10 things to forget when packing for exotic travels

Posted by in Life, Travel

Packing can be a b**** on wheels, and if you’re like me, you could literally end up accompanying one throughout your travels.

Below some guidelines on what you can forget. Meaning, you’ll be traveling so light you won’t have to worry whether or not you’ll actually get to your end destination, because the luggage just might not fit into the vehicle they came to pick you up with (true story).

Below the ten sins we have committed and learned from…

  1. Forget washing clothes after just one wear. The western wear-once-then-wash does not apply when traveling. It’s more like ‘wear-once-and-sniff‘ and if still ok, ‘wear-twice-and-sniff.’ Repeat daily until the scent actually starts bothering you (the time that it does will get longer proportionally with the length of your travels).
  2. Forget the over-hygenic ways of the west. Related to the previous: If the shirt stays upright by itself, wash it. Until then, just wear it (continue daily sniffs, though).
  3. Forget underwear. You’ll be most likely in bikini / wet suit anyways. Okay, bring a few, but really, no socks! (Although, my guilty pleasure is sometimes wearing my one pair of socks in a chilly, air-conditioned room… Feels like home!).
  4. Forget the linen pants. The only people who wear linen pants in the tropics are foreigners, who seem think that one ought to wear linen pants in the tropics. I was one of them. As we left Finland in mid-March, there were no linen pants to be bought anywhere. I almost panicked. What else would one wear?! So I thought I’ll buy a pair or two in Manila during our few days stop-over. Turns out, they don’t sell them here! The only store I managed to find linen pants in, was a European import store where a pair cost €80. I was confused and asked our local friend, who kindly told me that it was only for the foreigners. So I didn’t go for it. Instead I bought jeans like the rest of Asians (and whilst sweating in them, I secretly miss my linen pants).
  5. Forget wearing a different outfit every day. Travel is not a fashion show. If you think you will need a different shirt / dress / pair of shorts for every day of the week (because wearing the same thing twice in a row is a big fashion no-no), forget it. Most people don’t own even 10% of the clothes you own, so nobody cares. You’ll end up wearing the same thing day-in day-out anyways, because it’s hot and you just want to be comfortable.
  6. Ladies, forget your favorite cute purse. You will need to carry a poncho, toilet paper, mosquito spray, guide book, sun spray and hand sanitizer just to name a few of the necessities that come with travel. Cute purses don’t fit all that.
  7. Forget the hard case suitcase. Unless you stay in 5-star resorts where they will attend to your every need from the moment you set foot on land, forget the hard case. Take a backpack and enjoy the independence and mobility.
  8. Forget fancy shoes. One pair of flip-flops will go a long way. In any case, forget anything you don’t want to get stolen / lost / damaged or unrecognizably dirty on the uneven and sometimes muddy streets.
  9. Forget the packing panic. If you think you have too little, you probably packed too much already.
  10. Last but not least, once you have decided what to take with you, forget half of it. Trust me, what you think you need by western standards is 300% what you’ll need while traveling. But because you won’t trust me anyways, go ahead and reduce only by half.


(Let us know how it goes)