Tip: Travel Lightly. Here’s a guide.

Hey Amigos and Amigas! I’ve been away for a while, traveling in Philippines! 😀

High fives. More fun in the Philippines.
I carried around a very small and lightweight backpack, and subsequently, received many surprised looks and comments from other backpackers.

Did I have a big luggage instead? No, no luggage at all. After all, it would only drag you down if you were ambushed by a group of ninjas, wouldn’t it? 🙄

So then, what did I take with me on my month-long travel, which attracted much this much  attention?

First of all, what kind of backpacker am I?

I don’t know if there is a backpacker ‘spectrum’, but based on these 8 types of backpackers (by Nomadic Matt), I’m a mixture of the Hippie, Gap Yearer and Partier.

  1. Male. 25. Single. No kids…? Single backpacker.
  2. I don’t mind local transportation and food (I wanted to see how the locals live).
  3. I don’t need a fancy hotel, and opt for cheap dorms in hostels.
  4. I can live it rough… but try to be clean and free of mozzie bites.
  5. Playing it safe‘ with an organised tour, and going on a beaten tourist track, sounds rather boring.
  6. I like ‘extreme’ activities like surfing, swimming, mountain biking, caving, dude, as opposed to sight seeing and strolls to that lame historical landmark.
  7. I like meeting new people (including backpackers and locals), getting their travel tips, and going on spontaneous trips with them.
  8. I don’t like lazing in a hostel; I must be out doing something!

… So then, what did this low-cost, friendly ( 🙂 ) and spontaneous backpacker take?

Commuting. It's more fun in the Philippines.

1. Electronics

In this day and age, you’d agree that we ‘need‘ to have some electronic device with us, such as a smartphone.

Why do we take electronic devices? Here are a few reasons: To take photos; to connect to the Internet; to watch movies alone in the hostel dorm (jokes; let’s try to be social, especially in hostels, everyone!). What electronics I take?

  1. Phone (smart phone)
  2. Portable battery charger (for emergencies when my phone would run out of juice.)

My phone, the LG Google Nexus 4 (yes, it’s that old 2012 phone, but still very functional), does everything I need it to do…

  • Connects to Wi-Fiwhew, that’s your Facebook, Instagram… AmigoTips of course (haha), and others… sorted!
  • Has a few movies and songs, for those long flight journeys.
  • Can take acceptable photos.
  • Contains the map of my destination country (see tip #3).
  • Is light, and portable.

…should’ve just downloaded the full map onto his phone…

TIP #1:

You don’t really need to take any device to use the Internet, as most hostels have Internet-ready computers. (Whether those computers are ‘acceptable’ to us is, however, another story. I took my phone mainly for the other purposes.)

TIP #2:

Maximise your battery life while travelling, with these AmigoTips.

TIP #3:

If you are going to take your device, download a full map of your destination country, that you can access offline, with Nokia Here Maps.

Read: The ‘dangers’ of taking too much technology, by the Huffington Post.

2. Clothing

You don’t need to take much clothing if you know that your destination will be ‘cheap’ (typically, these are developing countries). You could just rock up to your destination, with nothing more than a shirt, pair of shorts. Underwear is optional. Then, you can go for a quick shopping session at your destination.

That was exactly what I did in Malaysia, and it was easy.no problem

…but this time, I didn’t want this clothing shopping session (yawn), so I took the following clothing items:

  1. T-shirts x2.
  2. Shorts x2.
  3. Socks x3.
  4. Underwear x3.
  5. Hoodie x1.
  6. Lightweight rain jacket x1.
  7. Lightweight cotton pants x1.
  8. Swimming clothing. (aka boardings or togs. I like swimming.)
  9. Beach towel (a big towel.)
  10. Hand towel (…an alternative, small towel, used when the big towel was dirty…)
TIP #4:

For clothing, it’s a very good idea to get ones that are made of polyester (and other synthetic materials), as they are faster at drying, compared to cotton. This is especially helpful in sweat-inducing climates.

TIP #5:

Take advantage of local / hostel clothing washing service. It’s cheap, and your limited number of clothing will be clean – importante!

3. Shoes

  1. Flip flops / Jandals / ‘Thongs’ (… Aussies 🙄 )
    • Good for the beach.
  2. Shoes. Simple, cheap shoes.
    • Good for urban areas, hiking, and so much better your spine!
    • Better if your shoes have good cushioning, and grip.
chucksTIP #6:

These will probably get dirty and wet, so make sure you don’t mind them getting dirty.

4. Sun protection:

…because when you’re out travelling, you are going to out a lot, on a beach, or even just going from A to B.

  1. Sunglasses (cheap Chinese knockoffs may be found at the local markets)
  2. Sunscreen (I hate getting sun-burnt)
    • Waterproof, SPF 30+ and non greasy should suffice.
  3. Hat.
  4. Face-kini (to protect your face when out on the beach.)


5. Oral hygiene:

  1. Toothbrush.
  2. Toothpaste (in case you get hungry).
  3. Floss.
TIP #7:

If you’re a floss person, it may be difficult to find floss in your everyday Philippino Fillipino Filipinno Filipino shops (and other developing nations); take it with you.

AmigoTip: be a floss person; your gums and teeth will thank you in the long run.


 6. Miscellaneous:

  1. Ear plugs (useful for those dorms, where that guy snores.)
    • Earplugs (for music) can be a less-effective alternative.
  2. Gastrolyte (a rehydration tablet… just in case. Simply pop in a tablet in bottled water.)

    Gastrolyte …carefully formulated to help replace fluids and electrolytes lost due to dehydrating illnesses such as diarrhoea, vomiting, fever, colds and flu. These formulas are easy to take and prepare anywhere.

  3. Watch (waterproof, cheap.)
  4. Padlock (some dorms have lockers.)
    • Stash away your extra cash and passport.
  5. A few plastic shopping bags (for wet / dirty clothes).
  6. Notebook and pen (just in case you want to jot something down).
  7. A small ‘daypack’ backpack.
    • The bigger backpack (which carried everything) stayed in the dorm, while I went out in the day with the smaller daypack.
  8. Passport. (Nearly forgot that one, didn’t we…)

Final thoughtstp

  1. I would have liked a shock and waterproof camera.
    • Caving can get wet (such as in Segada), and my phone couldn’t do justice in low-light situations.
  2. I should have taken duct tape (in case something rips, or you need a makeshift belt (for your waist)… or many other reasons).
  3. Insect repellent helps against foreign mozzies, which may be lethal…
  4. Toilet paper. Take toilet paper, as it seems to be a premium in developing nations.
  5. A small coin ‘bag’ would have been very useful, to keep loose coins in check.
  6. Travel wall adapter, for charging up your electronic devices.
    • You may find a cheaper one, at your destination (not at the airport though…)
  7. Keep your bag organized!
    1. Separate your clean clothes from dirty and wet ones, using plastic shopping bags.
    2. Don’t forget to use the washing services at your hostel.
    3. Keep your passport in some inner compartment of your bag (to make it harder to find!).
Caving in Segada.

Caving in Sagada, Philippines.

(By the way, if you are considering visiting Sagada for the caving, do not attempt if you consider yourself ‘fat’; you will literally not fit through the tiny openings, halfway down the track; consider this a warning.)

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2 thoughts on “Tip: Travel Lightly. Here’s a guide.

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