Blog Posts, Travel Tips & Itinerary

Packing 101

Hey friends 😊

THREE days to go and I have finally packed- trust me this was not an easy task! It’s difficult planning for a climate which I’ve never been in and only going by what I’ve heard from other people or other travel blogs/vlogs. I’m expecting heat around 30°C and northern Vietnam and northern Thailand can be much cooler at night. Over the past couple of months I’ve been purchasing random things and just piling them higher and higher until recently when I sorted everything and actually packed. The real struggle is to pack light into a 65L backpack. It sounds large but it actually isn’t with all things considered. We are only bringing 1 week worth of clothing and will be doing laundry a couple of times. I took pictures of what I am bringing as I was packing but I am sure that some items won’t make the cut in the end. I also have to keep in mind that (1), we will be bringing souvenirs home and (2), we have to stay within weight requirements for our domestic flights. My carry on has to be under 7kg and my checked bag (backpack) has to be under 20kg. Challenge accepted.

My backpack, carry-on and packing cubes

I’m going to list my packing list by category (carry-on, toiletries then clothes/extras). Feel free to suggest some things I possibly forgot because I’m sure there is something.


This is my Outbound Tallaroo 65L pack and let me tell you: this is my new best friend (besides my dad who bought it for me 🙂 ). These packs have all the bells and whistles that we need. The best part is that all of the straps zip inside so when it goes all over the world with us it will stay compact and hopefully will not get damaged.  It has a zipper so that it opens like a suitcase, making it much easier to find things instead of it being a top-loading huge bottomless mess. It also has a detachable day pack which I will use every day along our journey. This thing is so heavy duty; I can’t wait to actually use it. Before you commit, it’s important to feel out your pack and make sure it’s comfortable. Luckily this one has built in cushions for back and shoulder support among many other features!


Here is everything that I am packing in my carry-on bag. After I packed it, it only weighed 8 pounds which is well within my Air Asia limit.

Carry-On Contents
  • Ear Plugs
  • Sleep Mask
  • Headphones
  • Fit Bit and charger
  • Portable charger
  • Tablet (full of downloaded Netflix, music and E Books)
  • Lifestraw water bottle
  • Travel journal
  • Pen! (Something I always forget and always have to ask a stranger to borrow theirs)
  • Passport
  • Sunglasses
  • Compression socks
  • Phone/phone charge cord
  • Cameras and charge cords (my dad is bringing the Go Pro and the waterproof camera)
  • SD cards
  • Hat
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Mini flashlight
  • Change of clothes (tank, Capri leggings, bra and underwear)
  • Toothbrush/toothpaste/mouthwash
  • Deodorant
  • Compact/foundation
  • Face wipes/makeup remover wipes
  • Kleenex
  • Wetwipes for a quick freshen up in an airport or airplane bathroom
  • Snacks (granola bars etc)
  • Travel documents (I have copies of all hotel rooms, receipts for day trips and tours, our itinerary, travel insurance, and a few photocopies of our passports just in case. Side note: I also have digital copies of all of these saved in a folder on my phone.


OK. Here is a picture of all the bathroom related items I am packing. It looks like a lot but I actually fit it all into three packing pouches. Everything is small sized except for my sunscreen which I am overpacking on purpose. Apparently most sunscreen sold in Asia contains whitening product because they don’t want tan skin. I, however, am already white and pasty so I am seeking a nice tan! I am also being super proactive and packing any and all medications I may need. Note that I am not bringing a hair dryer or a straightener or hair spray or mousse etc which is going to be a challenge but I will embrace the backpacking lifestyle!

  • Cough drops
  • Mini first and kit containing bandaids, alcohol swabs etc
  • Deodorant
  • Tampons (also apparently very hard to find in Asia)
  • Gravol
  • My prescription meds including my emergency antibiotic in case of travelers diarrhea and also malaria pills
  • Gravol
  • Nail clippers
  • Advil
  • Naproxen
  • Imodium
  • Zantac
  • Tums
  • Pepto tabs
  • Q-tips
  • Cold medicine
  • Emergen-C Vitamin C packets
  • Brush
  • Bobbypins and hair ties
  • Lip balm
  • Glasses
  • Contacts/extra contacts
  • Contact solution
  • Eye drops
  • Aloe Vera lotion
  • Makeup remover
  • Lush Herbalism face wash
  • Lush “Silky Underwear” -a LIFE saver for sweaty areas in the hot weather (hello boob sweat and thigh chafing…or should I say goodbye… 😛 )
  • Razors
  • Lush shampoo bar
  • Lush conditioner bar (these are super handy things that can be packed in carry on luggage and last for about 80 hair washes)
  • Tea tree oil shampoo (I use every few days for sensitive scalp)
  • Tea tree oil conditioner (will also double as shaving cream)
  • Loofah with built in citronella soap to repel mosquitos
  • Mosquito repellant bracelets
  • Bug spray
  • Sunscreen
  • Lush R&B hair moisturizer to attempt to tame my wild hair
  • Lush Sea Salt Spray instead of hairspray
  • Face moisturizer
  • Jewellery -only bringing my Lokai bracelet and a couple handmade bracelets made by some girls at Rapha House (an organization which has safe houses in Cambodia to rescue young girls who have been sold into child sex slavery- watch Finding Home on Netflix!!!) One of my souvenir goals is to buy an elephant necklace to wear on the trip. I am leaving my rings behind; I don’t want to risk losing anything special to me.
  • Make-up… I don’t plan on wearing much makeup as it will probably sweat right off but I’m only bringing what will fit into the tiny bag I have. I am bringing foundation with built in SPF, concealer, powder, setting spray, waterproof mascara, and eyeliner. I’ve been collecting samples of some good foundations at Sephora, particularly Tarte tinted moisturizer which has SPF. These tiny samples will probably last me the month as I won’t be wearing much.

