Tuesday, January 13, 2015

How to Pack for Thailand

how to pack a duffle bag for thailand

I'll be honest, packing is always the most stressful part of any trip I take. Past, present and future. My anxiety runs high. I constantly second guess myself. And I drive my husband insane. Even though I've spent years cramming my belongings into duffles I haven't really progressed as a seasoned traveler.

I embarrassingly start packing days in advance. I make piles and shuffle those piles around the floor for days. I compile lists upon lists on various pieces of paper. These are my brain. If I don't have them, I would show up to the airport practically naked with no suitcase. I've had this dream before.

I blame it on the fear of the unknown. That feeling of "what if I need it" consumes me. It is hard to imagine yourself in another culture, another climate from the one of the present. And I convince myself that less in this case, is definitely not more. I suffer from chronic over packing syndrome.

I also blame it on the duffle bag. No matter the size, it is a given that I am going to cram as many items in that bag until the zipper is on the brink of rupturing.  You laugh because you have done this exact same thing!  I also suffer from last minute cramming. The morning of the trip I secretly put 2-5 more items in the bag in a last second panic of "what if I need it". I can't help myself and frankly, I bet I'm not alone.

My minimalistic husband on the other hand, he has his own way of packing. He packs just the essentials, nothing fancy, just the basics. He places it all neatly in the bag, zippers all intact.  And within an hour of starting the process the night before we leave, he is finished and his bag is by the door. It is MADDENING!

Packing for Thailand was no different.

I started the process on Sunday afternoon. Frankly I was overwhelmed at the thought of packing for a month in a carry-on duffle bag. Seriously, what woman does that?! While we were in the BVI last week everyone on the trip, with the ring leader being my husband, convinced me that my honeymoon would be more enjoyable if I brought less stuff. I am still not entirely convinced, but I accepted the challenge and ordered a Patagonia 60 liter duffle bag. And I filled it to the brim. And then some.

When Andrew suggested yesterday that I not bring my small backpack as well, I looked like a kicked puppy. I put my foot down on that one. A 60 liter duffle for 4 weeks is crazy, but no small backpack either?? That's just unrealistic. And so I filled that bag to the brim too. And then some.

And then you may ask, what exactly is in your duffle bag? How do you pack for Thailand and Vietnam?  

Well folks, having never been to either of these countries, I did a bit of research, made some assumptions, and thought about my comforts and came up with this...

packing the essentials for a trip to Thailand and Vietnam

The Essentials:
Passport | Lonely Planet guidebooks | sleeping mask | gummy bears

Malaria meds | z-pack | Benadryl | Aleve

Mini toiletries:
Sunscreen | soaps | tampons | travel detergent | mosquito wipes | band aids 

Sneaks | bikinis | tanks | layers | scarves

packing essentials for a plane trip to thailand
For Boredom and more Mosquitoes:
Nook | sunnies | mosquito repellent sleeping bag | international adaptor | cards | iPod | iPad 

Boom. We are ready. The bags are packed, my anxiety is at bay, we are enroute to NYC and will fly over 22 hours tomorrow and arrive in Thailand on Thursday. 

Ready, set, let's honeymoon! 

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