You’ve got your backpack, you’ve got your daypack, but don’t forget to bring a small handbag too!
You’ll use your daypack when you’re carrying everything around and if you do exciting activities like hiking or rock climbing or cycling around Angkor Wat. But you don’t want to be lugging a rucksack to a beach party or a nightclub… It’s an essential that’s easy to forget to bring.
Of course you can buy one out there. But quite frankly they’re not nearly as fabulous as that gorgeous Topshop number you got in the sale. And I’ve never really understood why you would fly abroad with a light backpack and buy it all there. Surely you want to see how heavy your bag is from the outset? I’m just saying.
Anyway, whatever you decide to buy it, it NEEDS to be a bag you can wear across your body. In Vietnam, thieves are known to drive past you on motorbikes and snatch your bag. And this happens a lot. Another scam is in Thailand where thieves cut your strap so your bag falls to the floor. They grab it and run. So the fabric bags aren’t the best thing to have.
Saying that, it’s hard to resist the lure of being part of the backpacker set and I did pick up one of the cliche slouchy fabric bags… But I used it minimally in Asia and when I did was extremely vigilant. Just something to watch out for.
So ok, I admit I didn’t just have the one bag…
I fully advocate only bringing one. But I bought 2 more in Asia. The fabric one I mentioned was bigger than a crossover bag so it was great as a beach bag. But I did use my daypack beforehand. And then I picked up a dry bag in Laos.
I absolutely love my drybag and got great use out of it. (Drybags are those brightly coloured roll up bags that are completely waterproof.) If you think of how much water based activity you’re going to be involved in, I’m sure you would agree they’re handy. And I’m not even that big on water. But I personally experienced the following: wet long tail boat rides, tubing in Laos, participated in the Songkran festival, experienced some monsoon/flooding action. Not exactly snorkelling and rock climbing (I’m not the most sporty of girls) but it was still relevant. And in Asia, you often have to wade thigh-high into the sea just to get on a boat. So the drybag kept my valuables dry.
This is one item I would not recommend getting before you go. They look the same but cost a fraction of the price in Southeast Asia. And let’s face it, you don’t get any style points with these bad boys. Just pick a bright colour and embrace it!
So just bring the handbag, buy a drybag if you think you’ll need it and really you can use your daypack or handbag as a beach bag. Unless you’re a sucker for a piece of cliche backpacker goodness like I am…
In my defence, everything folds up REALLY small.
And if you’re a bag person and want to take more, just remember it means bringing less shoes… I know right, it’s a toughie…