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On Packing Light Challenge: Fit My Stuff To A 7- Kg Check-In Bag For A 6 Days & 6 Nights Trip To Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Seven articles finished out of the ten commisioned for me to write in my pre - trip to Phnom Penh. This is so far the reason why I have not blogged for so long. But every day my heart is telling me to add content at least for a few paragraphs so here I  am squeezing a small time and as always impromptu typing my heart's thoughts out.  

The more I prepare for my trip there, the more that I see I have so much things I lack when it comes to travel essentials and accessories.  I have learned that Cambodia is a remote place although I am staying in the city's capital, it is not advisable to bring a luggage. The roads are bumpy and dusty so it it is a discomfort carrying a suitcase with stilettos. Of course I have long ditched high heels ever since I embraced the cheapest way of backpacking wherever that may be. This means I won't be able to use my bulky and original Samsonite luggage which was brought by my very dear friend from the US when she went there.  

I am torn between buying a small backpack bag or a travel duffel bag. Also I have decided to not to opt for check in baggage because I figured out I will be saving a total of $88 roundtrip  so that I have more money to spend on food, tours et cetera.  But removing this only entitles for a seven kilo weight so I have to be very careful of what to bring. 
I am thinking to drop by to a store in the nearby market here that has a big weighing machine to make sure I meet the target figure. Worst is if I bring more stuff than the allowed weigh, I will either pay for a ridiculous higher price or leave my extra clothes in the airport's trash bin. I am currently scouting for the most affordable at Lazada which has an on going sale right now for travel bags.  I saw a foldable travel duffel bag and will do a quick online search if this is worth it.

Also I am looking forward to get travel packing cubes (resemble bigger and longer pouches) that come in different sizes. This helps the clothes and other stuff inside your backpack bag or luggage organized. For example, for your undies you can put it on a cube, then your make up kits in another so and so. Or your t shirts in one cube and then your shorts in another one. This really a great idea to keep things intact and you have a more peace of mind. 
I also made sure that I got airplane insurance both ways during the flight for things we don't wish to happen. I did tried to find a travel insurance for my entire trip again to be prepared for anything but I don't know much except World Nomads which is pretty expensive so I just decided to embark my trip up to the end with prayers that this will be a great start of many international travels soon.

To tell you the truth I only need $100-$200 only for my allowance because my accommodation, meals and flight are totally sponsored. Of course all things that comes free also has something to do in return. During and after I should be promoting the funky hostel together with its commitments and services. I cannot wait to do this because the team behind here deserves the best.

I did not regret writing the ten guides although it is really eating too much of my life now because at the same time I was also learning of what to see in Cambodia.  If I was able to write a decent guide to Cambodia I have not been yet, I am confident I can do the same to the rest of the world may it be in New York, London, Tokyo or Madrid.

I may sound exaggerated but I am super concerned about how to fit my 'world' that will not exceed from 7 kg.  The small laptop, powerbank & chargers are already a challenge.

One more thing, I am also looking for a universal travel adaptor since my research also says the one we have here is totally different there. Outfits also matter to me since I will be needing to take good photos to promote the hostel and of course I should be included. 

There are three things that are worth - mentioning for the past weeks:  

1. Got nominated at 2015 Philippine Bloggys Award  under Travel and Places        
Did not expect this coming.  To whoever voted for me, thank you from the bottom of my heart. This is a national competition for the best bloggers in the country out there so It feels awesome.  Though honestly I am not thinking I will finally make it because I know how giant are the rest of nominees out there.  The voting period is from Oct 1 - 31, 2015.  They will shortlist those gathered the most votes and have made it for the next round.

To those who'd like to nominate me here is the link :)

2.  Looks like I will be back on the freelance road again
The contact of my Cambodian trip is beyond happy to offer me a full time job doing online tasks related to travel. The best about this is that it will be location independent so I can be anywhere to do my work so long as I have online connection. I have read all the tasks and it is everything I liked about doing online. Take note it also comes with a few travelling perks. I am thinking of starting this when I get back from Phnom Penh.

You see this is never that easy. I have not fully recovered yet from a freelance life that I failed to sustain in 2014, got back to the job that I vowed not to work again and now I am taking the plunge again. 

I am much stronger this time and have learned through all the mistakes I did from before. I am still making up for the consequences and definitely ready for anything. I just cannot wait to tell you about it once it is good to go. 

