Southeast Asia Travel Pack Guide for Girls

Isn’t it annoying when you’re traveling, thinking you’ve got everything packed and set, and you don’t realize you’ve forgotten something until you reach for it and it isn’t there? Traveling solo as an introvert can add another layer to this challenge, requiring thoughtful preparation to ensure both comfort and solitude. Well, let me help you avoid that with your essential Southeast Asia Travel Pack Guide!

Welcome to High Heels and a Backpack’s Southeast Asia Travel Packing 101! šŸ˜‰

This is my tried and tested travel packing list from my numerous long trips around this tasty part of the Asian Continent, which enhanced even my budgeting for long-term travel trips, so rest assured you’re in safe hands.

1. Travel Admin

A.K.A. The boring nitty gritty that you simply cannot leave home without!

  • Passport
  • Photocopy of Passport
  • Passport PhotosĀ (Often needed for visas)
  • Travel Insurance & Insurance Documentation
  • E-Tickets
  • Reservation Confirmations
  • Money Belt
  • Cash, Credit & Debit Cards
  • Guidebooks & local area maps.

2. TheĀ Backpack

Opting for a backpack over a suitcase is a good idea, as you’re going to be walking along uneven or virtually non-existent roads in all kinds of weather conditions.

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This isn’t an area that you want to scrimp; trust me on that. I’ve recently upgraded mine to an Osprey Kyte 66 Rucksack. It’s been designed specifically for women. Look at the pretty color!

What’s great about this backpack is that it is made especially for women, it doesn’t dwarf us smaller gals, and the height is easily adjustable. The backpack is designed with waterproof material (useful considering the monsoon-like downpours in Southeast Asia!) and has an ‘airscape’ vent on the reverse to help with hot weather (and stop your shirt going see-through with back sweat like a creepy old man!). Additionally, you may also use this for those who are also into hiking, its ergonomic design offers peace of mind, ensuring comfort and security on your journey. For solo female hikers, this feature is particularly reassuring, providing an added layer of safety and confidence while exploring trails alone.

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The vent section and the wider straps also make the bag pretty comfy, which is a major plus in my books, considering the amount of time you will be carrying the thing around.

3. A Small Daypack

13617386_10154056945925379_941337272_nI have a little 10-liter backpack for day trips when I travelā€”just look how small and cute it is!
Some backpacks come with detachable daypacks, but to be honest, they’re a little too big for my liking. I tend to carry my valuables (money, phone, camera) on my person, and my backpack is just the extra bits I might need: a map, water bottle, first aid kit, and sunscreen.

4. First Aid Kit

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At least one that has a decent array of dressings, bandages and sterile wipes… just in case. I cut my foot open in Vietnam and blood was spurting everywhere like the fountain show at the Vegas Bellagio. Better to be safe than sorry.
I like this Solotrekk one. Not only is it comprehensive without being expensive (I’m a poet!), it has little zip away compartments within so that you can easily add your own items to the kit as needed.

5. Medicines

Painkillers and most over-the-counter medicines are available in the larger towns and cities, but if you prefer certain brands, buy before you go. Everyone’s medical requirements are different, but for me, my kit consisted of:

  • Paracetamol
  • Ibuprofen
  • Imodium
  • Rehydration Sachets
  • Laxatives
  • Tampons (not always widely available in Southeast Asia)
  • Hydrocortisone Bite & Sting Cream
  • GermoleneĀ (for cuts and scrapes)
  • Anti-malarials (the side effects of these are not enjoyable. Check with your GP if you will need them before you go – they are mainly required for travel to rural areas and border zones).

6. Mosquito Repellent

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Mosquitoes are a pain wherever you go, but in S.E. Asia, you’ve got the added factor that a lot of them carry diseasesā€”malaria and dengue fever, to name but a few. The ordinary repellent just doesn’t cut it for these guys, make sure you have a tropical strength repellent that contains DEET. Ā I never opt for less than 50% DEET content. Take a couple of cans as you’ll be sure to get through the stuff.

Mosquito plug-ins or coils come in pretty handy for the night too. I cannot tell you the number of times I have woken up with mosquito bites in places where no mosquito should roam.

7. Water Bottle

Don’t underestimate the handiness of buying large bottles of water, keeping them in your fridge, and having a little bottle to fill each day. I picked up this handy foldable bottle, which takes up no room when empty.

8. Torch

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Even if you don’t think that you’ll need one, a torch comes in incredibly handy. Power outages are pretty commonplace here, particularly if there is a storm.
I actually prefer to use a headtorch, as it comes in handy for hiking too.

