Why did I pack that? Packing regrets.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this regret-filled blog are mine alone.
You may be super happy that you brought a travel clothesline… But I never used mine.
Or the duct tape… Or the travel sewing kit. Or the super glue.
A Tiny Backpack
Encouraged by all the stories of SE Asia packing (It’s always warm so you carry fewer clothes!) I ditched my awesome Eagle Creek roller bag with zip-away backpack straps and put everything in this CamelBak to avoid luggage fees. I ended up buying a 2nd backpack in Vietnam and checking a bag anyways. The luggage fees were usually $10.

Fleece Jacket.

Growing up in the mid-west, I cannot fathom wearing short sleeves for 3 months and never wanting something warmer. So, of course I packed my fleece jacket, in case it got chilly in the mountains or on a boat during my travels. Now I realize that a long sleeve wicking shirt under my Patagonia windbreaker would have been plenty. (The coldest place we went, Sapa, Vietnam is also famous for $15 knock-off North Face jackets in case I had needed a warmer layer.)

Rain Jacket.

I arrived to SE Asia at the tail end of rainy season but my lovely Marmot raincoat was basically worthless for 2 reasons. 1- When it rained, it down poured and it the rain would sluice down my jacket and soak me from the waist down. At least my top half was dry, right? 2- Nope. It is intensely hot and humid so even with my pit-zips opened, there is so much sweat inside the jacket that I’m wet anyways. Next time, I’ll bring an umbrella.

Tummy Meds

SE Asian food is so great. Street cart skewers, giant Vietnamese omelets, spring rolls with shrimps. With a bit of careful eating (no uncooked veggies, only bottled water, no spicy food) I was happily able to avoid any stomach ailments and didn’t need the Gas-X, Cipro or rehydration salts I brought. Even if I needed those things, I could have purchased them at any local Pharmacy. PS- I chose not to risk eating these yummy-looking Popsicles.

First Aid

I used a few Bandaids but haven’t touched anything else in my kit. As with the medications, anything I needed would have been easily purchased at the local shops.


I did my research & took 3 different adapters but most outlets work with 2-prong US plugs and 2-pin Euro plugs. I did end up using the 2-pin adapter a few times just to get through the stiffer doors over the outlets.


Silk sleep sheet

A small bundle, just bigger than my fist- I figured that the sleep sheet would be perfect for hostels where you had to rent bedding or weren’t sure about the cleanliness of the sheets. But all of the hostels provided bedding (usually no top sheet) and usually towels too. Could have left this at home.

Cotton t-shirts

The heat and intense humidity turned my t-shirts into stretched out, damp messes. I could wear my wicking tanks 3-4 days in a row, but the cotton t-shirts were always slightly damp. I also would have brought fewer tank tops since I couldn’t wear them any day I might be going to a temple where covering shoulders & knees is required.

Sink Plug and Laundry Soap

I planned on washing my essentials in the hostel sinks but soon realized that the humidity prevented my things from drying in a timely manner. Besides, laundry service was $1.5/Kilo and my t-shirts would come back from the dryer their normal shape & smelling good to boot! Additionally, many local women make a living off of tourist laundry.

Cooling Bandana

REI talked me into this purchase: a bandana that absorbed water and cooled you as it evaporated. Unfortunately, there is little evaporation happening during Cambodian heat waves. It was soggy and useless.

Wish I had some Vitamin C/Airborne. More wicking t-shirts. My mesh sided baseball cap. Hair conditioner.


So happy to have my Patagonia Hoodini! It’s the perfect layer for early morning bike rides or drizzly evenings.

I used these things almost everyday.

A pen! My ipad mini with a keyboard case. Wi-Fi. (Apps: TrailWallet, Agoda for booking rooms, Ulmon maps, FB, Postagram, Instagram, Podcasts… (Y’all should be binge listening to Serial) and e-books).

A collapsable water bottle. A quick dry bandana. My Patagonia Atom shoulder bag. (It was so handy that Kate bought one when she got home!). My Sherpani zip-close wallet on a strap that my passport fits into. A dry bag/compression sack. My Chaco sandals. Headbands by Jessie. (Ps- please note that my hair was only this shiny and soft when I stayed in Bangkok with Bryan who had Pantene and amazing water pressure! Thanks!)

I was super happy for an old pair of cut-off leggings that were soft & lightweight. I often wore them to bed in the hostels and always wore them under my skirt at the temples. Multiple kinds of sunscreen: Neutragena 70spf face stick and 50spf face lotion. Bug spray. Polarized sunglasses. A Timex watch with a light up face & an alarm. Sleep mask & earplugs are essential for hostel dorms. My headlamp. I ate all my granola bars and fruit leathers! My Lumix LX7 did a fantastic job at being smaller, lighter and cheaper than my Canon 60D but still taking post-worthy photos. (My 1 wicking t-shirt got a lot of air time!)




22 x 16 x 9: Tales of a disgruntled over-packer.

Hello, I'm Adrienne and I'm a chronic over-packer. I carry snacks, gum, water and Aleve on a daily basis. I usually have my camera and an extra layer to ward off the evening chill. I like to have all my things with me. I don't travel light, I travel prepared.

Now, here I am, deciding that I that SE Asia will be easier to navigate if I succumb to the airline's tiny 22x16x9 carry-on size. Le sigh.

I have been trolling the interwebs, looking for inspirational packing posts like this one- (theartofsimpletravel) where Tsh will be traveling for a whole year with less clothes than I've planned on taking for 3 months. A whole YEAR! Impressive. Maybe I can do this… maaybe.

So far, this is what fits in my carry on. I'll also have a shoulder bag.