3. Working on a pitch email for a 5 star hotel in Bangkok, Thailand
I recently heard about a five star hotel offering a TWO NIGHT free stay for a travel blogger in exchange of a hotel review. Please wish me luck. I hope I get a Yes.

That's it for now. I still have 3 more articles waiting for me to finish. Sorry for the long wait! 


  1. Hi Maria

    Thanks for your blog - you have covered a lot of ground here !

    Nicely composed pic (taken in Rizal Park by your brother ? He seems to have a good eye, but of course he could simply be following your directions !)

    Packing Light: this is a big topic, and there are lots of helpful sites on the net, but for what it is worth here are my comments. I usually fly with cabin baggage only, and getting inside the weight limit, where there is one, can be a challenge, even when you are quite determined.

    You said that you are flying with Air Asia. According to their website, it seems that you are allowed 7kg PLUS (easy to miss, I know) a laptop, so I suggest that you check in case there is a local restriction. I think that 'a laptop' could reasonably be interpreted as including a power unit and cable, and a mouse if you use one, especially if they are all together in a sleeve with no other contents.

    But do you really, really, need to take a laptop ? Perhaps you could get by with taking photos and audio-recordings on your phone, and just write up your blogs afterwards ? One option may be to consider just taking a tablet device - I seem to recall you winning one in a competition - and pairing it with a small bluetooth folding keyboard. Probably not good enough to produce a finished blog, but maybe good enough to capture most of the material, which you could complete when you get home, or get access to a full size PC, eg at an internet cafe.

    Instead of using a big weighing machine, you could use a spreadsheet, like Excel, to list the individual items which you intend to take, and use a small digital kitchen weighing machine to weigh the items individually, and let the spreadsheet work out the total. And of course remember that some of the items will be worn, and some will be carried in your pockets. One of the benefits of the spreadsheet approach is that it makes you really think about each individual item, and whether it is worth taking. And you can reuse the list for future trips. Once you have optimised the list and know that you are inside the limit, for your peace of mind you could then use a big machine to check.

    Packing cubes: these are a good idea, but the cheaper one can add unwanted weight and the best, really light, ones are really expensive. I bought some Eagle Creek spectre compression ones, which are probably the best, but even though I am not too budget contstained at that level I certainly hesitated before hitting the 'buy' button. For a long time previously I simply used plastic bags which you get free at the supermarket. Not nearly as nice, but very cost effective !

    If you go for the sports-type duffel bag, I suggest going for one which has two straps, not just one strap, as even just 7kg, which is a challenge to get down to, gets heavy quite quickly.

    By the way a couple of months ago I bought a duffel-type bag, although a somewhat specialised travel one, not a general sports-type one, and even then I had to adapt it before it felt right for purpose. I have already packed it for what I hope is an upcoming two-week trip, starting in early October, and it weighs about 5.5kg, although there are a couple of things, eg a guidebook, which I need to add. But no laptop !

    I'll maybe add more later, but that's all for now.

    Your #1 Fan in London

    1. Hi #1 Fan In London,

      Yes this pic was in Rizal Park taken by my brother :) It was nice reading your comment again. Wow! I have never ever read a comment as long as this, as detailed and very thoughtful. I actually dont know where to start to answer your ideas.

      After reading this, I just decided to not to bring the laptop anymore. It weighed almost 1.5kg already so this is definitely not a good idea. I cant believe you remember/ read the tablet that I once won in an event. I already sold it to my brother for a lesser price. I never thought this will come in handy next time.

      I see you got a very good writing skills - I am blown away at how you explained the details. Yup I am yet to try that small digital kitchen weighing machine. I actually cant find one but the condo unit I am living has a human weighing machine in the gymn. There I can check the total weigh of my bag before heading to the airport.

      I am also on the look right now for that duffel travel bag, I want the one that is bulky and weighs less. I am thinking of creating a separate post entirely about how I packed light after I get back and maybe take a words out of your comment to share it to others too? Would that be fine?

      You got really nice points about the pros and cons of packing cubes by the way. Yeah I will just use plastic bags this time. Will do it in another bigger trip

      Also glad to hear that you got an upcoming two week trip on Oct? Mind sharing where this will be? Your suggestions are always welcome here :)


  2. Hi Maria

    You are of course very welcome to re-use and share any of my comments !

