S.E. Asia, What's in my travel bag
by Lady Di Wanderlust @ dibythesea.com
For those that follow me, my last What's in my travel bag, was written back in 2012 while preparing for a 2 week trip to Dubai, the Maldives and Sri Lanka... all in 1 carry-on !
This time around I am going to share my travel packing tips for S.E. Asia :: Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia for 3 weeks with the same, 1 carry-on !
Key elements :: Minimize, condense, recycle and reversible.
For this current packing I am going to be more mobile, 10 hotel changes and 7 International / inter island flights, so I have to be flexible and light-weight. The airlines I will be flying are China Air, Bangkok air, Air Asia and Cambodia Airways. I will also be riding ferries and longboats, tuk-tuks and taxis along my routes so I want to be moveable without pulling out a shoulder or my back.
I am planning on bringing a backpack for this adventure vs my standard rollie... or I may go with my rollie and a backpack vs a large handbag. Well see... Backpacking throughout Asia is a major trend right now, so I'm wondering if I just bring a backpack, does that count ? even if I don't trek ? My thinking is, I will bring a small backpack and use as a carryon or just store inside my luggage to fill up with shopping finds.
My usual custom is to bring 1 bathing suit per day ! In my last blog I showed you how to buy reversible bikinis, to get 2 uses out of 1. On this trip I hope to get my hands on some reversibles (they cost a bit more, but worth it) and buy the others on a need be basis, saving room and money along the way.
I also plan on hula-hooping on this adventure. So, looking into making a collapsible one or I may just buy them there and leave them behind as I jump from plane to plane, destination to destination.
...with just 12 days until my flight this is where I am.
I made some online purchases, sketchy I might add, via some Facebook ads for womens trendy clothing sites, really affordable and most likely made in Asia as well as from where they are most likely shipping. The sites seemed to work fine, but at checkout I had a few issues. One of which was, my option was to purchase through PayPal with my credit card. Upon doing this it gave me 2 receipts, neither with the name of the store but a totally different name! One was IVAN... should I be alarmed ? and the other stating that the purchase would appear on my credit card as DavisMicro... HUH? My credit card flagged the other online store purchase as possible fraud ! whaaaa. Although the site offered free shipping and a choice of expedited shipping, I am stressing that these items will not show up in time and or fit and I will be doing all of my shopping while on vacation.
We may just pass one another in mid flight ! Me on my way to Asia and the clothing from Asia on their way to me. IRONIC ?
The two sites I am speaking of are rosegal.com and Zufal.com
I hit up a few sports and outdoor stores Sports Authority, Rei and pursued hundreds of backpack options, none meeting my requirements thus far. I may have to design my own, I've got lots of ideas !
I purchased 3 pairs of sandals, in my pursuit of a water/land sandal combo I ended up with a pair of Teva.com original leather metallic sandals and Sanuk.com, yoga sandals, made out of real yoga mats, neither of which will work in water. And a glimmering golden silver dressy sandal by Andrew Geller for resort dinners. All purchased from various retail outlets and super sale prices ! Although, I am a 7.99-9.99 flip flop girl, I choked a lil on some of these super sale prices ! I read on other sites that for the temples/mosques they prefer you didn't wear flip-flops which puts a damper on my traditional sandal choice. Thus the sandal/underwater shoe combo I am in search of. I
Tip: Don't wear anything to showey, I read that people will STEAL your shoes ! So, I am hoping to wear my sandals in a bit, so they will be less inviting.
After reading online blogs by others with travel tips for Thailand, I've decided to skip on packing the umbrella, because from what I've read the rainy season doesn't mean constant down pours, from what I understand it's more tropical T-storms, which I have encountered on many of my travels, which means down pours for short spurts and sun the rest of the day. Most hotels provide umbrellas at their doorstep and in villas from my experience and from what I read it's customary to dip into a 7-11 to keep dry. Temperatures I am assured stay in the highs. The hula-hoop is still up in the air, I have tried googling hula-hoops in Thailand and have't come up with a guarantee of finding one, yet.
