In My Bag

Before I left for this adventure I spent a good 6 months glued to message boards and researching on websites trying to learn all I could about it.  Good packing lists from alums were limited but I did find a few and those are what I fashioned my ultimate list from.  But then there’s one problem, the rules, guidelines and needs of the SAS program are constantly changing.  While you’re always going to need the basics other things such as flat irons may or may not be allowed.  So, my original list, well lets just say I wish I had brought some different things, especially in the clothing department.

So here’s my attempt to help all the future SASers out.  Take the list or ignore it if you want I just hope someone finds it useful.  My original list is in gray, updates in orange.

Packing List

• 2 pairs of jeans
• 1 nice pair of pants (anything except Jeans)
• 2 Shorts
• 2 Athletic shorts
• 1 pair of capris/leggings
• 2 skirts
• 1 dress (I also got one made in Vietnam, but it can be a tedious process, so if you want something nice, bring it from home)
• Sweatpants
• PJ pants
• 14 underwear
• 2 bras
• 2 sports bras
• 4 tank tops (maybe more?)
• 2 swimsuits
• 4 large style t shirts (did not need this many, I bought ones in most countries and I don’t even wear them anymore)
• 6 t shirts (could have used more)
• 2 long sleeve t’s
• 1 sweatshirt(I really only needed one and I bought one on the ship)
• 2 button up shirts(for temples) (never wore, at least in that context)
• Columbia fleece
• Jean Jacket
• hat
• waterproof jacket
• 8 pairs of socks (to many, I lived in flip flops mostly)
• 3 flip flops (reefs and old navy)(only needed 2 of those)
• 2 tennis shoes (I only ever wore 1 pair)
• 1 dressy shoes
• 2 belts
• Sunglasses
• Band-Aids
• Sunscreen
• Lotion
• 2 bottles shampoo ( hard to find good stuff in many countries)
• Conditioner
• Toothbrush
• Toothpaste
• Makeup
• Hair Straightener
• Brush
• feminine items (if you need elaboration, just ask)
• Fingernail clippers
• Tweezers
• Fingernail file
• Sm fingernail polish remover
• Cotton balls
• 1 fingernail polish ( never used)
• Vitamins
• Chapstick
• Baby wipes
• Hand sanitizer
• Prescriptions
• Ibuprophin
• Shave gel
• Razors
• Pocket Kleenex
• Face wash
• Small travel bottles of shampoo, conditioner, body wash, hair gel, face wash (for in port trips)
• Floss
• Anti-diarrhea (Imodium AD)
• Chewable pepto bismal
• Gel and mousse (I should have brought just 2 mousse)
• Hair ties and bobby pins
• Tums
• Body wash and pouf
• Q-tips
• Bug spray
• Sea sickness meds (they have these on the ship for free so unless you get really seasick you don’t need to bring your own)
• Body spray  (easier to travel with than perfume and lets face it sometimes things stink so you want to make it smell better)
• Daypack (to use for in port trips)
• Small calculator (handy for markets and not as flashy as an ipod/iphone)
• Construction paper (a few of each color came in handy)
• 5 subject notebook
• Journal
• Mechanical pencils and lead
• Pens
• Flash drive (the bigger the better)
• Small notebook to take notes in while in port
• Small stapler
• Scissors
• Tape: clear and duct
• Glue stick
• Markers
• Laptop and cords
• Highlighter
• Yellow pad of paper
• Sharpies (1-2 is fine)
• Post it’s (1 pad)
• Safety pins
• Rubber bands
• Passport
• Copies of front page of passport
• Drivers license
• Copy of drivers license
• Copy of shot record
• Copy of birth certificate
• Extra passport photos (2) (I actually needed more)
• American Money
$1 bills ($250)
$ 5 bills ($250)
$ 10 bills ($ 150)
$ 20 bills ( $200)- these are easy to exchange
• Credit card
• ATM card
• Visas
• SAS paper work
• travelers checks ($200)  (these were terrible, I wish I hadn’t brought them.  Far to difficult to work with)
• Medical documents
• calendar
• Eagle Creek shoulder bag (to carry things around in port)
• Digital camera
– Memory card, extra batteries and connector cord
• IPOD
– Ipod cord
• Pics from home
• Address book
• Envelopes
• Playing cards
• Uno/skipbo
• World map
• Small sewing kit
• Beach towel (was nice, but big to pack so I actually recommend getting a quick dry towel from REI, much more compact!)
• Hanging Closet organizer for clothes (this was so worth the space)
• Woolite (laundry days are few and far between so this works well in those periods)
• Battery alarm clock
• Watch
• Money belt ( I don’t really like them but sometimes they do come in handy)
• Small flashlight ( I recommend a headlamp)
• Blanket (I never used it, it just sat on my bed)
• Fav DVD’s
• Travel TP
• Small mesh laundry bag
• Jewelry
• List of emails and addresses(I set up a special email account just for SAS)
• Gum
• Hot chocolate packs
• Granola bars
• Oatmeal packets
• Candy
• CDRW’s (these days an external hard drive serves the same purpose)
• Camera case
• Crystal light
• Magnets ( Make sure they’re strong and bring A LOT, the walls are magnetic)
• Magnets with hooks (to hang things from your wall)
• A few postcards from home to show people you meet in port or give them
• Stickers for kids
• A large ziplock bag for every country and one for ship stuff you collect
• compact umbrella

