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Traveling necessities for Southeast Asia

Updated: May 16, 2019

We all know packing can be a struggle. And some of us (cough, cough Madison) wait till last minute. Packing for 5 weeks in southeast Asia can be overwhelming so here’s our list of must brings so you don’t forget essentials.

Appropriate clothing

We understand that with high temperatures the last thing you wanna be packing is long pants and t-shirts. Southeast Asia has pretty modest cultures, depending on the country. Certain places, like temples require that your knees and shoulders are covered. We recommend bringing T-shirts, long pants (easy to buy once you are in Southeast Asia & they are so cheap), and long skirts. Also, a rain jacket is a must as well. We recommend a jacket that folds up very small. Make sure you roll your clothes, whether you’re taking a backpack or a luggage. It saves a lot of room.

Packing cubes

The ultimate space saver. Roll your clothes into them and it’s an easy way to stay organized.

Microfiber towel

Not every hostel will give you a towel and if they do, it will be a small one. A microfiber towel dries fast so you don’t have to worry about carrying around a soggy towel. It also is really effective when drying your body and hair. We were pleasantly surprised! Also, the towel is perfect to pack since it rolls up very small (unlike regular towels).

Day bag

Having a bag that fits all your needs for the day is convenient. When you are exploring, you don't want to have to leave things at your hostel because they didn't fit. I bought my bag from Taaluma,a company that makes bags of traditional fabrics from around the globe. My bag specifically was made of fabric from Thailand.

Reusable Water Bottle with a Hook

It’s a lot more convenient to have a water bottle with you to fill up whenever you can. A hook is always convenient when you rather be carrying a camera than you water bottle.

Ziplock bags

These come in so handy. Save the rest of your items in your luggage from unexpected spills. We went through a whole box.

Bug Spray

Bring bug spray to prevent mosquito bites because they suck! Certain activities require bug spray with Deet for proper protection.

Tiger balm/cortisone

Mosquito bites are inevitable! Anti-itch ointments will save you from scratching them like crazy.


Sunblock abroad can get pretty expensive and some even have bleach in it, so for peace of mind bring it with you from home. You will definitely need it to protect your skin. Don't forget about your lips too! Get chapstick with SPF for full protection from the sun.

First aid kit

Accidents happen, so be prepared. Always have some sort of first aid kit whether its big or small.


Protect your head from the sun and the heat. We brought baseball caps with us and bought sun hats (only $3) for the Thai islands.


Sea sickness is a real bitch. If you plan on taking ferries or boats in Southern Thailand, don’t forget the dramamine (make sure it’s the non/less drowsy version).

Necessary Medications

Pack any medications you need on a daily basis (birth control, etc.). Pack the basics such as, Advil, Tylenol. Don't forget medications for upset stomachs since you'll be eating different types of food. Pepto, Tums, and prescribed medications from the travel doctor are important to pack. I rather be prepared than not.

Travel insurance

Like I said before, accidents happen whether small or large. Be prepared and get yourself travel insurance. Many companies will even help in case of a natural disaster. Some help with last minute flights due to medical reasons. Research the travel insurance that best fits you and your trip. Every insurance policy is extremely different on coverage and pricing.


We ended up buying an an adapter, as well as an extension cord that had about 6 outlets. Make sure you buy an adapter that is also a surge protector. You don't want to fry your electronics while away.


It's very important to be up to date with routine vaccines. However, when you're traveling to a foreign country there may be ones that you do not have and are necessary for those areas of that country. Certain regions may have cases of yellow fever, malaria or typhoid. See a travel doctor for more information and let them know the specific regions to know what you may be at risk of contracting.


For my fellow women travelers out there, bring tampons/pads with you. They are impossible to find and it’s better to be bring them then spend a whole day looking for.

Wet Wipes

There are bathrooms that lack adequate toilet paper, so bring wet wipes. Honestly, bringing toilet paper from you hostel helps too.


We brought all our toiletries (shampoo, conditioner, soap, lotion, deodorant) with us. We are a bit picky about what we use. If you have sensitivities, it is highly suggested to bring items your body is used to using. I’m sure you can find them in major cities but not sure about brands.

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We are Madison and Sam, lifelong best friends and travel partners. In 2018 we decided to skip the typical 9-5 and follow our dreams to travel. Since then we’ve visited more than 20 countries together Our mission is to share our experiences and knowledge of traveling while also exploring all the beauties of our planet. 

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