Avoid the Tetris-Packing Struggle

Knowing myself, I like to take home half of Asia in souvenirs, clothes, and trinkets. For this reason, I need to make sure my suitcase is only 2/3 full to avoid getting charged a small fortune on my return flight back. Before I started packing, I did a little research on how to pack (yes, there is a method to the madness). Packing for 6 weeks is packing for 2 weeks, maybe even 1 1/2 depending on your accessibility to a laundromat. Unless you plan on backpacking the Himalayas or venturing into a rural village with a population of 50 in Western China, there will be opportunities to wash and re-wear the same clothes or buy more eye contact solution/shampoo/toiletries should you run out.

Having a minimalist’s wardrobe (literally) leaves a lot of room for creativity by mixing & matching to vary your outfits – you’ll be surprise at how many outfits you can piece together with just a few basic articles. Check the weather of your destination before pulling the clothes from your drawers. At least in Shanghai, it will be hot, humid, and rainy some days. Here what I have packed for my 6 weeks in Asia:

  • tops: 1 waterproof jacket (windbreaker), 1 long sleeve shirt, 2 button up blouses, 6 tanks, 3 T-shirts, comfy sweater
  • bottoms: 1 pair of jeans, 4 skirts, 2 pairs of shorts, leggings
  • undergarments and socks for 12 days
  • shoes: 2 pairs of sandals, converse, flats, nikes, ankle boots (I know I overdid it on the shoes. I can’t help myself there.)
  • misc: baseball cap, bikini, pajamas, makeup, toiletries, hair curler, sunscreen, Advil, passport & Chinese travel visa, plane and hotel confirmation print outs
  • laptop, camera, iPhone

Screen Shot 2014-06-20 at 12.05.57 AM

Coming back from the trip is when those Tetris-packing skills really come in handy – just be cognizant of the weight of the suitcase as many airlines have limits (generally 50 lbs) before they start charging an arm and a leg. On previous trips, I’ve have to shift around articles to and fro my carry-on and check-in luggage to stay within the weight limit. You can check with your airline to find out the specifics.


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