Some extra advice concerning packing and other stuff

—-When it comes to clothes I found that I didn’t bring enough of the right stuff. By the end of the trip I was really sick of wearing normal t-shirts and wished I had some nice stuff.  So moral of the story, bring stuff you would typically wear back home, you wont regret it.
—- Do buy t shirts in the countries you visit. When you’re wearing them in the future it brings back so many memories, but like I said bring some other shirts with you that are nicer.
—-Capris are definitely the way to go in conservative countries that are still really hot like China and Vietnam
—-If you’re traveling to Asia in the fall bring a compact Umbrella, you WILL need it.
—-Don’t bring a nalgene bottle if you plan on buying one on the ship (I did and covered it in stickers from every country).
—-Granola bars, hot chocolate packs, instant oatmeal, easy mac, etc is nice to have around for the times you don’t want to spend $2.50 on a hot chocolate or $2 on a candy bar.
—-On occasion you’ll want to have something like Crystal light to flavor your water because at points the ship water can taste REALLY salty
—- I saved stuff from every country and found it really easy to store them in large ziplocks that I could label for each one
—- There are US outlets in your room and the computer lab but if you want to plug in your computer anywhere else you will need a European plug adapter (this may have changed more recently…)
—- Woolite was great for washing your clothes on the long stretches between laundry days, but when a laundry day comes up use it. Washing your clothes in the sink can never get them clean enough. Just try to stuff as much clothes into the plastic bag they give you for laundry day as possible and duct tape it shut in the end.
—–Headbands can be useful on windy days
—- If you take a lot of pictures, and have a lithium battery for your camera (like Canon ELPHs or Rebels) I would recommend buying an extra one. There’s nothing like having your camera die right before you get to the Great Wall.
—-Back up ALL your pictures on disk after you save them to your computer
—- make sure you have a good sturdy bag for taking around in port which is small enough to not be a hassle but big enough to shove souvenirs in that you buy during the day. I got mine from Eagle Creek. They have great bags.
—- If you bring an IPOD/Iphone on a trip make sure you have a good case, like an Otterbox. I had mine in my purse in India. My water bottle leaked, soaked everything in my purse, and destroyed my IPOD.
—- Journal! Even if you don’t normally do it. You’ll appreciate it in the future when the details of this amazing experience are starting to get a little fuzzy.
—-If you have a book your really love, or a Kindle, bring it, but the Library had some good ones that you can either just barrow, or keep and replace.
—- Only STRONG magnets will really hold anything to the wall in your cabin so make sure you bring a lot (if you do forget the 100 yen store in Japan has some good ones)
—-Make sure your money looks as nice as possible (I actually ironed mine). In some of the countries, especially in Asia the merchants need the money to look really nice so the banks will accept it.
—- When it comes to money, know one thing, Travelers checks suck, don’t get them.  You could bring cash and just change it over but my recommendation is to open a Charles Schwab account, there are no international ATM fee’s which is amazing!
—-The library and field office both had travel guides that you can look at but if you’re going to do a country completely indy and travel out of the port city I would buy and bring a Lonely planet for that country. We had one for Japan and we would have been lost without it.

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