Disclaimer: I’m not about to teach you how to pack for a trip to Asia–there are actual bloggers who do that sort of thing for a living; I just want to talk about what I ended up bringing and what worked or didn’t. 😀
I realize I’m five months late on this but hey! it’s still fun to discuss, n’est-ce pas?
Left California in December (aka 55F-79F highs/lows) to go to Manila “winter” (mild rain, humidity 80%+++, makes 80F-95F feel like 90-105F)
Activities: city travel, island stay (4 days), exercise (running)
Things I brought:
Tops: cotton short-sleeved tees, tanks (a few each), a light cardigan, rayon long-sleeved split neck blouses
Dresses/bottoms: one polka dot 3/4 sleeve dress, two pairs of Levi’s cutoffs, Uniqlo Ultra Stretch skinny jeans, Everlane culottes
Shoes: brown Saltwater sandals, running shoes, Nike Free RN Flyknit, Sam Edelman ballet flats
Special: three bikinis (to rotate wash/dry), goggles, water shoes
Outerwear: Arc’teryx rain jacket, Uniqlo Ultra Light down jacket
- Arc’teryx rain jacket: you would think wearing what amounts to a huge plastic tarp would be insufferable in humid rain, but it actually was surprisingly comfortable. Not to mention it doubled as an emergency layer when we entered heavily air-conditioned areas. Note to self: you can get sick from the AC-inside, hellfire outside dichotomy. bring scarves too, it gets cold AND dry when a draft is blowing on you all day.
- Long sleeved (rayon) blouse/top: counterintuitive when you think about humidity and heat, but I was more comfortable in these blouses (and looked more put together) than in a tee-shirt. As long as the material is breathable and not constricting, I actually did better and preferred to be covered up rather than exposing my arms.
- Levi’s shorts: wore these more than the culottes which needed to be ironed every night. They broke into my shape in just the right way and were comfortable as all get. The only downside? full exposure to mosquito bites 😦
- Saltwater sandals: an impulse Amazon buy right before leaving. Not the most comfortable of all footwear (there’s a pressure point under the arch for me that kept bugging after 2-3 hours of wear.) but it goes well with the summer-casual dressing. I would have brought my Birkenstocks but I didn’t want to risk getting them damaged at the beach.
What I forgot and wished for:
- Tweezers and nail clippers – sounds basic. I thought I’d be able to borrow some from the family I was staying with–which I did eventually, but when my nails broke while at the beach I made a note to make it part of my makeup/grooming kit.
- Goggles – this was my fault. I forgot/couldn’t find mine, ended up buying a pair while on vacation. Unnecessary necessary expense.
What I learned:
- Pack a beanie for the long plane ride (doubles as eye cover) and keep drinking water throughout (bathroom line be damned.) Hydration and sleep so that you feel less beat up when you get off the plane.
- You really don’t need five tee shirts when three and daily washing suffices. YMMV on what facilities and opportunities are available to you regarding cleaning your clothes while traveling, but I still only used a good half of what I packed and the rest was just sitting in the suitcase.
- Importance of curating (ugh, I hate that word) your closet IRL so travel packing is less annoying: after a few years of culling (also buzzword) my stuff into the things I really like and use time and again, all my potential building blocks for an outfit are thematically related. All that’s left to do before departure is ensure they are in good condition (I repaired a seam that was coming undone on a top) and you’re done.
- Whatever you forget or is broken or missing can usually be replaced while abroad (except for special medications, most likely.) Don’t sweat the small stuff and try to relax!