What to pack for 2-3 months on a Tropical Island (in Thailand)

I’m bringing a friend to join me in Thailand and work on ZenMaid in person. I wrote this post as an email to him as a packing list of what to bring, and thought it’d be helpful for any digital nomad, especially those making their first or early trips.


1. Your laptop –

duh. You run your business or work through your computer as a digital nomad. Your computer is necessary.

I currently run a 6-figure business off a $200 Chromebook (linked below), on purpose. If my laptop were to ever fall off a train, bridge, or scooter, I can replace it for very little virtually anywhere in the world and all I need to do is to login to Chrome and I’m good to go with my business. This approach gives me total peace of mind. I will be upgrading to a way nicer machine in 2017 but I won’t need to, which is freedom.


2. Headphones –

For focus, audiobooks, and much more (like music?). The headphones I selected are the kinds you see in recording studios so you get $300 sound for less than $100. The reason the price is so low is these offer virtually no noise cancelling. If I were still commuting on BART in San Francisco regularly these would not cut it. In Thailand (at least where we’ll be), they’re perfect.


3. A portable charger –

These come in handy on flights and travel days, plus it’s nice to not always have to remember to charge your phone before running out the door. This is probably a nice to have but once I started packing it in my day pack (rather than deep in my main bag that wasn’t carried daily) I’ve found myself using it often.

The charger below is from Anker, a company I’ve come to trust more than most. I have a different version of this charger, also from Anker, but I’ve actually ordered the one below already as it can charge devices twice as much as my current one (which is still great). At under $20 (by a penny, black version is $16) this is a “why not” buy.



1. Footwear –

You’ll need a pair of shoes (preferably a pair that can be worn without socks) and a pair of flip flops. Expect to wear flip flops 90% of the time in Thailand (on Koh Phangan) but they are very, very easy to get. You don’t need to worry about bringing any if you don’t already own some. They’re cheaper and easier to obtain here, we can get you some upon landing for $10 (that are surprisingly good)

I’m an exception here in that I normally wear shoes (video below). Believe it or not they’re crocs brand shoes but to my knowledge no one would know from looking at them. Just a personal preference, I never would have considered this before but these shoes don’t absorb sweat, have great ventilation, and are easy to clean (plus they look clean as fuck)

Don’t ask what that video was about, it’s from Chiang Mai a few weeks ago 😀

2. Shirts –

Most of the laundry on the island is done for you, returned folded, for 40 bhat per KG. We do laundry 2-3 times per week due to my jiu jitsu training so honestly you only need 3-4 shirts, though I imagine you’re bring more. Do not bring more than 8-9 shirts, you won’t wear more than that, trust me.

Definitely bring any dri-fit type shirts you have, and maybe one long sleeve shirt for good measure though I doubt you’ll need it.

You probably want throw in a dress shirt for good measure but honestly, you probably won’t need unless we want to take a “fancy” instagram photo. I wear the Mizzen+Main brand, which has dress shirts made of the Nike Dri-fit material so they’re literally the most comfortable shirts I own, and the best looking:

Here’s another brand I’m looking at getting next time I’m in the states. Looks to have all the same benefits with different styles and is $50 or so cheaper last I checked:


Oh, snap, took a look when linking to this for the article and they have one for under $50 (with a discount code) I may order and get delivered to Thailand (via my sis) 😀

3. Shorts –

You’ll wear shorts a lot. Like every damn day. The best shorts on Earth, to my knowledge, are Bird Dog Shorts. Their marketing can be off putting for some but the pockets they provide are nothing short of amazing for digital nomads, they’re comfortable as fuck, and they look great (having amazing legs like mine certainly helps). 90% of the photos you see on the sidebar to the right and across my photos feature them.

Did I mention they have an antimicrobial lining and can be worn 5-7 days at a time without picking up a smell? Amazing.

I’m wearing them in the video above, but here are a few more photos for good measure (hey @birddogshorts, if you’re reading this let me get a pro sponsorship 😉 )

4. Pants –

You only need one pair of pants while here, which you’ll probably wear on the flight over. I have two pairs of pants with me because that’s all I own but I don’t need them when here.

I recommend jeans or a pair of light khakis. We can also buy you some sweet Thai pants that will make your legs look like wacky waving inflatable tubemen.

Personally I have a good, carefully picked pair of Levi’s, and the Mizzen+Main khakis (same brand as my dress shirts) that are really comfortable in Thailand, but aren’t made to be worn as often as I’d like.

5. Underwear –

Bring a lot unless you plan on wearing your swimsuit most of the time as shorts (see below). I only need two pairs while I’m here because of the shorts I wear and the pairs I have are also antimicrobial and designed to wear extensively without smelling (I actually have something like 9 pairs of underwear with me that get used for jiu jitsu but outside of that …)

www.meundies.com – yet another recommendation from Tim Ferriss. They have female underwear as well (Aga has a pair)

6. Swim suit –

Swimsuit should be obvious, we’ll be at the beach almost daily. These are easy to find on the island so not a big deal if you don’t bring a pair.

Did I mention those awesome Bird Dog Shorts above work as a swimsuit?

7. Workout gear –

Bring whatever is necessary to stay healthy and fit. For me that’s my MMA shorts and dri-fit shirts for jiu jitsu (plus all the extra underwear)


1. Sleep mask & inflatable pillow –

I got this travel set before coming to Thailand this time and it’s already served me well. Just remember to keep it handy on your flight over and you won’t get off the plane with a sore neck from sleeping the wrong way.

The sleep mask has also been a god send as it’s often very bright here in Thailand before you’d want to get up.

This is the set I have:


Bonus: earplugs

I recorded a video on this here: How to sleep like a baby and look like an asshole

2. Sunglasses –

Another item that’s insanely easy to get upon arrival (and cheap). I personally am very protective of the pair I have, blu-blockers, which are awesome for a variety of reasons.


3. Packing cubes –

These will make your life easier when used properly, trust me. I can be completely unpacked and moved into a new closet within 10 minutes (more likely 5) thanks to these. If you get a set I can show you how I organize my stuff when you arrive (we could probably create some content around it as well)


4. Microfiber towel –

Probably not necessary but great in case of emergencies (and makes an awesome beach towel)

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