What I’m Taking to Southeast Asia

by Brenna Holeman

Sighisoara, Romania

Osaka, Japan

Osaka, Japan

Kyoto, Japan

Osaka, Japan

Marrakech, Morocco

Isle of Skye, Scotland

Tokyo, Japan

Pink is the next shade in what I hope is an ongoing collection of colours (see orange here). Pink is supposed to be a colour that calms you, that represents relaxation and contentment; considering I am leaving for Asia in nine hours, I need all the calming, relaxation, and contentment I can get.

I decided to write a packing list, as people sometimes ask me how I pack for such long journeys. Please keep in mind that a) I always take too much b) I love clothes and c) I like to be prepared. You could travel for six months on much less than what I am bringing. So, in no particular order:


  1. An Asus Eee notebook computer
  2. A Canon G12 camera
  3. A Fujifilm XP10 underwater camera
  4. A digital Harinezumi camera
  5. An ipod
  6. Extra batteries and memory cards
  7. Battery chargers
  8. Power adapter


  1. Five summer dresses, different styles (yep, five)
  2. Two cotton beach cover-ups (that will be doubled as dresses on laundry days)
  3. One pair of cut-off shorts
  4. Two pairs of leggings
  5. Two long-sleeved t-shirts
  6. Two tunic-style tops
  7. Three cotton blouses/shirts
  8. Four cotton skirts (long and short)
  9. Four tank tops
  10. One pair of runners
  11. Two pairs of flats
  12. One pair of flip-flops
  13. Ten pairs of underwear
  14. One set of pajamas
  15. Three purses (two cloth and one small leather)
  16. Three bras
  17. Three pairs of socks
  18. Two bathing suits
  19. Two scarves (thin cotton)
  20. Two belts
  21. One rain jacket
  22. One cardigan
  23. One denim jacket
  24. One bag of assorted jewelery
  25. One pair of sunglasses

Travel Gear and Extras:

  1. Three mesh bags from MEC (one large one fits all of my clothing, one medium one for underwear, one medium one for dirty laundry)
  2. An alarm clock
  3. A roll of toilet paper
  4. Earplugs
  5. A bicycle lock (for locking my backpack to luggage racks, etc.)
  6. A silk sleeping sack
  7. A headlamp
  8. A Swiss army knife
  9. Two guidebooks (one on SE Asia, one on India)
  10. Small first-aid kit
  11. Journal, pens, glue, scissors
  12. Passport/money belt
  13. One book to read

Toiletries and Medicine:

  1. Shampoo bar and conditioner bar
  2. One bar of soap for face and body
  3. Two bottles of suncream for face and body
  4. One bottle of lotion with aloe
  5. Self-tanner (my body may tan well, but my face stays eternally pink and white)
  6. Razor and blades
  7. Two sticks of antiperspirant
  8. One bottle of painkillers
  9. Malaria tablets
  10. Water purification tablets
  11. Hair scissors
  12. Condoms
  13. Make-up (not much!)
  14. Tampons
  15. Bug spray
  16. Anti-itch spray for bug bites
  17. Imodium and Pepto Bismol (India here I come!)
  18. Toothbrush, toothpaste and floss
  19. Bandages and antibacterial cream

That’s all I can think of at the moment (my bag is already packed and there is no way I am unpacking it again). All of that fits very nicely in my backpack, other than the electronics which are in my carry-on. My backpack’s total weight is 14kg, which I am pretty damn proud of – I am a notorious over-packer even though I have travelled quite a bit and should have learned how to pack lightly by now. You’ll notice in the clothing section that there are no trousers, and, with one exception, no shorts; I never wear them in “real” life, so why would I wear them when travelling? I am much more comfortable in skirts and will wear the leggings and tunics when engaging in any hiking or athletic activity (and I don’t plan on doing that much, unless you count unrolling a beach towel an athletic activity). (Edit: I just did a quick count of possible outfits, not including the cardigan or denim jacket. 47! 47 different outfits in that one little bag. I am pleased as punch.)

Do you think I missed anything?

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Cara-Mia January 13, 2011 - 7:27 am

Lovely photos! Good luck on your trip, you seem like you’ll be well prepared. 🙂

This Battered Suitcase January 13, 2011 - 7:34 am

Thanks, Cara-Mia!

kay*(from india.with love) January 14, 2011 - 12:44 am

Love this post. Love your pictures. Love this new adventure! Safe travels – can’t WAIT to see you in India!

Canadian Pie January 14, 2011 - 2:25 am

wow that’s awesome! I can’t even go away for a weekend without bringing a suitcase.

This Battered Suitcase January 15, 2011 - 3:32 pm

Kisha – Thank you! Oh, and I can’t wait, either. We will have a blast…

Canadian Pie – I am a notorious overpacker, so I was quite proud of this bag! Of course, I then met a girl travelling for a year with only 12kgs and my pride quickly turned to shame…

Ekua January 17, 2011 - 6:22 am

Especially like the 2 pictures with flowers. Your packing list is almost identical to mine, except for a much longer period of time 😉 Hope you’re enjoying everything so far!

This Battered Suitcase January 17, 2011 - 9:47 am

Thanks, Ekua! It’s amazing how many options I have with this stuff, I’m quite proud of myself!

The SoleSisters February 12, 2011 - 4:48 pm

I bought a Canon G12 camera too but I find that the photos when viewed on the camera’s LCD are way different from what I get when I upload them on the PC. I’m disappointed. The colors look totally washed out. Help?

P.S. Sorry for the totally unrelated topic 🙁

Tee June 2, 2011 - 11:35 am

Hi Brenna

How many litres is your backpack? I am having the same dilemma about what to pack…

I was going to go for 50 litre with a 25 litre extra bit. Hmmmmm

Not sure, but great tips on packing. 47 outfits is pretty good. not quite sure I’ll be able to match it!


This Battered Suitcase June 5, 2011 - 11:44 am

My bag is a 70 litre one, but it is hardly ever full to capacity.

My advice is to bring almost NOTHING in terms of clothes…I swear that I have gotten rid of nearly everything I brought with me originally! I bought so many cool, unique pieces while travelling so far, and they are so much cheaper than in Canada…trust me, you’ll buy a lot on the road!


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