10 Things You Shouldn’t Pack for Thailand

Things You Absolutely Don’t Need to Pack for Thailand

Planning your backpacking trip can be stressful! One google search and you’re suddenly ten blogs in and ten times more confused. That’s part of the reason we created our Secret Packing List. When coming to Thailand, there are essential items that it’s easy to forget.

But most people forget how much stuff they should leave at home! If you’re on a budget (and not looking to have back surgery at twenty-five), traveling light is key. Stick around for our top ten things you shouldn’t pack for Thailand!

#1 Jewelry, Valuables, and Black Market Organs

If it’s hard to replace, extremely expensive, and not a necessity: leave it at home! First and foremost, you risk losing anything you bring with you. Throw a rock in any hostel, and you’re sure to find someone who has lost it all. And unlike home, lost items usually stay lost. Carrying around valuables also puts you at a greater risk of being stolen from, which can put a huge damper on your trip.

#2 Enough Denim to Clothe an Army

We can not tell you how many backpackers are traveling with multiple pairs of jeans. And we’ll just never understand it! Jeans are extremely heavy and take up a lot of space. Worse, they take days to dry after being in the rain. One pair will always be enough. You can go several times without washing them and a good pair of jeans will go with any outfit.

#3 The Entirety of Your Wardrobe

We hate to break it to you, but you aren’t moving to Thailand! That visa is only good for a month or two, and then you’re on your own. We totally understand wanting outfits to choose from, but you don’t need one for every day of the week. One, you’re a backpacker. You’re supposed to look rugged and slightly homeless. Two, you’re changing cities every three days. No one will be around to know if you wear the same dress week after week. It’s extremely easy to do laundry as you go, and most tourists end up shopping for clothes anyways.

#4 An Entire Collection of Air Jordans

You don’t need more than one pair of shoes. End of story. Shoes take up more space than anything else, and you’re almost never going to dress up while backpacking. Just choose a pair of day-to-day shoes that can go well with nicer clothes. Your only other footwear should be flip-flops (thongs for you aussies) for the shower and beach. Strolling up to the hostel in high heels will definitely get you weird looks—especially if you’re a boy.

#5 Kylie Jenner Lip Kits

We have some bad news for our girls and guys (no judgement) who love makeup. Thailand. Is. Hot. We promise that you’ll sweat off anything you put on. You’ll also stand out like a sore thumb if you’re dressed to the nines, because backpackers tend to look rough and hungover! Sure, looking cute is important. But you don’t need to bring your entire makeup bag. Instead, stick to the basics like mascara, concealer, eyeliner, and lipstick. You can always buy more if you run out.

#6 Your Local Spa

First things first, you don’t know true suffering unless a bottle of shampoo has exploded in your bag. And if it’s happened to you, you know better than to travel with endless toiletries! Personally, we recommend sticking to the airline rules (even for check bags). Everything you need can be bought while you’re traveling. It will help you save space and avoid messes. BUt be sure you don’t buy whitening products on accident.

#7 Proof that You’re Lonely Planet’s #1 Fan

We love a good guidebook just as much as the next backpacker. However, they’re heavy, rarely read, and full of information you don’t constantly need. End of story. Instead of dragging a library with you city to city, why not make copies of the pages you need? And when push comes to shove, we promise every hostel in the world has at least one copy lying around. There’s also a magical new thing called Google that is—wait for it—free to use worldwide!

#8 A Middle-Aged Woman’s Bathrobe

We know, we know. All of the backpacker forums say that you should absolutely, no matter what, no ifs/ands/buts bring a towel with you. But bath towels are big, take a long time to dry, and make your bag stink. That’s why so many hostels provide (or at least rent) towels for your stay. And if you can’t bear with that idea, opt for a quick-drying travel towel instead.

#9 Anything with the Buddha on It

All jokes aside, this is the most serious point on our list. Just don’t. Please. Thai people find it extremely insensitive to depict the Buddha on clothing, bags, tattoos, and in nearly any other way. It’s even illegal depending on where you visit in Southeast Asia. It’s always best to be culturally aware and leave a good impression. While you may think it’s artsy, respectful, or funny, we can promise that many locals will not.

#10 Anything That Fits Into This Sentence

I might need __________ if I __________. Wanting to be prepared is admirable. However, you might need a parachute if you go skydiving. And you might need a full body pillow to cuddle if you strike out on a pub crawl. That doesn’t mean you have to pack them! If you aren’t sure you’ll be using it several times a week, leave it at home. Anything that you end up needing can be purchased or borrowed while you travel. Carry the necessities, and make up for the rest.

That sums it up! It’s easy to over pack for Thailand when you’re backpacking. Just remember that you should be prepared to carry everything you bring several kilometers. You never know where that bus will drop you off. And anything you’re missing you can always find. We promise that you’re visiting a country just as civilized as your own.

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