1 rainjacket & my tiny Patagonia windbreaker that I wore all over Europe last fall.

1 jog bra/ 2 other bras

2 pairs of socks / 7 undies

1 pair of pants

1 pair of capris

1 pair of shorts

1 skort

1 over-the-knee length skirt (for visiting temples)

2 tank tops / 2 T-shirts

1 long sleeve shirt (for cool mt. towns)

Chaco sandals (newly resoled in Rockford, Mi!)

Lightweight running shoes

1 hat / 3 headbands

I am planning on buying a scarf (or 4) on my travels


Deodorant, sunscreen, tooth brush & paste, razor, soap, hotel-size shampoo & conditioner, Tweezers & small mirror (gotta keep these eyebrows in check!) Q-tips!

First aid kit

Bandaids: assorted.

Moleskin for blisters

Hydrocortisone cream (for itching)

Triple antibiotic ointment

Digital themometer

1 pair of disposable gloves

Tiny scissors

Duct tape

Electrolyte packets



Traveler insurance info: I'm using World Nomads.

Proof of Vaccinations

Contact Card: Family at home, people in country and places I've reserved to stay in each country

Passport (valid for at least 6 months!), Color copies of my passport, copies of my credit cards

Printed travel itinerary with confirmation #s for flights, etc.


Electronics and Randomness

Travel journal & colored pencils

Gum, granola bars & fruit leather

Little gifts like stickers & Michigan-edition quarters

IPad, charger and a ton of really helpful travel apps (listed in this blog post.)

A book to read and trade at a hostel when I'm done.

My tiny new camera the Panasonic Lumix Lx7! It has a Leica lens & full manual controls. Since I'm a Canon girl, this has taken some getting used to- but the photos are coming out lovely! It's SO much smaller!

70 GB of SD cards, Apple card reader (to load photos onto my iPad), extra camera battery and charger

Adapters! (Since all my electronics have voltage ranges from 120-240 I don't need a converter!)


I am certain to amend this list, there are a few things that I've neglected to put in the photos because I'm not sure if they'll fit now that I've decided to go carry-on!

10 days til wheels-up!


My most favorite travel accessory… my iPad!

My iPad/iPhone is my most useful travel equipment. (Even when I don’t have service!)

Natasja & her iPad, in the window of our Prague Hostel, 2013

Last fall, while Natasja & I were trying to connect with my lost (& very jet lagged) parents – my ULMON PRAGUE app saved the day.  Seriously.  Well, my iPad and Saint Ludwila.  I thought my parents were just going to give up and go to Slovakia without me.  (Read the account here.)  That experience cemented my iPad mini at the top of my must-have travel accessories.

Here are the apps that I am taking on my trip.

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Ulmon (for big cities)

This app is perfect for me because (as anyone who has ever driven anywhere with me will know) I am directionally challenged.  Even off-line, I can touch the blue navigation arrow and it will show me where I am on the map as I walk through the city!  It also lists all the most common tourist sights and allows me to search for the locations of temples, restaurants and cat cafes!

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Have you ever wished that YOU could be in the photos on the vacation postcards that you send to your friends? Now you can send a REAL POSTCARD & it only costs you $1/each!  Personalized postcards are super fun and since they are printed in the USA, then mailed to your destination, it’s a quick way to get mail to your friends in the States while you are abroad!

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Google Drive

All of my flight info, travel insurance policy, contact info and my travel itinerary are in a file that I can share with the people who need to know where I am at all times. I also did a 8GB photo file download while at a friend’s house in Bangkok to free up another card for my camera!


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This is the app WAS my favorite app to use to post my ‘Adventures of a Michigander’ blog since I’m not bringing my laptop.  I did buy an iPad case with a keyboard for the trip. Unfortunately, Blogsy will not have a new update and is no longer compatible with the newest iOS. Now, I just use WordPress.


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All of my flight details are gleaned from my confirmation emails without any effort on my part! It’s pretty useful when you frequently buy cheap tickets on Skyscanner b/c they are less than train tickets!

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Safety First!  This is where I check the government travel warnings for the 7 countries I’ll be traveling in.


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Trail Wallet

At the end of my trip, I’ll be able to use this app to see charts on my spending.  It will break it down to how much I spent per day & on what.  I’m sure you’re already looking forward to that blogpost.


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Find me @adventuresofamichigander, to see photos that I don’t post on FB or my blog!


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Screen Shot 2015-05-26 at 3.56.02 PMHostelBookers/Agoda:

Booking accommodation just got easier!

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 Heads Up!

Ellen DeGeneres designed this app and it’s hilarious to play with groups.  It’s simple, your team tries to get you to say the word on the screen, as you hold the iPad on your forehead.  The best part is the video it takes during the game – this game will make me lots of friends when I get stuck inside during a rainstorm.

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It’s hard to keep track of the days when you travel so this app warns me when I might be feeling ‘PMSy’ rather than just ‘Hangry’.  It’s very helpful.


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ToonCamera or Prisma

I love the way my photos look with this app!

WhatsApp/ FB Messanger

Text your new international friends for free on WhatsApp or use FB to make free video calls!


Screen Shot 2014-09-06 at 10.17.28 PMFly Delta

The app is worth downloading simply for the Glass Bottomed Jet feature, where it will show you the places you’re flying over + which FB friends you’re flying over!  Slightly stalker-ish but neat! *I was disappointed by this app and then PANICKED by this app when it sent me flight check-in reminders from the wrong time zone, causing me to think I’d missed my flight. Boo. Deleted.

Also: Kindle, FaceBook, iMessage, GoogleTranslate, plus some games and a 7-min workout app* that I never used.

If you’re still reading, leave your favorite travel apps in the comments, please!