Here's a tip I've shared before : I've got my prescriptions and supplements condensed and downsized, the bottles and packaging that most of these come in are not travel friendly. So, what I do is buy the small zip lockable mini baggies and stick the prescription labels on those or write the name of the supplement down and bring just a little over the amount I will need for my trip instead of the entire 30 or 60 days worth. This saves so much room in your luggage and it lays flat.
With less than a week to go, 1 of my 2 online clothing company packages showed up, with just 1/2 of my order... all the way from Singapore/Originating in China. Some of the clothing did not look like what I bought from photos on their website. Had to reach out to them with an online ticket inquiry as to where the rest of my order is and if I was given a credit... something I seriously have no time for ! UGH I would most likely not buy online from any of these sites again. One problem being that if something is't right or doesn't fit... you the customer have to pay both the shipping to get it back to them and the replaced item back to you... explains the inexpensive pricing on the clothes and free shipping in the initial phase ! They know what's coming.
9.16. 2015 ::
Well, the other online order hasn't shown up ! So, I contacted them via their website rosegal.com and submitted an inquiry ticket. 24 hrs later I get a reply with them telling me that they cannot process my credit card without proof of card hold so they need me to upload a photo of my drivers license, passport or other id. BOGUS ! They are stating that they need to avoid fraud. I reply with, ah, no, I don't think so, my card has already been processed and it's been 9 days and I am leaving for a trip out of the country and you haven't even begun to ship my items ? Which I purchased for my trip. On my profile on their website it has an order "processing" status, which lead me to believe this was happening, when in fact it wasn't. If I hadn't opened up an inquiry then what ??? I then ask to cancel and get a refund, then contact my credit card company to file a dispute. Next, ticket reply I receive from them is that they would like for me to make payment with a western union wire transfer ? and closed the ticket so that I cannot respond ! WHAT ? I've already paid ! Then I contact my credit card company to update them with the newest reply. Then a rosegal rep writes me back on an email, different than the ticket inquiry, asking me to pay direct to a bank with an entirely different name/account and offer me a discount if I purchase ! But, I've already paid, they want me to pay double !!?? I write back, sorry, no ! I will not pay double. I tell them that I have filed a complaint with my credit card company and demand a refund, I suspect fraudulent activity. (by the way... all of the correspondence from them is in broken english incorrect grammar and punctuation ) They respond with we will credit your paypal/credit card within 3-7 days ! WHAT THE WHAT !!!!??????
Tip: Do NOT purchase online with an unfamiliar company, especially within a few weeks of leaving out of the country. DO NOT shop ROSEGAL or ZAFUL ! horrible service and/or FRAUDs. I so wish I could alert everyone on Facebook ! So, just DON'T.
So, off to the store(s) I go, like I even have time for this with 4 days to go before my flight out ! aaaughghghg
Finally, heard back from Zafal, the first online store I purchased online from their reply was, sorry, we shipped 1/2 of your order separately, because we didn't have it all in stock. Would have been nice to know days ago ! Most likely won't get here in time. Also, checked my weather app for the 3 countries I am visiting and it's RAIN ! Rain, rain, rain... re-thinking that umbrella ! and my clothes ! I read a few more online blogs, one clearly stated that depending on where in the country of Thailand you travel to you will be expected to be more modest. They don't care for low v neck chest showing tops on women. They snub tank tops and short shorts. They are okay with crop pants, because they are used to seeing westerners wearing them. They prefer you wear long skirts in the temples... all of these are for areas north, Chiang Rai/Chiang Mai. As far South like Phuket, it read like it was more carefree as far as the clothing (probably because of the hipster/backpacking majority) So tanks and shorts may be okay there. They just care that you wear clean, well groomed looking attire. Casual jewelry is a nice addition. I am going to investigate further.... with 3 days left.
So, here are the choice we made...
