Essential travel packing – Monsoon edition

I’m not sure if this really falls into the purview of this blog. It’s not really about libraries, but it’s sort of about information. Or lack of information. When I was getting ready to travel to Bangladesh and Nepal, I spent lots of time thinking about what I needed to pack to survive in a Muslim country in June during monsoon. I found some general guidelines online about what not to do, which I could have guessed at anyway, don’t show too much skin, etc. I knew I was going to stand out no matter what I wore (in Bangladesh, simply being white is enough to stop traffic, sometimes literally) but I wanted to make sure that I was comfortable and that I wasn’t causing undo discomfort to the locals. I took three bags: a backpack for the plane, a carry-on suitcase, and a large suitcase, which was entirely filled with things for Emily on the way there and entirely filled with gifts and souvenirs on the way back. All of my personal items fit in a small backpack and a rolling carry-on bag for three weeks worth of travel. This meant that all of my essentials were with me at all times and were not lost in transit. The large bag was checked luggage, and was left in Dhaka while we jetted around. Basically, it didn’t go many places, but was useful for accumulating stuff. It was also lost in transit for a week on the way back to the US. Because of the way I planned, this didn’t completely derail my life but was a little nerve-wracking since almost all of my gifts and souvenirs were inside. In the interest of informing anyone else with the same questions I had, here’s my packing list.

Clothes and such:

  • Three tops, all long or three-quarter sleeved. One black and grey striped knit top, one navy and white plaid in a very lightweight gauze, and one white and light blue pinstripe button down.
  • Two skirts, long. One black knit, one black and white print.
  • One pair zip-off hiking pants in grey. Pants zip off into capris.
  • PJs.
  • Under garments. I generally choose to bring a week’s worth, because while I’m cool with wearing tops and pants over and over before washing, I’m not so cool about my undergarments, especially in sweaty climates.
  • Two bandanas, for dabbing delicately at my glowing brow in non-air-conditioned circumstances.
  • Two pairs of shoes. Chacos sandals and barefoot flats. I didn’t wear the flats at all.
  • Toiletries of your choice but also including some kind of laundry soap for handwashing in the sink.
  • Small handbag that is not a backpack. I took my purse, which has a cross-body strap and a closure.
  • Ziploc bags and/or plastic grocery bags, for containing messes, separating out dirty clothes from clean ones, and generally being a useful back up plan for many situations.
  • Chargers for phone, Kindle, etc. I didn’t need any special adapters.

In the backpack:

  • Scarf, for warmth and blocking out light or unwelcome staring. Can also be used as a headcovering, although I didn’t use it this way.
  • Noise cancelling headphones, for watching movies or just cancelling out noise in general.
  • Ipod.
  • Kindle and back-up paper book. Ok, I had two more back-up paper books in the carry on. It’s a compulsion.
  • Phone.
  • Water bottle, empty. Fill this beyond security at the airport.
  • Little bag with earplugs, chapstick, hand sanitizer, handi-wipes, kleenex, bandaids, prescriptions, painkiller, and sleep aid.
  • Copies of all your travel documents (flight info, hostel info, driver’s license, passport, visas, etc.) I took both hard copies and a USB with all of my info on it, just in case.
  • Inflatable neck pillow. Seriously.
  • Little notebook and pens.
  • Snacks.

All of this did me just fine. Here’s some more good info about packing for traveling, although this list is more of a “backpacking across the world for months” kind of list. Maybe we can convince Emily to tell us what travel items she considers essential?

One thought on “Essential travel packing – Monsoon edition

  1. […] You can see more travel trips for foreign lands here. […]

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