Wednesday, March 31, 2010

What's (still) in my pack?

In honor of my impending six months traveling anniversary, I decided that I'd answer a question Laura asked in the comments ages ago. She basically asked if I was sick of any of the clothes I'd packed and I figured I'd expand on that to include my entire packing list.

Below is my original packing list, with today's commentary in blue.

Passport - obviously still in my pack, but now I have my passport number memorized so I don't have to constantly pull it out
Certificate of vaccinations - haven't looked at it since the day I packed :-)
Credit cards - don't use them except to book flights (and the two times I needed to get a cash advance in India because my bank was confused about my whereabouts)
Driver's license - have barely looked at it since I left
Photocopies of all of the above
- have barely looked at it since I left
Extra visa photos - have been used and replenished a couple of times already
Reading material - has been used and replenished a couple of times already (many, many times over!)
Photo album - looked at, enjoyed, and shared regularly. Has even been added to!
Travel journal - it's not a journal, really, just a place for me to keep notes and gather contact info, etc.

Three pairs of underwear - honestly? They're more trouble than they're worth on most days, so I tend to go without. Sorry for the TMI!
Bathing suit - used regularly
Pair of pants - used regularly
Skirt - used not so regularly and the material was hot and kind of heavy, so I sent it home
Pair of shorts - used only in beach towns and when exercising/doing yoga so as to be culturally appropriate
T-shirt and sleep pants - these were old(ish) items when I packed them and they got a lot of use. Have recently been retired in exchange for a new oversized Cambodia t-shirt
Hiking sandals - used only slightly in recent months. They were good when I was in cooler weather, but now that I'm in places that are hot, they're just too hot to wear. They make my feet sweat and the dust that gathers turns to mud inside my shoes.
Flip flops - they are practically an extension of my feet
Scarf - only used occasionally, but it's small enough that I keep it. Plus, it was a gift. :-)
Two bras - used regularly
Three short sleeve shirts - two have been retired and replaced, the third is still being used regularly
Two long sleeve shirts - gets regular use in cooler weather
Fleece jacket - hasn't gotten a lot of use, but I know I'll need it in Australia and New Zealand since it will be winter when I'm there
Socks (weren't on the original list because it was a last minute addition) - have gotten zero use since Prague.

I always knew that I was going to buy clothing while on the road. It's inevitable that clothing worn three times a week for weeks on end will wear out and/or smell disgusting after awhile, regardless of how often it's washed. In Prague I added tights, still in my pack for exercising/yoga/cooler weather to come. In Istanbul I added an umbrella that I haven't used since, and a scarf for mosque visiting which has been sent home. In Dubai I added jeans, high heels, a black dress, and two shirts; all of it except the jeans and heels have been sent home, but I'm stupid because the heels shoulda gone, too. Ali Baba pants and salwar-kameez were added in India; the salwar-kameez has been sent home (except for the scarf part). I added another day bag in Thailand and it gets so much use that it's practically falling apart already. I also got a scarf in Thailand and although it doesn't get much use these days, I think it'll come in handy in Australia and New Zealand. In Laos I added a BeerLao tank top. You already know about the Hoi An shopping spree; the only things I didn't send home were the summer dress and the kimono. I also got a second pair of pants and two additional tank tops before I left Vietnam.

To wrap up the clothing section, I now have: three pairs of underwear, a bathing suit, four pairs of pants, a pair of shorts, a sleep t-shirt, three scarves, hiking sandals, flip flops, two bras, three short sleeve shirts, three tank tops, a dress, a kimono, a pair of socks, and a fleece jacket.

Technical Stuff
Cell phone and charger - original cell phone didn't work and it has since been lost. Still have the charger for it, for some dumb reason
Digital camera and charger - obviously gets a lot of use. :-) Charger, though? My camera doesn't have a charger, so I must've meant the USB cord.
iPod and charger - gets regular use since I bought earbuds in Vietnam. Prior to that I was really only using it on flights or super long bus/train rides
Plug adapter - used regularly
Flash drive - used, virused, used, lost, replaced with a piece of junk, no longer bother
Headset for Skype - used somewhat regularly; also shared with friends when they need it
SPOT - grrr. Attempt to use regularly, but most messages don't seem to make it out
Spare batteries - used regularly and replaced many times over

