Packing Light to Shop Hard

Here is my promised packing post. I’ve spent weeks, maybe months, reviewing travel blogs, packing guides, and discussing with anyone who will talk to me about what to bring! The best and most common advice I’ve been getting is to PACK LIGHT. And, let’s be real, I’m going to shop when I’m there. I’ll be renting scuba gear from the dive shop where I’m getting Open Water certified in Koh Tao, Thailand. I was also fortunate enough to borrow my backpack (and daypack) from a yogi friend. I tried on several bags with weights to make sure the hip belts, chest strap, and shoulder straps hit in the right places. Massey’s was super helpful, and I almost purchased an Osprey bag because it had hip pockets and a rain cover. Margaret is bringing a similar list of items, plus some additional gear such as a GoPro and laptop.

Below is my full packing list. I’ll have to reflect on what I would have changed after I’m on the road, but for now, this is it. Be warned, it’s quite lengthy.



  • Face lotion
  • Face wash
  • Face wipes
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Bodywash
  • Deodorant
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Toothbrush with cover
  • Toothpaste
  • Wisps
  • Baby powder
  • Chapstick with SPF
  • Aquaphor
  • Sunscreen for body and face
  • Toilet paper roll in ziplock (conveniently pre-packed during Mardi Gras)
  • Tweezers, nail clippers
  • Disposable razors (2)
  • Tiger Balm
  • DEET bug spray and wipes (Note from a doctor: 25-35% lasts several hours, 90% will ruin fabrics)
  • Permethrin to treat new clothes during the trip
  • Hand moisturizer
  • Comb
  • Detergent
  • Febreeze
  • Mini mirror (also from Mardi Gras, thanks Muses)
  • Hair ties, bobby pins, headband
  • Makeup: mascara, concealer, eyeliner pencil
  • Tampons
  • Birth control
  • First aid kit: bandaids, aleve, sudaphed, cranberry pills, anti-diarrhea antibiotics, rehydration sachets, Malaria pills, tiger balm, altitude sickness meds, etc. (Tip: prescription meds must be in their original packaging)


  • 3 t-shirts (they’re all v-neck!?)
  • Tank top
  • Long sleeve quick dry shirt for bug protection
  • 2 bathing suits
  • 8 quick dry underwear
  • 3 thongs
  • 2 sports bras
  • 2 running shorts
  • Leggings
  • Cotton dress
  • Rainbow flip flops
  • Keen sandal shoes (yes, they’re little boys’ shoes)
  • Keen water resistant socks
  • Emily’s hiking socks
  • Compression socks
  • Glasses and case
  • 2 sunglasses: one cheap and one nice pair
  • Travel watch, light up, with alarm
  • Earrings, bracelets
  • Scarf to wear on plane
  • Bug repellent scarf
  • Light fleece
  • Rain jacket

Buy in Asia

  • Sarong
  • Hippie linen pants
  • Long skirts
  • Hat

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