I’m not a big fan of packing lists. Or at least of publishing them on the internet. You work so hard on figuring out what you want to bring with you and then everyone comments and tears it apart because- oops, different people need and want different things. What I thought would be more useful would be to tell you, after the fact, what I brought and what worked for me.
You can view my original post on the hell that is packing here.
And here are the contents of my pack (at least the clothing) 6 months later.
What did I end up tossing?
Quite a few things actually.
First to go were my ballet flats, just a month or so in. I almost exclusively wear flip-flops now (incidentally I’m on my fourth pair- two were stolen and one pair broke).
Once I reached Thailand most of my warm weather clothes were just wasting space, so little by little I shed my long-sleeve shirt, my jacket and most of my socks.
I’ve had to replace a few t-shirts that got worn out, and I threw out one unflattering skirt in Thailand after two seperate people asked me if I was expecting.
What Did I Add?
Maybe I am still a shopper at heart. Particularly after my shopping frenzy in hoi an I think I now have more clothing than I left home with. I added two new shirts, a casual dress and a skirt (mostly replacement items).
Pretty early into the trip I aquired a pair of sweatpants (stole them from my boyfriend) for lounging around in hostels, and bought a sarong in Australia that serves an endless variety of purposes from beach dress to towel.
I also bought a cheap blue dress that can be dressed up for going out, and I’m toting around the silk robe I had made in Hoi An because, well I like to feel fancy too.
What am I glad I brought?
My jeans- I know people are always arguing that they aren’t necessary, but they’ve been a real lifesaver, both on chilly days and times when I wanted to look dressed up.
Also my blue scarf has served me incredibly well. It’s an ultimate multi-purpose tool. I use it around my neck when I’m cold, as a blanket on buses, as a pillow, as a shawl to visit temples.
What would I do differently?
I wish I’d brought a second bikini instead of trying to force a style on myself that didn’t fit.
I REALLY wish I’d brought more underwear, as that’s harder to buy in the correct sizes and I HATE running out ever 7 days. One of my bras broke a couple of months ago and now I’m hoarding the other two because my boobs are just TOO LARGE for asian sizes.
Other things for the ladies to stock up on beforehand: tampons, razorblades and moisturizer (unless you want to be a guinea pig for “whitening cream”).
And I just don’t know what I was thinking bringing so many socks!
Of course now I’m headed back to China, where I’m told it’s still very much winter. May have been too soon to toss all of those cold weather clothes. One thing that’s lucky about East Asia- the shopping is cheap.
Maybe that was all a bit TMI, but hopefully there are some pearls of wisdom in there for those of you still packing for your big trips. My advice is to really think about what YOU need and will use, and not what other people think you might need.
What would you have packed differently in retrospect?