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Do's and Don'ts of packing for a short backpacking experience in South East Asia

If there is one thing I quite openly admit to hating, that would be packing. Even if it is for the most amazing holiday in the world, I hate it. I would much rather pick up my wardrobe and take it everywhere with me (If only). The reason I probably hate it is because there is too much of a thought process behind it and far too many decisions to make. So when it came to packing a backpack for a five week holiday, I knew some serious thought needed to go into it. This meant the dreaded ‘D’ word, I had to make decisions. So for you decision phobes (like me) out there, if you’re going on a short backpacking experience in South East Asia here are some do’s and don’ts to take on board.

DO – Take a lightweight towel

Major mum points go out to my mum for this one. I would never even have thought about it. So, for you people who live in the clouds like me, lightweight towels are towels that weigh less than normal ones (I know, who knew?). However, not only do they keep your weight down in your backpack (normal towels are heavy you know), they save on space AND they dry quickly. They’re only cheap! So think practical and take my mum’s advice, remember mums know best.

DO – Take a bumbag

You either love them or you hate them, but Bumbags or Fanny Packs whichever you prefer to call them are a safe option when roaming foreign cities. Personally, I think bumbags are ugly, and if you also think this then no-one has to know you’re going to commit such a fashion crime. Get a secret one, one that goes underneath your clothes (bit of Shakira for you there). I got mine from Wilkinson’s for a few pound, so it’s not going to break the bank.

DO – Take enough underwear

So, if you’re planning on going on a short backpacking trip and not doing much washing, then you’re going to need enough underwear to last. DO NOT do my friend and take bare minimum and expect to get them cheaper when you’re away. South East Asia is very cheap, but their underwear isn’t. Oh, and there sizes are pretty darn small, so don’t feel disheartened if you walk out with an XXL or even worse none, as they’re all too small. So if you don’t want to be wearing your underwear inside out, or wearing your bikini bottoms as underwear, pop to Primark or Asda beforehand and they’ll fix you up.

DO – Waterproof your technology

If you want to take lots of photos whilst you’re away, the chances are you’re going to want some waterproof protection for either your camera or phone. Even if you’re not planning on going Scuba Diving or Snorkelling you will still come across some watery times when you’ll think “Damn, wish I could take a photo right now.” If you have a bit more money to play with, I would highly suggest investing in a GoPro or a Waterproof case for your camera. My GoPro was a lifesaver at times and I would definitely recommend buying one. However, even for you on a tight budget, I have an amazing suggestion for you.. A waterproof neck wallet to put your phone in. You can either by them easily over there, or Ebay it before you go. This wallet protects your phone against water, but still allows you take photos through it. I only used it when I knew I could get splashed however, I did see other people using them in the water. For approximately £1.00, this is a must pack!

DO – Get a Credit Card or have a backup card

I didn’t take a credit card with me and there were times I really wished I had. Even if you don’t plan on using it, have it as a backup. Anything can happen, your card could get swallowed, your purse could get pinched or you may even run out of money. What are you going to do then?

DO – Keep clothes to a minimum

Whenever you go on holiday you live in the same bikini’s, shorts and tops, yet you go on several shopping trips for those ‘must have’ holiday clothes. The last thing you want to do is to be lugging a bunch of pretty clothes around that you have no intention of wearing. Another reason is, South East Asia is cheap, you’re going to shop! If your backpacks full, you’re going to be pretty miffed if you have no room to fit all the cheeky bargains you find.

DON’T – Take hair appliances

Get used to being au natural, because your hair appliances don’t need to go anywhere. Yup, your hair dryer, straighteners, curlers and anything else you use can stay put. My hair and humidity do not go, but just embrace it, you’ll bump into other people with similar Hagrid hair do’s and fit right in. Plus its far too hot to even think about adding even more heat to yourself.

DON’T – Over Denim it

Less is best when it comes to what clothes to wear in South East Asia. A friend of mine told me beforehand not to take too many denim skirts or shorts, which I chose to ignore. I learnt the hot way and realised she was in fact correct. You want to take clothes that are thin, from a girl who doesn’t usually sweat buckets, you sweat, a lot. I’m not saying don’t take any, just don’t overdo it. Obviously denim jackets, shirts and jeans are a big no no!

DON’T – Make an expensive backpack

A lot of airports now ask you whether you have phones, camera, jewellery or anything of expense in your backpacks, that rings alarm bells in itself, DO NOT put anything expensive into your backpack. You’re not going to be too impressed if you open your backpack and realise the airport staff have taken a liking to your Cartier Necklace (Not that I could afford that anyway).



Profile photo of Helen Lees

Hi I am Helen :) I'm currently in my final year at university studying Events Management. My passion is travelling and I also love to write, which is the initial reason I started a travel blog. I am studying in Manchester and I have previously lived in London and on a cruise ship. I spent last year (2014) working on a cruise ship, which allowed me to travel to new and amazing places on a daily basis. To say the least, I have definitely caught the travel bug. Hi I am Helen :) My passion is travelling and I also loved to write, which is the initial reason I started my travel blog. I have recently finished working on a cruise ship and I am currently looking for a job with more permanency (but I'll still make time to travel).



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