Photo: All you need is a backpack.

Gear and equipment forum

Packing Tips. Taking It To The Next Level

Posted by traveler124 on 16/4/2012 at 23:42

Posted from within Vietnam.

The general prep and packing sections of the site (not just the forum) provide some excellent advice on what to take and what not to take. Having lived in Asia for some time and getting myself stamped through two passports, here are some additional tips that you may find useful;especially if this will be your first trip to Asia.
Are you sure you want to look like a typical backpacker? There is definitely merit in bringing stuff that is particularly useful when travelling. However, a lot of people tend to come to Asia looking like some 21th century Livingstone. Zip-off pants, moneybelt, hiking shoes, safari hat.. If that is your style, fine of course. Just realize that there is no need to bring that much different clothes or different stuff than you would when you would be going out on a hotsummer day.
Leave your jeans at home. Jeans are heavy, warm and do not dry easily. Any type of cotton or other light pants will be fine. Take 2. Expect to be wearing long pants just as often as short pants, if not more. Especially when on the move or in cities.
The tropics can be cold. ...especially in cinemas, planes or shopping centers; or on a motorbike in the rain; or in the mountain areas of Laos or Thailand. A foldable rain jacket can use as a wind breaker. Unless you expect to be in the mountains in winter for a longer period: if you add two long-sleeved T-shirts to your pack, one regular and one slightly thicker, you should be ok as you can layerit when necessary.
Get slip on shoes.If you happen to get yourself a new pair of casual shoes or sneekers before you head off, consider buying slip on shoes rather than shoes with laces. Asians take off their shoes before entering a house or temple, and you will find that many guesthouses will have similar policies. You too will be taking your shoes on and off more then several times a day, and slip ons are the way to go. They are also convenient when in planes or on airports. Indeed, as the site already recommends: you will be crazy to even consider taking heavy walking boots. Bring one extra pair of flip-flops or some other very light shoes in addition to your regulars and you will be fine.
Consider wheels. Backpacks come in all shapes. Do not buy it too big if you are buying one. Also realise that most of the walking you will do with luggage will actually be on stations and airports (tuk-tuks, taxis or other local transport is cheap and plentiful). Do not really expect to have to do any walking for more than say 200 yards over unpaved ground with your pack. Do not take a hard cover suitcase (duh..), but DO consider to take a backpack or hybrid pack that has wheels on it.
Electronics. Alot of people do not distinguish between places when it comes to their telephones and are always taking their smartphone with them, even on long trips way out into no-mansland. If you do not want to run the risk of losing it do not bring it along of course, but also do not per se think that you will lose it if you do. Internet access (wifi is everywhere, and so are cheap 3G sim cards with internet access) or theaccess to some game during your potentially long travels is a good thing tohave. If you are bringing a different phone (or if you are buying an extra one)consider getting one of those double sim phones (as of $35 in Asia).
Think twice before taking one of those big SLR cameras though. They are heavy and come with a responsibility given their cost. Weighthat against your desire to bring home that one picture you probably could nothave made with another camera. There are some great point and shoots on themarket; when on the road and occupied with all sorts of activities you willfind most of your photo moments at random anyway. Moments when you want to havethat camera ready in a split second. Last but not least, do not forget to takeyour music with you.
Bring USD. Your ATM card may get lost, you may just have run out of money and there is no cash machine around (unlikely), your visa or airport tax can only be paid in USD, or you happen to be in trouble.. US Dollars are your insurance. A number of countries in Asia still use USD as a second currency and you will find the availability of USD convenient at some point.
Asia has everything. You may not find shoes in your size in countries like Cambodia or Laos, but ingeneral expect Asia to have most of the things you would want to by extra or replace.Provided that you have (i) your passport and visa, (ii) your ATM/CC Card and(iii) any prescription drugs you might be using you are essentially able to go.
Good travels.

#1 traveler124 has been a member since 21/11/2011. Posts: 1

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