Packing List for a Student Exchange in Thailand

In one of my other posts (Budgeting for Student Exchange in Thailand) I mentioned that a previous student sent me a comprehensive document of everything that she spent in Thailand. The document also included a partial packing list that she found important. When I was packing I did lots of research and read lots of travel blogs about what would be important to bring and I think I’ve finally got it down. Here is my packing list for Thailand. Hope you like it!

<What to Bring>



  • Toothbrush – I use a bamboo toothbrush so I brought them (3)
  • Mini Disposable Toothbrush – perfect for the 30 hour flight over


  • Mini Contact Solution Bottle (2 oz) – good for traveling (buy “dropper bottle” at the Container Store or Amazon)
  • Contact Solution Bottle (1 8oz)
  • Glasses  + Glasses Case
  • Contacts (6 months worth)
  • Contact Cases (6 pack)

Body Care

  • SPF Moisturizer -Thailand only has bleaching stuff and you need the SPF here
  • Lotion – again, Thailand really only has bleaching stuff
  • Tweezers
  • Travel Mirror
  • Deodorant
  • Perfume (if you want, but it’s hot here and everyone is smelly so I didn’t use it)

Shower Stuff

  • Towels (2) – Quick Dry/Microfiber (look on Amazon, these are amazing for travel and they dry so quickly and take up almost no space)
  • Face towel/s
  • Body Scrub/Face Wash
  • Razor
  • Shower Shoes – $1 flip flops from Old Navy are great


  • Ponytail Holders
  • Headbands/Bandanas – good for pushing your hair off your face when it’s absurdly hot
  • Bobby pins
  • Hair product – if you use it regularly bring it. It may not seem important but the heat does things to your hair.


  • Makeup + Makeup Bag – pack no more than one small makeup bag. You will think you’ll wear it but you will not it. It is 105 degrees here every day and it will get sweated off.

Feminine Products

  • Tampons – women in southeast Asia don’t use them. You won’t find them anywhere.
  • Wet Wipes – necessary anytime you’re traveling. Not a lot of toilet paper
  • Hand Sanitizer – many times bathrooms don’t have soap



  • Digital Camera
  • Charger
  • Extra Batteries
  • Extra SD Cards
  • GoPro
  • Disposable Camera – I brought one and I cannot wait to see my prints. I had a friend who took 6 with her to India and said that the prints were some of the best ones she’d seen. Plus you can’t stress over the perfect picture if you only get one chance.


  • External Phone Charger: when you have a 13 hour overnight bus at the end of a day of sightseeing, your phone tends to die easily. Even on airplane mode, battery goes quick. It’s worth it to invest in one, especially if your adapters stop working
  • Phone Chargers (2 or 3)
  • Mini Speaker/Speakers: good for when you’re hanging out with your friends, on the beach, etc
  • Waterproof iPhone Bags: good if you want to take your phone in the water/kayaking/etc. Be careful.
  • Headphones: get noise cancelling ones, and you won’t regret it. People in hostels/buses/anywhere public can be incredibly loud.
  • Earbuds
  • Lifeproof/Sturdy Case: Asia is dirty and dusty and wet! If you drop your phone or get caught in rainy season, you’re going to want something sturdy to keep it alive. I bought a case in Myanmar for $3 and it’s pretty amazing, but it’d be better if I had one before I left and didn’t almost shatter my phone.


  • Mini flashlight: good for the streets, hostels, etc.
  • Waterproof Watch: rainy season is no joke in Asia
  • Waterproof/Dry Bag – good for kayaking/water sports. You can find them on Amazon for under $20. These are the best for excursions. You can find these in all the markets in Asia, but they’re overpriced and usually don’t keep your things dry. Don’t take the risk.
  • Universal Converters/Adapters

Medication/First Aid

  • Sunscreen: bring 1 or 2 big bottles, depending on how much you need.
  • Bug Spray: bring a small bottle (for travel) and then a big one. The mosquitoes aren’t bad in Bangkok, but they’ll eat you alive everywhere else.
  • 5 months worth of Medication
  • First Aid: Neosporin, Bandaids, Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Hydrocortisone/Itching Cream
  • Aloe Vera
  • Medications: Allergy Pills, Ibuprofen, Migraine Medication, Sleeping Pills, Anti-Diarrhea, Tums, Cold/Flu Medication (check that all medication you are planning to take are not illegal in your country!)



