I start my packing well in advance – well, in theory I do. I start to make a list on my computer of what I’ll need. I note on the list the things I still need to buy (or borrow!). I make sure that my case is one of the lightest types so that I can make the most of my 23kg luggage allowance. Although I must say that in my experience these light cases don’t last as long as the more rigid ones.
I try to be as minimal as possible with my clothes and personal items because I usually have to use a good proportion of my allowance taking things over for my son, who’s resident in Thailand. Although he can purchase most foodstuffs in Thailand some can be quite expensive. Some of the items that he enjoys receiving from home include Marmite, cheese, pepperoni, mustard and convenience sauces such as cheese or peppercorn that you just add to water. Also as wine is quite expensive I’ve considered taking over a wine box but, in the end, I found it just takes up too much weight.
I always take mosquito repellent and make sure that it contains at least 50% deet which I never venture out at night without using particularly around my ankles. I still get bitten a bit for the first few days but then I seem to develop a little resistance. Sun tan lotion is also a must – at least factor 30 for my face and a high factor elsewhere too.
You can purchase most healthcare items quite easily in Thailand but I still take a little first aid kit including the usual stuff such as headache pills, immodium, rehydrant tablets, plasters (I find the blister plasters very useful), lip balm. If you are taking scissors or tweezers make sure you keep them in your hold luggage as they won’t allow you to take them in the cabin luggage.
I decant my large creams, lotions, shampoo, conditioners and shower gels etc into smaller containers and pack in my hold luggage. I have a small see-through plastic pencil case which I use to carry very tiny containers of cosmetics and creams and this is allowed in my hand luggage. I also put into this a travel toothbrush onto which I put a little toothpaste before I travel so that I can clean my teeth on route. I take wet wipes in my hand luggage too for freshening up on the long journey.
Clothes should be light and preferably in a natural fibre so that they help you to stay cool in the heat. Shorts or loose trousers and cotton tops are perfect for the day time. Evening wear can be quite casual but if you like to dress up there are some lovely restaurants where a long summer dress fits the bill. I always take a large scarf or bolero for round my shoulders but it has never really been cold when I’ve been there. I find the best footwear is comfortable, strappy sandals which look fine for either a casual or dressier occasion. Occasionally there can be a mighty downpour which doesn’t last for long – one of those see-through waterproof coveralls that fold up to nothing could be good to slip into your bag for that eventuality.