What to Bring – Personal Items

Of course you’re going to need personal stuff…toothbrush, deodorant, medication, sunscreen, etc.  Luckily, most items are readily available in Thailand, as long as you’re not too picky about brands.  So don’t worry about bringing a month’s supply of shampoo or soap, unless you HAVE to have a particular brand.  Just bring a few days worth, and buy what you need when you get there.

Items that can be easily purchased in Thailand include:

  • Soap
  • Deodorant
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Hair products such as gel, mouse, etc.
  • Toothpaste and toothbrushes
  • Floss
  • Mouthwash
  • Moisturizing lotions (although when the humidity is 90%…)
  • Shavers
  • Shaving cream
  • Over the counter medications (ibuprofen, acetaminophen, etc.)
  • Laundry detergent

However, some items you may want to bring from home.  Again, if you really need a specific brand of something listed above, by all means bring it from here.  Here is a list of stuff you may want to bring with you for the entire time you’re there:

  • Sunscreen – the sunscreen there is not as strong as the stuff here. Make sure it’s water/sweat proof, and that it protects against UVA/B/C. SPF 30 or above works well in the Thai sun.
  • Sunglasses – bring your favorite ones, cheap or expensive, although cheap is better in case you lose it. Just make sure it works for UVA/B/C.
  • Prescription medication – although you can probably get it there, I wouldn’t risk it with any medication that you have to have. Also bring a copy of the prescription.
  • Insect repellent – it seems you can get better stuff in Thailand now, but you might still want to bring some.  Get N,N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide, otherwise known as DEET.  There are other EPA registered active ingredients for repellents, but DEET seems to be the most effective, especially abroad.  Get 24-30% DEET. You do NOT need 100% DEET products. REI is a good source of repellent.  Note: do not get aerosol sprays, since they aren’t allowed on flights.  Get pumps or lotions.
  • Contact lens stuff – honestly, I’m not quite sure what’s available over there, since I don’t wear contacts.  If you’re particular about the brand, by all means bring it with you.
  • Glasses – even if you wear contacts, make sure you have a backup pair of glasses.
  • Vitamins or other dietary supplements – most people are particular about the brand they take, so bring enough for the trip.
  • Feminine hygiene – if you’re particular about certain products, please bring your own. Female students from prior trips have commented about lack of availability of certain products. I will have another post on this.
  • Hand sanitizer – we go through gallons of this stuff. Bring some. We can also get it there as well. It’s a great way to avoid illness.
  • A Buff, handkerchief, bandana, etc. – these are always handy to have. I personally like Buffs.
  • Work gloves – make sure you bring a pair or two. You don’t need anything heavy-duty. Something like this is fine.
  • Sleeping bag liner – this isn’t completely necessary, but it might be really nice to have. The second village in particular may have older blankets and pads, and a sleeping bag liner might make you more comfortable. This is especially true if you are particular about clean sheets. This one would be ideal, although there are many others to choose from. You can even bring a flat sheet in a pinch, although these tend to me a bit bulkier.
  • Travel towel – When we’re in the villages, a travel towel is needed. A regular towel is not very convenient; they take forever to dry, and are really bulky. I like to use super-absorbent microfiber travel towels. They absorb an incredible amount of liquid, dry extremely quickly, and are very compact. They are a great investment.
  • Nail clippers, files, tweezers, scissors, a small knife – bring whatever personal tools you might need over 25 days. Make sure these are in your checked luggage, and not your carry on!
  • Wet wipes – some people bring these and use them. I’ve brought them, but never used them.
  • Headlamp or flashlight – a headlamp is best, since you don’t have to hold it all the time. It’s particularly useful in the villages.
  • Gifts for your host family – it doesn’t have to be elaborate, but a small gift for your host family at the first village would be very nice. These families will go out of their way to make you comfortable at your home. Something that represents Utah would be particularly appropriate. A small photo book of Utah or some Westminster College gifts would make great gifts.
  • A small personal first aid kit – I have another post on this.

I think that’s it. If you have other suggestions or questions, please feel free to comment.

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