How much does one pack on international travel?

This question has been bothering me a lot lately. If i want to make a trip that would last say 2 months across Burma, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. How much do i pack?

The question has a straightforward answer if you want to stay in star hotels and just see the regular tourist attractions (this is absolutely fine, if time pressed) for example Savoy Yangon is a great hotel. It is small and has a character to it. Or the Anantara Bangkok Riverside Resort in Bangkok.

But what if, you are like me, and want to take the road less traveled, or the not-so-beaten path, or the one through villages that showcase things/people/cuisine/places not shown on TV, not wrote about in brochures features Burma or Thailand.

I confess that it’s difficulty and risky. You don’t know what to expect and where to stay. There is no internet – just your trusted camera and your wits about you.

But, that’s what a life of adventure awaits for those who dare : a chance to experience and live with people not like you, who eat things that you have never dreamt of, who have a different take on life: people who seem to enjoy life with little materially compared to you and I.

But what should i pack, if i am backpacking like this or traveling light. here is the list

1) 2 good backpacks – one 50 L one 25 L (I cannot over emphasize this: Backpack carry everything you need. 50 L for traveling on a bus, train etc. and 25 L once you get to a town, village, cultural icon and want to spend a few days there )

2) A rain Jacket and rain pant (my backpacker teachers at Sierra Club really drilled home the point of the importance of staying dry)

3) 2 pairs moisture wicking hiking shirts.

4) 2 Pair sturdy Jeans.

5) Toiletries,and basic first aid. Antihistamines, pain medication.

6) Ear- plugs (important when having that snoring neighbor in a hostel )

7) Head lamps, sunglasses, luggage locks (always get TSA approved)

8) protein bars (for those long walks) – i personally keep 4-5 for those real, real emergencies (Not a daily thing)

9) Your camera, and laptop

Please let me know If you guys/gals think anything else.

Happy Journeys








Gear/Equipment while travelling

I have been doing some research on traveling gear necessary for keeping in touch during trips, in particular, cameras, cell phone, and laptops.

Let’s start off

1) Camera

Let me start off with saying i am a big fan of Digital SLR cameras. I know many people who are traveling would say that they are bulky, takes up space, and cumbersome to navigate through the 100s of options. I agree mostly, but for the quality of getting good solid professional pictures that is worth the effort and space.

But, given the choices we have it is often excruciatingly painful to make a decision. It is not that we do not have knowledge on what features and tools that should be present in a camera, far from it we are stymied by AP, because of something called Paradox of Choice.
Nevertheless, we still have to make a decision. So what are the factors that I look for –  a good range of ISO numbers, a good fast lens (the lower the F number) – this will ensure that those portraits of people from exotic places are sharp and beautiful with good depth of field, and a good zoom (for those distant shots of places you would not be able to walk to). Lenses are very imp: a good lens makes or breaks a picture, for example Nikon AF-S Nikkor 35mm 1:1.8G is one of the best and cheapest lenses produced by Nikon, and it weighs a mere 7 Oz ( 200 gms)

2) Cell phone

Again, too many choices, but i can say one thing. If you want to travel internationally and swap SD cards (from US cellphone carrier to local carrier) first talk to your service provider in the USA to unlock your phone, and next get a quad band GSM phone. It will save you a lot of money

3) Lap tops

Main consideration is that it should be portable (should be less than 5 Lbs) , have good screen resolution (screen size not greater than 13-14 inches), and have a lots of storage capability (250 GB +), SD card (very imp for quick transfer of photos or you can get an Eye-fi card – Wi-Fi SD card ) and WiFi capability (other that western Europe, and developed Asian countries most have sporadic WiFi)

You might have noticed i did not specifically recommend anything – I leave that to your own judgement.

Happy traveling