Budget & Planning, Packing Guide
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How I Packed 1 Month Worth of Outfits in 6 Kilos

Because of the often difficult modes of transportation from the city to my hometown in Siquijor, I have always packed my bags light because I need to carry them myself. Our provincial transportation is as rough as you can get that sometimes we sit with chickens and pigs and a hundred other people. From an early age, I have carried my own bags and thus have learned to pack light and pack well that now it does not matter what mode of transportation I take. On our trip to Vietnam in August, I managed to fit 30 days worth of outfits in just one backpack weighing a mere 6 kilos!

What I Wore in Vietnam

Days 1 and 2 (Travel and Hanoi)

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This was Day 2 in Hanoi. I did not take any outfit shot on Day 1 because I was busy wrapping up work so I can have a stress-free first days in Vietnam. What I wore in Day was basically this same outfit except for the shirt, the bag and the hat. I also wore a jacket because I get cold in the airport.

Days 3 and 4 (Ha Long Bay)

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Day 3 — For an overnight stay in Ha Long bay, I only packed one pair of shorts and 3 tops.

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Day 4 — For Ha Long, I also packed swimwear and sleeping wear.

Days 5 to 11 (Hanoi)

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Day 5. I wore the first dress I bought in Vietnam, a button-down linen dress.

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Day 6. Wearing the only skirt I brought.

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Day 7. I had to borrow a shirt from Joel because it was laundry day and I sent all my tops to the laundry.

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Day 8. At the Temple of Literature.

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Day 9. Late afternoon walk at West Lake.

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Day 10. Early morning walk at Hoan Kiem Lake and I wore the second dress I bought in Vietnam, another linen dress.

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Day 11. Sunday shopping day.

Days 12 to 15 (Hue)

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Day 12. Closing time at the Imperial Citadel.

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Day 13. A day of touring pagodas and tombs.

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Day 14. A day of DMZ.

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Day 15. At the Imperial Citadel.

Days 16 to 23 (Hoi An)

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Day 16 was travel time from Hue to Hoi An (4 hrs by train + 1 hr by bus).

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Day 17. First official day in Hoi An. And it was hot.

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Day 18. Hoi An was hot during the day so we went out at night.

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Day 18. I recycled the outfit I wore the night before because, why not?

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Day 19. Another night out in Hoi An. This time, wearing my foldable ballet flats.

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Day 21. Another night shot in Hoi An because the weather. Day 20 was spent working at the guest house and at a nearby cafe, so I was just probably wearing short pants.

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Day 23. Early morning in Hoi An. Day 22 was spent working.

Days 24 to 30 (Ho Chi Minh)

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Day 25. First day in Saigon. Day 24 was spent traveling.

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Day 26. Whole day at the Mekong River.

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Day 27. Afternoon at the Saigon Zoo and Botanical Gardens.

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Day 28. Afternoon shopping in Saigon thus the big bag I bought in Hoi An.

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Day 29. An afternoon at the mall. Day 30 was work day and travel day.

What I Packed for Vietnam

I brought with me two bags — one backpack and one carry on bag. For the backpack, I borrowed an old NorthFace bag from my husband because I don’t have a heavy-duty traveling backpack of my own. The carry-on bag is a linen tote bag with zipper closure I bought at The Strand Bookstore in New York.

My backpack weighed only 6 kilos. To give you an idea on how much 6 kilos can pack, I brought 3 T-shirts, 1 polo shirt, 1 silk top, 1 silk skirt, 1 pair of shorts, 1 pair of pants, 1 denim jacket, 1 rubber shoes, a foldable ballet flats, 1 simple leather sandals, 1 leather crossbody bag, 1 foldable cotton shopping bag, 1 foldable luggage bag from Bench, 1 hat, 1 pair of sunnies, 1 swimsuit, 1 pair of sleeping wear, 1 pair of leggings, 1 silk scarf, underwear, 1 small pouch of toiletries, 1 small pouch of cosmetics, earrings, and hair accessories,  and 1 small pouch of medicines.

I shared a PDF file here of the list of things I brought with me to Vietnam, including the things I placed inside my carry on bag. You can download the PDF file if you want to have a streamlined, minimalist travel. I managed to come up with 30 days worth of outfits that did not really repeat with the 6 kilos worth of clothes + toiletries + footwear I brought with me to Vietnam.


PACKING TIPS

  1. Choose comfortable and light weight clothes and footwear. Yes, I love to wear stylish clothes but I have learned through the years that I can still be stylish yet remain comfortable. I choose to bring clothes that are made of light-weight fabric such as silk and cotton because not only do they do not weigh as much, they also do not take up as much space and they also dry easily. PRO TIP: Ditch the knits. They’re bulky, warm, and do not dry up fast in the laundry.
  2. Schedule laundry day(s). While planning our Vietnam trip, we scheduled four laundry days — one day each in each city we would be stopping at. We also scheduled the laundry days two days before we will leave that city to give our clothes enough time to dry because I hate the smell of damp clothes.
  3. Make space for shopping. If you noticed, I did not pack any dress. That is because I easily fall in love with dresses and tend to shop for dresses more than any other item of clothing. So I did not bother to fight my weakness and, in fact, had 1 kilo of extra carry-on weight for those shopped dresses. I ended up buying three dresses, two of which I wore multiple times during the trip (the third one I bought the day before we left).
  4. Bring items with multiple uses. My favorite item with multiple use is Human Nature’s Sunflower Beauty Oil. I use it as a make-up remover, hair oil, moisturizer, and lotion. Another favorite item with multiple use is a scarf, which I used to make myself warm, as an accessory, hair tie, etc. I also learned to use lipstick as a blush because I didn’t want to be bothered with taking too much time prepping my face while traveling.
  5. Edit, edit, edit. I once read a book for Boy Scouts when I was younger and it said to pack a travel bag two weeks before the date of travel. I took the advice to heart and still do this up to this time, Scout’s honor. I edit my bag thrice — the first time two days after packing to add any items I need to bring and are not yet inside the bag, the second time after I make a mental note of the different outfits I would be wearing to take out clothes and footwear I would not need during the travel, and the last time three days before departure to take out accessories, toiletries, and make-up that are not necessary. After the third edit, I don’t open my bag anymore.

Where to Wear the Leggings?

I mentioned I brought leggings with me but I did not show any photo of myself wearing it. Since the Cambodia and Thailand trip last year when I brought with me a pair of yoga pants because above the knee clothes are prohibited in temples. I don’t normally wear leggings except for exercise but I find it very useful. During the Vietnam trip, I used it during the two times we were at the sleeper train.

To Excess Baggage or Not?

To excess baggage. I am Miss Excess Baggage. Even when I do not plan on shopping, I buy excess baggage because I really find it a hassle to me and to the rest of the passengers lifting all of my things to the overhead compartment. I am not a tall person and this may not be a typical problem with Filipino aircraft because Filipino flight attendants are generally very helpful but most aircrafts are designed for tall Western people and I cannot even reach the handle to the door of the overhead compartment. Also, I don’t want to strain my back with too heavy weight. And, of course, I am a lazy traveler like that.

How to Plan Outfits?

Be mindful of three things: activities, modesty, and weather. The clothes and footwear I brought with me were based on the activities we would possibly be doing in Vietnam. I made a rough itinerary of where we are going and what we are doing and packed and dressed in accordance with those activities. I also plan my outfits in accordance with the weather. While Vietnam does not have an official religion, it is a conservative country where most of its citizens practice Buddhism. So, I made a conscious effort to bring some items that did not bare my shoulders and my knees.

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