The One Thing You Shouldn’t Pack for Thailand

If Thailand isn’t in your travel plans yet, add it. But what should you pack for Thailand? There are plenty of lists out there on what to pack, yet not enough of them tell you what to leave behind.

Carting around fifty pounds of luggage with you as you travel, regardless of whether it’s in a rolling suitcase or strapped to your back, can make a big difference in how much enjoyment you get from a vacation to SE Asia. Airplane fees get crazy when you carry more than that, it’s more stuff to keep track of, and there are those tours between hotels where you have to take your luggage with you but it won’t fit in the van.

Girl with Backpack

While there are plenty of things that it would be provident to pack, there’s one item that I think is most often mistakenly packed. It’s not heavy and doesn’t always take up a lot of space. It’s just superfluous.

Socks.

Yep. That single layer of cushioning between your feet and the sole of your shoe is unnecessary, simply because there’s a very good chance you won’t be wearing your shoes for a single day while you’re in Thailand. If you’re heading to southern Thailand, chances are you’re going to be spending your time at the beach and wearing your sandals or flip flops the whole time. If you’re going up north, you might have some trekking on your itinerary, but even that can be done with a comfortable pair of sandals.

Sunset at Sankampang Hot Springs #7

I wouldn’t recommend leaving your shoes behind; there’s a chance you’ll need them. But shoes are expensive while socks are cheap. If you do have need of better footwear, pick up some socks locally. For that matter, you can actually do that with several items of apparel. T-shirts, underwear, toiletries and other disposables can all be purchased in Thailand, and probably for a lot cheaper than you’ll get them at home. What’s more, you can buy a smaller bag to carry your gear, spend less on airplane baggage fees, etc.

As to your sandals, I would consider investing in a really good pair. Go for some Birkenstocks or something from Timberland. I had a pair of Land’s End flip flops that lasted me for years, although they did meet their final demise in Thailand! What kind you get doesn’t really matter, although I’d probably recommend the type that has a strip of material between your big and second toes.

Pack for Thailand

I could give a full list now of what you really should pack for Thailand, but the truth is that it will really be different for each person. My advice would be to think of what you would pack for a weekend at the beach, and then triple that. Six shirts, a pair of shorts, a pair of pants (for the temples), underwear, your digital gear (camera, phone, power pack, tablet, etc)…and that’s really about it. You can pick up the rest of the little things you need after you arrive in Thailand.

Oh, and don’t forget your towel, for Douglas Adams’ sake.

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