If you’re planning a trip to Southeast Asia, one of the most important decisions you’ll make is what to pack. Travelling with a 30L carry on bag only is becoming increasingly popular, as more and more people realise the benefits of packing light. Not only does it save you money on baggage fees and makes moving around easier, but it also forces you to be intentional with your packing choices and prioritise what’s truly necessary. However, packing for a trip with limited space can be daunting, and it’s easy to overpack or forget essential items.
As a female revert to Islam, figuring out what new items I needed to include in my packing list was a bit challenging, but with some effort, I managed to streamline it. I hope that my experience will be helpful to you as well. Even if you don’t identify as Muslim, many of the items on this list will likely be relevant to you, and you can simply skip over the Muslim-specific section.
In this blog post, I’ll guide you through everything you’ll need to pack for your Southeast Asia trip, from sunglasses to solid toiletries, power converters to prayer mats and important travel documents and insect repellent!
Don’t wear or pack any denim. You won’t need it.
Think of light, flowy clothing that breathes.
You can easily buy those elephant pants/harem pants/fishermen pants in Southeast Asian markets for around $5 AUD (give or take a few dollars!). So buying them when you arrive is always a great idea and is the perfect way to pack light.
Because I’m Muslim, I wear long flowy pants, long loose shirt and a hijab to do my daily prayers in my room.
Solid Travel Toiletries are the best and I’ve got an entire blog post about how to pack non liquid solid toiletries for carry on luggage.
Also, don’t forget to check out my 12 tips on how to travel with a carry on only bag
BONUS: Keep on scrolling down for a complete packing list image you can save on your phone!
Hijab x 2 – I don’t wear a hijab in my day to day life so I pack an instant hijab and a cotton hijab to use for my daily prayers and when I visit Mosques.
Travel prayer mat – Packs up into a small square, this is perfect to use in your hotel room.
Foldable Water Bottle – Use this if you’re out and about and need to do Wudu
Modest Swimsuit/Burkini x 1 – This will be one of your bulkiest items to pack because it will include long pants, long sleeve swimming suit and a skirt.
Long Sleeve Shirts x 3
Long Pants x 4
Tshirts x 5
Nightgown x 1
Undies x 7
Bras x 2
Socks x 4
Travel Compression Socks x 1 – Wear these on the plane to your destination
Sneakers/Walking Shoes x 1 – Wear on the plane
Sandals x 1
Small piece of body soap bar – Cut a small piece off of each of the bars as you won’t need an entire bar on your travels, depending on the length of your trip. Love my solid travel toiletries.
Small piece of shampoo bar
Small piece of conditioner bar
Small piece of face cream bar
Travel Hair Brush
(The below items will go in your clear liquid bag)
Roll On Deodorant
Insect Repellent – Really important! The last thing you want is to catch Dengue Fever or Malaria. Always wear this and reapply throughout the day. Sunscreen first, then insect repellent over it.
Sunscreen – Always take sunscreen with you when travelling to Southeast Asia as it’s expensive there and can be difficult to find ones that don’t have skin whitening ingredients.
Canon DSLR with 55-200mm lens & 50mm lens
Power Bank/Portable Charger
Universal Plug Adapter
Headlight – You’ll need this to climb volcanos in the morning to see sunrises!
Travel Scale – Most of the flights I take have a limit of 7kg so I use this to keep track of the weight of my bag
Laundry Bag – You don’t want smelly laundry in your backpack so chuck anything you’ve worn in this bag and carry it to get washed at a cheap laundry service in Southeast Asia as there are plenty!
Fold up Backpack – Use this as your daily bag when you’re out and about.
Travel Towel – I love taking my new Sea to Summit airlite travel towel because it’s so light and rolls up into a very tiny ball!
Pen – Never forget a pen! You’ll need it when filling out customs/immigration forms on the plane.
Passport – Your number 1 needed item!
Australian Licence/Proof of Age Card – When I hired a bicycle in Hoi An, I handed over my Proof of Age card to the vendor and I got it back when I returned the bicycle.
Credit Cards and Cash
Paperwork of all Plane Tickets, Visas, Hotels, Insurance, Vaccinations – It’s always a good idea to take print outs of everything incase the hotel, immigration, transport computers are down or offline.
Travel Wallet with RFID Blocking – I take a specific wallet when I travel that’s large enough to hold cash notes that don’t need to be folded.
House Keys – Don’t forget your home house keys!