Let’s talk about packing. I get more request for packing tips then anything else. This list is pretty standard, but was made specifically for the upcoming Airline Vigilantes trip to Nepal. It is a good reference point for things not to forget.
BASICS and MUST HAVES
I’m going to highly, highly suggest you use a backpack instead of your roller. When Im volunteering I personally prefer to take my big backpack, not my roller bag. Rollers can be a pain in the ass if your trying to move quickly and stairs always seem to be a problem. I got this one off Amazon and she’s been good to me. Holds everything I need, comes with rain gear, sleeping bag harness and lots of straps to attach everything.
It’s going to be chilly, but remember you will be staying in guesthouses that will have beds. I usually still bring a light sleeping bag. This one from Amazon is more like a zippered sheet. However, if you run cold, bring a bigger sleeping bag. If you don’t already own one, you can rent one from REI etc.
A micro fiber fast-drying towel. “Always travel with a towel.” – Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, and solid advice.
Toilet paper and butt wipes. Those should be pretty self-expianatory. Most other countries will not have TP in public bathroom so come prepared. Also many people don’t know that you typically don’t flush the TP. It goes in the trash can next to the toilet. The rest of the world does this, its kinda gross to our Western standards but just roll with it. Its better than flushing it and clogging a toilet on the side of the road in Kathmandu after you’ve unloaded 5 weeks of travelers diarrhea.
First Aid Kit – This one is probably the most important. You never really understand the worth of a good first-aid kit until you need it. So heres a quick story for ya, and ill go into more detail about it in the Philippines post.
While living in the Philippines a few years ago, we were working on a construction project after Hurricane Hyaine hit them pretty hard. Construction safety in the Philippines consists of flip flops and a tank top. I had my Toms on, and was moving a saw horse from one site to another. I slid my foot to the left and a giant piece of termite infested wood went through my foot. Through it. We were about 24 hours away by boat from the nearest hospital so first-aid was up to me. I pulled the wood out, sprayed it with what ever anti-septic spray we had and wrapped it up. Fast forward 4 weeks, it’s stupid infected with gangrene and possibly MERSA. I ended up on about 6 months worth of antibiotics and coming extremely close to losing my foot. Heres what your kit should include:
Band aids in all sizes
Aloe or burn relief
Ibuprofen or some from of a pain killer
Cipro if you have it
Muscle relax cream
Salt and re-hydration tablets.
Seems like a lot but its really not, and small amounts of each, for like $20 at Target you can get a small standard one. I highly recommend investing. Even if someone else in your group has one bring some basics of your own. Bags get lost.
A bandana, headband, and/or hanker-chief. I prefer my hanker-chief, it can hold my hair back, become a sweat rag, all kinds of uses, not to mention I look really cool.
You can’t sit with us
Sunglasses. Don’t bring expensive sunglasses, They will get lost/stolen/broken. Polarized is a good option for what we will be doing.
A durable watch. Its not always practical or convenient to pull out your cell phone.
Water bottle or Camel-pack
Sunscreen and bug-spray. I buy these things in the states, they tend to be expensive abroad.
Chargers for all your devices and power converters. I got my pack of converters at target and I believe I spent $20 on them. Amazon has some good deals too.
A guide book. I live by my Lonely Planet books.
A Kindle or IPad. Bring IPads, computers, and kindles at your own risk. I don’t usually bring anything besides my phone which doubles as my camera.
Gatorade powder is always good to have on hand. If you are doing the trek this could be a life saver.
Zip-lock bags always come in handy. ****Pro tip: I put my non-rev clothes in one that way they still smell fresh when its time to come home.
Flash light and/or headlamp. Late night potty runs
Camera and/or GoPro
Deck of cards, or games. Drinking at night in a large group. This can be fun. Im bringing my Cards Against Humanity.
Wet wipes and body wipes.
OK, so Nepal is the poorest country in the world. I want to you donate literally anything you can spare. That includes any clothes you don’t want to bring home. I will probably end up leaving almost everything I bring there. Heres what I am going to suggest then you decide when you get there what you want to leave.
This list of clothing is primarily for those doing the hike. It will work for both trips, however those doing just the week you will obviously not need as much clothing.
- Underwear. Bring more pairs than you think you need. Usually however many days + 4 extra pairs. Incase of any accidents. Wicking boxers aren’t a bad idea.
- 2 Sports bras. Gotta strap those bad boys down. And who wants to wear a normal bra if you don’t have to?
- Heavyweight long underwear bottoms
- Heavyweight long underwear top
- Underamor t-shirts (2-3)
- Underamor long sleeve (2-3)
- Mid-weight fleece or soft-shell jacket
- Mid-weight jacket with hood
- Convertible hiking pants (zip or break away)
- Fleece pants or wool leggings
- Light weight breathable waterproof jacket (honestly I love my old SWA blue shell jacket, it’s the perfect weight for this)
- Waterproof rain pants
- Mid-weight gloves and/or wool gloves
- Waterproof gloves
- Liner gloves
- A warm hat or beanie
- Sun hat
- Mid-weight socks (7-8 pairs)
- Liner socks
- Glacier sunglasses
A fleece or pullover.
Leggings. There $3 at Forever21 and can be donated or thrown out at the end of your trip and make great layering.
1 or two pairs of pants that can get dirty. I don’t like to wear jeans, but you do you.
A pair of hiking pants that can zip or break away.
Long sleeve shirts and Underarmor for layering. Anything that has wicking material.
A pair of shorts isn’t a bad idea.
6+ t-shirts. Usually ones I can donate. Again Forever21 and H&M sell basic t-shirts for about $5 and they can be donated or thrown out.
