Packing the Backpack 104 – Very Important Extras

Part 4: Very Important Extras

Though clothing packing is arguably the hardest, your toiletries and extras are probably more necessary and the most important. It is easy to buy any clothing you lose while you’re travelling, but some of your extras such as trip towels, a good water bottle and medication are going to be hard to find, and expensive to replace. Here is your extras packing list and a few things we were happy to have thought of!


  • Toothpaste – Just bring a medium to big one per person. Pack a small one or two for overnight trips (eg. Ha Long Bay or Gibbon Experience)
  • Floss – Take care of your teeth, just do it
  • Sunscreen – Bring more than you think you need! It’s incredibly expensive over there
  • Bug Spray – Also subject to “tourist tax”. Bring a lot with high deet levels, it’s the best protection from Dengue Fever and Malaria.
  • Make Up – Ladies, Devon brought make up and only used it once, so totally your preference!
  • Tampons – Again for ladies, they are expensive and hard to come by in Asia. Devon brought OB tampons; they are the same size just without applicators so they take up way less space.
  • Mini Hair Brush
  • Hair Elastics
  • Kleenexes and/or packable toilet paper –Lots of toilets there will NOT have TP, so be kind to yourself and bring some.
  • Wet Wipes – Devon is a neat freak, so she brought along disinfectant wet wipes to wipe down any sketchy looking surfaces in our hostels. Super handy!

First Aid

Devon was a little over-prepared with first aid. She put together a small kit to bring. It’s advisable to bring a few things, but probably not as much as Devon brought…Here is everything we brought and an explanation of what you ACTUALLY need!

  • Ibuphrofen
  • Melatonin – Sleeping pills for planes, night buses and jet lag
  • Imodium – For traveller’s diarrhea (we used exactly one pill of the pack)
  • Metamucil (tablets or powder) – This is for constipation and we used it way more than the Imodium
  • Gravol – Nice to have, depends how much you get car/sea sick though
  • Band-Aids (and a few antiseptic wipes) – So handy for blisters!
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Polysporin – Never used it, but good to have just in case.Backpack4
  • Tums – For upset stomachs, NOT needed
  • Tylenol Cold and Flu – NOT needed
  • Allergy pills – NOT needed
  • Don’t forget to fill out any of your personal prescriptions and take them with you! You will not be able to fill them in Asia!
  • We did not bring our malaria medication with us and instead got it from a travel clinic in Bangkok. You can read more about that in our vaccinations post!


  • Nalgene 1 Litre Water Bottles with Carabiners– Both of us brought these and they were incredibly handy whenever we got the chance to fill up for free!
  • Garbage bags and Ziploc Bags – You never know when you’ll need them but trust us, you will. They are great for when you have to pack wet stuff so you can keep things separated.
  • Extra copies of your passport, debit and credit cards – Important to have in case anything else gets stolen, but be sure to keep the copies safe as well
  • A Plastic Bag for your travel documents – Devon used a clear plastic zip up case to keep our passports, plane tickets, extra copies and anything else super important all in one place
  • Headlamp – We never used ours, but if you are really into caving, you might consider it.
  • Smart Phone – We both had iPhones and they were obviously very helpful. Suspend your plan beforehand though and just use wifi, you’ll save a good chunk of change.
  • Phone charger and Outlet Adapters – Invest in a universal adapter. You won’t need it everywhere, but they’ll be charging way too much for cheap versions in the places you will need it. You definitely need it in Australia and we used it in Indonesia as well.
  • Dry Sack – A 5 or 10 litre dry sack from MEC for when you want to do water activities but want to keep your valuables close.
  • Waterproof Phone Bag – Same idea, smaller scale; a phone sized waterproof bag with a string so you can wear it around your neck when swimming. Keeps phone and money dry on those beach days!
  • Life Proof Phone Case – Devon invested in a Life Proof iPhone Case to keep her phone extra protected. Super solid investment as it is actually submersible (just test it first!).
  • Waterproof Watch – You don’t want to be pulling out your phone all the time and it was so helpful to have!
  • Bike Lock, Bag Locks and Combo Locks – We brought one bike lock and two of both the bag lock and combo locks. This may sound paranoid to some, but when we had to store our stuff for the day in the lobby of a hostel or an unlocked baggage room, it gave us peace of mind knowing our stuff was less likely to get stolen.
  • Trip Towel – We both brought one and these were very useful to have, especially in Australia and New Zealand where it is less likely that towels will be provided in the hostels.
  • Sleep sheet and pillow case – If you’re not used to sleeping in low level accommodation and are a little bit of a clean freak, having your own pillow case and sleep sheet is nice. Devon used hers sporadically for the first couple weeks then didn’t use it much after that.
  • Travel Journal and Pens – Totally up to you, but we loved having ours to record our days and memories. Devon (being the keener she is) brought a glue stick to glue in some tickets as souvenirs.
  • Student Card – Surprisingly, student discounts popped up here and there and it was really nice to make use of those with our cards.
  • American Cash – You will need American money for your VISAs if you are travelling to Laos, Vietnam or Cambodia. It is also the currency used in Cambodia (you can withdraw in US Cash there too). We would estimate bringing anywhere from $100 – $300, but more wouldn’t hurt.
  • Waterproof Camera – We didn’t bring one, but we wish we had. You’re bound to end up doing some diving or snorkelling and you’ll want some pics to take back home.
  • Travel Book – You might not be able to access our helpful blog when you don’t have wifi, and having a travel book came in handy a lot. We used South East Asia on a Shoestring by Lonely Planet.

Things to Leave at Home

  • Laptop – As long as you have a smart phone, you won’t need it. You’ll be spending too much time adventuring! Lugging it around just adds weight to your bag, and you’ll be a target for theft. If you need to record anything use your phone or go the old fashioned way with a journal.
  • Laundry Detergent – It’s already super cheap to have a local do your laundry, you won’t be saving much by doing it yourself. Plus you’re supporting their business!
  • Passport Photos – You need these for boarder crossings. However, it is not necessary to get them done before hand. As long as you are in a bigger city before you do any boarder crossings, you can find places in SEA that will do your photos there for much cheaper!

That’s all for now. If you have any questions or think we forgot something, we would love to hear from you!

Related Posts:


Leave a Reply