Top 10 Tips for Backpacking in South East Asia

(Kindly supplied by my friends as I have yet to depart. I’m sure I will come up with my own as I go along).

1. Pack light
That means no costume changes and cutting out on luxury toiletries. You’ll also want to leave space for picking things up along the way.

2. Bring good underwear
Apparently this is essential if you don’t want to be roaming around in ill-fitting, granny-esque undergarments.

3. Book bus tickets up front
Those long windy journeys on precarious roads can lead to ugly travel-sickness.

4. Be protected
Get travel insurance, malaria tablets, bug sprays, a mosquito net, and the necessary injections. You need to cover yourself for all instances. That includes tablets for stomach problems and headaches. The Tropical Medical Bureau in Ireland is great for what injections and malaria tablets you may need.

5. Pack a sleeping bag liner
Or something to keep your body from touching the beds and sheets in dodgey accommodation. A bed sheet sown together would also work.

6. Bring passport photos and US dollars
It saves time on the borders and visas are purchased using US dollars. In some places, dollars can even be the preferred currency.

7. Get a taxi further down
Don’t go with the taxis outside the stations, it’s cheaper to get them down the road. Going by the meter is generally cheaper than a fixed fare. And don’t let the taxi drivers con you by telling you the place you want to go to is closed and bringing you to over-priced jewellery shops that they get commission from.

8. Bring essential oils
Tea tree oil on your pulse points can help keep mosquitos away. A drop on your pillow at night can also make a stuffy nose breath better. Lavender can soothe mosquito bites.

9. Travel by Air Asia
Air Asia is extremely cheap when it comes to travelling internally. A flight from Kuala Lumpar to Thailand has cost me €37 including card fees and checked bag.

10. Be spontaneous
Don’t plan everything to the last meal. Go with the flow. You might meet people and things you never would have. But most importantly, have fun!

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