After coming back from a whirlwind family trip to the Philippines and Korea a couple months ago in December of 2015, I felt the time was just not long enough. We were pretty jam-packed with activities with friends and family that it was a little exhausting and I could have used a vacation from my vacation. I am so lucky to have a like-minded friend and neighbor, Rachelle, who was on board for finding a flight and sharing in some new experiences. It started off as just an idea of a vacation, then with more talking we decided just to move on it. Thailand was always a place on my list to go, we found a great deal, it falls on their new year water-fight celebration of Songkran, and it happens to be a big birthday celebration for her. Sometimes, all signs point to YES!
Rachelle and I met here in Oakland as neighbors, and I have always admired her infectious positivity and free spirit. We automatically felt comfortable around each other as I feel she doesn’t hide too much of herself and in the end you don’t try to hide much back. It’s refreshing when you meet someone like her, and it makes for a fun partner for activities. The only time we’ve sort of traveled together was going to Chicago for my wedding, but I was so glad to have her there with me for so many reasons. As far as traveling to Thailand, I am looking forward to exploring a new culture without having to coordinate with other people or other schedules, as my last trip was the opposite. We’ve set our expectations; gone over some things that we would personally like to see, and given each other the freedom to really work on our own projects in our time there.
On the other side of the world, I do worry that my husband and daughter will have purchased a whole toy store and have eaten pizza every day during the whole time that I’m gone. I hope not. This will be the longest I’ve ever been away from the little one, but it’s been four years overdue. As a baby, she was 100% dependent on me, she didn’t even want to be held by daddy at times. As a toddler, she was still a mommy’s girl, learning some independence but still a little clingy or just needing some reassurances at times. As a preschooler, she’s social and playful. As much as she might want me around, she’s perfectly ok with daddy. It’s a good time to go. In retrospect, I think I put too much pressure on myself to be always with her for the past four years, and she was probably ok without me. I love my family, and of course I always want them to be with me in my experiences, but I am looking forward to having some adult time, a little bit of freedom, and a little bit of personal adventure in this time away from both of them.
It really has been too long since my last getaway with a female friend. I’ve had work trips and trips with significant others, but specifically one or two girls and I? I want to think it was probably over 10 years now. It was a different time and I was a different person. It’s strange to think what I packed for and what I thought was important to bring with me then. Of course, after having some idea of the places and things we want to see in Thailand, I started thinking about what to bring with me.
I’ve started putting aside some general items; light clothing for hot weather, a waterproof bag for water activities and for the Songkran festival, cameras with spare batteries and memory cards. As I started to pull aside more items, I thought this could be a great opportunity to share some of my items that I am bringing with me. Some are helpful travel products, some are things needed for specific things in Thailand, some are just things I don’t want to be without.
What to Bring for a Thailand Vacation, Some of my Must-Pack Items
- Travel size surge protector and international adapter – In any international travel, I bring my outlet adapter just in case, but I know some electronics now have a volt range (usually noted on the product like AC 100V-240V) so they can be used in other countries. Research where you are going, what is typical in their outlets, and know your own products. One thing I found when traveling is there is never enough outlets, once you have a camera and a phone charging, you don’t have another outlet for anything else. This one has both outlets and USB ports so multiple things can be ready for you at once.
- Bug repellent – These mosquito repellent wristbands came highly recommended, but I’ll be honest, I haven’t tried them yet. I do have some small travel sized deet-free repellent just in case, but I really would love these to be effective.
- Sunscreen – Not all sunscreens are created equal. There’s weird toxins in a lot of beauty products so I use Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Database to double check the products I use. I like how Alba Botanicals sunscreen doesn’t feel too greasy or sticky.
- Turkish towel – love these so much that I am currently in the process of swapping any towel I have at home for various colors of these. They fold up small, but are large enough to cover. Perfect for trips to the beach or camping, they also take half the time to dry than regular towels and more absorbent than too. The small travel towels are nice, but they aren’t very big. Sometimes you need more coverage.
- RFID secure items – Better safe than sorry, I got these sleeves to block credit cards and passports. They slide right in and you can fit the sleeve and card into most wallet slits too. I feel a bit safer from any kind of identity or information theft while I’m traveling.
- Apple lightning to SD card camera reader – I carry a lightweight Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-RX100 with a Carl Zeiss, Vario-Sonar T, f/1.8-f/4.9 lens. I’m always taking photos with that but I hate that I didn’t have a way to update my Instagram with these pictures. It’s such a hassle to take the photos I like, then dig for my iPhone 5S which takes okay photos most times, just so that I have something to share in a text or on social media later. Problem solved, connect this to your iPhone and import the photos directly from the card.
- Backpack with lots of pockets – I’m using Eagle Creek’s Roaming Bag, it’s the perfect daily bag to keep with me. I’m rather short with a bad back, so the scale and the adjustable sternum strap help the bag fit well. You want something lightweight, but my last bag ripped on the trip and I’m a little more conscious on how light the material is. This bag does have an RFID blocker pocket, but I still prefer the sleeves as it gives you more flexibility to move stuff around.
- Hard case organizer for small cords – Small cords, backup batteries, extra camera memory cards, ear buds, connection cables, and all those small items can get lost really quick in a backpack. Having it inside a light but hard case makes your life a little easier. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten frustrated digging in my bag for these items.
- Coconut Oil in a leakproof case – Sitting on the plane for hours is really draining on your skin. I feel like any moisture gets sucked out and I can feel almost itchy from the dryness. Coconut oil is my moisturizer, but it’s got some other magical properties too so it’s always good to have around anyway. I use a leak-proof, and BPA-free Nalgene jar to carry it without worry. UPDATE! I had recently received an article by Helen Nichols with lots more information of the benefits of coconut oil. Seriously, this stuff works magic, and her piece on Science-Verified Benefits of Coconut Oil just further proves my point! Thanks, Helen.
Links to these products on Amazon:
Evie and her Auntie Chelle down the street from us at Lake Merritt in Oakland. This was after the Golden State Warriors won the NBA finals and the city had a parade for them.
That one time Rachelle, Evie, and I dressed up as Fly Girls for a house party in the neighborhood.
Featured Image: Last year’s birthday painting party for Rachelle. She runs a company called Art Beats Events where she hosts and teaches live painting parties.