Preparing for a trip to Asia is exciting. As soon as you have bought that ticket, you know you’re about to embark on an adventure and one of the things you’ll probably be thinking about is what to pack. In this section you’ll find all your essential packing information (including packing list), starting with 5 important factors that will have some impact on how and what you’re going to pack.
1. Do you want a backpack or wheeled luggage?
You need to make think about what type of luggage you’ll be taking with you. For many of us this is a dilemma. Do we pick the seemingly practical wheeled luggage or are we going for the classic backpack that still hasn’t lost its charm? You might want to check the [comparison we made between wheeled luggage and a backpack] in order to make a better informed decision.
2. What size do you need?
This might sound obvious, but the length of your trip will decide how much you need to bring. Traveling to Thailand for three weeks is totally different than traveling around Asia for an entire year. The longer you plan to go for, the more things you’ll want to have (in general). It also depends on your personal preferences and whether you are the type of person who likes a lot of home comforts or who is happy with just the basics. Ask yourself if you are comfortable wearing the same t-shirts multiple times a week or if you’d like to be able to switch it up a bit. If you are setting off on a longer trip, you might find you want to bring along other items such as personal training equipment or things like vitamins.
In general we advise you to bring at least one 50L piece of luggage and a smaller 20L pack for day trips. However, if you’re one of those people that doesn’t need much then you will be able to get by with less than that.
3. What countries are you planning to visit?
Asia is the world’s biggest continent and this means that you may be dealing with a lot of different climates depending on where you are planning to go. You may be lying on the beach in Thailand in March, but at the same time you can also be freezing in the north of India. With certain temperatures and also wet seasons, you need to think about your luggage. If you’ve got a good idea of where you are planning to go, use this to your advantage and pack accordingly. If you’re not sure about the climates around different times of the year, just check out the country on this website. Look under the tab ‘When to go’ and you’ll find all the information you need. If you are not exactly sure of your itinerary then make sure to leave some space left in your luggage in case you need to buy extra country specific things.
4. What will you be doing on your trip?
If you love to hike, bringing a decent pair of walking shoes or boots will be a great idea. If you enjoy doing yoga, you could bring your yoga mat…
When making these decisions, be smart in deciding what to buy or bring and think what you can also get on the road. A good example of this is snorkeling gear. If you’re going on a long trip and you know you’ll be visiting Indonesia mainly for its beautiful underwater world, you may decide to buy snorkeling gear. However, you’ll probably be using that for a few hours in your entire trip while you will have to carry it every single day. In the end, you might be better off renting gear, which is widely available everywhere where diving and snorkeling are popular activities.
5. Protip: Always leave some space
Especially before your first trip, you may feel more secure if you pack absolutely everything you think you will need. This may lead to you feeling calmer, but it also often leads to an overfull backpack. Remember again that you can buy lots of things on the road and that you’re probably going to be buying extra items like souvenirs anyway. Whether you end up buying local handicrafts, tailor made clothes, or bulky carvings and ornaments, you are probably going to need that extra room and you will probably wish you had packed a little lighter.
When it comes to packing for your trip in Asia, less really is better.
Now that we’ve covered some important factors, you’re ready to decide what you’ll need. We’ve split your packing list up into a few sections going from the essentials to more specific stuff you might need as a general guide.
- Backpack or bag and daypack or day bag.
- Passport (and some photocopies of it)
- Visa (if you need one before arrival)
- (International) Driving License
- Debit Card (think about setting it to ‘international’)
- Credit card (think about setting it to ‘international’)
- Health Insurance Card (if applicable)
- Medication (if applicable)
- Toiletries (toothbrush, razor, shampoo, sunscreen, moisturizer, etc.)
- Flip flops
- Decent shoes
- Contact lenses or glasses
- Cap / Hat
- MP3 Player
- Chargers of your devices
- External charger
- External hard disk
Clothing (choose quantity based on the length of your trip)
- Long Sleeve t-shirts (for in the evening against mosquitoes)
- Tank tops
- Long pants
- Flip Flops
- Decent shoes (for hiking)
- Towel (often so-called ‘travel towels’ < normal towels)
- Universal plug / adapter
- Health kit
- Rain cover for your backpack
- Resistance bands (to train with)
- Yoga mat
- Plastic sealable covers to pack certain things together
- Travel Lock
- Traveler’s Knife
- Universal sink stopper
Again, keep in mind that less is absolutely more. Happy travels!