Explore Laos and all the wonders it has to offer—visit ancient Buddhist caves, hike to the top of a waterfall, and participate in a traditional Lao cooking class! Spend a few days at the Lao Elephant Conservation Center where you’ll learn all about these magnificent creatures including their diets, how to asses their health, and proper communication techniques. End the trip with a scavenger hunt in Luang Prabang and a final dinner in Bangkok, Thailand!
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Here is a detailed packing list for your time in Southeast Asia this summer. Packing the right gear (and the right amounts) is the first step to an incredible travel experience. Remember that you will be responsible for carrying your belongings everywhere you go, so PACK LIGHT! If your bag weighs more than 35 pounds, you have overpacked!
Weather in Southeast Asia
The summertime is known as the “rainy season” or the “green season” in Southeast Asia—days are generally hot and humid, with brief and refreshing showers that keep the land very lush and green. Temperatures sometimes cool off once the sun goes down, making for more pleasant evenings. Because of the heat, you will need to drink a lot more water than you are used to drinking to stay hydrated! The clothing that you bring should be able to get wet, dirty, and/or destroyed during service work and program activities.
Important Notes About Your Luggage
Airlines in Southeast Asia have weight restrictions for checked and carry-on luggage. Please limit your checked luggage to no more than 33lbs (15kg) and your carry-on luggage to 15lbs (7kg). For your one checked bag, a backpacking backpack is perfect, or a duffel bag that is easy to carry. Make sure everything you pack in your carry-on complies with the carry on regulations of the TSA. Lastly, remember to leave your valuables or prized possessions at home. It’s easier for things to get lost, stolen, or damaged while traveling.
Our Dress Code Expectations in Southeast Asia
Southeast Asian cultures are very conservative. Despite the hot climate, people in these parts of the world show less skin than in many Western cultures, and you’ll rarely see low-cut shirts or short shorts in rural communities. As we seek to respect and preserve the culture of the communities we work with, we ask that our students dress conservatively while in country. If you are not wearing proper attire, we will ask you to change your clothes or abstain from the service project of the day.
To dress respectfully in Southeast Asia, please bring loose-fitting pants or shorts that cover just above the knees (think basketball length). Bring basic t-shirts that cover your shoulders, and please leave all tank tops, cut off shirts, low-cut, see-through, or crop tops at home. As mentioned in our packing lists, yoga pants and leggings are not appropriate because they are too form-fitting. The key is to show less skin and to stay cool by wearing loose-fitted clothing. Check out these tips about how to pack for culturally-immersive travel and why Rustic cares about preserving a conservative dress code on our programs.
Personal hygiene is important in Southeast Asia, so when visiting temples we want to clean up more than while doing service. Wearing modest, clean clothes that cover the knees and shoulders is a must, as per usual. Being respectful is the name of the game!
Access to laundry can vary, but most programs find access once a week, though not guaranteed. If you’re getting laundry done in a village or rural town, expect to pay $1-2 per kg. If at a hotel, it can be anywhere to $20 per load.
A school backpack is ideal as it will be used for day trips.
- Photocopy of passport
- Passport photos
- Wallet/money/ATM card
- Book and/or journal
- Pens (2)
- Ear buds
- Change of clothes
- Water bottle
- Visa documentation
- Outlet adaptor
- Consent to Travel form
- Rustic Pathways emergency contacts
A 25-35 Liter duffel bag or backpack is ideal.
- Socks (2-3)
- Underwear (7)
- Lightweight pants/capris (2)
- Jeans (1)
- Knee-length shorts (3-4)
- T-shirts (7-8)
- Long sleeved shirt (1-2)
- Fleece/hoodie (lightweight)
- Swimsuit (two piece suits are fine but need to be very modest)
- Rain jacket/windbreaker
- Strappy sandals (like Tevas or Chacos)
(Travel size bottles in Ziploc bags)
- Body wash
- Face wash
- Bug spray
- Feminine hygiene products
- Contact lens solution
- Personal medicinal needs
- Wet Wipes
- Quick dry towel
- Sleeping bag liner (Optional! Bedding is provided. Best if liner is lightweight and breathable)
- Portable games (Bananagrams, cards, etc.)
- Photos from home