Packing Necessities

Packing Necessities

The following are a list of our indispensibles on this trip.  Most of these links are affiliates, which help fund our trip!



    These sound lame, but truly once you use them you will be a believer.  We share the 4 small and 4 medium packs, but for an individual, the combo pack should work well.  You can sort by clean/dirty, warm/cold, clothes/miscellaneous, it truly has made unpacking and repacking so much faster.


    Refillable, washable, reusable, we love our Klean Kanteens (Y’s black version and L’s silver one).  We try to be good the environment and this also helps save money as tap water or public fountains have been generally readily available (always check if your travel destination’s tap water is potable!).  The only downside is they can weigh heavy after filled up and as Y has learned while holding L’s, they dent when dropped.


    We like these flexible ones (here and here) because they will snap closed without requiring you to lock them.  Also, depending on your bag arrangement, you can sometimes lock more than one zipper with the extra length.  Lastly, no key to lose!


    L always used free pouches from makeup brands for her toiletries, but wanted to consolidate and get one with a hook for this trip.  After much research, she ordered this one which has held up well so far!  It is spacious and roomy, water resistant, comes with an easy carrying handle, and takes up a small footprint.  The most important requirement was a hanging hook for places with no counter space!  And if there is no handle to hang off of, bring one of these lightweight suckers to stick on the mirror.


    Yes, they look like a mini bra for your face, but you can sleep anywhere anytime.  Any brand should do, but either have a pouch (or get one that comes with a pouch) to keep it clean and carry earplugs.



    This one will work all over the world, compact, no swappable pieces that could get lost, has 4 USB ports for our phone cables plus extras, and a regular input plug which we switch off our laptop chargers with.  The only negative is that the input plug is a bit loose, but this adapter has become a great workhorse.


    If you are not traveling solo, this is useful for couples, kids, etc.  We use it to watch movies on planes or buses together, but we also use it to share museum audioguides, saving us money.  It’s worth the few extra bucks to have individual volume control.


    We love reading and the paperwhite is better than any other device for that (even sadly, the original paperback).  Bring it with you to the beach, bring it with you on the train.  If you get the backlit version, you can read it in bed without disturbing your bedmate.  The batteries last forever and it is lightweight.  We suggest getting a pouch or cover to keep the screen scratch-free.


    When you’re out all day, doesn’t matter how new your phone is, its gonna drain.  This is our pick because it is as small and light while still giving us two phone charges/boosts.  If you want bigger and badder, you can’t go wrong with the Anker brand, which we respect and trust (no exploding fires kthx).  We also had (and lost) this one, for its unique 2-in-1 capabilities.


    Perhaps you won’t need one if you aren’t partaking in any water activities, but we are glad we have it for our beach and sea shots.  It’s not as good as a dedicated waterproof camera – the touchscreen can sometimes get unresponsive or the focus off – but it does a decent job and so far has lasted an entire day of kayaking.



    We know this sounds crazy, but wherever you are going, bring an umbrella.  Make sure it is light and compact and not too expensive (we think our first one was stolen by a baggage handler).  But should you bother if you’re going to the land of sunshine?  Yes!  An umbrella will protect you from rain AND shine… those Asian tourists know what’s up.  Leave your shame behind.  We have used the umbrella way more often for sun relief on our walking tours and hikes.  Yes, hats are nice, but an umbrella is even better.

  • HAT

    Again, when you’re outdoors, you should protect your skin and stay cool.  Our tips are to find a hat that is foldable and with a brim large enough to provide 360° shade.


    Well, you already know how we feel about sun, so of course sunscreen is a given.  Buy a sunscreen that is at least 30 SPF (any higher is nominal).  We try to get sunscreens that are zinc oxide (because chemical sunscreens, especially ones with oxybenzone, have been shown to be toxic and are actually banned in Hawaii).  We also prefer non-aerosol as its better for environment and you get more bang for your buck.  However, ANY sunscreen is better than none, so apply whatever you can get!  Also don’t forget your face.  Lastly, remember to REAPPLY especially when heat and sweat get involved.


Not to say you won’t use these on shorter vacations, but we have been very glad we’ve brought  road, but


    Any time we went to the beach, we had this packed with us.  A lot of airbnbs don’t provide extra towels, and some hostels charge for towels.  Quick drying, slim, packs easily into the provided pouch.  Also handy for picnics and even yoga.  We share the body size, but would probably go for the beach size next time.


    This sounds silly and superfluous, but even though we are in incredible cities, sometimes we just need downtime in the form of television or movies.  A lot of airbnbs have nice TVs with HDMI input, so you can stream from your laptop to the TV.  3 ft has been a great length.


    Some airbnbs have washers, but no laundry detergent.  Thank goodness for L’s overpacking, because we packed a few of these detergent pods in a ziploc bag for those times.


    Good for keeping wet clothes separate, for larger liquid toiletries, and for storing food!  We keep a few on us in quart size and gallon size.


    You can sometimes get smaller ones for free from hotels, but this quick sew kit is light enough to pack but will totally come in handy.  Y ripped a hole in his shorts, which was quickly and easily mended with a pre-threaded needle.  A few safety pins are also handy.