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April 20, 2007

Packing Suggestions

THINK LIGHT! You will have to put whatever you bring onto the tops of buses and you will have to carry your bag for relatively long distances. Here's a list of all that you will need to stay warm, dry, cool and comfortable. When packing think layers and do your best to stay away from cotton (save T-shirts) because cotton takes a long time to dry. We recommend that you only bring what's listed here. The lighter you pack, the happier you – and the rest of your group –will be. There will be plenty of opportunities to do laundry.

PLEASE NOTE: We strive to be model visitors, and therefore ask that students bring clothing that is lightweight and durable, but that also covers the body well, and looks respectable. Tie-dyed T-shirts, cut-off jeans, tight fitting leggings and tank tops are inappropriate, as they show disrespect for local cultures.

VALID PASSPORT - Good for at least 6 months from the beginning of your program.

MONEY BELT – A very important item to wear daily, under your clothes, safely hiding your passport, money, etc.

BACK PACK– Your main container to store your things. Something light weight and durable is best. Internal frame backpacks are especially comfortable, lightweight, and convenient for carrying for extended periods.

DAY PACK – A book-bag or fanny-pack to use for daily excursions (to carry camera, water bottle, jacket, notebook, etc).

**SLEEPING BAG - We will need this for homestays in Ladakh and should expect temperatures to be in the 40s at night. Down is especially compressible, but does not function well when wet. Synthetic is bulky and heavy, but better if wet. Best to have something very compact and rated as a '3-season' bag according to western standards.**

STUFF SACKS – Light-weight and compact, using stuff sacks to separate clothes, food, toiletries, and everything else will bring order to your pack, and make your life simpler.

RAIN COAT/OUTER SHELL – A water-proof wind breaker, ideally light-weight and breathable.

**WARM JACKET/SWEATER - Fleece or synthetic outer layer that will keep
you warm in temperatures that may dip down into the 40s.**

**LIGHT LONG-SLEEVED SHIRT– As light weight as possible, to wear on the
plane or in rare air-conditioned settings.**

T-SHIRTS – 2, in decent shape.

NICE SHIRT – 3, for meetings and special occasions.

PANTS – 2, ideally light-weight. Jeans are heavy and take a long time to dry!

SOCKS & UNDERWEAR – 4 pairs each.
SLEEPWEAR – Ideally a T-shirt/shorts can double for this. Minimize extra weight!

SKIRT / SUNDRESS – Good idea for women, though you may want to buy an inexpensive skirt in Asia.

SNEAKERS/TRAIL SHOES – Durable and comfortable, for daily wear. **Make
sure they are comfortable enough to trek in for up to 3-4 hours at a time. If you bring boots, make sure they are WELL BROKEN-IN before departure from the US**

SANDLES/ TEVAS – Good for every day use in hot weather.

WATER BOTTLE – Please bring at least one, one-quart, plastic. Nalgene bottles can be found at local outdoor gear shops.

**WATER FILTRATION SYSTEM - water filters made by MSR, Katadyn, and
Sweet Water are reliable, as are iodine tablets and/or crytals.

CHAPSTICK & SUNSCREEN

VISOR / SUN HAT

WARM HAT - something light but warm from home, or get a nice hand-knit
item in country.

SUNGLASSES - With UV protection.

CAMERA & FILM – Extra film is available in Asia, though you should bring an extra camera battery! If you use a digital camera you might want to bring an extra memory card.

ALARM CLOCK – Travel-size, to catch early buses and trains.

TOWEL – Small and light (and ideally fast-drying).

TOILETRIES – Just the basics! (Brush, toothbrush & paste, shampoo, etc.) No hair driers, irons, etc.

MEDICATIONS/VITAMINS – Bring any prescription medicine you take in its
original container to avoid problems at customs.

GLASSES/CONTACTS – Bring a back up pair as well.

NOTEBOOK / JOURNAL

PEN / PENCIL

BOOK – Ideally about the places we will visit (we can swap around to
minimize weight).

SPENDING MONEY - We recommend about $10-15 per day though you may not
spend this much unless you plan on buying a lot of gifts. American
Express traveler's cheques are safest, in a mix of $20 and $50 denominations.

OPTIONAL:

SHORTS - 1 pair, at least mid-thigh length (shorts won't be appropriate
much of the time; in fact, you may never wear them, but they can be good to sleep in).

BANDANA - These can serve multiple purposes while traveling

UMBRELLA - A lightweight, travel umbrella can serve you as well in rain or shine.

INSECT REPELLENT

EAR PLUGS - Help you sleep on long flights and bus rides.

PURELL - Anti-bacterial hand gel (a small bottle), or anti-bacterial hand-wipes.

PLEASE NOTE: Lugging a pack around for the entire time we are in Asia
can be extremely tiresome. We can find almost anything you'll need in the countries we visit, and you'll also want to pick up new items. Seriously challenge yourself to pack light, and lighter still…you definitely will not regret it! If you have any questions about whether it is or isn't appropriate to bring certain items, please don't hesitate to be in touch.

One final thing that is essential equipment: A HEALTHY BODY!! Your experience will be so much more enjoyable if you come with a body that is fully prepared for the journey. If you are not already getting regular exercise, we recommend starting an aerobic workout program, exercising at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week..