Backpacker romances are common, but on my 2009 trip, which took me through Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia, my only long-term companion was a small Osprey day pack.
The feeling of freedom that comes with having everything you need packaged into one small container can’t be overstated. Your travel plans will play a big role in what you’ll be bringing, of course. Meeting a lover for a romantic trip around Europe will require different elements than an Australian climbing trip. Either way, lightening your load as much as possible will help you be comfortable.
Flying from Los Angeles to Thailand: Things I Brought
What you need for travel can be divided into two categories: official and crucial.
The official stuff is pretty obvious. Passport, cash, credit or debit card, any important paper work or visas.
Then there’s the crucial stuff. The stuff you need most. For me, these things included:
Basic Hygiene Products
Dental care, maybe a rinse cup, since you can pack smaller things like earplugs (also a good thing to have) or pill bottles inside of it. A good bar of soap (I prefer Dr. Bronner’s) that you can use for a variety of things, like washing your clothes in the sink.
Leave room to buy new products when you get there! I had a lot of fun experimenting with products in southeast Asia, but if you’re picky about your facial cream, your tampon brand, or the type of condom you like, you will want to bring your favorites from home.
A Few Changes of Clothing
I brought about six pairs of underwear and three pairs of socks, and I rolled them down really tight. You don’t need a lot of socks in Asia; flip flops were best for most occasions. My t-shirts were small and flimsy, so they could be rolled down super small as well. I had two skirts and a pair of shorts, and thank God I didn’t forget a sweater. Southeast Asia is warm, but it can be chilly at times. Middle-of-the-night train rides, for example.
A Combination Lock
This one is really important! I’m glad I had my lock. There were many times when it protected me or gave me peace of mind. A tool with many uses–you will see!
A Journal and Pen
I had two journals, one that I brought from home, and one that I got in Laos. With my journal, I also brought a few pages from the guidebook I thought might be helpful.
Things I Didn’t Bring that You Might Want
I didn’t bring:
- Protective stuff (pepper spray, etc)
- The guidebook, at least in its entirety
- Pillows/sleeping bag
- Extra clothes
- A rain jacket
- Medication or supplements
- Other things I didn’t think of (tell me in the comments, please. I will edit them in!)
What Happened and What I Think Now
If I had it to do again, I would bring a camera, and although I did okay that time, I would never travel without my computer these days.
I’m glad I went without more clothes or makeup. The sea water and sunshine were good to me. Life was simple. During the romantic moments and so many others, I felt beautiful.
Thanks for reading! These blogs are a work in progress, so I will update if I can think of anything to add. If you like this blog or found it helpful, please let me know by commenting or following. I follow back authors on Twitter! 🙂 @ms_andiloveall
I cheated and bought a second bag in Vientiane, Laos, about halfway through my trip. It’s purple with beautiful embroidery, and I still use to this day. I guess the moral of the story is that sometimes it’s good to let baggage go, and sometimes, it’s worth taking on.