Philippines transportation

While traveling you may discover you don’t really need most of the things you’ve brought. Carrying a large backpack can make things unnecessarily difficult for you, whether walking around a city or backcountry trails, using public transportation, catching a ride on a motorcycle taxi, or riding a bike. With a large backpack you might not be able to board a bus, bring it with you on a plane as a carry-on, or put it next to your bed on an overnight train. If you pack wisely and lightly, you will feel more free and you will be able to enjoy your journey much more. What do I have in my backpack? For inspiration, how to pack under 6 kg, I am sharing my own checklist.



My checklist



For a three-week journey to exotic countries a bicycle backpack Deuter Trans Alpine (size 26, 30 liters) proved itself to be great. These backpacks are light, have divided low pocket, and waterproof rain cover. The dimensions are approved by the airlines as a carry-on bag and can thus be taken aboard the plane. If you pack your backpack according to the checklist, your backpack will weigh 5-7 kg, under the maximum weigh for carry-on bags (8 kg). After I check into a hotel I unpack most things from the backpack and then use it as a day pack for day trips.


Official documents

...which I carry in a hidden security pocket, for example Ferrino AERE:

  • Valid passport (mostly required 6 months after leaving the visited country)
  • Visa
  • International Driver' s License
  • Travel insurance
  • Certificate of Vaccination
  • Insurance card
  • Cash
  • Debit and Credit cards

...which I carry in another location:

  • A photocopy of my passport
  • Airline ticket itinerary
  • Trip itinerary
  • Additional cash in, for example, a belt with a built-in inner pocket


For trips to tropical regions it is enough to bring only a few T-shirts. You can wash those easily and they will dry very quickly. You can also use a local laundry, which can be found anywhere in Asia on almost every street corner. The prices for 1 kg of washed clothes are more less 1-2 USD. You can also easily buy new T-shirts, usually for 2-4 USD, and you will have a valuable souvenir.

It’s very common in the tropics that buses--especially long distance ones--are air conditioned to very low temperatures, therefore it’s wise to have some warm clothes handy, like a hoodie or a light jumper, which will save you from catching a cold. Hoodie takes only a small space or you can tie it down over your backpack.

It’s a good idea to bring lightly colored light clothes with long sleeves and legs for sleeping comfortable in as mosquito nets are never 100% reliable in the tropics. For the cheapest guesthouses it’s recommended to bring your own sleeping blanket.

Swim shorts can be used for swimming and spending time on the beach, and you can count them as your second pair of shorts. If you are spending time at the beach, you might bring a snorkel and light sarong to lie on the sand. 

  • 4 T-shirts
  • Long pants?
  • Closed shoes?
  • Shorts
  • Sandals
  • Thin and light colored long sleeve shirt and long pants to sleep in
  • Hoodie
  • Plastic raincoat
  • Swim shorts
  • Snorkel?
  • Thin sarong?
  • Sleeping blanket?
I separate clothes into plastic bags in my backpack for easier handling.


Personal Hygiene Products

You can take personal hygiene products smaller than 100 ml with you in a carry-on bag on board a plane. If you need to refill some of the products, it is easy to buy everything while traveling.
5x50 ml shower gel + shampoo, 2x20 ml tooth paste, tooth brush, chopstick, nail clipper, mini-towel – the cheapest guesthouses usually do not provide towels.
Travel packages up to 100 ml are easily found in drug stores, DM for example. In the drug store you can also buy plastic zipper bags, which you will need for carrying the little bottles with liquid hygiene products.

  • 5x50ml shower gel + shampoo
  • 2x20ml tooth paste
  • Tooth brush
  • Lipbalm
  • Nail clipper
  • mini-towel – the cheapest guesthouses usually do not provide towels
Travel packages up to 100 ml are easily found in drug stores. In the drug store you can also buy plastic zipper bags, which you will need for carrying the little bottles with liquid hygiene products (mostly required by airport security during checkout).


First Aid Kit

It is necessary to have with you First Aid Kit. The basic things that need to be in it are:

  • Band-aid
  • Bandage
  • Disinfection
  • Fever reducing medicine
  • Cold medicine
  • Painkillers
  • Pain reducing cream
  • Antihistamines for insect bites (or antibiotics e.g. Bactroban)
  • Medicine for indigestion
  • Ear drops
  • Eye drops
Same as menitoned already above - some airports require you to have the 100ml liquid bottles packed in a zip lock bag. 



At some destinations with occurrences of tropical diseases such as malaria, it’s necessary to purchase local repellent for disinfecting the room as well as body repellent, which you need to have with you at all times. It is better to buy it at the destination, because there is a better chance that it will work. It is also not allowed on board most planes in your carry-on bag.



If you want to travel light, it is usually enough to bring a compact, pocket-sized camera with a high capacity memory card.


Travel guidebook

A priceless travel companion is a guide book, for example Lonely Planet. You can download an electronic version of the book to your phone so you don't have to lug around a heavy book with you.


Phone apps

Smart phones have replaced computers for many travel-related needs; when connected to Wifi, modern phone apps can make your traveling much easier. Advice, which travel applications I use during my travelling, I shared in an article "Twenty travel apps for travelling on my own".

In some destinations I buy a local SIM card.



  • Flashlight
  • Security pocket for travel documents and money
  • Belt with an inner pocket for money
  • Pen
  • Headphones
  • Chargers for the phone and camera
  • Power-bank (solar)
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Padlock for locking the zipper in your backpack (TSA certification)
  • Bike lock for locking your backpack (on the train or in guesthouses)


With the aforementioned set-up, I have visited Bali, Vietnam, Cambodia, Seoul, Philippines, Dubai, China, Macao, Hong Kong, Guatemala, Belize, Israel, two times India, Thailand, Laos and Sri Lanka.



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