What I Should Have Packed

While I was in college, I went backpacking in Italy alone one summer. In the process, I learned a lot about the importance of packing lightly. Although living abroad for one year is very different than hostel hopping for three weeks, I learned how to distinguish necessities from what could be left behind for the sake of a lighter bag.A few weeks before my departure to Thailand, I decided that I would only bring two bags with me— my Osprey backpack and my carry on suitcase. It took a few days to decide what to store, what to donate, and what to bring with me. Since my backpack only weighed about 40 pounds upon check in, I would mark that as a success. Here’s what I did. 

I adhered to a few rules I made up after a bit of research…

  1. Only pack cotton and loose fitting clothing (it’s ideal for hot/humid temperature) 
  2. No “revealing” clothing (it can be considered disrespectful to show too much skin)
  3. Don’t pack it if you can buy it in Thailand (waste of precious space… obviously)
  4. No multiples of anything (except undergarments and socks, duh!)
  5. Teachers must pack business clothing, they are more expensive in Thailand than in the USA
  6. Use packing cubes and roll clothing for more space
  7. Medicines and cosmetics from home are necessary (just not in excess)
  8. Pack electronics used on a daily basis (cellphone, laptop, etc.) but do not bring hair electronics like a blow dryer or flat iron because they take up a lot of space and will not work because of the difference in voltage (I decided to be bold and go natural for the entirety of my trip, hehe)

Here is a short list I have compiled of what I’m glad I brought and what I wish I had brought to Thailand.

I’m glad I brought…

  • My laptop (I bring it to school every day with me to teach)
  • My smartphone (plus it’s charger, headphones, and an external battery)
  • My rain jacket
  • My refillable Swell bottle (it keeps my water so cold, perfect for hot/humid days)
  • DEET (mosquitos love me)
  • My “carry-on” size suitcase (perfect for short weekend trips)
  • Packing cubes (organization=more space in your bag)
  • My Birkenstocks (traveling=a lot of walking)
  • All my favorite skin and haircare products (if you are picky with what you put on your hair/face/body like I am, it’s necessary to bring your own from home)
  • All of my favorite medicines (Mucinex, Pepto Bismol, Tylenol/Aspirin, Neosporin, band-aids, Airborne tablets, and bug bite cream)
  • Travel-sized toiletries (for all my weekend trips throughout Thailand)
  • My Nikes (again, I do a lot of walking and I use them for exercise too)
  • My GoPro
  • My Lonely Planet Thailand Guidebook (essential for planning trips throughout the country)

I wish I brought…

  • An external hard drive
  • VGA Adaptor (I use my Macbook to teach every day, I need this adaptor to use the school’s powerpoint)
  • A small backpack (to hold my laptop, lunch, and gym clothes all at once)
  • An iPad or Kindle (it’s very hard to find books that are in English in Suphanburi)
  • More cotton based clothing/pants (it’s the most comfortable fabric for heat/humidity)
  • More Pepto Bismol (self explanatory lol)
  • More Airborne/Emergen-C tablets (working with kids all day=germs)
  • More tampons (difficult to find)
  • A nice towel (sounds silly but all bath towels seem to be poor quality in Thailand)

I wish I didn’t bring…

Honestly, nothing! I packed very light. I could have brought a little more.


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