Backpackers Guide: Packing For A 6 Month Trip to Southeast Asia

Backpackers Guide: Packing For A 6 Month Trip to Southeast Asia

“So, you’re going to Southeast Asia for 6 months. What the hell are you bringing??!” This is a direct quote from every person we’ve talked to about this trip. And honestly, our thoughts too. Well, mostly me. Jesse is a bro and will wear man tanks and his Kuhl pants and be just fine. I, on the other hand, went into full project planner mode.

Before going any further. I feel I have to be honest and upfront with the readers which means acknowledging one of my many, many flaws….”My name is Lauren, and I am an over packer” – guilty as charged.

So what I actually meant when I said “I went into full project planner mode” is, “I went psycho, ape shit looking on Pinterest, other travel blogs and Google.” Whew, glad we cleared that up! So yes, going forward please remember that Lauren = an over packing planner. Jesse = a bro.

Moving on…

Before we jump into the packing list, there are several things we needed to take care of before packing our bags and shoving off.

Our In-Country To-Dos Before We Go:

  • We updated our passport. Both of our passports had expired and we needed to apply for new ones. Please keep in mind; we had a time frame that this HAD to be done in. A lot of Asian countries (if not all) require that your passport must be valid for at least 6 months prior to arrival
  • Charles Schwab he’s the man if he can’t do it no one can. Mr. Schwab, you great man you. We picked up a debit card with zero foreign transaction, ATM fees, and conversion fees. Zero fees make our hearts sing joyous melodious melodies. Can you imagine how much money we would waste on fees?! All those valuable dollars could have been used on fun activities but instead were spent on fees. The horror! Plus, Charles Schwab has a great reputation and fraud detection as well.
  • We got shots. Say it with us, “Vac-cin- a-tions.” Mucho importante! The CDC was our reference for what shots we needed to get before we landed on said countries soil. The last thing we want is to get so ill that we are on our deathbed battling typhoid. Why that may sound dramatic, horror stories happen and when traveling we take the “better safe than sorry” approach.
  • We got insurance. This was the constant echo from every blog post I read. If we took this trip without any travel and health insurance we would be big, selfish idiots. We purchased travel insurance from World Nomads and bought additional US health insurance on top of our travel insurance. Oh, the joys of not being on our parent’s insurance anymore. #sarcasm
  • We got licensed to drive. Plain and simple, we want to rent motorbikes. So we got international drivers license through AAA. Vroom, vroom.
  • So. Many. Passport. Pictures. Word the wise – take a good picture, you’ll be using it a lot. For visa’s, the country will require 2 passport sized pictures. If you have updated your passport recently you have learned that your friendly neighborhood pharmacy, cough cough, Walgreens, charges you a pretty penny for two measly pictures. So instead, we were referred to a site p called “ePassport Photo” to help save us some scrilla on passport photos.

The Packing List:

My flaw of over packing was seriously sedated once I realized the space I had to work with. You get a lot of different answers/input from other bloggers telling you what to pack and what to not pack. It can be overwhelming and was for me. Some show you great outfits they wear but you have to realize, some bloggers are on a short vacation and have the luxury or means to pack more. You have to concentrate on the trip you are taking and what is best and most comfortable for you and the space and means you have to work with. I guess what I had to keep telling myself is this trip is about experiences, not how good I should look in my selfie.

Please keep in mind we are backpacking, not staying at the Four Seasons where bellboys will be carrying our bags around*. So our clothes are minimalistic and appropriate for the kind of travel we intend to do. The dirty, sweaty, test our limits, hostel kind of travel. But most important, respectful travel. We are going to a foreign country where women dress modest. We want to respect the different countries culture and beliefs and not draw unnecessary attention to ourselves. American’s already have a bad travel rap and we’re not trying to add to it

So now, the long-awaited packing list… dun, dun, dun!!

Lauren’s List:

Jesse’s List:

Jesse & Lauren’s Misc. Items:

  • Tech gadgets
  • Phones
  • Portable Chargers
  • Power Converters/Adapters
  • Travel Surge protector
  • Luggage locks
  • Journal + pen
  • Passports
  • Copy of passports
  • Additional passport photos for Visas
  • Headlamps (1 each)
  • Standard Toiletries
  • Over the counter medicines
  • Prescription medicines  
  • Backpack rain cover (1 each)
  • Dry sack (1 each)
  • Laundry bag (1 each)
  • Cocoon Travel Sheet
  • Quick dry towels (2 each)
  • Water Filter
  • Bug Spray
  • Sunscreen
  • Enos Hammock
  • Battery Packs
  • Laundry Soap
  • Swiss Army Knife
  • Duct Tape
  • Hand Sanitizer

The list seems long but once you get it into the pack, it works just right. Once everything was nicely packed inside, my pack weight was 27.5 lbs and Jesse’s pack weight was 34 lbs.

In addition to the list above, we plan on swapping some of our clothes out for clothes over in SEA too. Why not wear what the local’s wear and have fun with it? It’s cheap wears that are made for those hot climates. It’s all about experiences, so why not try out what we can for as long as we can?

Questions? Let us know in the comment section. We’re happy to answer. Or. just leave us a positive note 🙂

– Lauren & Jesse Stuart (The Stüs)

*That wasn’t a diss to the Four Seasons. Your hotels are lovely and accommodations are marvelous. We just can’t afford you 🙂

7 Replies to “Backpackers Guide: Packing For A 6 Month Trip to Southeast Asia”

  1. L. O. V. E.
    This is actually such a great idea and amazing packing list! You’ll have to do a “was it worth packing/lugging it?” When y’all get back!

  2. Please make sure to capture a photo of Jesse in his leg warmers…. I am of course imagining the 80s aerobics style ones – which I think he could totally rock! Enjoy yourselves, be safe, we all already miss you both! Mwah!

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