Our flight will be leaving from Canada (May 28), flying 15 hours to Hong Kong for a 3-hour layover, and then 2 hours from Hong Kong to Hanoi, Vietnam (arriving morning of May 29).
Then, after getting settled in Hanoi for a few days, we’ll be jet-setting again to Thailand (staying June 2 to 7), and then heading back to Hanoi.
Since we’ll be travelling to a few different places, it’s important that we travel fairly lightly and bring only the essentials. Also, you’ll want to check what the weight limit is for the airline you’re travelling with, and don’t overpack so you can have room to bring back any souvenirs!
Make sure to write up a list that you can use to check before you leave and when you’re packing up to return home.
So here’s what my luggage looks like and some tips that I have, based on experience and some research:
Make sure to pack enough clothing where you have a set that’s ready to wear while a set is for the wash. Since I’m going on vacation for 3 weeks, I should bring enough clothes to make outfits for about 1-2 weeks and make sure that they can easily mix & match with each other. Highly recommend bringing tops that are made of lightweight, breathable fabric, that can dry quickly, and can be easily washed and packed with little damage. As the climate is hot and humid in Southeast Asia, wear lighter colours and avoid wearing tight-fitting styles. Also, gently roll up your clothes to pack in your suitcase to save space! The below is what I packed along, which is probably more than needed, but ah well.
- Yoga pants/ leggings/ fitted sweatpants – to wear on the plane, and for relaxing around the house/hotel
- Zippered sweater with hood – wear on the plane when it’s cold
- T-shirts – mix up with different colours and styles (e.g. fits, neckline, details)
- Sleeveless blouses – make sure to wear sunscreen and stay in shade when you can
- Casual shorts – neutral colours to easily mix & match; chino, denim, khaki
- Running shorts – for more physical activities or to relax around the house/hotel
- Light button-down shirts – great for covering up under the sun and creating a polished look when worn with shorts
- Light 3/4 sleeve blouses – good for keeping cool under the sun and avoiding mosquitos
- T-shirt dress – big fan of these for an effortless, casual look; just slip on and go!
- Denim skirt, fitted and knee-length – when you’re tired of wearing pants; great casual look when paired with a tee and white sneakers
- Capris, tapered leg – linen ones are so comfy and keep you cool
- Cardigan, light and loose fitting – good for cooler evenings or to cover up from sun
- Skinny fit jeggings/jeans – wear when visiting more conservative places
- Swimsuits and a cover-up tunic
- Undergarments and socks
- Pyjamas – cotton to keep cool; bring T-shirt and shorts and nightgowns
- Shoes: runners, slip-ons (e.g. “boat shoe” style – comfy yet durable), flip-flops for the beach, strappy sandals that are comfy to walk in
- Hats – baseball cap and straw hat
- Sunglasses – make sure they have proper UV protection
- Belt – for pants, and can use to accent the waist on loose tops
Watch – to keep time and to dress up outfits
- Necklace – can add to a plain top
- Hair ties, bobby pins and clips
- Good-sized backpack (not too large) with several compartments – good for keeping snacks, water, sunscreen, etc. I wouldn’t recommend storing valuables in this when you’re on the road as it can be reached into from behind you
- Cross-body bag – easier to keep close to you; can keep more important items
- Small pouch with cross-body strap or fanny pack with zippered pockets to keep important documents and cash by your side when you’re at the airport
I recommend keeping some essentials in your carry-on so they’re easy to access and you can freshen up when you get a chance to visit the washroom – e.g. face towel, toothbrush/paste.
- Sunscreen – SPF 50+ highly recommended for the sun in tropical regions. Also, get a sport formula which provides more resistance against sweat and water
- Mosquito/ insect repellant
- Hand sanitizer
- Medicine – allergy relief, ibuprofen, medicine for upset stomach (e.g. Pepto-Bismol)
- Toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss
- Face towel
- Body towel
- Face cleanser, exfoliant, moisturizer
- Shampoo, conditioner
- Body wash and lotion
- Band-aids, tissues
- *Ensure that you get your vaccines for Hepatitis A & B, tetanus, measles and polio ahead of time before visiting Asia, as most of these shots are series with multiple doses (most would have been administered at a younger age; check if you are up-to-date with immunization and consult your physician re: your travel plans)
With the climate in Southeast Asia during the summer being hot and humid, I won’t be needing a lot of makeup since I’ll likely sweat it all off, plus my hat and sunglasses cover half my face anyway (yay for a lazy girl like me, lol). I prefer a simpler, low-maintenance beauty routine in the summer, and when travelling, bring products that are multi-use so they are versatile and means less things to carry! Try to find products with SPF for extra protection against UV rays.
- Tinted lip balm/ Chapstick
- Frizz-taming/ humidity control hair products
- Primer and concealer
- Eyeliner/brow pencil
- Eyeshadow palette, pocket-sized, with mirror and applicator/brush
- Waterproof liquid eyeliner and mascara
I would say keep bringing valuables to a minimum, which is common sense – only bring these kinds of items if really needed and will be used. Theft is quite common in Asian countries, but I say that it’s actually prevalent anywhere you go and travellers are prime targets. Doesn’t hurt to be cautious. If your smartphone is adequate for your level of use and has a good quality camera, you can leave your camera and laptop at home – this also reduces your weight load (keep in mind that cameras, for example, require a whole bunch of other accessories that you’d have to carry with you when you’re out and about!). In Vietnam, Internet Cafés are very common as well, where you can use a computer and Internet for an affordable fee. If you’re a professional techie, definitely bring tech at your discretion – be aware of your surroundings and travel in a group.
Also, another tip – I bought some wrist straps with clasps at an electronics store (usually used for video game console remotes), which I affixed to our smartphone cases as a precaution against pick-pocketers on the street.
- Smartphone – if you’re keen on using data, a universal GSM unlocked phone can be used with a purchased SIM card from a local carrier (rates are actually quite affordable from what I’ve heard)
- Device chargers – check the voltage (AC input) of the adapters; in Vietnam, outlets are mostly 220V input and are for 2- or 3-pronged plugs, whereas North America is 110V (though there are some 110V outlets available in Vietnam).
- Power outlet voltage converter – in case an outlet for your devices’ required AC input cannot be found
- Cases for devices to protect against the elements
- Gifts for friends/family and other people you may be visiting or meet during your travels
- Treats or souvenirs from your home country – who wouldn’t love this?
- Gently used items that can be given a new home – e.g. clothes, toys, school supplies
- Pens and notepad/ journal for recording travel notes
- Exchanged currency
- Re-usable bags – in case you need to carry extra stuff
**Also, don’t forget to bring your valid passport & visa, flight tickets, emergency contacts list, and government-issued ID!
I also recommend doing some research before your trip on any travel advisories issued for the country, and also check out some forums for any reviews and advice from other travellers.
I think that about covers it! I enjoy planning so that’s my thought process in all its glory haha. Let me know if you have any other travel/packing tips and tricks! Always good to hear from others’ experiences! 🙂