Monday, March 3, 2014

Packing 101: Expedition Thailand

Packing is something I have been doing a lot over the past 10 years. Between moving 9 times and all the travel I have been doing, I have built up an arsenal of techniques for efficient packing for both long and short trips. What I have learned, however, is that there is no one right way. Many factors are involved in how and what you should pack.

Today I focus on my trip to Thailand and Hawaii. In order to do this there are some key questions to ask:

Am I going to check a bag? (factor in airline fees, how you will be traveling in country, how much you will have to be carrying your own luggage, liquids)

You can fit a lot in a quart-sized bag.
I usually decide on the type of bag(s) I am going to bring with me and work from there. In this case I have decided to not check a bag because I have so many transfers. If there are any delays in my flight plan I am sure to have all of my luggage with me at all times. So I'll have my large backpack and a small satchel. Making this choice also works with the amount of in country travel I will be doing. All of my liquids will have to fit in a quart sized bag and be under 3 oz. each, no problem.

Will I have an additional carryon?

The backpack will be my carryon and the satchel counts as my personal item. I'm flying United, so I am allowed to have 2 items.

What is the weather going to be like in both locations?

Thailand is going to be hot, highs in the 90's daily, but there are cultural factors to consider in choosing the clothing to take. A light scarf is a necessity. It can be used for so many things including extra cover for entering religious buildings, beach towel, sun protection, tied around a sweatshirt it makes a great pillow for the plane ride, beach cover up, you get the idea. Hawaii will also be beautiful but a little bit cooler, so light layers are in order.

What sort of activities will I be doing while I'm there?

Hiking- appropriate footwear, breathable clothing
Beach- swim suit, cover up, flip flops
City- casual clothing
Long flights and train rides- light sweat pants or leggings, warm socks (for the plane), t-shirts, something with sleeves (it gets cold on those flights).

This is a very laid back trip, and things will be worn more than once, probably more than twice (sorry Zam, but it's true). Once I get to Hawaii I will be able to do my laundry.

Will I have access to laundry facilities? 

The answer for this is most likely yes unless you will be camping in the desert. A sink and some soap do the trick in a pinch.

How much do I really need for the number of days I'll be gone?

The truth is, not much. Check out the photos to see what I am packing.

What is necessary? What can be weeded out?

Necessary: laptop, electricity converter, camera (with USB cord and battery charger), journal, passport, money (credit cards, etc.), comfortable shoes, large scarf, swim suit, any prescription meds., enough clothing to get by, *twin bed sheet, bug spray

Weeded out: Any shoes or clothing that doesn't have a specific purpose, anything that requires accessories. I lay out all of the clothing that I could possibly want to take, and just start weeding out what isn't something I could wear multiple times.

Some other sweet tips:
Space bags- I don't leave home without them. Great for allowing you to pack more in less space, and perfect for dirty laundry on the way home. Get the ones that don't need a vacuum.

Febreeze- A small bottle of this is great for freshening clothes that have been sitting in the backpack for days or just need a little pick me up. Also great for hotel rooms that may have some interesting smells.

Antibacterial Wipes- When a shower isn't an option, these are a lifesaver. They are also great for wiping down questionable surfaces.

Padlock- this one is a no brainer for those who frequent hostels, but I thought I would mention it here. You have to have a way to lock up your stuff especially if you bring a laptop or tablet with you.

*The reason for the bed sheet is because I will not be staying in high end hotels. Let's face it, there could be bedbugs. I'm not taking that chance, so I'm bringing my own. Gross, I know, but I have heard so many stories of ruined trips. I'm just planning ahead.