- At the end of January, I packed nothing but a carry-on and a purse for a two month trip across half a dozen countries in Asia.
- One month into the trip, my luggage has provided everything I need as I’ve traveled from cities to beaches and experienced temperatures ranging from 19 degrees to 90 degrees.
- Read on for my packing list.
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Packing for a two-month trip is a challenge at the best of times. When the temperature will span from 90 degrees down to 19 degrees, it can feel almost impossible.
Starting my trip in Seoul, South Korea in late January, before heading to the steamy cities of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, following by Thailand’s balmy beaches, I knew I needed to pack an array of options. And, I didn’t have much room.
Because I was booking a bunch of flights and constantly on the lookout for deals, I wanted to be able to only fly with a carry-on. So, I needed to fit two months’ worth of clothing, plus various tech and other travel gear, in a roller suitcase and a purse.
A month in and reporting from the Phi Phi Islands in Thailand, I can say I did a pretty good job. I made a few mistakes and had to buy a few things on the road, but overall my plan has worked out pretty well.
If you’re heading for a trip that lasts a month or longer in a variety of climates, read on for my packing list. Hopefully, it will help you build your own.
I packed a lot of pieces that I could mix-and-match. For my winter-focused packing list, that meant a lot of layers.
My goal when packing was to focus on clothing I could layer to wear in the cold. I ended up wearing some mix of jeans, a long or short sleeve shirt, and every sweater/coat I had when it got down to 19 degrees in Seoul.
Basically everything I packed was black, white, grey, or blue. Here is my cold-weather clothes packing list:
- 1 chambray shirt
- 1 long-sleeve white shirt
- 1 running pullover sweater
- 1 thermal underwear shirt
- 1 pair of black jeans
- 1 pair of blue jeans
- 1 pair black leggings
I packed two coats — one rain coat and one puffer jacket that could be rolled into a tiny ball.
To stay warm, I tried to pack things I wouldn’t completely ditch when I left South Korea for warmer weather. So, I brought:
When it came to warmer weather, I packed things that I thought I could potentially wear in the cold if I layered, as well as things I could wear over and over again.
I found that I wore a lot of the short-sleeve shirts in Seoul, thanks to my layering technique. But, I have been wearing a ton of dresses and skirts since I left South Korea. Here’s the general rundown:
- 2 dresses (one horrible Everlane one and one great Outdoor Voices one)
- 1 green cotton midi skirt
- 1 pair of black jean shorts
- 7 short-sleeve shirts (a mix of t-shirts and nicer tops)
- 1 camisole
- 2 pairs of workout shorts
- 1 pair of workout capri leggings
- 1 baseball cap
- 1 pair of sunglasses
My Outdoor Voices workout dress has seen a ton of use, as it is sweatproof and impossible to get wrinkled. An Everlane dress that was supposed to be wrinkle-free has been the bane of my existence, as it both wrinkles and shows pit stains with shocking clarity. Make sure to wrinkle test before you pack!
I ended up buying another dress in Kuala Lumpur — a lightweight, flowing outfit. I spent less than $10 and I’ve been wearing constantly on the beach. I’ll probably buy another dress that doubles as a swimsuit cover-up before the trip is over.
My swimsuits were also multi-purpose.
I decided to pack two swimsuits, since I was going to spend a good portion of my trip at or near the beach. I wanted to make the most of my room, so I picked suits that could be worn either as sports bras or crop tops. Both suits have black bottoms, so I can mix and match between the two.
To sum that up:
- 1 bikini that can double as a sports bra
- 1 tankini that can double as a tank top
I only packed three pairs of shoes.
The shoes in question:
I managed to store all of my tech stuff in my camera bag, which helped cut down on clutter. Traveling for work, some items were necessary that I would not typically bring on a vacation.
In my camera bag, I pack:
- Camera and camera gear
- Laptop charger
- Phone charger
- Universal travel adapter
- iPhone USB wall charger adapter — I purchased this in South Korea because I was already sick of swapping between charging my laptop and phone when I slept, and it was one of the best purchases I made on the trip.
My laptop does not go in the camera bag, but it also travels everywhere with me!
There are a few things I need to have handy any time I am traveling internationally.
These are the things I stick in my purse for easy access while flying:
- Passport holder, aka a Betsey Johnson clutch I got at a secret Santa years ago. It’s fantastic as a passport holder because it is sequined, so you can always feel it when rummaging around in your bag in a moment of panic that you’ve lost your passport.
- 2 pairs of earphones, both for my iPhone and for planes/my laptop
- iPhone XR (it’s still too big)
- More hand sanitizer
- Lysol wipes
- Travel notebooks
- Glasses and glasses case
I packed and unpacked while writing this post, so I don’t think I forgot anything. But, as with every time I pack my bag, I am incredibly anxious I forgot something extremely obvious.
Despite only boarding some of my flights with a carry-on and a purse, I ended up packing four bags total.
In addition to my roller bag and my easily-foldable Everlane purse, I also brought a small Osprey day-pack. Plus, I brought a small over the shoulder bag that I use frequently when all I need is some cash, my phone, and my room key.
The backpack and tiny bag were packed in the roller backpack when I needed to carry-on all my baggage. Then, my camera bag was placed in my purse, where it took up basically all the possible room.
For budget airlines with a baggage weight limit of under 7 kg (a little over 15 lbs), I pay a bit extra to check my carry-on and board with my backpack and purse. And, if I have a free checked bag, I’ll always take advantage of it.
I haven’t had to buy much while traveling.
Most of my purchases have been things I ran out of, such as sunscreen and deodorant. My only major purchases that I could have bought in the US have been a new dress and a plug converter for my iPhone USB charging cord.
I do have a few things that I would not have packed. My nice Everlane dress gets wrinkled way too quickly, and I did not need to pack two pairs of jeans. Plus, while my Blundstone boots were crucial in Seoul, they are now seriously weighing down my suitcase.
Still, I think I did an overall solid job packing. My Outdoor Voices dress has stood the test of time, holding up through almost daily use. And, Burt’s Bees’ tinted lip balm and Dr. Jart’s BB cream have permanently earned their place as my top travel cosmetics for any trip.
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