Six-month backpacking trip to Asia – what to prepare? Checklist

Few months ago I went to a 6-month backpacking trip to Southeast Asia. In one place I collected information about all the things I had to do before departure.

International driving license

Scooters are very popular in Asia. It’s also important to have an international driver’s license, because if you don’t make one and the police catch you – you’ll get a fine. How do you make them?
You must visit the municipal office and fill out an application or send it by mail. Making an international driver’s license costs 35 zloty and is valid for 3 years.
There are many sites on the Internet that offer to make an international driver’s license, but NOTE – not only does it cost quite a lot, you can find a lot of information about it, suggesting that it is not legal.

Travel Insurance

When going on such a long-distance trip, good insurance is a mandatory item. It is worth noting all the items included in the insurance and the amount they are covered for. There are really a lot of them, but it seems to me that it’s better to do a broad research and choose the insurance that will be perfect for us, while protecting ourselves from any possible unpleasantness 🙂


Before traveling to Southeast Asia, it is a good idea to visit a travel medicine clinic to get all the necessary information about diseases and any vaccinations that can be done. No mandatory vaccinations are required for Southeast Asia directly from Europe. Recommended ones include vaccination against:

  • Hepatitis A – hepatitis A.
    Vaccination recommended for people planning to travel to this part of the world regardless of the length and nature of the trip; recommended for travelers going to Southeast Asia, even if they plan to stay in good sanitary conditions. Take two doses – the second within 6-12 months of the first.
  • Hepatitis B – hepatitis B.
    In accordance with Polish Immunization Program recommended vaccination in adults previously not immunized against the disease. In Poland, this vaccination has been mandatory since 1994. Three doses of the vaccine are administered at 0-1-6 month intervals.
    NOTE: It is possible to take the Twinrix vaccine, which protects against hepatitis A and hepatitis B at the same time (also three doses of the vaccine at 0-1-6 month intervals)
    tetanus and diphtheria (pertussis)
    A booster vaccination is indicated in adults every 10 years.
  • typhoid
    Vaccination recommended especially for people who travel may eat in poor sanitary conditions, leaving for long periods of time and going to rural areas of this part of the world. If you go to an area where the disease is prevalent, a booster dose should be taken every 3 years.

Additional vaccinations

The doctor at the travel medicine clinic also recommended that I be vaccinated against:

  • Japanese encephalitis
    Vaccination recommended for travelers planning to stay in rural areas of at-risk Southeast Asian regions, especially if the nature of the trip involves an increased risk of infection (e.g., trekking, camping). Take three doses, the second one a week after the first, and the third one within a year to 3 years after the second.
  • rabies
    I decided to get this vaccination because in Asia there is a risk of being bitten/scratched by a dog or monkey. Getting vaccinated beforehand makes it so that if you are bitten, you don’t have to take immunoglobulin and 5 doses of vaccine, but only two doses.

From a tropical medicine doctor, you can also ask for a prescription for anti-malarial drugs and take them while in an area where you may be infected with malaria. A map and breakdown of malaria incidence worldwide can be found here.

Useful gadgets for travel - checklist

✅ travel yoga mat
Traveling backpacking and frequently changing locations, I decided to purchase a travel yoga mat. I like to practice yoga and I know that in Asia I will do it, and on average I want to buy a mat in every place I will be. I also couldn’t imagine traveling with a thick, bulky mat. After searching on the Internet, I decided to buy a travel yoga mat. In my case, the choice was Manduka. The rubber mat is 1.5 mm thick and weighs less than a kilogram. Most importantly, it can be folded into a square and packed in a backpack.
✅ mini-band resistance exercise rubber
This is definitely my favorite sports gadget for traveling 🙂 It weighs practically nothing and doesn’t take up any space, and it adds a cool variety to physical training.
✅ travel scale
such a cool gadget I got before the trip from a friend – it turned out to be veery useful 🙂
✅ Kindle
✅ trekking shoes
✅ rain jacket
✅ mosquito spray with DEET 50%.
✅ face cream with UV50 sunscreen
✅ sunglasses
✅ first aid kit with medicines, plasters and disinfectant fluid

Resistance rubber, Manduka travel yoga mat and Kindle for size comparison 🙂

How did I fight with my fears and go to so long trip to Asia?

If you you would like to go to Asia on your own, but you are scared, I encourage you to read my post: 

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