Packing for a month in Thailand

We made it to and from Thailand with just carry on day packs – and small ones at that! I’ve been overseas several times, now, and each trip finds me carrying less and less. There are a TON of advantages to traveling light:

  • The airlines can’t lose your stuff
  • You don’t have to wait at baggage claim
  • If it fits on your back, you can go wherever you want, whenever you want, without having to make a loop back to where you are staying to fetch your stuff
  • If you want something that you brought with you, you have it with you, solving the “I wish I had the sunscreen that is in my luggage” dilemma
  • You become adventurous, because if you don’t have something you need, you have to go and find it locally!

Here’s what our bags looked like, at the end of the trip. The only reason my jacket is on the outside is because after a month of living in the bottom of the bag – it needed airing!

All we needed for 4 weeks in Thailand

All we needed for 4 weeks in Thailand










It was easy to pack light for our trip, due to the climate and because we didn’t plan on going anywhere that required fancy shoes or clothes. And it also helped that we didn’t have to bring dive gear (save for masks and snorkels). If you have to travel somewhere with a more varied climate or a varied set of social engagements – a small bag may not work!


My packing list looks longer than it is – it all fit into that red bag there on the left, with a bit of room to spare. So much, that I was able to bring home an entire bottle of single malt scotch, a PADI Adventure Dive book, and some snacks!


  • Underoos (just two -the lightweight washable kind)
  • Thin running socks
  • Wool socks for the plane
  • 2 short sleeve Tees
  • A rash guard for swimming/diving
  • Running shoes
  • Sandals
  • Long sleeve shirt for the plane/cold weather
  • Travel pants (Ex-Officio – lightweight, washable)
  • Lightwight jacket
  • Shorts
  • Hat


  • First aid kit
  • Sunglasses
  • Kindle
  • Charger
  • Sleep sack
  • Camp towel
  • Flashlight
  • Mask
  • Snorkel
  • Power adapter
  • Laundry cord
  • Money belt
  • Compression/Velcro straps
  • Eye glasses
  • Phone
  • Extra mesh bag for laundry
  • Cash, credit card, passport, copy of Puja’s passport
  • Cards


  • Toothbrush
  • Razor
  • Re-hydration tablets
  • Eco friendly multi-purpose soap

I used everything I brought, although in hindsight – I might have skipped bringing a coat and a long sleeve shirt – those didn’t see action save for the airplane. Ditto for the money belt – that proved to me more of a hassle than it was worth. The first time I went abroad, I had to carry all of my cash and plane tickets with me -but with ATMs and e-ticketing – in hindsight – I don’t think I’d bring one again, unless traveling somewhere that seemed unsafe.

During the trip, some things proved to be far handier than I thought:

Sleep sack: You know – just a thin cotton or satin sheet, folded in half and sewn on three sides. Perfect for adding a few degrees of warmth, or for when you aren’t sure how clean the bedding is. Since it was so warm in Thailand, a lot of the places where we stayed had a bottom sheet and a blanket. So the sleep sack made a perfect top sheet.

Laundry rope: Three braids of elastic, wound tight, with velco straps at the end – meaning you can string a laundry line almost anywhere. Between that and the soap – very easy to wash some clothes at night and have them by dry and wearable the next morning.

Compression/Velcro Straps: Used these ALL of the time – from tying a damp towel to the outside of the bag, to compressing what I already had, to improvising a belt – so glad I brought those along. Plus, they don’t take up much space!

Stuff I didn’t bring:

Toothpaste, sunscreen, shampoo, soap. All of those things are readily available. Sure, you might not get the brand that you want – but those things take up a ton of space. On top of that – most of the places where we stayed had travel samples -so we didn’t even have to purchase many of those items.

All in all – traveling light was the right choice – and I can’t wait to have the chance to pack for our next adventure!



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