  • Lightweight Travel Blanket – good for flights
  • Neck Pillow with Strap
  • Cards
  • Febreeze Fabric Refresher
  • Mini Padlocks (4 or 5)  – absolute a must for traveling in hostels. Lock your things up. Many times I didn’t get a lock included in the room price and needed these.
  • Travel Journal – you won’t want to forget a moment here.
  • 10 copies of Passport & Visa (handle copies with care)
  • 5 copies of License, Student ID, Credit Card, Debit Card (handle copies with care)
  • Lonely Planet Language Book
  • Water Bottle
  • Electrolyte Pills – a lifesaver in these heat
  • American Snacks – you may be running out of space, but you’ll want some of these. My mom spent $80 shipping me Mac & Cheese to Thailand, and it was so worth it. Between all the pad thai, you’ll start to miss American food.


I packed 2 backpacks and 1 suitcase. My flight allows me to bring 2 checked bags home, so I’m buying a suitcase here for my souvenirs and bringing it home with me. If you can do the same, I’d advise it.

  • Large distinct suitcase
  • Backpacking backpack – 50L is perfect for Asia. Just make sure it’s not unreasonably large, otherwise Asian airlines will force you to pay for it to be checked when you travel. Go on AirAsia, Thai Lion, etc and see their carry-on allowances. They’ll post the dimensions and the weight, and I’ll be honest, they are not kidding around.
  • Collapsible duffel bag
  • Collapsible backpack
  • Money Belt/Fanny Pack – absolute necessary. Saves space, is safe, etc. Everyone uses fanny packs in Asia.
  • Passport Holder
  • Luggage IDs for your bags
  • Small purse/Crossbody

And now…onto Clothing!



The motto for shoes is, if you don’t mind them getting ruined bring them to Thailand. I lived in my Tevas and Skechers.

  • Nice Sandals – 2 pairs
  • Chacos/Tevas – I wore these almost every day
  • Skechers – I had a pair of slip ons that I wore every day to school and whenever I needed a gross pair of shoes (walking around cities)
  • Merrells/Keens/hiking shoes – if you want to trek
  • Tennis shoes – good for hiking, working out


  • Maxi Skirt – temples require you to cover your knees
  • Casual Shorts (4)
  • Leggings (3)
  • Harem Pants (2) – you can buy them anywhere here


  • Sundresses (3) – bring ones that don’t show sweat
  • Classy Dresses (2) – for going out


  • Rain Jacket
  • Umbrella
  • Scarf/Shawl/Sarong
  • Cardigan (1)


  • Underwear (10 pairs)
  • Bras (8)
  • Socks (8 pairs)
  • Pajamas (2 or 3 sets)

Business Clothes 

  • Blazer – I needed this when I did Skype interviews
  • White Tank Top


  • V-neck loose shirts (3)
  • Tank tops (4)


  • Sunglasses (2 or 3)
  • Baseball Hat
  • Sun Hat
  • Foot Inserts
  • Swimsuits (2 or 3)
  • Swim Coverup – Asia can be a bit conservative at the beach.



  • Conditioner/Shampoo: you can buy this anywhere here. Unless you use a specific kind, don’t bring it.
  • Lots of makeup: like I said earlier, it is really hot here. You really won’t need much because it won’t stay on.
  • Toothpaste: buy it here
  • Heels: sidewalks in SE Asia are known for being broken, cracked, etc. Everyone here wears flats.
  • Jeans: it was very cold in Vietnam, but I bought things there. It was way too hot in Bangkok to ever wear jeans.
  • Cold Clothing: not worth it. Pack light.
  • Notebooks/School Supplies: buy them at Thammasat’s Book store or any 7/11
  • Expensive Jewelry: pickpocketing is rampant in Thailand.

I know this list is long so I hope it doesn’t freak you out but everything on here is important and has been useful since I’ve been in Thailand. One of the most important things for me was making sure to by 3oz travel containers and various different sizes for other things I used before I left for all the toiletries I’d need. I brought extra ones and always found use for them. I got them from Amazon and the Container Store and they’ve been my best friends when I backpack.

As always, do your research before you go. I hope you enjoyed my list!


Here is me all packed up at the end of my trip 🙁

Talia Bhaiji

Talia Bhaiji is a sophomore at Fisher studying Finance and is studying abroad in Thailand in Fall 2017. Talia has a wide range of interests and is a member of many clubs at Ohio State. "I've been wanting to do study abroad since I was born (basically). My family had the travel bug and I was fortunate enough to see a lot of the world in a short amount of time, but I found myself really wanting to be immersed and the Student Exchange program looked perfect for me."