Backpacking SE Asia Packing Tips

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Backpacking any country is a scary adventure. Traveling in general, depending how you go about it, can be scary too. Nonetheless, traveling is ALWAYS worth it!

While packing for a backpacking trip can be an adventure within itself. I’ve backpacked through Europe and South America, but on my most recent trip to South East Asia (SE Asia) I was a bit nervous about preparing for what I needed to bring and what to wear.

So I am happy to share some tips and tricks that I’ve learned AFTER the fact. Basically I’ve made all the mistakes for you! Backpacking SE Asia should be the easiest trip anyone should ever have to pack for.

If you’re from America, Europe, or Australia than the exchange rate is extremely nice. With that said, you’ll need to always remember a few things while packing for ANY trip but especially for SE Asia. YOU CAN ALWAYS BUY IT FOR MUCH CHEAPER!

But seriously, packing for SE Asia verse backpacking through SE Asia was definitely the easiest part of the trip. (Don’t worry I will save the worrisome stuff for another article!)

Here are 12 tips and tricks for packing for SE Asia, but before I share that, here are a few given tips that anyone traveling SE Asia should remember.

Tips for Packing

1. You can always purchase anything you need.

2. Pack your least ‘nicest’ outfits. Unless you’re staying in a 5 star hotel and will have a professional dry cleaning service at your fingertips. The nicest outfits are not necessary.

What to Pack

3. 4-5 Shirts/Tank Tops: Black, White and Brown (basic colors). It’s usually hot in most of SE Asia. Feel free to add some color into your wardrobe, but don’t go too crazy.

4. 1 Sweater: Chances are you won’t use this at all. Unless you’re sunburned or when you’re on a flight and it’s cold. Good to always have some just in case. Just a light sweater is fine.

5. 2 Shorts: You do NOT NEED PANTS. Unless you’re traveling for work, most of the time you really only wear shorts. It’s too hot for pants. If anyone ever needed pants, purchasing genie pants in SE Asia is an easy find. Also the most stylish things to wear! Note to self: When you’re visiting temples in SE Asia, you MUST cover your shoulders and wear pants (goes for both male and female). There are usually people standing outside temples trying to sell pants or shirts for twice as much as you would have originally paid.

6. 2-3 Swim Suits: If you’re headed to the Islands of Thailand or Bali, pack it all ladies! You’re going to want most of them! Boys – one or two is just fine.

Items to Bring

There are a lot of worry factors one needs to consider while traveling SE Asia. A few big factors is not getting bitten by mosquitoes and eating bad food.

It’s essential to pack:

7. Mosquito Repellent

8. Heart Burn or Stomach Medication

9. Malaria Pills

10. Thermometer

11. Sunscreen

12. I recommend asking your Doctor for a Tri-Pack for any stomach issues.

Why mosquito repellent?

Well, I don’t mean to scare you or add to the stress of traveling to SE Asia, but certain parts of SE Asia are ‘red zoned’ for Malaria. Malaria can only be contracted through mosquito bites. Hence the mosquito repellent! Now let me make it clear that you’re probably a lot likelier to catch a bad stomach virus from eating bad or uncooked foods, rather then Malaria. As long as you’re not running through the amazons of SE Asia, you should be fine.

Pack Mosquito Repellent Backpacking SE Asia
Photo Credit: © iStock/Electra-K-Vasileiadou

If you’ve read this you’re probably like: “crap, I am not going to SE Asia!” but really it isn’t that bad at all! It will absolutely be a culture shock if you aren’t prepared, but more than anything an amazing experience you will never forget.

Main Image Photo Credit: © iStock/chesterf

About the Author: Jen Morilla AKA The Social Girl Traveler is a 26-year-old Jersey girl. She is a travel junkie, pizza loving, and whiskey drinker, adventure freak! Jen quit her New York City corporate life and salary for a budget and a backpack in February of 2015. She believes in traveling with a purpose. Jen is fluent in 3 languages and has lived/studied/worked in 3 countries, traveled to 29 countries throughout 6 continents! Join her as she continues to travel the world and share her beautiful struggle, she calls: her life!