Rag Traders




Essential Tips for Travelling South East Asia

It's one month today until I set off on my backpacking adventure around South East Asia and as always, I've found myself panic packing! I figured I would write a check list of things for anyone else doing a similar trip soon - who knows it might help someone else out too!

If you're like me, lists are your best friend and I'm sure they will continue to be mine along my travels too. I'm constantly scribbling things down before I forget them all and get some kind of weird pleasure out of crossing them all out one after the other to give me peace of mind that I'm fully prepared for my adventures. Here's my top tips for anyone else thinking of taking a similar route whether it's for a gap year like me or a couple of weeks holiday, i'm sure they will be helpful for both!


Be sure to fully research each place and what exactly it is that's on your bucket list to visit as it's literally impossible to fit it all in. I found it super useful to book an appointment with an STA agent to chat through this all, it saves hours of research and initial planning and they can pretty much answer any query you have then and there.


Again, for this I used STA. Initially, I didn't want to book every single flight to each country we plan on visiting because I feel that takes away the fun and spontaneity of wandering off with new friends to foreign places. Howevvvver, that being said you do need to check out the tourist visa requirements as some you can simply fly in and get on arrival however other countries may require you to visit an embassy, apply online or provide proof of a flight out of the country in order to be granted your visa in.


Uuuuugh, possibly the most boring part of preparing but without a doubt one of the most crucial as who really wants to turn up at the check in desk to be turned away and refused on board..
The best way to sort these out is to write out a list of each place you want to visit and check out the Foreign Travel Advice gov website which gives info on each place and it's criteria and lengths of entry. Again, another topic you can run past an STA representative with to ensure you've got all the right documents before you fly.


This is a given really isn't it? I went for Outbackers as it was specifically tailored to gap year travellers and covers a lot of activities i might be doing that other insurers would make you add on.


Okay so this might be the worst part depending on how you feel about needles, cause your about to get alaaaat heading your way (destination dependant). Book an appointment with your nurse at your local GP and they can run through each destination on your itinerary to tell you what you're going to need. If South-East Asia is your route be prepared for a long list of jabs and most importantly give yourself enough time before you head out as some can be a course of jabs spreading over several months.


Bit of a given really isn't it? There is so much choice out there for backpacks at the moment that this one's pretty hard to shortlist so you really do need to do your research and see how much space you'll need for the length of your trip.
I ended up going for the Osprey 60L backpack, as from previous experience travelling when I was 18 I had learnt two things. 1. I did not need 75L, especially when carrying that weight on my own back, safe to say i ended up dragging it the entire 5 months and wore the bottom of it down pretty bad. Which leads me to 2. This time I was 100% looking for a backpack with wheels too, so I can still carry it when needs be (beaches and rocky terrain) but whenever i can avoid it, I can just wheel away!


The main tech items i'm going to be taking with me are
- I Pad / Kindle for reading, editing apps and music
- i Phone / Ipod for music and photos
- Go Pro for underwater and adventure photos as well as video footage
- Go Pro remote & monopod pole
- Currency converter app great for working out how much things are when bartering


- This might be overlooked but it's super important. This thing will be glued by your side for the whole trip so make sure it has enough compartments for important documents, passports, flight tickets, transport print outs e.t.c.
- I just ordered this snazzzzaaay one from ASOS as it's sure to stand out in my backpack when I'm looking for it in a hurry.


We've booked into a hostel using booking.com for the first couple of nights to save us wondering the streets at some stupid hour trying to find a hostel that has room when we're knackered. This also helps as we will know where to direct the taxi to upon arrival and have peace of mind that we won't be homeless when we get there!
Other great apps / websites to search for accommodation are;
- Tripadvisor - this one's really good to read the comments about the cleanliness, atmosphere, price e.t.c and to get initial recommendations before searching on booking sites for the best deals.


- Check it's still in date by at least 6 months from the day you depart.
- Take photocopies and email them to yourself, print several copies for your travel wallet and to be extra safe, send a copy to your parents. It's also a good shout to get some passport photos taken before you leave should you ever need any for documents or activities when you're away.


I'm going to be purchasing an STA cash card for my trip as well as taking both a credit and debit card.
'STA Travel Cashflex offers you a flexible, easy and safe way to manage your money. Choose an STA ISIC Cashcard for students or a Cashcard for all to use at home and abroad and avoid the cost and hassle of exchanging money. There are no credit checks needed and parents and friends can top-up your card if you run out of money! Plus, we don't charge you a credit card fee when you use your card to pay at STA Travel.'

What's your top tips for travelling? I hope I haven't forgotten anything!

*Images sourced from Oracle Fox Blog & Sjana Elise