    My October trip is not yet booked, but I hope to do so soon, perhaps in the next week or so. I am watching the flight costs closely. Destination: not yet decided, but I will very probably be having at least one stopover in KL, and would certainly like to make it to the Philippines. Arrival could be either roughly Sunday 4th or Sunday 11th. I have been reading my guidebook, and have some rough ideas, but no firm plans other than a few days (more if I like it) in Manila. I will stay in the Makati area. Greenbelt looks nice, and that's where most of the best hotels are, although I am not really a high-end-hotel type of person, if you know what I mean. Seems to be 'rainy season' until November, which is not so good for trips out into the countryside, but I don't feel like waiting another couple of months.

    Your #1 Fan in London

  3. Omg! Really you are visiting over here in Philippines? You are very welcome. Do let me know I can show you around :)

    Greenbelt is a favorite place for expats here in Manila. This is a place much safer for you guys compared to the rest of the country. Most of the people that live and stay here are working professionals. You are very safe here. But this is a typical city - great for night life, fun, shopping and entertainment and coffee shops.

    If you really wanna see the beauty of Philippines you need to go out of the province of course - like El Nido Palawan or Caramoan for beach, Sagada for the rice terraces and breathtaking mountains so on and so forth. It is a bit pricey in the center but there are some cheaper accommodation inside Makati, don't worry. I have few expat friends who stayed in Makati. I quite know the area.

    Although it is all up to you I don't know the kind of sightseeings you want or adventure you have in mind. Let me know maybe I can share a bit.

    And oh pls dont be bothered by rainy season. When we say rainy season, it does not meant that it is raining every single day in 24 hours. Of course we have a share of sunshine too. It is not that like every day in one month it is raining.

    Actually travelling in rainy season is fewer people and a cheaper to get around coz literally not a lot of people want to go out coz the summer has ended.

    Let me know when you are here :)

  4. Emer Santos Maganda dyan kaso lang probinsyang probinsya kahit nasa city ka

  5. Lulu Gawa ka ng utube clip how to pack.

  6. Monica Remsy Use packing cubes, Rona. They are really helpful!

  7. Ingat dear. Baka makatabang si sinurat ko sa blog ko dati -

  8. Rence Chan Don't forget my postcards !

    1. What do you want the old ones or the new? Kasi di ba collector you prefer the vintage

  9. Elizabeth Feeney Just bring leggings,shirt,short sleeves and long,scarves,sandals, and your lingerie. You are not big kaya yan.have a.nice trip

    1. yup definitely these are in my bag except the lingerie. i wish i have one lol. i only sleep with a plane sleeveless and short :)

  10. Bob Cottie You'll notice most Cambodian men, like moto and tuk-tuk drivers take great care over their appearance. Their shirts may be old and patched but always cleanly presented. No tee-shirts and maong shorts smile emoticon

  11. Wow it is so nice to know that. I love to meet more locals and probably learn a few Khmer words :)

  12. Hi Maria -

    Thank you for your very kind offer. You are very busy with work, travel and blogging, not to mention the need to sleep and eat occasionally, so I know that your time is precious. By the way, just to set your mind at ease, I am definitely not looking for any freebies ! Outside of cities, I like mountains, volcanos, beaches, thermal springs and waterfalls, so the problem really is deciding what to pick, and how best to get there. Pity that there is no rail network outside of Metro Manila. And thanks for your reassurance regarding the weather.

    Anyway, have a great time in Cambodia - only a few days away now - and come back safe and well ! Don't know what you decided to do on your unwanted overnight stay en-route, but if necessary you would be fine to stay in the terminal at KL airport. Just stay 'airside' rather than going out. Airside, there are lounges where, for a reasonable charge, you can stay for up to 4 hours, or maybe more, get some rest and refreshments and most importantly change and have a hot shower before continuing your journey. Not as good as airline business lounges but still good enough.

    All the best,

    Your #1 Fan in London.

  13. We got all of these stuff you wann see :) Let me know what are your options from the searches you did. I may even accompany you if my time permits. I will be starting an online full time job so my time is again back in my arms soon.

    Yup I am really excited for tomorrow's flight. I think I may not be able to sleep well tonight just thinking about this big trip :)

    I will check out these lounges but not the business type you mentioned because as much as possible I want a comfortable sleep and most important my belongings are safe while I am dozing off. Seems I am almost done packing - only one thing I am busy right now find a money changer from Php to US Dollars for the best excahnge price.