This list is inspired by what I found most useful or helpful when my husband and I were traveling Thailand, but most of them are just solid tips and travel hacks for girls going anywhere! I hope they help!
This is everything I brought for the month in Thailand –
And here is the breakdown of the all-star items and how they helped!
1. Tiny hair clips
Not only great to pull back your hair in the heat, but you can also use these tiny clips to cinch closed the bug nets over your bed! I mean really, just draping the net on itself never seals that sucker shut. These little clips do the trick. Also, you can use them to close up a scarf or sarong when entering temples.
2. Neck pillow
Bring your neck pillow not only for the plane, but just to help you sleep in uncomfortable places. I laid it flat with the opening at the top of my head to give my neck support in the Elephant Nature Park volunteer beds. Definitely made for better night’s sleep!
3. Rubber rings
If you’re married, or wear really nice expensive rings anyway, leave your actual rings at home. I used these silicone rings by Syourself and a pack of 4 for under $10 on Amazon was totally worth it. One of them didn’t make it out of a pool at our Airbnb in Koh Tao, so it’s a good thing I didn’t have my real ring on.
Definitely bring a breathable hat. It saved my face from a terrible sunburn when working in the hot Chiang Mai sun all day for a week!
Go to Marshalls or T. J. Maxx and buy a $12 pair of sunglasses without the nose bridge that sticks out. For travel I always try to bring cheap sunglasses to pull my hair back and protect my eyes. I say no nose bridge so you don’t have to worry about pulling your hair out with them.
6. No leak filter bottle
This one is key! A no leak filter water bottle is the best! You will drink A LOT of water while traveling through Thailand, and should drink A LOT of water when traveling in general. Safe water that is. So get the kind with the filter, and one that you can be sure closes nice and tight. Making sure it is BPA free and dishwasher safe is always a plus too! I like bobble water bottles – they check each of those boxes!
By far this is the most useful thing on my list. I used this as a blanket, pillow, cover up from the sun, coverup to go into temples, beach blanket, a towel and so on. Just buy one! You’ll use it more than you realize.
8. Tees over tanks
T-shirts are WAY more important than tank tops. Bring at least 3 and preferably lighter colors if you’re going somewhere the sun is brutal (like Thailand). Tanks, and spaghetti strap tanks specifically, are just culturally unacceptable in some places, so rather than run that risk, and to protect your shoulder from the sun, just go with a trusty t-shirt.
9. “Elephant pants”
This one, yes, is super Thai specific. But it’s a must! You can find them anywhere, I found mine in Chiang Mai (the markets there are less expensive). They’re cheap, light, cool looking, good for going into temples, travel days, naps on the beach, you get the point.
10. Quick dry towel
Small, light, packable, and as the name suggests, it dries quickly! These were really helpful for our “showers” while volunteering or staying at hostels where towels are not provided. We went for the Sea to Summit DryLite Towel and loved them.
11. Waterproof shoes
I brought a pair of The North Face Ultra MT Gore-Tex trail shoes. They’re waterproof, comfy, supportive, hold up well to getting dirty, and worked perfectly for me! I also saw people wearing Keen Newports and those looked like a pretty nice options as well since they are breathable like sandals but keep your toes covered and protected, and have strong soles.
12. The right backpack
I used the Patagonia Ascensionist 40L pack. This pack was designed for climbing (my husband is a huge fan) but it’s an amazing travel pack too. It’s light, comfortable, and just simple. The single top load compartment that cinches closed and buckles down makes concern for theft when walking in crowded streets less of a thing. And if it doesn’t fit in this, it doesn’t need to come! Really. You’ll buy things as you go too and honestly I didn’t even wear all my clothes while I was on my 3 week honeymoon.