OFF WE WENT / Packing tips for a 21 day vacation to Asia (Taiwan and Vietnam)

I have been bit by the travel bug and bit hard!  It seems that all I have been wanting to do ever since my first international trip in over 10 years last November is travel, travel, travel some more and see the world.  After looking back at Italy pictures from the trip with Shane (we went to Rome with day trips to Vatican CityOstia Antica, and Florence) and the one with my sister (10 days to explore VeronaVeniceBologna, the streets of Florence and Florence sightsRome's tourist attractions and our favorite spots of the beautiful city, all starting and ending in Milan) I have made it a goal to see and take in at least 15 UNESCO World Heritage Sites by the time I turn 30 not counting the China places that I saw when I was too young to appreciate them.
holidays pajamas flannel set leopard PJs
Initially I was going to explore Taiwan (and visit my favorite colleague who is attending NTU) and Hong Kong by myself but after I somehow convinced my boss to let me take off 3 weeks, I nixed Hong Kong for Vietnam so I can go with my mom who had been wanting to go to Vietnam.  This was a special mother-daughter trip since it was the first time my mom has gone back to her motherland since they [my parents] left 35 years ago and it was a chance for her to show me a piece of her life before me and my sister.  My cousin Jonathan said it best when he said it is my version of The Joy Luck Club.
electronics international travel packing tips
Last time I shared what I usually wear for long plane rides and this time I wanted to share some packing tips that have worked for me for these past few trips:
  • There is no such thing as being too organized.  I bag everything except outerwear.  I keep all my small electronics in one bag, clothes in another bag, undergarments/swimwear in a third, and shoes are in clear plastic bags.  I also bring a few extra bags - some for dirty laundry and extras in case I need to repack and lighten my load for domestic travels.
  • And then for each bag I make a list [of the contents] and check it twice (ha ha ha).  Lists are good when you're repacking everything and heading home so you know that nothing is missing. I also have an electronic version of the list so this way when I am unpacking my check-ins I know if anything went missing during flight.
  • Pack light.  I cannot stress this enough especially if you will be doing a lot of domestic travelling on planes/trains.  Check the weather of your destination(s) and pack accordingly and if the weather varies then layer!  Keep in mind that most places will have laundry service available so you can have your clothes washed and ready when you finish exploring for the day.  After getting endless bruises from lugging my luggage up/down trains in Italy, I have dwindled my packing to 1 carry-on for 7 days travel, 1 check-in for 10-14 days travel, and both for 20+ days.  Nothing more than that!
  • Bring an extra set of clothes and your essentials with you in your carry-on in case your luggage gets lost.  This hasn't happened to me yet *knocks on wood* but I like to be prepared for the worse so I have a set of clothes, toothbrush and toothpaste, set of undergarments, and eyeliner and mascara with me on the plane.
What are some of your tried-and-true packing tips?  As I travel more I will definitely streamline my packing procedure but I think these four will be things I always do.
packing tips asia europe travel plane carry on luggage
CLOTHES / Victoria's Secret leopard flannel pajamas, Vince leather scuba jacket (40% off!), French Connection skirt (on super sale!)
LUGGAGES / Samsonite LiftTwo Spinner Luggage, Missoni for Target packing bags (though I wish I had these packing cubes!)
ELECTRONICS / Targus world power travel adapters, Samsonite luggage scale, Joby magnetic flexible tripod

Mom and I are back home already so over the next few days I will recap our trip through blog entries :).  Any vacation plans for the upcoming holidays or after that?  Wishing you guys a happy holidays!