Thailand travel essentials list
Thailand travel essentials list

Travelling to Thailand can be awkward without the right accessories. But whether it is backpacking or a regular holiday, this list of ten essential items will make the trip will be safer, more secure, healthier and run much smoother. 

1. Thai sim card
Most people have a smartphone these days - and having a Thai sim card is essential for using the phone in Thailand. They're cheap at around 300 baht, come with loads of Internet data, and are quick and easy to install without affecting any of the smartphone's settings. Having a Thai sim card is essential for being able to access email bookings for flights and hotels, maps for getting around, Google images and translate for communicating with Thais, and social messaging services like Facebook, Whatsapp and Skype for staying in touch with people at home. Read our full guide to buying Thai sim cards for tourists.
2. Wallet on a chain
Wallets with chains attached are normally associated with 1990s grunge fashion. And I must admit, I hadn't used one since I was a sweaty 16-year-old. But my brown leather wallet sometimes falls out of the pocket when wearing loose fitting shorts. And while I've never been pickpocketed, and this type of crime is not a big problem in Thailand like it is in European cities such as Barcelona and Paris, on my last trip I used a wallet on a chain. For people like me who are always patting their pocket to check their wallet is there, the feeling of reassurance knowing that it definitely was with me at all times was great. There are plenty of cheap, plain canvas wallets on chains on Amazon that are great for using everyday or just while travelling.
3. Suitcase packing cubes
Packing cubes are another clever travel accessory that few people know about - zip pouches and dividers for suitcase. The idea is to pack different clothes into each compartment - shirts in one zip pouch, shorts in another, underwear in the third. This keeps clothes organised and makes it easy to take them out from the suitcase and place straight onto a shelf in the wardrobe. They're also really handy for separating dirty laundry. Most listings on Amazon are for sets of three - including small, medium and large. Three compartments problem won't be enough for a two week trip to Thailand, so it is reccomnded to buy six for one person.
4. Multi-region universal travel plug adaptor
Thai plug sockets and electrical devices are not like European, UK and U.S. versions. They have just two small prongs that fit into the wall. Most travellers and holidaymakers will have some electronic devices that need charging regularly, so having the correct adapter is essential. And to be really smart, get an adapter that has USB ports, too, which saves space not having to pack the plug for smartphone or tablet. Universal travel plug adaptors are relatively cheap and can be around the world. Having one of these saves time and money as they can be taken on any trips safe in the knowledge that they will always work.
5. Portable travel safe
Ok, portable travel safes might not be an essential for everyone, but for those who are security-conscious, they definitely are. Most hotels in Thailand do have safes, but there are still a lot of places that don't have safes. Most booking sites will clarify if the accommodation has a safe). Cheaper hostels used by backpackers on long trips often don't have safes. So for backpackers it is highly reccommended. Especially because it is young travellers who often have the most expensive gadgets like iPads, Macbooks, smartphones and cameras. The Pacsafe Travelsafe is the market leader in this department (and also the most expensive). The company specialises in travel security accessories so they know their stuff. Their Pacsafe Travelsafes are available in 5l sizes or the larger 12l version which is big enough for laptops. They are great for using in hostels, and also while travelling on trains or relaxing on the beach, as they can be attached to any fixed area.
6. Passport holder
Passport wallet holders should be an essential for any trip abroad. They keep the passport safe, and can be used for storing other important travel documents such as visas, flight details, travel insurance details, hotel reservations, medical cards, emergency money and other vital things. They make the airport experience a lot more relaxed, knowing that everything that's needed is stored away safely in one folio. There are many different kinds, but I recommend the Go Travel document organiser, which is strong, neat, and has lots of pockets and a zip compartment.
7. Flip-flops
So this one might seem obvious, but it's surprising how many people travel to Thailand with just their regular sports shoes and socks. This is guaranteed to result in sweaty feet and nasty things like athletes foot and fungal nail infections. A lot ofThai locals will wear flip flops for going about their day to day work, even in Bangkok where traffic is pretty heavy to say the least. So if the locals are doing it, it's usually a good idea. Flip flops also save time - no waiting around for lacing up shoes - and space in the suitcase as not as many pairs of socks are needed.
8. Mosquito spray
Thailand is not just popular with western tourists - mosquitoes love the country, too. And they also love biting people. This causes some annoying itching, the risk of the bite becoming infected and the more serious risk of contracting dengue fever. Natural herbal Lemongrass mosquito spray is pretty effective. Just spray on ankles, knees, wrists and necks before going out at night and it will keep away mosquitoes. Stronger spray has a higher DEET rating, so look out for 50 or even 100 deet versions.
9. Luggage scales
If you are one of those people who travels light and has a 1/2 empty case then luggage scales aren't important. But for anyone like me, who buys a ton of stuff and crams it into the case for the return journey, then scales are essential. The cost airlines charge for exceeding the weight allowance is scandalous - EVA Air wanted to hit me with £60 per KG over their 20kg allowance for the return journey from Bangkok to London (strangely, the allowance from London to Bangkok was 30kg). So make sure to weigh all cases before arriving at the airport. Cabin luggage allowances are usually around 20 - 25kg for economy while hand luggage is 7kg.
10. Mini folding umbrella
Rainy season in Thailand is June July, August and September, but can last deep into October, too. Plus, the chances are outside these months it will rain heavily at least once or twice during a trip. Downpours usually happen fast and hard in early evening after a long hot day. So don't get caught out, or have to buy an umbrella from Thailand - take a strong, compact version that fits into a pocket or handbag.


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