Plan & Pack

Planning and Packing for SE Asia

An overview of the many things one must do to travel to SE Asia for 5 months. I have broken this down into several sections: vaccine shots and pills, packing list, and important phone calls.

 Vaccine Shots and Pills 

  • I didn’t need Hep B (3 shots) or MMR (2 shots) since they were done as a child. Luckily my mother is good at keeping records.
  • I finished my Hep A – got one shot several years ago and got the 2nd one so I’m good for life now.
  • Got another Tetanus (TD) shot (my last one was 2004)
  • They told me to get a Polio booster since I only had one shot as a child.
  • Japanese Encephelitis – A very expensive shot for most travelers, but luckily my insurance covered it.
  • Flu shot – Might as well get the seasonal flu shot the doc tells me. Yeah thanks!
  • 5 shots I got in one day, 3 in one arm, 2 in the other, I could barely lift my arms for the next 2 days.
  • I believe there is only 1 vaccine shot I have never received at this point in my life, Yellow Fever. I will need that one day when I go to Africa, and they will probably tell me to redo have of the above shots I just got as well.
  • Typhoid pills – In the past I got the shot (2008), but apparently the shot is only good for 2 years and was not available so I got three pills and took one every other day and then that was done and covers me for 5 years instead.
  • Malaria pills – (doxycyline) take 1 a day for over 4 months. Yeah right, I’ll remember that. Ohh and it dries your skin out so try to stay out of the sun the doc tells me. Sure, it’s not like I’m traveling to Thailand and Indonesia to get some sun and surf. Geez.
  • Travelers Sickness – In the doc’s words “you are going to have stomach problems at some point when traveling for that long, here’s 20 pills, take one a day in case you are spewing out of either end”. Again Thanks.


large   backpack cont. small backpack toiletries misc.
2 pants boxers + socks travel book/s Aspirin/ other pills first aid kit
2 shorts sleeping bag reading book/s tooth brush etc. knife/compass
3 board shorts sandals & chacos imortant docs. soap, shampoo surf wax/ scrapper
5 short shirts tennis shoes camera deoderant/ cologne hand sanitizer
2 long sleeve dress shoes laptop cpu shaving supplies locks (key or code)
2 dress up shirts laundry sack headphones wipes/ toilet paper playing cards
rain jacket snacks/ granola bars sunglasses/ hat nail clippers watch
camp towel extra plastic bags journal/ pens moisture lotion passport photos
beach towel blow up pillow water bottle sunscreen business cards

I know there are a few more things I have that are not on this list, but pretty sure I’m not forgetting to bring anything that can’t be bought there. Decided against bringing boots due to weight and room they take up. Most of the clothes I’m taking are older and some will be given away as I travel. Wish I could bring my surfboard but since I’m going to be hiking through the jungle and visiting cities for several months before really getting any good surf in Indo, it’s not worth it. Hoping to get some surf in Vietnam and Thailand but it’s inconsistent and I’ll just rent a board and then in Indo I might buy a board.

 Phone Calls and Extra Prep

  • Canceling my overpriced health insurance that doesn’t cover overseas travel and buying great travelers insurance from
  • Canceling my phone, so I’m not tempted to use it and get overcharged.
  • Giving my jeep away to a friend so that I don’t have to worry about having a vehicle, paying insurance etc.
  • Calling all my credit card companies to let them know I will be out of the country and not to put a hold on my cards.
  • Making copies of my passport and credit cards and keeping one copy with me and one with the parents.
  • I also ordered some Thai Baht currency so I can show up with some of the local currency. Really not necessary with ATMs these days, but I like to be prepared.
  • Research and more research, bought the Rough Guide to SE Asia and also have spent countless hours on the internet looking up which cities to visit and what to do there.

It is during this research where I found the little things that matter- like which countries will I need a visa for.

FYI – As an American all the countries I’m going to allow you to get a visa upon arrival for about $25, except Vietnam which must be prearranged. I plan on obtaining the Vietnam Visa at an embassy in Bangkok, which is a very popular option.  If you are flying into Vietnam you can buy the visa online before arriving.