Last Updated on
If you read my post about picking a backpack, you will know that I used to bring everything with me when I travel. That’s why I managed to fill a 75-litre backpack! I’ve come a long way since my first solo trip!
Through trial and error (and some backaches), I keep downsizing my backpack because I realize I don’t need a lot of stuff. Just the basics. I’m thrilled with my current Osprey Talon 33L backpack (although I have thoughts about downsizing even further to a 25L, I’m not quite there yet).
Want to read this post later? Pin it on your Pinterest board!
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. If you buy something through them I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting this website. For more information, please read our disclosure for more info.
Essential packing tips
It doesn’t matter if I go away for a week or three months, there are certain things I always do when it comes to packing:
1. Use carry-on backpack only
I always travel with a carry-on backpack and a purse/smaller backpack. It saves time from checking in luggage and prevent it from being lost. And I rather not wait for luggage when I arrive at my destination, which can take a few minutes to an hour. It is so much easier to walk through the city and not worry about lifting your luggage up a flight of stairs.
2. Pack light
Adding to my previous point, I always pack light and try not to overpack my bag. However, check your airline carry-on baggage allowance. Airline companies keep changing it because they want to make more money, so they charge passengers for checking in luggage, in which passengers start bringing more things on board. Overhead cabin space is a rarity these days. Some airlines will limit all your carry-on bags to 7 kg only. Furthermore, I learned to live with very little. You don’t need a lot of things on the road. Just your essential clothing, essential items and that’s it. It feels great to live minimally.
3. Roll your clothes and use packing cubes
Packing cubes can be the easiest way to organize a backpack! It might be the best invention ever.
4. Transfer all your liquids to 100ml bottles in a small ziplock bag
Airport security is very strict especially with carrying liquid on a plane. Since 911, a lot of regulations have changed including this one. Passengers are limited to liquids in 100ml containers only. If you have anything larger than that, they will confiscate it. It doesn’t matter how much you plead with them; you will not get it back!
My Vietnam Packing List
Between visiting bustling cities and UNESCO towns, there will be hiking, beaches, caves and other outdoor activities. Which makes packing a bit more challenging because you want to make sure you have everything you need for each activity.
Through a bit of editing, I’ve narrowed my choices down to this list:
Clothing takes up a big part of your backpack which is why editing the amount and type of clothing is important. For my trip, I have to account for the different type of activities and climate.
- 2 t-shirts
- 4 tank tops
- 2 workout tops
- 4 shorts
- sleeping clothes
- base layer
- thin raincoat
- 2 socks
- 2 bras
- sports bra
- 10 underwear
- 3 swimsuits
- flip flops
- light hiking shoes
- walking shoes
Some are basic necessities and some are considered to be nice-to-have, i.e. makeup (does one really need makeup on a solo trip? hmmm…)
- face wash
- face cream
- shampoo bar
- cotton pads
- nail clipper
- contact lenses
- glasses + case
- basic makeup (eyeliner, brow pencil, blush)
Besides all the necessary documents you need to enter a new country (you need to apply for a visa ahead of time), there are things you will just need to bring with you on the road. If you work on the road as I do, technology and universal charger is a must! And for this trip, I’ve decided to take my chrome-cast with me. It might be nice to have when I want to watch movies or show on television rather than on my phone.
- visa application + 2 photos
- 2 credit cards
- 2 ATM cards
- driver license
- squeeze water bottle
- medicine kit (including painkiller, cough medicine, Imodium, gravol, band-aids)
- 12″ Macbook Notebook + charger
- Samsung Note 5 + charger
- Sony waterproof camera + charger
- hershel daypack
- lululemon purse
Embrace Minimalist Travel
There is something very liberating when you only bring so little things on the road. After a few trips, you will realize that you really don’t need that much stuff to live. Often, we tend to bring too much and especially when you think that you might need some “just-in-case” items.
I like the Minimalist’s 20/20 rule which is how they treat “just-in-case” items when it comes to packing. The idea is that If you can replace this item within 20 minutes and under $20 at your current location, then do not bring it.
I’m using this rule for some of the everyday items that I will need for the next three months. There is no point in bringing three months supply of toothpaste. I’m pretty sure they sell toothpaste in Vietnam! Ha! But if there are certain things you are not sure about, try applying this 20/20 rule and see what the outcome is.
Hope you enjoyed this informative post. And if you like this post, share it and pin it!
Pin it on your Pinterest board!