10 Useful things
10 useful things to have when visiting SE Asia
Sewing kit - as trivial as it might sound, having a sewing kit handy has been quite a life saver. Ripped pants, shirts and even flip flops have become a common occurrence for us so having a sewing kit has saved us a ton of money by not having to replace things so often and really helps us not be so wasteful when it’s an easy fix anyway.
Pillow case- if you are one of those weirdos like us that gets put off by stains or just the thought of the what-ifs when it comes to bedding then having a pillow case is a must - have. If stains do not bother you, then just skip to the next point. We stay in budget accommodations and sometimes the sheets and pillow cases are older or stained so having our own pillow case helps a bit. Another option is to use a spare T-shirt in case you don't want to bother carrying an actual pillow case. Bonus: There is a special kind of pillow case that zips shut and keeps you protected if you have the unfortunate run-in with bedbugs or other insects as well (we haven’t been this unlucky but we know people who have). This is the type of pillowcase we use and we really like them.
Thermo water bottle - another luxury but it has made a big difference for us. Imagine yourself laying on the beach, enjoying the sun and quenching your thirst with a nice, big gulp of cold water! Pretty awesome, isn't it? Well, unfortunately only possible if you’ve got the right bottle, you wouldn’t believe how quickly that chilled H2O you grabbed at the market turns into tea-worthy temperature and it just doesn’t taste the same.
Sarong(s) or an oversized scarf - you can find sarongs everywhere in SE Asia and fairly cheap so get one or a few if you want. We use them for our beach towels that way we do not dirty our bath towels. We also use them as blankets on buses, airports or long ferry rides. We use them to cover up in temples or areas where more modest attire is required. They can always be used as a fashion accessory, thrown over a bathing suit or if visiting places with a cooler climate, added as an extra layer.
Power strip - this one should be moved to our “top 10 essentials” post as we have used it every day so far! When staying in a hostel or hotel you have limited access to power outlets and chances are you need to plug in more than one device to charge overnight so bring a small power strip, this way you can ensure you’re always charged up!
Foldable tote bags - another item that has made our life on the road easier. We use them on beach days to carry our sarongs, snorkel mask and random stuff, we use them when grocery shopping, for our dirty laundry, etc. They are so small that they fold up to the size of a baby’s fist and very light so you’ll barely notice them when not in use. Side note: It’s insane how much plastic is littered throughout SE Asia, plastic bags especially - so this is our small way of limiting our usage and our waste.
Blow-up pillow - we opted for blow up pillows instead of going with the traditional neck pillow that are everywhere. Here’s why….you can use a blow up pillow as a second pillow when you need, you can use it at the beach and rinse off the sand with no problem, you can use it on a plane tray table, you can fold it in half and use it as a neck pillow if you don’t fill it up all the way, and you can even use it on that really long ferry ride when you’re stuck for 6 extra hours like we were.
Ipad (or any small tablet) - we do tons of work online but aside from that, traveling can be a little boring sometimes so having a small, light device to read books on, play games or watch a movie/tv show is almost a necessity. It’s easier than carrying an actual book and in this day and age with all your favorite music and entertainment so accessible, why wouldn’t you?
First Aid kit - another staple to every travel packing list. Don't go overboard trying to get every single medicine possible. Believe it or not there are pharmacies everywhere around the world…so you will be able to find most things. Some of our “must haves” have been Ibuprofen or any over the counter painkiller needed, motion sickness tablets, band aids, liquid band-aid and alcohol wipes. The liquid bandaid is especially useful for small cuts on feet due to coral and rocky beaches.
Playing cards - When traveling you might find yourself with more downtime than you know what to do with, whether you’re dealing with a few hours of unexpected rain, stuck on that bus/train/ferry/plane/you name it, or you’re simply sitting on a beach and need to mix it up a little bit. Playing cards are a good and easy way to pass the time whether alone or with a group of new friends over a beer. So remember those old games your grandma taught you or the ones you learned back in college and have some fun!