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Students in a long tail boat in Indonesia. Photo by Aaron Slosberg, Indonesia Semester.

Happy I brought/Wish I left

One question I always wish I could ask before traveling somewhere is “what is one thing you are happy you brought and one thing you wish you left at home”? Over the past few days I have asked the group these questions and compiled a little list. For all the future Indo Dragon students wondering whether to leave that one item at home or throw it in the bag, this is for you.

Happy I brought:

  • Needle and thread (your clothes will rip more than you think)
  • Small knife (good for opening packages and fruit, available in-country)
  • Pocket dictionary
  • Thick/extra journals
  • Extra hair ties (make for good oleh-olehs)
  • Probiotics
  • Multivitamins
  • Peptobismol/Dayquill (not available in-country)
  • Hydration packs/electrolytes
  • Lush shampoo bar
  • Lots of extra underwear (black and quickdry are the best)
  • Lantern
  • Friendship bracelet string (just trust me)
  • Mp3 music player & extra headphones (Ruizus are great!)
  • Kindle (saves space & weight)
  • Paperbacks (easy to share with others)
  • Quick-dry clothes
  • Safety pins
  • Assorted plastic bags (good for dirty shoes/wet clothes)
  • Assorted dry bags (super helpful for organization/boat rides/rainy season)
  • Backup sunglasses
  • American deodorant
  • Diva cup/small tampons (saves space)
  • Polaroid camera
  • Microfiber cloth (for cameras and sunglasses)
  • Long sleeve rash guard (saves you from burns and the awkward farmer’s tan)
  • ThinkSport/Alba/Badger reef-safe sunscreen (we found these worked the best)
  • CampSuds/Dr Bronners/Sea to Summit soap
  • Chocos/Tevas that are easy to take off
  • Nail-clippers/Tweezers
  • Compact mirror (especially if you use contacts!)
  • Compact hairbrush
  • Salt shaker (??)
  • Flashcards (for language practice)
  • Extra pens
  • Small art supplies (good for bonding with host siblings)
  • Antibiotic ointment (also in the med-bag)
  • After-bite!
  • A collapsible/rollable water bottle (saves space)
  • Granola bars/snacks
  • Small inflatable pillow (good for airport naps)
  • Q-tips
  • Camera
  • Sleeping clothes (tank top and shorts are good)

Wish I left:

  • Clothes… (4 shirts/3 pants is more than enough, you can always buy batik in Jogja!)
  • Sleeping bag liner (sarongs worked perfectly)
  • Hammock
  • Crazy creek
  • Lonely planet phrasebook (dictionary is more useful)
  • Long skirt/really formal clothes
  • Water filter
  • Fleece jacket/hat (unless you run really cold/only useful in Dieng)
  • Heavy duty hiking boots (light hikers/good sneakers is all you need)
  • Socks (useful for mosquitoes but you don’t wear sneakers often)
  • Mosquito head net
  • Money belt
  • Advil/Ibuprofen (these are blood thinners and shouldn’t be used in malaria/dengue prone areas)
  • Water shoes
  • Lotion

All of these things are personal preferences and are not necessary! Most things are available in-country and it is best to pack as light as you can. You will be fine with whatever you bring! Happy packing 🙂