Packing for a trip to the Far East can be challenging. Remember, you are the one carrying everything on your back, so pack light. You would pack a lot more for a two-week holiday to Spain but you need to think ‘lean’, while packing for a backpacking trip to Vietnam. Of course, you will need to pack all the essentials. Figuring out what’s essential is the difficult part. There are a lot of things that you may need, which are easier and cheaper to pick up locally. Having said that, let’s get down to packing.
The backpacks: It’s best to carry two packs, a 1,000 cube for daily use and a larger 4,000 cubic inch model. Invest in good quality sturdy backpacks. You don’t want straps coming loose or the zip puller to come off in your hand. Don’t buy cheap packs.
For your feet: A pair of flip-flops and two pairs of comfortable boots, for the long hikes and walks. Utility is more important than looks. Pack eight pairs of cotton socks. Your feet will constantly be sweating in Vietnam and the cotton socks will keep them dry.
Clothes: A basic list would start with about 8-10 pairs of underwear. Next, pack a pair of trousers with lots of zip pockets. Get ones that can zip out to become a pair of shorts. Include a pair of jeans and two pairs of shorts. Don’t forget your swimming trunks. For the upper body, pick five t-shirts and two long sleeve crews or polo’s. A waterproof jacket is good for the times you will be walking in the rain. A pair of sunglasses completes your ensemble. Any clothing item you need over and above this, is best bought at the destination.
Technology: This includes your laptop, kindle and a camera with lenses. Ideally you don’t want to carry the camera bag as a third piece of luggage but you don’t want to risk damaging your expensive lenses either. So pack carefully. Include chargers and a spare battery for the computer.
Health and safety: Make sure you carry basic medication for common issues like fever and an upset stomach. Stomach bugs are common across Asia. Be sure to include basics like Band-Aids, bandages, cotton and a disinfectant. Walking and hiking is both healthy and a great way to experience the sights and sounds, first hand. Account for small sprains and muscle pulls. Carrying a backpack for 10 hours a day can strain your back. Back support from TommieCopper.com can help ease the discomfort. Check out their complete list of equipment.
Admin stuff: The first thing you need to obtain is travel insurance. Check with your service provider on coverage and a list of hospitals and clinics at your destination. Next, make sure you allow enough time to get the visa. For some countries this can take several days, or even weeks. You may need vaccinations for some destinations so check with your travel agent.
The list above is just to get you started and get you thinking lean. You will still need to cover other areas like toiletries and smaller miscellaneous stuff like a travel pillow, a small waterproof bag and earplugs to block out the jungle din around you. You will definitely need to tune out from time to time. Enjoy your trip.