This is a checklist of the type of clothing you need pack, the essential clothing that you cannot easily buy abroad.
All countries have clothing, you can ALWAYS buy what you need abroad. Bring clothing you use daily at home, you do not want to dress special, you want to dress normal, but casual, you do not want to look like a person who wants or needs to be robbed to learn your travel lessons. Best if you have clothing that can be put into two loads of laundry, without color problems.However, take into consideration that you may want to dress up to meet important people, while in Togo, West Africa, I was invited to eat dinner with the "Chargé d'affaires" at the American Embassy.
(Four people at Machu Picchu volunteering to be robbed, they are communicating they are naive, the locals know who are soft targets --- they got locked in travel gear shop for the night, and came out looking tourist.)
Checklist of clothing difficult to buy abroad, or easy to buy in the USA.
1. 15 Pair of Underwear - Especially for big men, there are countries where the people are very small like Guatemala or Southeast Asia. I recommend you bring 10-15 underwear, therefore if needed, you can avoid washing your clothes for 15 days, without the worry of fungus. If for some reason you cannot wash, then you may want to use alcohol to clean, take care it does not cause skin rashes.
2. Swim Suit - Just complicated to buy, contrary to what you may think, people who live in the tropical countries seldom go swimming, and almost never sunbathe.
3. 10 Socks, maybe you need, maybe you do not, often people wear sandals continuously. I recommend white socks, because colored socks are more complicated to make loads of laundry. Generally, you should think of all your clothing as 2-3 loads of laundry to save money.
4. Pajamas - Something to sleep in, a cheap top and bottom of sweats from Walmart will cost less than 20 dollars. And, you can use the sweatshirt as a layer below a light jacket. Again, you can buy abroad, just takes longer, and normally more expensive. I use Thailand fishing pants, and a sweatshirt, sometimes there is need to walk to a shower, nice to have something suitable.
5. Hunting Vest - Super light, with as many pockets as possible, so you can load up with heavy books, and gear so you can carry more stuff with you on the airplane. Note, one overweight fee from an airline and you will buy the hunting vest. Do not pay more than about 30 USA, you will lose things, buying expensive clothing is sort of silly unless you are sort of rich.
6. One Pair Cargo Pants - Khaki military pants are good, and if you need to get really dressed up, you can wear with a nice shirt. They will also allow you to carry about 3-10 pounds in the cargo pockets on the plane.
7. One Pair of Walking Gym Shoes - I recommend white to go with dress clothing, note that women can almost always buy great clothing for all occasions. I feel that dark clothing is depressing, try to be happily dressed, it makes the locals feel better also.
8. Beach Towel - I do not carry expensive, and uncomfortable quick dry towels, I just carry a cheap, very big beach towel. This allows me to cover myself, if and when I need to walk to a shower through a Hostel or home. Many of you will think, I am going to live in nice Hotels, but what happens if a family of rich people ask you to live with them for a week. It is always possible you need to walk through common areas. Have clothing that serves somehow as a house robe, and if you are truly fat, than think... Note, a big towel can be use at beach, or as an extra layer as a blanket, if suddenly freezing in the Hotel room.
9. Shorts Maybe - I have been dwelling on buying some Columbia Shorts for around 35 dollars. It would be nice to have 2-3 pairs of pants I can engineer with my secret pockets, lighter than normal, and simple with special pockets. On the other hand, there are people who never wear shorts, so this is a maybe thing, but what you do at home, you should do traveling.
I try my best to choose clothing on my Amazon.com page, I do this because they have easy to show photos, it is simpler to show.
Andy Gear on Amazon.com - Note, selling things this way is a rotten way to make money. Again, you can buy about anything you want abroad, however difficult to purchase clothing will cost more. Note the travel pants, with the zip off legs are nice, but make you a target for robbery, you look like a tourists, and tourist are soft targets. I am not poor, I buy a lot of used clothing at shops, wear for a month, then leave in my Hotel room. I am constantly upgrading my clothing, I have fun walking around to used clothing shops to buy cool clothing ideas for two dollars per shirt or shorts.
This is not a needed travel tip, however, the shorter your trip, the more you need to think, however two weeks is hardly worth the hassle, and two months is fun, and more is a lifestyle change.
As I generally will go for 6 to 8 and even 12 weeks on a trip I have learned to pack . It took me a few times way back that pack light be able to afford to buy locally and discard as the best way.
With the advent of laptops it became a little bit more wieldy but now with tablets it's much simpler.
One of the things I learned was to not worry about always taking the "best possible" photos. Local, professional post cards are now one of my main collections. They cover most of any worthwhile reminder of where you have been and take up little room.
I still take clothes that are easy to clean in a shower or basin and dry over night. I have been invited to places that require dressier clothes and that is when I go out and buy what I need.
As I'm older and need to take a few meds I use the small, old film plastic containers for my meds but I also take the prescriptions with me just in case of questions or I lose or need more. I just put each days intake into one of the containers.
I agree about not looking real touristy not only to look as an easy mark but you will meet more locals by being dressed as they do.
Another tip is to sort out all the things you "think" you want to take with you and pack them all up. Let them sit for a day or so then unpack and start leaving out a few items that you will realize, "I don't really need that."
I sometimes do this 2 or 3 times before I go and by the time I'm ready I usually eliminate a good 30 to 40 percent. We tend to think we need more than we really do. I also have a listI use that is color coded for different times of the year and areas weather and season wise as I travel any time of the year.
I note with red for summer, blue is winter and spring/fall is green. Items for any time are black.
Even before tablet computers I seldom carried any books with me as big cities just about everywhere now have bookstores with various books, mags, maps, etc in different languages available. They do usually cost more so it's always up to the individual what they can afford to take and not take. When not doing something of interest I read a lot.
Way too much stuff in my opinion. No wonder you are having problems with your back. For example, why couldn't you do with no more than 5 pairs of underwear. Soap and water are never hard to come by in my experience.
Wow. I abandoned underwear years ago. Go commando.I've lived in the tropics and hot climates for 21 years. One pair in reserve for occasional use.