By Kayleigh Alexandra
If you’re planning a backpacking trip around Asia, it can be easy to get lost daydreaming about all the amazing locations you’re going to visit and the delicious food you’re going to eat. But what about the more practical side of traveling?
By practical, I mean the packing. Some of us love it, some of us hate it. But wherever your destination and no matter how long you’re going for, it’s unavoidable.
The important thing is to remember to pack your travel essentials. These are things that you won’t be able to go without, that you might not be able to buy while you’re out there; or could be hard to find. And unfortunately, as women, this can be harder for us than it is for men.
Here are some of the top travel essentials for women backpacking in Asia; including some unexpected additions!
If you’re completely new to traveling, then check out this newbie guide to everything travel related first.
Sure, you’re going to want to pack a variety of your bikinis, boho dresses, and glitzy night-out tops. However, you need to make sure you bring along some more conservative clothing too.
It’s important to respect the culture of the country you’re visiting, and this means paying attention to dress codes and being sensitive to what is appropriate and what isn’t.
For example, wandering around a beach in a bikini is fine, but if you’re visiting a temple or religious site, then show your respect by adhering to the dress code.
Loose-fitting trousers or skirts are a good way to cover up, as are flowing shirts or scarves to cover your shoulders and sometimes your head.
As much as we want to think about the fun things we’re going to pack; all the chic travel outfits planned and the books we’re going to read on the beach, it’s also important to think about the menstrual products to bring on backpacking adventures too.
Depending on how long you’re traveling for, it’s probably likely that you’re going to get your period while you’re out there. In many places in Asia, menstrual products can be difficult to find.
Tampons, in particular, are notoriously rare and can be extremely expensive when they do turn up. If you want to use these, then you’ll need to bring your own supplies.
Sanitary pads are easier to come by but they tend to be big and bulky in Asian countries, which might leave you feeling super self-conscious if you’re used to using thin pads at home.
If in doubt, it’s best to pack what you think you’ll need.
If you’re worried about bringing a backpack full to the brim with tampons and pads for three months-worth of periods, then period panties are a good option to consider.
Period underwear is ideal if you’re traveling around Asia for any length of time; especially if you’re in remote areas or on tiny islands where buying pads and tampons could be tricky. Period panties (which come in a range of styles) are leak proof and super absorbent, which keeps you covered and comfortable while you’re traveling.
An added bonus is that period panties are reusable and easy to wash; meaning you just need to bring a few pairs to free up a load of space in your backpack!
It’s super important to be comfortable while you’re traveling; otherwise, you’re going to spend the whole time fidgeting rather than looking at all of the wonderful sights around you.
Sometimes, a normal bra just isn’t enough; particularly in hot weather, it can make you feel sweaty and uncomfortable.
One of the best ways to do this is to pack a sports bra (or two). Sports bras are designed to make you feel cooler and more comfortable while providing you with support and protection.
They’re breathable and they dry quickly, which makes them perfect for any of your Asian travel activities; whether it’s trekking through a humid jungle or joining a walking tour through a hot, busy city.
Obviously, these are just some of the travel essentials you’ll need for backpacking around Asia as a woman. The rest will depend on your itinerary and the length of your trip. Just remember not to overpack as you’ll be carrying around all of your possessions, and if in doubt, make a list!