This is the second half of my “How to Pack” post that I wrote earlier. After being on the road for almost two months, I’ve got some definte ideas of what to bring, what not to bring, and what I should have brought.
What I should have packed –
- Color Copies of Passport & passport photos – because we’re on an “extended vacation” we’re going to need several visas along the way… and for each one we need passport photos and copies of our passport. This ends up being a hassle in new countries/cities. You don’t know where to go or how much you should pay for it. It would have been easier and cheaper to have stuffed 5-6 copies of each in our home folder. It wouldn’t have made much of a weight difference but it sure ends up saving you time while you travel. Time that you would much rather be doing something else.
- Spices – if you’re going to a condo or a hotel that at least has a microwave, you’ll wish you’d brought some familiar spices. It’s not that we don’t want to spend the money on spices while we’re here… but we can’t find them! Or if we have, we can’t read the label. Bringing our own would have been a nice touch of home… and I had pinned this idea for it!
- Glasses Case – a HARD shell case for our glasses would be so much better for us than what we have! Since all three of us wear glasses (genetics don’t lie!), I made sure to bring our second “back-up” pairs. But they are in the soft cases that came free with purchase. I have them put away in a drawer ready to go if we need them… but the glasses we wore on our faces have no cases : ) i.e. when we jump into the pool or go for a dip in the ocean, we have nowhere to put our glasses. They get covered with sand, sunscreen, and who knows what else while we’re playing in the water, and they’re always susceptible to being stepped on by one of us when we stumble back to our items on the beach.
What I’ve had to buy –
- Hanging clothes dryer – this thing is great. When we come home from the beach I start my shower with my swimsuit on… using a little Dr. Bronner’s soap I wash the swimsuit and then rinse it out. From the pool I usually rinse my suit (and myself) in the freshwater shower pool-side. Then I can hang the suits to dry and they’re ready to go in a day or two. This makes your swimsuit last longer (something my husband and son don’t really care about), but since women’s suits tend to be a lot more expensive I take the time to rinse out chlorine or salt water and hang it to dry. I’ve also noticed that with the ocean water here, if you don’t rinse your suit out, it is really stinky when it dries. Again, something that Wesley wouldn’t care about, but I sure do!
- Power converter – this is not the same thing as an “International Plug Adaptor.” Most of the plugs we’ve come across in hotel rooms all have this new “universal” plug. It takes Thai, it takes American, it takes whatever. The problem is that it puts out 220 power. ALL of our electronics can handle the 220 power… it has a converter inside the “wall-wort” charger. So our Kindle, iPhones, laptops, all have no problems with it… but the rest of our things do. Specifically our camera charger and our eneloop battery charger. If we’d brought a power converter with us, we wouldn’t have ended up with this Frankenstein…
What I wish I didn’t bring –
Jeans – when we left Houston it was chilly and bringing one pair of jeans made sense… now that we’re here they are just heavy items that are in the way in our suitcases. We only brought one pair each, but they are a pain. I’ve been told we’ll need them in Chang Mai during the cooler winter months, but I have my doubts it will ever get that cold. I’m not quite ready to dump them in the trash (or a Goodwill), but the temptation is rising.
Socks – I must have brought 7-8 pairs of socks EACH! What was I thinking? The only day Wesley hasn’t worn his flip-flops was for the elephant trekking through the jungle… one afternoon. I have only worn a pair to bed occasionally when we’ve tracked sand into the sheets and it feels gritty against my bare feet. One pair each would have been fine.
Raincoats – we brought our nice raincoats knowing that we would hit some of the rainy season here… but they are actually too heavy for the tropical weather. We bought cheapo rain slickers at the 7-11 (Wesley couldn’t wait to get his in “clear”) and have them in our scooter. If it rains, we pull them out over our swimsuits or whatever we’re wearing. The raincoats wouldn’t work as well when you’re straddling a moped and the slickers are so big, they cover you and your backpack.
Power Strip & Nightlights – I brought these along thinking A.) a nightlight is always useful in dark hotel rooms, and B.) we have SO MANY electronics we’ll need a power strip if we get into a hotel room with only one power outlet. That was a great thought, but it didn’t work out so well in practice. Power here is 220 and the power strip I brought is 110 only. So I have to decide if I should throw them away or drag them across Asia : (
Hope this helps any of you travelers out there who are still in the planning stage : )