touring Northern Laos: packing light

Did you miss me last week?  We were gone all week on a family tour of Northern Laos.  Ryan had done the same trip last month and decided he wanted to take us along to see it before we head back to the US this summer.  We had an awesome trip (aside from a few rough spots.)  I’ll be telling you all about it this week.

First, I’m going to tell you what we took with us.  We knew we’d be on and off many different modes of transportation: buses, tuktuks and boats, so we wanted to pack as light as possible.  We ended up with 3 small bags:

1 duffel bag
1 daypack
1 purse 2014-05-26 packing light by Melissa Crossett-7It was very convenient to only have these bags, especially since we often had to pick up the kids or help them on and off our rides. What did we fit in these three bags?  Just enough for a week of travel.

In the duffel we packed:
1 outfit per day for Elise (a few less for the rest of us)
1 toiletry bag for the whole family
1 small pouch of hair things
1 inflatable toddler mattress
1 blanket
1 sarong
phone chargers

In the backpack:
dslr camera
2 sarongs
homeopathic motion sickness medicine
Ryan’s clothes

In my purse:
notebooks and crayons
plastic animals
a pouch containing wet wipes, chapstick, money, bib, mosquito repellent, barf bags, phone etc..

2014-05-26 packing light by Melissa Crossett-6

2014-05-26 packing light by Melissa Crossett-5We had some laundry done at one stop, and another time we washed a few things in the sink.2014-05-26 packing light by Melissa Crossett-4We brought very few toys for the kids.  They were happy with their notebooks, crayons, and plastic animals while waiting at restaurants.  2014-05-26 packing light by Melissa Crossett-2-2 On the long bus rides, they kept entertained with audiobooks, music, snacks and a few games on the ipad.  They also took a number of naps on the road.  2014-05-26 packing light by Melissa Crossett-10We bought snacks as we went from the bus or boat stops like seasonal fruit, nuts, homemade rice crackers and smoked meat.

The most useful item we packed?  Our three sarongs.2014-05-26 packing light by Melissa Crossett-9They are just simple strips of fabric.  Each one is a different shape and fabric.  One is sewn into a tube.  They pack up very flat, dry quickly and have so many uses!  I can’t recommend them enough.2014-05-26 packing light by Melissa Crossett-8We used them as pillows on the buses and boats, towels, sheets, picnic blankets, rain cover2014-05-26 packing light by Melissa Crossett-3and in the past we’ve used them as baby carriers2014-05-26 packing light by Melissa Crossett 2014-05-26 packing light by Melissa Crossett-2We would consider them an essential travel item.

That was all we brought.  It’s the lightest we’ve ever packed for that length of time.  The only thing I wished I had brought was a sun hat for Elise as it was blazing hot some days (and she has very white skin).  And my plastic flip flops that I chose as my only pair of shoes ended up wearing down a bit too much.

In the next few days, I’ll be telling you more about where we went, what we saw and how we slept.

What do you pack for a week long trip?  What are your essential travel items?

part 1 touring Northern Laos: packing light

part 2 touring Northern Laos: Phongsali

part 3 touring Northern Laos: down the Nam Ou River

part 4 touring Northern Laos: family accommodations


3 thoughts on “touring Northern Laos: packing light”

  1. I’m kind of speechless … a couple of weeks ago I had to travel for work, and I feel like I had more than this for just me and just a few days! Melissa, you are amazing! 🙂


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