There are loads of blog posts, tips, hints etc online dedicated to the art of packing for a trip, but from what I have noticed, not many for those who are going to relocate to one place for some time or for those who aren’t hardcore backpackers going to stay in a dingy hostel for $2 per night. Travellers who are a couple, older travellers, volunteer peeps and those who are going to set up in one place for a while have completely different needs.
Having lived in Thailand for a few years, I feel like I have some grasp on what sort of packing list I will be needing to get prepared for going to Cambodia. There will be some differences of course, but mostly I think the list is the same. This is my initial list, which has some things on there that others may not have thought of or wont be relevant to other people such as the work clothes.
5 x work shirts (sleeves, cotton, lightweight)
2 x work pants (black or navy, lightweight)
1 x suit jacket
5 x dresses (lightweight, some casual and at least one really nice one)
3 x shorts (denim or cotton)
10 x undies (underwear is not the same in Asia!)
4 x bras (sizes are different / hard to find)
2 x socks
1 x cardigan/hoodie
Lightweight waterproof jacket (I don’t want to be in a glad-wrap poncho!)
Scarves (great for getting that hair off your face)
4 x button-up shirts (cotton)
3 x shorts (denim or cotton)
8-10 x t-shirts
7 x boxers/undies
1 x jeans
1 x Board shorts
4 x socks
1 x hoodie
Lightweight waterproof jacket
Cap (if you wear them)
Scarf (if you wear them)
Small kitchen knife (12-15cm)
Power board (8 plugs)*
Phone & charger (take an old one)
Camera & charger (little cheap point & shoot)
Laptop & charger
In addition to this stuff, I have a whole pile of things I have to take as a requirement of the Red Cross Volunteer program. This includes documents, medications, first aid kit and a smoke detector. That probably takes up 1/3 of my bag! Thank goodness there are 2 bags for Mick and I to check in.
When I pack my suitcase, I try to keep things organised. I usually put my small things (undies, bras & socks) into a plastic bag. I tend to roll my clothing too because I find it works better. I will also put chargers and electrical things into zip-lock bags to keep them together. Toiletries and makeup need to be confined and try not to use too many loud-sounding materials. Nothing worse than rummaging through a bag in the middle of the night with loud plastic rustling. I also encourage you to try to reduce the amount you take so that you don’t have to discard your favourite shirt, pair of jeans or something so you can cram an amazing blanket from a hill tribe village into the bag. If you don’t wear an item in Australia (or wherever your home country is) then you will not wear it overseas. Also, don’t just take old stained, torn or tatty clothes because you may want something nice to wear so you don’t feel like such a grot.
*A powerboard is something people don’t tend to think of taking. It is life-saving though! It also means that you only have to take one adapter and plug the electrical items into the board rather than having to take heaps of adapters and juggle charging things. It makes sense too because you will probably have at least a phone, camera, tablet/laptop each that can all be plugged in at one time rather than separately.
**Toiletries are a funny one and I think people tend to think that you won’t be able to get anything overseas. Take the absolute minimum to get by for a week or two – a bar of soap, toothpaste & toothbrush, small moisturiser, paw paw ointment. You will be able to buy shampoo and conditioner, body wash, mouth wash etc on the road. It will save you some weight by not taking it and you’ll soon realise that most guesthouses have small shampoo & conditioner packs or are near a shop that sells them. You hopefully will be having such a great time when you are away that toner, eye cream, exfoliating scrub, night cream, anti wrinkle cream and any other potion you can think of won’t matter. You may want to pack a few bandaids, a strip of panadol/asprin and hayfever tablets if you suffer from it.
I’m sure that this list will get blown out, changed, adapted too as I get closer to leaving, but it is good to prepare a basic list before you start cramming things into your bag.