Part 1: General Advice
The whole idea of backpacking is taking as little with you as possible, so you can hop from place to place without lugging a heavy suitcase or tons of extra bags. Really, backpacking makes travelling a heck of a lot easier. So why is it so hard?
You’re standing in your bedroom, attempting to plan what you are not going to get sick of wearing for one month, six months or even one year, or deciding if you can really go without that electric toothbrush (complete with charger). Suddenly a big old suitcase doesn’t seem that bad and you wonder why anyone would choose to wear only the same five shirts over and over again.
Trust us, you can do this. You are going to OWN that backpack. Over a series of posts, we’ll give you the best packing advice we have as well as a complete packing list that you can use!
So first thing is first, bring LESS than you think you need. This is probably what your mom, dad, friends, aunts, uncles, cousins and Great Aunt Lucy have told you, but it is true. Devon’s dad always says: “Pack what you think you need, then walk around the block with it, then re-pack.” Think of yourself carrying your huge pack through the humid streets of Bangkok or across the island looking for a hostel on Gili Air Island in Indonesia. Whatever you pack, you WILL be carrying, remember that.
Secondly, you are probably going to want to buy clothing there. It’s light (which is amazing in the hot weather), so cheap, and a great souvenir that you can use on the rest of your trip. We regret not preparing for how much we wanted to buy there. Realistically, a lot of the things you’ll need, you can buy for way cheaper there (ie. Sunglasses, beach sarongs, flip flops, pants for temples, tank tops, sundresses and rompers for ladies). So take it from us, leave yourself some room!
For the love of god do not bring anything heavy. You are going to South East Asia; it’s hot all year round. Jeans? Don’t even think about it. That comfy fleece sweater your mom got you? NO. Those skin tight super cute shorts? You’ll never wear ‘em. Think light, breathable and airy.
Do not bring ANYTHING you really care about. There’s a good chance it will get stretched, dirtied or ruined. Bring white clothing at your own risk. Devon brought a white tank top and let’s just say it will be a lovely shade of brown for the rest of its existence. This also means, NO jewelry. Anything special or expensive, just leave it at home. It’s not worth the risk and could actually make you a target for pickpockets.
Finally, if you love organizing (the way Devon does), then packing cubes/bags will be your best friend. Organizing your clothing into smaller, light weight bags helps you keep track of your stuff, and lets you grab something quickly from your pack without having to dig into the abyss for five minutes.