Even I was wondering how I could possibly pack one backpack for a 3 week trip. Obviously the idea is to take as little as possible. I also have a small daypack that I’m taking to use for day outings, but also to load my purse and other items into if I run out of space in my pack.  Thankfully we started this packing thing 3 days early as we have had to pack and repack to figure out how to make it all fit!  We used roll up vacuum bags to pack our clothes in so that they compressed very thin.  This was a great spacesaver.



4 pairs of underwear and socks

1 bathing suit and rash guard
2 capri’s
1 shorts
5 shirts including a long sleeve button up “safari style” shirt.
1 sundress
1 pair of pants – these are Columbia convertible pants that zip of into shorts. The pants will be worn on the plane and in temples, otherwise they will be my 2nd pair of shorts.
Columbia fleece jacket


1 pair of keen water shoes which have mesh venting. They are good for hiking, wading through water and just everyday wearing…  and they’re slip on/off – great for the plane!

1 pair of flip flops.




Toothpaste and toothbrushes
Contact lenses
Hair de-frizzerQtips
Nail clippers
Bug spray (in the form of wipes)
Cleaning wipes for glasses




Azithromycin… Just in case we have any TD (travelers diarrhea)
Immodium (for the same)
Tylenol and Ibuprofen
Baby aspirin
Bonine (motion sickness pills)
Hydrocortisone cream
Triple antibiotic cream
No-doz- in case the jet lag is getting in the way of vacation.




2 cameras: my new Lumix fz-300 and a Nikon handheld underwater camera plus their chargers, cases, batteries and accessories
Universal plug adapter
Phones and chargers
UP2 charger


A small daypack that folds up like a wallet. It will be good for day trips. Earbuds
Passports and visas
My travel notebook with all my research and travel notes in it as well as hotel phone numbers, flight numbers, US embassy numbers etc.

Purse contents

Purse contents

I did have a snorkel and mask in the pack but those were removed to conserve space and weight.  We will have access to them at a few of the hotels..  The women’s 30L pack is actually only 28L and the men’s is actually 30L (go figure) so I had a little difficulty squeezing it all in my pack.  Jerry is carrying a couple minor things for me.  The Lumix camera did not actually make it into the pack.  It will be hand carried.  My pack is weighing in at 12.5 pounds and Jerry’s is right around 14 lbs.  As long as we don’t “pick anything up” along the way, we should make the 7kg carry on restrictions of AirAsia!  Fingers crossed.

Now you might be wondering ‘why a backpack… What’s wrong with a suitcase?’  Well, nothing.

Actually I like my suitcase.  On this trip though, we are going to be taking 7 flights.  Three of those are on AirAsia which charges extra for carry on baggage that weighs over 7 kg (15 lbs).   The other reason is that we will be using subways, trains, and taxis to get from airports to hotels plus we will have 3 ferry boat trips.  Hands free is the way to go …. I hope.   The only downside to this is that it’s a lot of strain on the shoulders!  We did a practice run in December with our packs to Florida and I learned just how out of shape I was!  My shoulders were killing me, and I was huffing my way through the airports. Granted, I am slightly older than most backpackers…

So, I’ve spent the last two months working out and trying to get my upper body strength up. We will see if it worked…. Otherwise I’ll be ditching the pack for my leopard print suitcase next trip!

Hubby and I are both carrying 30 liter (30L) Gregory packs bought at REI (my favorite store lately). We made sure to have them sized by a store employee. I never realized there was so much that went into getting the right fit for a pack. But there is.  So if you’re looking to try backpacking whether for hiking/camping or for travelling, make sure to get fitted for one.