Obviously the Go Pro Hero made it... compact, versatile for land and underwater...
Gotta take the smart phones iPhone 5 for me ... and it's power cord/charger plug : will be great for facetiming with the Grandbaby and Skyping if need be. Samsung for him.
Now to decide on electronics power packs, laptops underwater cameras, adapters...
Went with the 2 Canon underwater cameras, incase 1 breaks (great advice from my niece!) Left the Fujitsu mostly because I couldn't find the charging cord ! (the one downfall of that camera, no actually battery like my others) they are all great cameras tho !
And went with the Re-charger with double charging slots that will charge up both mine and my husbands phones 8 times in total and will charge at the same time ! Fit in the backpack in side a nice soft case.
Tip : Think light, less cordage, compact. Share accessories like your camera chargers, plugs, adapters and cords with your travel partner(s).
Light weight cover up by Suzanne Somers casual yet dressing and can be used as a dress x 1
Mumu x 1 for plane rides
Sun dresses x
T shirts vs tank tops. x 20 a mix
Shorts vs knee length type pants/yoga legging pants x 3
Open toes breathable sandals vs flip flops (2 for day 1 for evening) x 3
Hiking wear/gym gear to include a good pair of tennis shoes x 1
Gym pants x 1, shirt x 1, sport bra x 2, tennis socks x 3 pair
Bathing suits x 4 interchangeable
Dinner dresses for in hotel stays x 2
Sunglasses x 3 /hair accessories, headbands x 3
Toilettries - minimized to travel sized containers
Pharmaceuticles/supplements - minimized and labeled in tiny ziplock baggies
Computer and camera gear and accessories - iPad vs full-sized Mac, went with the MacAir for ease of typing my Blog and downloading photo to !
Mini Umbrella x 1
Light weight beach towel x 1
Power bars and protein powder
and some last minute girlie supplies (read about 1 of them on my next post !)
I will be packing just enough to get through a week... will re-wear some things twice and buy the rest.
Tip: This is a tip from my previous posts, Pack all soft items into large moon bags and ziplocks (all sizes up to gallon) for compressing clothing and compartmentalizing items and separating clean from dirty. Stash dryer sheets into pockets to keep your luggage smelling fresh ! Tuck em in your sneakers too !
So, What's in my Travel Bag for South East Asia ?
NOT a Whole Lot, that's what.
Pack the bare minimum or less and buy the rest there !
Made in ...
POST TRIP UPDATE
So I OVERPACKED... and bought no clothing ! LOL
It's so inexpensive to wash your clothing there... they charge by the weight. $5 for a load ! So, do that.
Only used my gym clothes and tennis shoes a few times... could probably of just gotten by without special gym clothes (just a tank and black yoga pants and sandals !)
Never used my beach blanket, towels were usually provided by the hotels.
I packed to many shoes... I recommend bringing flip-flops... even though every blog I read said to wear nice sandals for the temples... I say NO.. you take off your sandals way to many times in the hotels, houses temples, some stores. Just bring a nice pair of flip-flops. One of our resorts provided resort sandals (woven flip flops) that were complimentary to keep.
Even though most of my higher end hotels provided mosquito sprays and umbrellas, I still ended up using my personal umbrella a few times. so pack a small one, but never used all the sprays I brought.
I never found a need for dressy outfits, so I never wore the 2 dressy dresses... everyone dresses so casual, even in the 5 star luxury resorts, I never saw anyone dressed up any more than casual resort wear.
I did end up with a broken underwater camera, so very happy to have brought two !
Never used my selfie stick although everyone else did ! hysterical at times.
and the best thing I brought with me was... the RE-CHARGer ...a life saver !
Oh and I HAD TO CHECK my bag !!! ...because our connecting flight was a smaller plane that wouldn't accommodate luggage in the overheads... so dig deep and find out all the unknowns !!
I also had to add an item, that I highly recommend for women, read about it on my blog post here.