southeast asia

Travel Essentials for Southeast Asia

After living in Singapore, Indonesia, and Vietnam, I often found myself needing certain items with me at all times. I’m not particularly travel anxious, but these items made traveling so much more comfortable.

  1. Paper products: paper towels, tissues, and most importantly…..toilet paper!

ANYTIME I would find a place with paper, I would stock up my bag for the plenty of times when none were provided. I stuffed them into jackets, backpacks, purses, pockets, I made sure I had a napkin with me at all times. Many Asian food stalls, street vendors, and hole in the wall places will have some of the most delicious food, and that’s all they’re required to focus on. (no argument there) This is your western warning: bring your own napkins!

2. Oh SNAP, ‘I got you’ bag: miscellaneous small essentials for any situation

This bag was a requirement to go anywhere for me. It has all the small essentials for any situation. Unfortunately, I have some delicious blood and fragrant pheromones…aka mosquitoes LOVE me. This bag has 3 different items for those annoying, but ecologically important insects. On the other hand, I am quite lucky I have a strong stomach. no dietary restrictions, no allergies, etc. BUT, just in case…I had a few stomach and pain relievers for the two times I did have issues.

3. Sharper Image travel memory foam pillow

Being abroad for over a year, meant that I needed a comfort item that helped when I missed home. Since stuffed animals are not considered “mature” or “#adulting”….I found the next best thing. This memory pillow I’ve bought 3 different times now because 1. I am a forgetful human being 2. Other people want to enjoy it too.

I spent nearly 2 months trying to find a replacement upon coming home. I finally found one at Ross, but an upgraded version with a snap button loop!

4. Reusable items for food & drinks

DISCLAIMER- I am not perfect. I still drank out of water bottles while living in Southeast Asia and I didn’t recycle every single one of them. I did my best to minimize consumption, but yo girl needed to also stay hydrated.

I still carried a water bottle everywhere I went just in case there was a place where I could refill it. The items are the bottom are ones damn near the same ones to the ones I carry with me today!

My research partner cares about the environment as much as I do. She has one of those super fancy reverse osmosis machines for her water consumption. She then uses the excess water to wash clothes or dishes. YES! to no waste!

My favorite everyday bag: THRIFTED PATAGUCCI


This bright pink Patagonia bag was thrifted for $10 in Jackson, Wyoming. (I prefer red, not pink) This is my first and only Patagonia purchase. Now I understand why this brand is coveted and trusted. This bag has lived a life before me AND held up across Southeast Asia.

Background story: I got my master’s degree at the University of Wyoming for Environment and Natural Resources & Political Science. While in the ENR department, I noticed that everyone was wearing the a sort of uniform of same brand names and outdoorsy clothes. Patagonia, Northface, Columbia, etc. I didn’t feel like I belonged. Not the right race and not the same socioeconomic background. Imposter syndrome in higher education is no joke. Luckily I made some super supportive friends, who helped me feel more included and learning how to build my own community.

Thrifted Patagucci chillin in PhuQuoc beach, Vietnam

BONUS: My personal necessary items


In addition to all of the above, I always travel with a

  • light hoodie

  • Hello Kitty eye mask

  • iPod

  • ear plugs

  • blanket

  • planner, journals, pens

As I get older, I am becoming more introverted or just needing more time to recharge. I spent a lot of time writing, journaling, and planning. When I’m not scuba diving, I was out taking pictures or reading a book on the beach. I also travel with a. small fleece blanket, even though I am near the equator and it’s feels like 100 degrees.

This was fun. If y’all want more info about what to bring to Southeast Asia…comment below!

Thanks for reading ^_^