Check out our list essential things to pack and things NOT to bring.


Travel Insurance

Don't go to Southeast Asia without having travel insurance. Although you might to save money if you are travelling on a budget, it is essential to get covered just incase anything goes wrong on your trip.

We recommend World Nomads which offers comprehensive cover for all destinations in the region. World Nomads also cover you for any evacuations or emergencies for example healthcare in countries like Laos and Myanmar aren't get but if you need to get flown to Thailand you will get this included.


Important Things Not to Forget

These are some really important essentials:

  • Passport
  • Copies of documents in paper and online
  • Passport photos
  • Choose between a backpack or suitcase and also take a smaller daypack



  • Phone - great for keeping in touch, getting around and making bookings
  • Headphones
  • Universal Power Adapter (if you are planning on visiting multiple countries buy an all-in-one adapter which will work in countries in the region)
  • Camera (optional if you have a modern phone) but having something like a GoPro is a lot of fun
  • Kindle, if you love reading
  • Computer/tablet + charger - most places have wifi around the world now
  • Power bank



Wondering what to wear in Southeast Asia? You will need to check what time of year you are visiting as to what to take. You will also need to work out where you will be going and how long you will be away for.

  • 2 x shorts
  • 5 x t-shirts
  • 1 x trousers
  • Light rain coat
  • Hoody/jumper - even thought SE Asia is tropical, it can get cold at nights. You might even want to get foot warmers or waterproof socks
  • Swimming shorts/costume
  • Flip flops
  • Comfortable trainers
  • Sunglasses
  • A cap or hat

If you plan to go on a trekking tour of Nepal, you'll need totally different things to volunteering in Thailand or exploring the beautiful islands of Asia.


Health & Hygiene

These are some important things not to forget:

  • Deodorant - stay fresh on the road!
  • First-aid kit & medication for stomach problems, colds and pain
  • Hand sanitizer - this is very valuable
  • Toothbrush cover - simple but effective
  • Quick dry towel - one of the more underrated items on our list
  • Deet-free mosquito spray and repellent bracelets
  • Feminine products - important
  • Re-usable water bottle - reduce plastic use and take your own bottle with you
  • Soap and shampoo bar - helps you to keep the weight of your belongings down by taking bars rather than bottles
  • Suncream - get an eco brand which doesn't harm coral 




  • Travel padlock - get a keyless one, you can use it in accommodation and to keep valuables safe in your bag/suitcase
  • A whistle - if you are a female travellers, especially solo it is always recommended to carry a whistle with you


Optional Useful Things to Consider

  • Packing cubes - great for keeping things organised in your backpack or suitcase
  • Vacuum packs – Allows you to squeeze more stuff in your belongings.
  • Flashlight/head lamp, especially if you plan on going off the beaten track
  • Travel journal, a great to keep notes of your travels  


Things Not to Pack

  • Hair dryers, European/North American hairdryers are usually different voltage and so don't work the same in SE Asia
  • Bulky electronics, do you really need a huge heavy laptop? Could you instead get by with a tablet or notebook?


Buying Things in Southeast Asia

Most destinations in Southeast Asia have modern shops that sell all the essentials so don't worry if you forget anything. But remember, a lot of products like clothes and accessories are likely to be fake or copies unless buying from an official store. Places like the Koh San Road in Bangkok are awash with cheap goods, but authenticity is likely questionable.


If you have been to Southeast Asia and have any opinions or advice for what to take or leave behind let us know in the comments section below.