Pack It Up, Pack It In

I will have you know that the original version of this post involved an original adaptation of the classic jam "Jump Around" by House of Pain,  all about effectively packing carry-on luggage for a long trip. 

Sample lyric: "45 linear inches, is all I'm carrying, bitches" 

I almost published it, I almost did, but even I have my self-mortification limits. So now you'll just never get to read my rap masterpiece. Maybe someone will discover it after I'm long dead and buried and they'll call me a poet before my time.

Doubtful! But anything can happen.

Anywaaaay, our big trip is rapidly approaching! We are well within the 10 day forecast, kids and it is looking GOOD. 80's and sunny! I can get down with that. I spent the majority of my weekend finalizing my pack list and I am feeling pretty, prettttty good about it. 

While planning this trip I read about 80 zillion blogs, Tripadvisor posts and forums for tips on what to do, wear, eat, say, etc. These were so helpful to me, I figured I'd toss my own two cents in the mix. When I get back, I'll recap what I'm glad I had, what I wish I'd brought and what I could have done with out.  Who knows, maybe this might help someone in the same scenario someday! 

ALSO I love listening to myself talk so, there's that. 

Sahoooo. If you are looking for Vietnam packing tips or have one hundred hours to kill and low entertainment standards this is the blog for YOU!!!

HOW TO: Pack for two weeks in Vietnam with only carry-on luggage 

I'm planning to fit most of my things into my Herschel Novel Duffle and Brian's bringing the Herschel Little America Backpack (both wedding gifts!). We're also bringing a small backpack, which will be my "personal item" on the flights and serve as our day pack as we're boppin around 'Nam, (Is it OK to call it that?) as well as this rad little bag that my mom gave us -  it folds up into a teeeeeeny little pocket that one of us can stuff in our bag on the way over and then unfolds into a decent sized duffle, for us to fill with souvenirs and goodies we buy over there. We may have to check that on the way back but that's no biggs. 


1 pair jeans, 1 pair shorts, bunch of t's and tanks, 1 t-shirt dress, 1 maxi dress, 1 maxi skirt, raincoat, 'kini, jammies, sunnies & my favorite sandals

(Yes, 80% of this is from Old Navy. No, none of this is affiliate or comped in any way. I wish!)

And because apparently you're not allowed to fly in the nude (THANKS OBAMA), I'll be bringing a few more things on my bod, in the form of this uber-chic travel ensemble:

travel duds

Leggings, baggy white t-shirt, chambray, jersey-knit scarf, sneaks and the hottest accessory for Spring 2K15: an eye mask.

(Only TWO of these items are from Old Navy, booyah!)  

If you've ever thought it must be super awkward for bloggers to pose for "fashion" photos while their husband begrudgingly snaps a few photos, well I can now answer, with the experience of one 12 second photo shoot in the comfort of my own (messy) home: it is. It really, really is. I don't see this becoming a part of my repertoire anytime soon. Unless, of course, Old Navy (or anyone) wants to send me some free swag, in which case, just call me Cupcakes & Cashmere, babies. I'm a model!

Not pictured: 15 pairs undies (one sexy pair, it IS our honeymoon), 3 bras, 1 sports bra (you never know!) and a bunch o' sox. Also a few pieces of inexpensive, informal jewelry that I was too lazy to take a photo of. You'll live. 

To be honest, though, it's not the clothing that stressed me out the most - I basically wear the same crap everyday anyway - it's toiletries. A human can go 12 days with just a few outfits but can NOT go 12 days with one quart-sized Ziploc baggie filled with as many 3-oz bottles of liquid as they can stuff in. And I knowww you can use what you find at the hotel but some of us have beautiful curly hair and sensitive skin and just need our own stuff, OK? 

This this article proves they may have an actual point but I H-A-T-E the TSA rule about liquid sizes. At my most rational, I feel like it is an arbitrary, reactionary precaution which gives the illusion of safety while not actually achieving anything. At my most bananas, I think it's a giant conspiracy by the makers of all those little travel-sized toiletries so you're forced to buy all their little bottles. DOWN WITH BIG... um...MINI!!!! 

99% of the time they never even check. I sometimes sneak on more than just my 3-1-1 approved clear plastic bag but I'm such a goodie two shoes it gives me agita. 

What's stressing me out the most this time is sunscreen! Statistically I am more likely to die from skin cancer than from plane explosion. FACT! TSA! Did you think about that? I don't know what kind of toiletries are available to purchase when we arrive and sunscreen is kind of important for 2 palies bopping around Southeast Asia, but sunscreen counts as a liquid, ugh. I bought a few 3-oz bottles and need to get a few more this week and plan to spread it between our 3 bags and hope for the best. And I'm still not sure what to do about bug spray. We NEED like, legit deep woods style bug spray, skeeters in SEA are no joke, but they don't sell it in travel sized bottles. I still haven't figured out what we're doing there. Sneak it on? I'd buy one bottle and transfer to a bunch of smaller bottles but we still need to fit it all in 3 or less quart sized bags. I'm already at 2 quarts with just my overpriced shampoo. 


