A towel – one for the budget traveller! If you’re backpacking in Asia, you’ll find a lot of the dorms don’t provide free towels – and if they do, they can charge handsomely for them. So packing a small towel in your backpack can really save you pennies, and if you opt for the microfiber variety it’ll be lightweight, take up little space and dry super-fast too.
Mosquito repellent – mosquitos just love that hot, sweaty, juicy tourist skin! If you’re from the cooler climes of Europe, mosquito repellent might not top your list of holiday essentials, as you might never have encountered one. But trust us – once you’ve been bitten by one of these bloodthirsty bugs you’ll never forget it – or your Mosiguard – ever again.
Lady razors – one thing you won’t find readily available in many South East Asian countries is ladies’ razors – the pink ultra-safe ones named after Greek goddesses and designed for delicate female skin. If you like to keep your skin super smooth on holiday, then pack a couple before you set off – unless you don’t mind being cut to smithereens by an old-fashioned Bic.
Warm clothing – we know that when you picture your holiday to Asia you have visions of yourself sweating it out on the beach in a bikini, not shivering to death in the rain, but if you’re travelling between October and December be prepared – some parts of the continent do get remarkably cool. If this is your travel period, check some local weather forecasts for average temperatures, and pack an extra layer – you won’t regret it!
Big shoes! – this one is aimed especially at women with, how shall we say, generously endowed feet. Large ladies’ shoe sizes tend to be really hard to come by in Asia, especially out of the major cities. So, while any clothes you forget can be bought easily and cheaply, if you wear larger size shoes check and double check that you’ve packed them before you set off!
Passport, ID and travel docs – let’s start with the bloomin’ obvious shall we? These items are 100% essential. It’s a really good idea to take a second form of ID besides your passport just in case, god forbid, it goes walkabout. Check and check again that you’ve packed all these items away before your taxi arrives at the door to take you to the airport – you might think your passport’s in your desk drawer, but sod’s law says it won’t be when you really need it.
Earplugs – this really depends on where you’re travelling to, but if you’re planning on visiting a lively, bustling city like Bangkok, you better be prepared for noise. If you’re a light sleeper, you won’t regret packing a pair of these away, and they can help you dose off on the plane or on long and noisy train or bus rides too.
Prescriptions – if you take any prescription medications, make sure you see your doctor well ahead of time to arrange a prescription that will last the length of your trip, plus a little extra in case you lose any en route. Always carry your medicines in your hand luggage if you can, as then you can keep a close eye on them.
Spare pair of glasses – you’re not going to have much fun exploring the jawdroppingly beautiful landscapes if you can’t see past the end of your nose! If you’re a glasses wearer, pack a spare set in case your original pair go walkabout or get damaged. Alternatively, you might want to take a copy of your prescription instead.
Bag of diamonds – well, this might not apply to everyone, but it definitely applies to someone – namely the person who left a bag of diamonds behind on a flight in the US last year. According to a recent survey, flight attendants have found a worrying array of weird and wacky items left behind onboard by forgetful travellers – from parrots to panties. The lesson here is – don’t just take care over what you pack, take care not to leave what you pack on the plane!