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Keeping your bags close to you

Posted by wombatfuz on 18/2/2010 at 16:11

I have not seen this question begin addressed to directly so really hope to get some answers.

I plan to travel with only a carry-on backpack for my trip in Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand.

When travelling on bus or boats, am I allowed to keep my backpack with me or do I have to surrender it for storage (on the top of the bus, baggage compartment, backpacks corners on the boats, etc).

I will not leave any valuables in the backpack. They will either be stuff somewhere in my clothes or in a small crossbody bag. My backpack will only contain clothes, etc. But still I would feel better if my backpack can stay with me at all times while travelling.

Appreciate answers/advices.

#1 wombatfuz has been a member since 30/12/2009. Posts: 38

Posted by McPint on 18/2/2010 at 17:50

My advice is for you to pack lightly, for a week, regardless of the time you’ll be travelling for.

You can wash your clothes along the way – it will dry fast. I had soap, a rope and some clothes-pegs with me. Or just go to the laundry (usually cheap)

I was 3 weeks in Laos with a 40 l backpack (and it was not full).
I’ve always stayed with the backpack near me – except in a long boat trip (it went under the deck)

Less is definitively more...

P.S. It’s hot in SE Asia so skip the sleeping bag - go for the much lighter and less bulky sleeping sheet.

PS2 I had also an (empty) small backpack inside the main one. It is handy if you stick to a (secure) base camp for a while and go for a spin nearby (up to a couple of days out).

Have a good trip


#2 McPint has been a member since 9/11/2009. Posts: 6

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Posted by francesstella on 18/2/2010 at 17:53

Hi Wombatfuz!

If you've only got a small backpack you might get away with keeping it near you but most of the time on buses/boats the bags have to be stored properly while you travel. To be fair, if everyone had their backpacks by their side all the time it would get pretty cramped!

I didn't have a single problem in 3 month I was travelling Thailand, Laos, Vietnam & Cambodia. Maybe I was plain lucky, but I actually had people running after me in the street on a couple of occasions to return stuff I'd forgotten! I think that as long as you retrieve your bags as soon as you arrive at destination & use your instinct you'll probably be OK.

Good luck!

#3 francesstella has been a member since 16/2/2009. Location: Italy. Posts: 95
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Posted by somsai on 18/2/2010 at 20:24

You're going to have to give it up. Safer for when you get on and off to eat and whatever anyway.

Bring your old beater backpack, don't wear expensive clothes and flash lots of gadgets. Be aware of your surroundings.

#4 somsai has been a member since 1/3/2006. Location: United States. Posts: 566
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Posted by DLuek on 19/2/2010 at 02:17 TF writer

Yeah some busses will allow you to keep a semi-large backpack with you but not most - busses are generally pretty cramped in Asia. Just make sure to keep your true valuables (passport, money, ATM card, camera, etc.) on you at all times. I always keep a small bag that stays with me no matter what. Yeah it would suck if someone stole the bag with your toothbrush and dirty laundery from the bottom of the bus, but chances are it wouldn't happen and if it did, well then someone gets a toothbrush and some dirty laundery and you go spend $10 on some new clothes, which are dirt cheap over there. Somsai's advice to not be flashy nad to be aware is very good advice.

#5 DLuek has been a member since 19/6/2008. Location: Thailand. Posts: 1,297
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Posted by wombatfuz on 19/2/2010 at 09:27

Thanks everyone for the answers and advices. Now I have a much clearer picture.

#6 wombatfuz has been a member since 30/12/2009. Posts: 38

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