Here's what I have so far: 


Face wash wipes, buncha sunscreens, q-tips, face lotion, ibuprofen, bandaids, neosporin, tide pen, bugbite cream, Vitamin B1*, shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, hair gel, deodorant, anti-bac **, eye makeup remover pads, toothpaste, toothbrush ***, hairspray, travel diffuser****

See! I'm not even that into like, products, and this is already pushing the limits of the law.

* Apparently B1 can help lessen the severity of bug bite reactions. My friend is suuuuuper susceptible to mosquito bites - onetime at the beach she got bit on her eyelid and the whole eye swelled up and it was not funny to her but it was kind of funny to look at but so sad but also so hilarious - anyway, she just took B1 before and during a trip to Nicaragua and said her reactions were way less terrible than usual. And she was in the rain forest and everything! So I figured I'll give it a go. It may be the placebo effect but I LOVE placebo effects. Sell me all your snake oils!! Worst case scenario I still get bug-bites and my pee is really neon. I'll take it. 

** I am normally not that into anti-bacterial gels (you might go so far as to call me an "anti-anti-baxxer" HAHA!) because I think they actually make us weaker in the fight against germs, butttt we were warned by many people to have this and use it, liberally in Vietnam and I know the germies over there are different than here so I'll set my moral elitism aside just this once. JUST THIS ONCE. 

*** Don't worry I know there's not an actual toothbrush in the case in this staged photo. I'll bring one when the real time comes!

**** I'm NOT bringing my hair dryer even though my hair looks so much more voluminous and adorable when I blow-dry it so I'm compromising with this travel sock diffuser to use with hotel dryers. I'm sure the humidity will destroy any attempts at styling as it is, but my hair is the strongest of my many (MANY!) vanities and it doesn't take up that much space so just let me be me, guys, let me be me. 

Not Pictured: bug spray (still need to purchase, due to above drama), soap (I forgot to bring it in for this pro photo shoot, don't worry, I use soap!) and lots and lots of tampons which, thanks to the always impeccable and polite timing of biology, I'll be carting overseas. Thanks uterus!!!! 

We're also bringing this stock of drugz:


Here we have TWO separate bottles of Target brand Immodium, one bottle of Target brand Pepto AND a prescription antibiotic in case the travellers' D gets real, reallll bad. Our weird doctor said only take the antibiotic if we start BLEEDING from the rear. 

Sir, I hate to seem squeamish, but if I'm pooping blood I will be in a HOSPITAL not just casually hanging around popping Cipro, but thanks. I figure I'll just know if/when it's time to switch from OTC to prescription. And I may be overreacting with all these stockpiles of poop pills but the way I see it, you can never be too prepared.

Also pictured: malaria pills (AAAAHHHH!!) for Cambodia - not scary at all, why do you ask? - and my BC because the traditional honeymoon souvenir of a human baby is not exactly what I'm hoping to bring back with me. 

And just to drag this further into dull minutia than you ever thought a person could go, I'm also bringing a light amount of cosmetics: 

makeup photo shoot

Only the finest brands and products for me! I'm not really a cosmetics gal - my one necessity is mascara - so this isn't that exciting but I spent like 45 minutes artfully staging this on our night-stand soooo, to the blog it goes! 

Not pictured: nail polish because I'll be getting a gel manicure on Friday before we leave, ha! YES this may be extravagant but painted nails make me happy and I'm getting them the same color as our wedding day because I'm a cheesy cheeseball. ALSO, this is so gross but I'm always less likely to bite my fingernails when they're painted - especially when I paid a lot of money for them - so I figure a manicure is actually a health precaution. The fancier my nails the less likely I am to contract some kind of bacterial infection by chomping on my fingies the whole time.

Yuck, but true. I really need to quit that habit. Le sigh. 

After much deliberation, I decided against water shoes for our little kayak trip - I realized we'll actually be on the water for like 2 hours max of this whole trip, I didn't want to waste the money or the space on special shoes, so I'll just buy a cheapie pair of flipflops or sandals there and throw them out after. I also plan to buy a bunch of pretty scarves over there, some of which can serve as shoulder-coverings if going to any temples or holy places where modesty is appropriate. 

Am I missing anything?! I also want to share the electronics & entertainment (SO hard to pick what books to read!) I'm bringing but this is long enough so I'll save it for another post. 

Ok, SEE YOU TOMORROW when I will answer such thrilling questions as "what sorts of electricity adapters are needed in Vietnam?" and "how many iPhone chargers are you bringing?" and "will you be wearing one of those dorky mom-approved moneybelt fanny packs?!?!"

Spoiler alert on that last one: obbz. 

Try not to die of anticipation in the meantime.

TTYL, lovers.

xoxo Liz Hott