Packing list for Bali or Penang or pretty much any tropical destination – and my new luggage

I have to warn you: I’m a pretty light packer. I’ve done a lot of independent travel which requires me being responsible for lugging my stuff around all the time and that taught me to be pretty frugal about what went on my packing list. (Although by my standards, my packing list for Bali recently was pretty long!)

Packing list for Bali or Penang or any tropical country with kids

Jack the Bear is always on our packing list – and he’s trying out our new bag, thanks to Paklite

Next warning: I’m a list addict, so I tend to write a very precise list of what’s going to be packed ahead of time. (These days, anyway – pre-child I was a bit more haphazard about it!) Plus, since the great luggage loss of 2014 (yep, I’m still bitter), I’m careful about keeping my list just in case an airline would ever be so careless again.

My packing list for Bali or Penang or anywhere tropical – with a child in tow

My big goal when I’m packing is to have room left over. I will always remember going on a school trip to Germany as a 14-year-old, having somewhat too much stuff to start with, and then buying a LOT of stuff (including numerous bars of Milka chocolate!) and having to sit hard on that suitcase to get it done up. It was quite stressful and I think it scarred me for life! So if anything I tend to underpack, especially if I’m headed somewhere that I know I’ll be able to buy stuff if I really happen to need more T-shirts or something – definitely the case for a destination like Bali or Penang.

Packing list for Bali or Penang

My actual packing list for Bali – yes, my scribbly scrawl …

So yes, this is the actual list I used to pack our suitcase for a week in Bali. This is just what my four-year-old son and I needed – my husband had to take care of himself! To summarise:

  •  Clothes for me: 2 swimsuits (decadent, I know! One drying while I swim in the other!), 1 pool dress, 2 pairs of shorts, 1 skirt, 3 sleeveless tops, 2 tops, thongs, sandals, (a light sweater which I didn’t use), 2 PJs, 6 pairs of knickers (no washing on this holiday), cap.
  • Clothes for my son: 2 pairs of boardshorts and 2 rashies (big emphasis on swimming on this trip!), 6 pairs of underpants, thongs, 3 pairs of shorts, 3 T-shirts (with the plan to buy him more), (a light jacket he didn’t use), sandals, 2 PJs, hat, and of course, Jack the bear.
  • Bathroom stuff for us both: toothbrushes, toothpaste, suncream, mini-pharmacy in case of aches/Bali belly, hand sanitiser, moisturiser, mozzie repellent, probiotics, hydrating sachets, contact lenses. We were lucky we didn’t need to use any medication type stuff, but I was happy to have it with us.
  • Entertainment: books for us both (for my son, a bunch of mini Conni books – perfect!), iPad (the ultimate friend of a parent on a plane) and charger, iPhone and charger, Macbook and charger (a blogger has to keep working, you know).
  • Important stuff for the plane and beyond: passports, credit cards (but left nearly all other cards at home), cash, hotel info, snacks, and drawing pens and book for my son.

Now, another word of warning, because I thought I was being just so clever. After losing my beloved backpack last year, I hadn’t replaced it, and so I realised that our big hardshell suitcase was probably big enough to pack all our stuff – all three of us. I was right – and we had room left over. But what I hadn’t counted on was the weight limit – or more particularly, the weight limit per item. Sure, this was for three of us, so we had heaps of allowance left, but we were just half a kilo under the maximum weight per baggage item for our flight and the check-in counter employee helpfully warned us that if we did any shopping in Bali, we might want to also buy a bag to put it in, otherwise we’d be pinged on the way back.

Our packing list for Bali, and Jack the bear shows off our new Paklite luggage

Anyway, this experience meant that when I was offered a new Paklite bag (pictured just above … oh, and way up above, with Jack the bear, since my human helper is at school these days) I was extra keen, as I am definitely short on good luggage these days. The medium size I picked is intended for a weekend getaway, but with my packing style it would easily do for packing for both my son and me for a weekend at my father’s place down south, or even another tropical kind of getaway. (I’m hoping to use it for a couple of work-related trips this year when I’m on my own, too – fingers crossed the trips come off, I love a spot of solo travel!)

If I compare this new bag to my old backpack, well, of course there are two decades of technology to start with, so it seems super-fancy. As its name would suggest, it’s light, even though it’s got the built in handle and wheels and everything (which means my son is very happy to pull it around, bonus!). It looks and feels long-lasting, but you’ll have to check back in twenty years to see if it’s as durable as my old backpack (actually, it looks stronger. So as long as airlines keep it safe we should be good!).

Now I just need a short trip to come up ASAP so I can take it for a test drive. Along with my son and of course, Jack the bear.

Do you have any special travelling companions like Jack? Do confess in the comments!

PS: If you’d like one of these for yourself, my friend Jo at Lifestyle Fifty is having a giveaway which closes on 4th March 2015.

PPS: I received a complimentary Paklite bag but as you know I just can’t be bought, except perhaps with a lot of chocolate, and my opinions are my own.



  1. Love Jack! Hope he enjoyed his hols too 🙂 Thanks for mentioning Lifestyle Fifty’s giveaway and I am in awe of your being able to pack light – which I have never, and will probably never be able to do unless pushed hard. Hope your trips come off and you get to take your Paklite bag with you – a very fine colour indeed too.

    • Funny you should mention the colour Jo, I was having colour-envy over yours! They are quite lovely, hey? And yes, the reason I can pack light and you can’t is that you run a blog that includes style and I don’t 😉 (And yes, Jack always enjoys his holidays, apart from being shoved through all the scanners at airports!)

  2. I can’t get over how well you can pack! I’d love to visit Bali, especially as a travel blogger and solo female traveler! It’d be an incredible experience!

    Will enter the giveaway too! Thanks!

  3. Amanda, did you know you can buy Milka chocolate in Perth? Just in case you want to save a few kilos of luggage on your next Euro trip 🙂

  4. David Cameron says

    I am a big fan of hard sided luggage that does not use zippers to stay closed. There are just so many security issues around our luggage these days.

    I usually travel with enough room in my luggage to allow for shopping (for my wife) on the return leg. (Yes weight restrictions are a pain) It’s funny how my stuff gets left behind when we need that extra Kg…

    After looking at the Paklite bag that you have, I see that this company uses the latest double coil zipper technology on some of their bags – very nice to see. They call it “twin zip” and it is designed to prevent thieves puncturing your zipper.

    Thanks for the tip!


  1. […] my lovely blogging friend Amanda Kendle has written Packing List for Bali or Penang which is a fun post you might like to check […]

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