Packing & Prepping for 3 Weeks in Asia

I'm back from my trip! I've actually been back for a few weeks but the first week I was getting over jet lag; I was a complete zombie and I really think it had to do with the fact that the sun did not make an appearance at all for the first six days I was back.

This was the longest I've been away on holiday since I did my one month trip to Europe after I graduated from university (which was about a year before I started this blog). I had a bit of anxiety because I always have anxiety but this time around, it was a little different. I was nervous about leaving my dog for that long; he's an anxious dog as well, likely because I'm the one that (s)mothered him, and he's known for going on hunger strikes when I'm not around.
The other reason I was a bit anxious about this trip was because as I mentioned in my previous post, this was a whirlwind. We booked the trip in such a short about of time and though I think we did great research, that time pressure really made me nervous.

Here's our map of everything we pinned:

I mean, we really spent a lot of time picking sites, eateries, and shops to visit. We didn't plan on visiting every place; we just wanted to have ideas and options. Before we left, we vaguely planned out our days. Knowing that weather could require our plans to change, we weren't glued to any ideas in particular. We were trying v. hard to make sure that we were doing lots of fun stuff but not forcing a schedule that would make us feel overwhelmed or pressured.

This map was accessible with our phones, which was super convenient. The only wrench in this was that South Korea is really sensitive about companies with servers outside of the country having access to their geographical info so I had to download the app Kakao Map, which is owned by the same company that runs their super popular chat app, Kakao Talk. My cousin also recommended I download Naver, which was a helpful app as well.

As far as what we packed, because we were bouncing around from city to city and never staying in one place for more than two or three days, I wanted to make sure I was as mobile as possible so instead of my usual rolling bag, I packed a backpack and at the last minute, I purchased a decently-sized crossbody. I wanted a new crossbody because I wanted one that was nylon since I knew we'd be trudging through some intense heat and I wanted a bag that felt secure and zipped up completely (unlike the bag I brought with me to India).

Here's what I packed, in terms of clothing:
I packed for this trip v. minimally. It was a weird trip to pack for because many of our destinations were boiling hot but I had to balance that with being conservative enough to not offend the local culture and customs. I also intended on doing some shopping while abroad so I wanted to leave some room for that. Ultimately, I was pretty pleased with what I packed except I wish I had packed a second dress or a pair of bermuda shorts because it was exceptionally hot while we were there and the shopping wasn't quite as formidable as I had anticipated. You'll see that I wear a lot of the same items over and over again; but don't worry, I did laundry. And unless you're some high-maintenance fashion blogger, I highly recommend taking the same approach and packing light and planning on doing laundry while abroad.
Everything fit really well into my bags without being overly stuffed. I was pretty comfortable, though, as the trip went on and we started collecting more clothing and souvenirs, the bags got heavier and heavier.
The rain jacket only came in handy one day because we were lucky enough to not encounter rain for almost the entirety of our three week trip; we just hit a little in Tokyo right at the end. But I think a rain coat is much more convenient than an umbrella so that's what I recommend (even though I did also pack a tiny umbrella).

As far as toiletries go, I packed my usual stuff but I have to note that almost all of the hotels we stayed in provided everything from toothbrushes to shower caps to razors.

I have to give a big shoutout to my Baggu tote because it really came in handy. When it was folded up, it literally took up zero space because the fabric is lovely and thin nylon. When it was unfolded, it was roomy and sturdy enough for all of our souvenirs without being completely hideous.

The First Aid kit I packed came in super handy. I sprained my ankle and fell and I had the bandages and antiseptic to dress my skinned knee. We also used a lot of Dramamine and anti-nausea wristbands on the regular. My sister also ended up getting sick and used an antibiotic to feel better. I know all of these items were readily available in all of our locales but knowing there would be a language barrier, we wanted to be well-prepared.

Before we left, I bought a Japanese SIM card through simcardgeek and it was great because we didn't have to fuss about at the airport when we landed. That was important to me because it was our first destination and I didn't want to have to fuss about too much knowing we'd be fighting some jet lag and fatigue when we initially landed. We paid around $20 USD each for a 30-day data only plan with 3 GB, which was perfect.

In Thailand, we used AIS. We paid less than $10 USD each for an 8-day plan with 2 GB of data and a few bucks worth of calls and messages.
In Vietnam, we used Viettel. We paid less than $10 USD each for an 8-day data only plan with 2 GB.

In Korea, I prepaid for a wireless egg because doing it ahead of time gave us a 50% discount. The egg was capable of hosting up to 3 devices and cost about $5 USD per day.

Regarding the plug and outlet situation, it turns out I didn't need a plug converter anywhere. Every hotel had outlets that were compatible with American plugs, which came in super fancy. Plus, several of our hotels had just plain old USB ports which was fantastically convenient as well.

I speak Korean pretty fluently so that wasn't an issue but everywhere else, the language barrier was really strong, especially because we weren't able to read anything. However, the Google Translate app came in super handy. In Japan, I used the live video translator to be able to figure out the air-con remote control. In Vietnam, I used the voice translator to communicate with our Trang An boat operator. In Thailand, the translate app wasn't as necessary because most people spoke English and everyone was so friendly and kind but I did use it a couple of times to communicate with the taxi drivers.

I had such a good time and can't wait to share all the details of the trip here. I've been working on editing photos and videos and hope to start my recaps next week.