9. Toiletries Bag

Again, some element of personal preference but I take:

  • Razors
  • Shampoo and Conditioner
  • Sun Screen & After Sun
  • Hand Sanitizer (A lot of the restrooms don’t have soap or even working taps!)
  • Toilet RollĀ (Finding toilet paper in a bathroom here is the exception, not the norm)
  • Baby Wipes & Face Wipes (handy and refreshing when you are walking around hot, sweaty and sporting a face as Red as a Baboon’s bottom)
  • Mouthwash, Toothbrush and Toothpaste
  • Facial Wash
  • Deodorant
  • Lifeventure Leaves – Shaving Foam, Soap Leaves, and Fabric Wash Leaves
    (Oh my word! So handy! The bane of my life when travelling is when something leaks or explodes in my bag and I have to deal with the aftermath. These are simply leaves that you add a little water to and they transform into soap, fabric wash, etc. They are completely biodegradable too and won’t harm the environment.)
  • Makeup (It is so damn hot and humid, most of it will just sweat right off your face. I never wore mine, aside from a little Mascara and tinted lip balm.)
  • Microfibre TowelĀ (Lightweight and super fast drying! A good shout as some places may not supply towels, or the towels in question can be gnarly)
  • Small Packets of Tissues

Note: A lot of the skin and sunscreen products in S.E. Asia has “whitening properties,” i.e., they are designed to bleach Asian skin. Check carefully before you buy.

10. Electronics & Accessories

  • Travel AdaptorĀ (Most of S.E Asia uses circular-end two-prong plugs like Mainland Europe, however, there are some anomalies – Cambodia is a funny old bugger and you can find sockets with different types. A multi-adaptor solves this and then has you covered for your onward travels.)
  • Camera and Charger
  • Phone Charger
  • Headphones (for long journeys!)
  • Selfie Stick (Some may consider it sad, I consider it my meal ticket to becoming an honorary Asian (I jest…)Honestly, though, it’s so handy, especially if you travel alone, and don’t want to keep having to stop to ask randoms to take your pic!)
  • Power Bank (Fellow iPhone users will feel my pain when I complain about the battery life of the thing. This way you can be sure you’re never out of juice if you have to take a long journey.)
  • Spare BatteriesĀ (for camera, torch, etc)

11. Walking Shoes13632617_10154056982880379_267408247_o

Yes yes, I know I have ugly feet. Some of us are not blessed in the foot aesthetics department but I hear if your second toe is bigger than your ‘big toe’ that means you’re really good in bed. (HEY BOYS!)
Anyway… You will be walking A LOT, often on uneven terrain so sturdy shoes are a must.
My walking shoes are North Face. You can pick them up at most of the major Outdoors stores for around Ā£50 but the selection for Women is often pretty limited (What gives?!)

12. The Clothing

Pack LIGHT! Remember, you will be carrying all of this weight on your back for extended periods of time. Don’t be the girl who has to take off her backpack and drag it along the floor like a dead dog because she bought too much crap along the way.

Laundry is pretty cheap here, so it’s easy to wash as you go.

  • Swimsuits
  • Sarong/Cover Up
  • 3 – 4 pairs of shorts
  • 1 – 2 long sleeved shirts
  • About 5 -6 t-shirts
  • 2 -3 Tank Tops
  • TrousersĀ (1 or 2 pairs is fine, then you’re covered for the flight. You can pick up some fab Aladdin style floaty trousers at the markets for a couple of quid.)Ā 
  • 2 Bras
  • 6/7 Pairs of Knickers
  • Sleepwear
  • Flip Flops
  • Sunglasses
  • Hat (with brim for sun protection)
  • 1 -2 Summer Dresses (in case of encountering Hunky Aussies)
  • Waterproofs – Poncho, and rain cover for backpackĀ (seriously, the rain here is cray – I cannot stress that enough)Ā 

You don’t need “dress up” clothes, since people stay pretty casual, even in the evenings.

Take a long-sleeved top or at least a Sarong to cover up, as the conservative dress code applies in a lot of the Temples and Religious Sites. [Shoulders and knees must be covered].

Conclusion

Concluding our journey through the Southeast Asia Travel Pack Guide, itā€™s evident that the right preparation can significantly enhance your travel experience. Tailoring your pack to the unique climate, culture, and adventures that Southeast Asia offers not only alleviates stress but also paves the way for a seamless and enriching adventure. Remember, every item you choose to bring along is a companion on your journey, shaping your experience and ensuring that your travels are nothing short of remarkable.

As we wrap up, I’m curious to hear from you: what are the must-have items that you never travel without, especially in the vibrant and diverse landscapes of Southeast Asia? Share your thoughts and packing hacks in the comments below; let’s help each other to travel smarter!

If you found this guide helpful, I encourage you to share it with your fellow travel enthusiasts. For more insights and travel tips, don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter and keep an eye on our blog for upcoming guides and travel stories. Your next adventure awaits, and with the “Southeast Travel Pack Guide,” you’re already one step closer to making it unforgettable.


highheelsandabackpack

Alice Cooper is a British Travel Writer and Blogger based in Athens, Greece. She writes for numerous high profile travel publications across the globe - including Forbes Travel Guide, Matador Network, The Times of Israel and The Huffington Post.

2 Comments

  1. This is a very thorough list well done! I always end up forgetting small essentials (sunscreen, insect repellant, panadol, lipbalm..) and having to spend heaps on them although I have left plenty at home.

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