So that is my toiletry list! Believe it or not everything fit into these small bags so that I can find things easily in my backpack.


Clothes are the hardest thing to pack! I have kept this pile on my floor for 2 or 3 days and keep adding/taking away things. I had a nice maxi dress packed, but I took that out. I had more dri-fit pants packed but took a couple pairs out because I can just wash/wear the same pair. I took out the Toms too…but might put them back in. Here’s all my stuff and a list of everything:

  • Buff headbands
  • Luggage lock
  • Luggage scale
  • Universal Adaptor
  • Compact microfibre towel (in case there isn’t a towel where we are staying- doubtful as we are staying in nicer hotels, but I may need it on the beach)
  • Mission Hydroactive Cooling neck towel (top left of the pic) To activate cooling technology simply SOAK in water, WRING it out and SNAP three times. Cools instantly to 30 degrees below average body temperature and stays cool for up to 2 hours when wet. To reactivate, simply re-soak and re-snap.
  • Bounce Sheets (to keep clothes fresh and also to prevent bedbugs)
  • Ziplock bags/ garbage bag
  • Waterproof phone case
  • Laundry detergent
  • Motion Bands to prevent sea sickness
  • Money belt that goes under clothes to prevent someone stealing cash
  • Roundie (round beach throw)
  • Scarf (thin enough to use when inside Temples as shoulders must be covered)
  • 3 pairs socks
  • 7 pairs underwear
  • 4 sports bras
  • 3 bathing suits
  • 2 bathing suit cover-ups
  • 1 black dress
  • 1 maxi skirt
  • 1 denim short (for the beach)
  • 1 dressy short (linen material)
  • 2 active shorts
  • 1 pair leggings (to wear on plane)
  • 1 pair loose pants (perfect to wear in temples to cover the knees and they are super light/airy)
  • 2 pairs dri-fit pants
  • 1 pair pajamas (tanktop, shorts, pants set)
  • 1 dri-fit long sleeve shirt (for northern Thailand/Vietnam when it gets chilly/ to cover from mosquitos at night)
  • light North Face rain jacket
  • 2 shawls/kimonos (also perfect to keep in my day pack and take out when I go inside a temple)
  • 3 t-shirts
  • 4 tank tops
  • 1 pair flip flops
  • Trekking sandals
  • Sketchers runners (super light)
  • Toms

So basically, my plan is to wear light and flowing clothes at all times to help with the heat. I packed shorts and tank tops that can be mixed and matched. If I want to change it up, I can wear a kimono over a tank top, or wear my maxi skirt. Clothing in Southeast Asia is very modest, so I am trying to respect the culture. Sports bras are a smart option because they cover more and are perfect for under a tank top, plus they are easy to wash and air dry.

I have 3 packing cubes and I am rolling everything and packing by category. This way it will be easy to just grab a packing cube and know that it has all my tops in it, or bottoms. Here’s what it looked like after I packed it all…

1 dress, 1 skirt, 3 pants, 4 shorts, 1 PJ, 2 bathing suit cover-ups
2 kimonos, 3 t-shirts, 1 long sleeve shirt. 4 tank tops
3 bathing suits, 3 pairs socks, 4 sports bras, 7 underwear
Hand for scale
Representing Canada as much as I can so that people do not think I am an American tourist (especially in Vietnam)
Still deciding whether to bring my Lonely Planet guides with me…

So there you have it. The only thing I have left to do is finish getting together all of our travel documents, pick up some snacks for my carry-on bag, and pick up the money we ordered from the bank. So exciting!!! My dad, on the other hand, will be packing Thursday…the day they are picking me up at the Winnipeg airport/night before we leave! Crazy guy 😀

Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to subscribe below so you get an email every time a new post is up while we are gone!

xoxo Hales

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