Personal Items
Nail clippers and nail file - used regularly
Moisturizer - used regularly
Comb - used regularly
Travel towel - used regularly
Lip balm - used regularly, replaced once
Barrettes - I seem to have lost all of them, even though I barely used them
Shampoo and conditioner - used regularly, replaced lots of times
Sunglasses - used regularly
Sunscreen - used regularly, replaced once
Razor - used regularly, replaced regularly
Antibacterial liquid - don't think I've used it more than once or twice
Hand wipes - hasn't been used at all
Toothpaste/toothbrush/floss - used regularly, replaced regularly
Deodorant - used regularly, replaced regularly
Talcum powder - used fairly regularly
Tampons - used monthly (duh!). Have NOT been able to replace them. :-( Note to women who plan to travel for extended periods of time: take lots of tampons with you unless you want to relive your teenage days of wearing "sanitary napkins."
Eyeglasses - used regularly
2 kinds of contact lens - used regularly, just about time to stock up again
Contact lens solution - used regularly, replaced a couple of times
Q-tips - used regularly, replaced once
Earplugs - started to get fairly regular use beginning in India with the crowing-all-day-and-night roosters
Make-up (also wasn't on the original list, not sure why. I pared it down to the essentials: eye shadow duo, eyeliner, bronzer, mascara, lip gloss) - these are used very infrequently these days, although I'm pretty sure I was putting make-up on every day in the beginning.
Additionally, my personal items now also include a bottle of perfume oil acquired in Egypt (I had two but gave the second to Deepak as a thank you for her hospitality) and sandalwood incense given to me by a vendor in India (it works nicely as a room refresher and doesn't do a half bad job of keeping mosquitoes at bay).

First Aid Kit
Antihistamines - hasn't been used
Immodium - used once
Traveler's diarrhea medicine - hasn't been used
Anti-malarial pills - I know it's bad, but I just couldn't seem to remember to take them, so I gave up trying. Still carry them in my bag, though.
Tylenol - used occasionally 
Bandaids - used once
Tweezers - used regularly
Insect repellant - used regularly, replaced once
Copy of eyeglass/contact prescription - haven't looked at it since it was packed, but will need to pull it out to stock up on lens

Everything Else
Ziplock bags - used occasionally
Garbage bags - used occasionally (to do laundry in!)
Deck of cards - used so frequently that they had to be replaced (although I didn't throw the old deck out, just in case we ever have enough players to warrant two decks)
Frisbee - it got left behind somewhere in India (I think) because it wasn't getting any use. If I'd been thinking ahead, I'd have at least held on to it until I hit some beaches because I think it would've been used there.
Fork - confiscated on flight number two by TSA
Universal sink plug - used whenever I do laundry in the sink
Powdered detergent - used and replaced regularly
Day bag - used fairly regularly
SteriPEN - the damn thing FAILED the very first time I used it, perhaps due to a battery issue. I haven't tried to replace the battery and I still carry it in my pack which is probably stupid, but at least it doesn't take up much space.
Silk sleeping sheet - used occasionally
Flashlight - used occasionally
Toilet paper - used and replaced regularly
Pen and Sharpie - used regularly
Two combination locks - on night one (remember I spent it at Heathrow airport?), I used one lock on the outside of my pack to make it harder to get into in case anyone tried anything while I was sleeping. The next day, I couldn't get it off and it's been there ever since. True story. The second lock gets used only in dorm settings when I want to put everything in a locker.

So. That's everything. Looking over the list again, I'd say I packed pretty well. There's not a whole lot there that hasn't been used (aside from the first aid kit, but that's a good thing). On the flip side, except for toiletries and clothing that needs to be replaced regularly, there also wasn't a whole lot of "missing" items that had to be added. Ironically, the things that were supposed to make life easier - the electronics - have proved to be more of a pain in the ass than anything else. Having said that, I'm now starting to give thought to getting a netbook after all because I've heard that the internet cafes in Australia and New Zealand can be very expensive, but free wifi is everywhere.

Laura, I think I gave you WAY more information that what you asked for, lol, but perhaps my list will be helpful to others deciding what to pack and what not to pack for a similar trip.

Stay tuned tomorrow for a similarly themed post (although I promise it won't be as cumbersome as this one).


  1. That was thorough. :) I love the new header. Looks good.

  2. I will have my Iphone that can use Wifi. It is good enough to check email, internet and bank accounts and that is about it.

  3. Foos - Good to know, but you'll be in AUS for 3 weeks and I'll be there for 3 months. Does that mean you'll be leaving behind the iPhone for me to keep using? I promise to return in when I get to San Fran. :-D

  4. thank you pal! i like all the info! hope the "sanitary napkins" aren't the mattress pads my mom bought for me at 13. xoL

  5. Laura - LOL! No, not quite mattress pads, thank god!

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