Backpacking through Asia? Pack light! Many people make the mistake of stuffing their suitcases with unnecessary things only to find themselves paying extra for exceeding cargo limits. Paring down your luggage to include only the absolute travel essentials is both a skill and a discipline that you must learn and master if you want to enjoy your Asia trip without lugging around heavy suitcases from city to city (you will also save a great deal from bellboy tips!). Let's take inspiration from our flashpacker friends with their ever-reliable 'spinner' suitcases—four-wheel suitcases that are hundred times better, more maneuverable, and limber than their traditional two-wheel counterparts. These people know exactly what to bring to an Asia hopping trip.
Asian countries generally have warm, tropical climates, save for some North and East Asian countries where winter temperatures drop dramatically. Gear up for the weather and bring lots of light clothes for warm days plus a couple of wool sweaters and a windbreaker when passing through colder countries. Make sure you have:
- Undies and socks
- T-shirts (cotton, light fabric blends) for the daily grind
- Lightweight jeans and cargo pants for rugged hikes and sightseeing through town
- Fancier dresses for those occasional social nights
- Swim suits for enjoying stunning beaches
- A sweater or two for cold nights and freezing winter temperatures
Tip: The fewer clothes you bring, the more suitcase space you'll have for the irresistibly cheap clothing you'll find everywhere in Asia.
You'll need these essentials for form and function.
- A straw hat
- Flip flops
- Sneakers/rubber shoes
- Cotton shoes (for slipping off and on during temple visits)
- Hand bag or a nifty crossbody that you can bring when touring around town
- Swim goggles
Thinking of bringing jewelry? Don't bother! If you’re visiting Asia, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to shop for unique and super cheap accessories.
- Deodorant, sunscreen, insect repellent, condoms, tampons, and essential toiletries. Local brands might not be as effective for your unique body chemistry as your home-grown brands. Western brands are often hard to find and expensive in many Asian countries.
- Vitamins and medications
- Travel documents (in a sealed plastic bag) for your peace of mind
- A small camera
- A voltage converter for your electronic devices
- Some books to read during long-haul flights and layovers
- Small bills and change for tipping good-natured service people
- Pocket money for rural areas where ATMs are non-existent
- Some bubble wrap for packing fragile souvenirs