A LOT of socks. 2 pairs per day is usually a good rule to follow. Bring some ski socks and some wool socks. Especially if you are doing the trek. Your tootsies are going to be chilly.
A beanie or hat of some warmth.
Non-rev clothes. This is something that I still struggle with every time. You want to look nice, if not business casual since were non-revving on other carriers, however you still want to be comfortable and practical. Then theres always the hope of getting upgraded or moved to a better seat. So what I’ve worn recently is either a maxi-skirt or leggings with flats and a nice top. Then I put the top and/or skirt in that handy zip-lock we talked about so its fresh when I have to travel home. Its amazing how quickly some jewelry can dress up just some leggings and a t-shirt. Wear a light sweater too. Its a 16 hour flight to HKG, your gonna get cold.
Just landed in HKG, leggings, nice top and scarf
Gloves, a light pair and a heavy pair.
Bring some gallon sized zip-lock bags for your wet clothes.
An infinity scarf. My doubles as a scarf, headband, sweat rag, face mask, dust mask, skirt, sweater. They are such a versatile item.
Scarves also work as face mask when your in a dust storm
A backpack and small travel lock.
Hiking boots. (For both trips) We will be doing A LOT of walking. If you don’t already own a pair, do your research and find something that fits your budget and lifestyle. Here are some we recommend:
1 pair tennis shoe or running shoe (preferably that you don’t mind if they get wrecked)
TOMS – I live in my TOMS
Crocs or flip flops are a good option for showering, and we don’t know what bathrooms will look like, so if you have room they wont hurt. You can always leave them there.
Really you need to pack what your comfortable wearing. Research the weather, and well be walking and spending a lot of time outdoors.
This hike is difficult, but remember you are NOT summiting Everest. You will need boots, clothes, and some extra items but nothing extreme.
Some collapsable hiking polls
Most of what is already mentioned above with clothing stays the same. If we get any other items we will let you know.
When Im taking a really long flight I have my standard carry-on items in a backpack or small tote. ****Going out you shouldn’t have an issue carrying on your bag. However coming back you MOST LIKELY WILL HAVE TO CHECK IT. Asia in particular is picky about bags. They will go as far as weighing your bag at security or simply not letting you thru security with a normal crew-sized roller. So plan on checking it and hoping for the best. Have everything important in your carry on.
Travel pillow – I got a really cool one with a hood on it from amazon for $10. You can even crash in a middle seat with this thing!
That sleeping bag doubles as a blanket, but most airlines will give you a blanket and a pillow.
I splurged and got some really nice noise canceling headphones. They don’t always fit the jack to watch movies from the plane, but they will cancel out the screaming child behind me when I want to sleep.
Ambien, What the hell else am I going to do for 16 hours.
Don’t forget big planes have personal TV’s in the seats. Ive never gotten too bored.
For makeup I minimize as much as possible. PLEASE REMEMBER THESE ARE JUST SUGGESTIONS. I had a girl on one of my last trips rip me a new one when I told her I personally don’t pack makeup, so she didn’t. When we got there all the other women her age brought all their makeup and she was mad that I apparently forced her not to. So heres EXACTLY what I pack.
My Body Shop face regime. (I switched from R+F, I loved them too, but stopped selling and like Body Shop better) I love these products. I don’t sell it anymore but we have a million FA’s that do. I have all but stopped wearing face makeup everyday because my skin looks AMAZING. I wouldn’t promote it if it didn’t work. When you travel like I do the last thing you want is to be worried about how you look in those travel photos when you’ve been working and sweating all day. This will change your life.
You can thank me in 6 months when your skin looks 20 years younger
Sephora’s waterproof mascara and eyeliner.
The Body Shop moisturizer has SPF 60 in it, then waterproof mascara. Thats my everyday routine when I’m volunteering. You do you.
Body Shop makeup removing cleansing cloths. For at night when I need to get sweat and what little makeup I have on, off.
LUSH brand dry shampoo. This is a miracle product.
LUSH brand “Sandstone Exfoliating Soap” I have them cut me a piece that fits in a soap container and its super refreshing for removing all that dirt at the end of the day. Smells like lemon and sage too.
LUSH “Toothy Tabs” so your tooth paste doesn’t get thrown away at security and they take up way less space than a tube.
No Drought Dry Shampoo, Sandstone soap, Toothy Tabs
I have silicon travel size containers for shampoo and conditioner. Honestly don’t bet on showering everyday. Maybe a wet-wipe bath. Shower time every night was a bit of a scramble who could get there first.
Contact solution, glasses, and extra contacts.
I really like leave in conditioner. Sometimes after a day of sweating theres no way I’m getting a brush through my hair. I throw this in for the night then rinse it out. Does wonders.
Don’t forget your toothbrush and a hairbrush. A pocket mirror comes in handy too.
Tampons and/or girls things if you need them. Finding tampons abroad can be a pain and they are expensive.
SOME IMPORTANT THINGS
Copies of the following:
2 copies of your passport, just in case.
Reservation and confirmation ( I will provide this for you)
Flight Itinerary, sometimes you need to show proof of return to the states, so if your non revving just book anything even if you don’t end up using it.
People ask a lot about shots and medications. All I recommend is being up to date on your Tetanus shot (one every 10 years unless told by your doctor) You can check the CDC and state.gov website for the country you are going to. I personally just stay up to date on that one, but do what your doctor thinks is best. Most travel vaccines ARE NOT covered by our insurance. So thats completely up to you. Also things like Malaria pills and Cipro are good to have on hand. I have found in my travels that the malaria pills make me sicker and I won’t take them. Remember this is just me. Talk to your doctor about what your plan should be.
ONE MORE TIME
This is my personal list of what I pack and recommend. Do whats best for you.