Here are some more unusual items to pack that will be VERY useful on this trip, or really ANY international trip:
Zip Lock bags, various sizes – These are incredibly useful, and take up almost no room. They can be used to pack up wet or dirty clothing, used to store liquids when going through airport security, waterproof important documents or electronics, pack potentially leaking toiletries, etc. This site has some other wonderful ideas for these incredibly useful items.
Garbage bags – For the same reasons as above, but for bigger and bulkier, or more, things. And they make a handy emergency poncho.
Duct tape – This is obvious. You can repair your bag, use it as a label, repair clothing….its uses are only limited by your imagination. Here are some more ideas. Don’t bring an entire roll; roll some around your water bottle or other cylindrical object.
Zip Ties – These are great impromptu luggage locks, but they also work great for repairs. Bring a bunch of miscellaneous sizes.
Microfiber Travel Towel – Yes, you can bring a bath towel. Yes, you can buy one there cheap. But the problem with these are that they are incredibly bulky, and dry very slowly. So instead, buy a microfiber travel towel like these. They dry quickly, and fold very compactly. I never travel without one.
Headlamp or small flashlight – Because sometimes it gets dark. In a pinch, your phone can double as a flashlight, so not completely essential.
Bandannas/Buffs – An essential travel item is a bandanna. Again, there are many uses for it; you can use it as a hat, a head band, a sweat band, a towel, an emergency bandage, etc. I go one step further and use a Buff, which is a tube of elastic fabric that is even more versatile than a bandanna.
Ear Plugs – Because roosters. And snoring. And a million other noisy things infringing on your beauty rest. If you have noise-cancellation ear buds, they can double as surprisingly effective ear plugs. But bring some anyways, because regular earplugs are light, compact, and don’t require batteries.
External Battery for iPhone, iPad, etc. – Because running out of batteries on your iPhone 6 hours into a 12 hour flight sucks. I use one that can be used on many devices. Such as this one.
Work Gloves – This is a must have for the manual labor we will be doing in the villages. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, just something that will save your hands while we dig, saw, plant, etc.
Masks – Bring your own masks, preferably N95 (US Standards), KN95 (Chinese Standard), KF94 (South Korean Standards), etc. You know what mask you prefer, so bring the one that you’re comfortable with. Try to bring enough for the entire trip. In a pinch, we can get some there, but they may not be the brand/fit that you prefer.