Case
    As a blogger, I always have my laptop with me. It’s also really useful to backup photos as we go. I needed a case that would protect it from the humid weather, and this one by Aqua Quest was the best I could find. Completely waterproof, but also well padded to save your laptop from the inevitable bumping around it will get on the road.
  • TEP Wireless Device (on top of MacBook)
    Small unit that allows you to create wireless networks wherever you are for up to five devices. You can have a contract, or pay by the day. Can be a better solution that buying a local SIM card, as it works off of the phone networks, so can be activated anywhere there is signal.

Washstuff

  • H&S Hanging Washbag
  • Deodorant (inside washbag)
  • Shampoo (inside washbag)
  • Shaving Gel & Razor plus Spare Blades (inside washbag)
  • Hairbrush (inside washbag)
  • 2 x Inhalers (inside washbag)
  • Chapstick (inside washbag)
  • Toothbrush & Toothpaste (inside washbag)
  • Suncream (inside washbag)

Cables & Electronic Accessories

Southeast Asia Packing List - Cables and Accessories

First Aid Kit

We bought this first aid kit as a base, and then took out of it the non-essential things, and added in our own items. We also removed it from the hard case and put it into a travel washbag that packed down easier and had more compartments..

TABLETS

  • 32 x Nurofen
  • 24 x Imodium
  • 20 x Rennies
    Heartburn and indigestion tablets.
  • 10 x Colf and Flu
    Just in case
  • 10 x Rehydration Sachets
    Most places will sell Gatorade or Lucozade, but these are really handy if you get very ill.

Women’s Packing List

Packing for a 3 month sabbatical in Southeast Asia

I’ve tried not to duplicate any content here, only add in what was unique for my wife’s packing. Alot of the sections above are shared between the two of us I.E. the electronics, first aid kit tablets etc

The below should be used in conjunction with the above list if you are going on a solo tour of Southeast Asia.

Bags & Packing

See above.

Becca used exactly the same bag brand, though their is a women’s specific version caller the Osprey Women’s Fairview. All the other features are the same, it’s just slightly shorter to make it comfortable. She also used the same type of packing cubes and dry bag I did.

Footwear and Clothing

  • Havaianas Flip Flops
  • Sandals
    Similar to flip flops, however these had more support and were prettier so that they could be worn on an evening out.
  • Nike Flex Trainers
  • 3 x Shorts. 1 x Sports Shorts Under Armour Play Up1 x Denim Shorts, 1 x Linen Shorts
    Denim Shorts are seen to be a controversial move – due to their weight and lack of drying ability.  With all of this aside, Becca wanted to take some as they were fashionable (think of the Instagram pics!), more robust and comfortable. Sport shorts are great for travel as they can be used for sleeping in, working out in and dry quickly if wet.
  • 1 x Linen Trousers. 1 x Plain Elephant Pants.
    Trousers are useful for travelling in, and linen ones give you the advantages of being cooler whilst still being smart.  Many temples, expect you to have knees covered so these were ideal for Becca when we were out for long excursions. Elephant pants are a right of passage when traveling Thailand, not only are they breathable but are comfortable for both lounging around in and travelling.  Becca wore these on the plane to Thailand, however many wait to buy a few pairs when they arrive.
  • 2 x Linen Long Sleeve Shirts
    Becca hates having her arms uncovered so these gave her the cover up option that she wanted without them being to heavy, they also were useful when visiting temples, on the beach and adding extra layers on buses and trains.
  • 6 x Strappy Tops
    Various colours and fabrics.  It is so easy to buy new tops in Southeast Asia, that taking fewer tops would have been fine, however Becca wanted to make sure that she had some that she felt comfortable in and that could be dressed up and down depending on the occasion.
  • 3 x T-Shirts
    Quick drying basic t-shirts.  Offers shoulders some protection after a heavy day of sun.
  • 1 x Maxi Dress
  • 1 x Beach Dress
    Becca took a black beach dress that was able to be dressed up with a scarf for evenings, but could also be worn durning the day on the beach. The key to packing is to take clothing that is versatile in its use. This was one of those pieces.
  • 1 x Bikini
    Can also double up as more underwear if needs be.
  • 1 x Swim Suit
    Although bikinis are accepted in Southeast Asia, some areas are still conservative in their views on beach attire. A swim suit was not only a good way to feel comfortable in some of these areas, it was also more suitable for some of the more active activities that we faced.
  • 10 x Underwear
    Pack as little or as much as you want. However Southeast Asia is known for petite women and many of our friends advised us to take enough so that we wouldn’t have the hassle of finding underwear out there. Again Becca took a selection of underwear but all were comfortable, light weight and quick drying.
  • 3 x Bra (1 Sports Bra)
    Key is to take plain comfortable underwear. Becca packed 1 navy bra, one grey and a white sports bra that could go under any of her tops.
  • 5 x Ankle Sports Socks
  • 1 x Thin Cotton Scarf
    Used as a cover up for temples, and on the beach.
  • Mac in a Sack
    Perfect for Southeast Asia where the rain is intermittent at this time of year.
  • Sunglasses

Accessories

See above.

We both had the same brand of microfibre towels, and the rest of the accessories were used between us and did not require more than one (other than the passport obviously!!).

Electronics & Cases

See above.

Becca and I shared the electronics between us. She decided not to bring a Kindle as she prefers reading on her iPhone. We both have exactly the same phone models, and bought identical waterproof cases to protect them.

In addition:

Washstuff

  • Hie Travel Washbag
  • Deodorant (inside washbag)
  • Shampoo (inside washbag)
  • Razor
  • Hairbrush (inside washbag)
  • Chapstick (inside washbag)
  • Toothbrush & Toothpaste (inside washbag)
  • Suncream (inside washbag)
  • Contact Lens Solution
  • Tampons
  • Diva Cup
    Menstrual cups are a great alternative to tampons. It not only saves space but also is good for the environment and can be a great cost saving. They require some practise before travel, but can give you 12 hours of protection without the need to change them. Ideal for when you are nowhere near a toilet. 
  • Obsession Make Up Pallet
    Really useful for travel. Buy the pallet which has 6 or 12 spaces, and they you purchase individual modules to fit into it. For example Becca bought: 2 x eye shadows, a bronzer, a blusher, a highlighter and eyebrow powder. 
  • Travel Mascara and Travel Eyeliner
  • Facial Moisturiser
  • Hair Clips
  • Wet Wipes
  • Micro-Fibre Flannel

Cables & Electronic Accessories

See above.

First Aid Kit

See above.

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