I have made similar trips many times. Two to three months in Southeast Asia. First time with 2 big suitcases, actually one big suitcase and an Army duffel bag full of SCUBA gear. Second time with one big and one small suitcase. Then as a courier with no baggage allowed I started to think about how to travel light. Two trips ago I had one carry on suitcase and a big camera bag. This trip I got a “Cabin Max carry-on backpack at Amazon.”. As I write this I am in a hotel in Saigon. I started the trip with this backpack and a medium camera bag with room for a computer. 6 weeks in I gave away the camera bag and everything is in this backpack. I LOVE IT. (To be honest I had a giant suitcase also but it was to be dropped off, had nothing in it of mine and so it doesn’t count.)
It is strong, it opens like a suitcase so you don’t dig something out from the top. I bought some packing cubes when I bought the Cabin Max and I am still experimenting but this is the ticket. A strong handle to carry like a suitcase, comfortable straps when using on your back. Divided into different areas I am still experimenting on what to put where, but since most is in the packing cubes now that is pretty much decided. I highly recommend this backpack carry-on. One bag is all you need for everything.
One bag you say – 2 months – no way! 1 trouser (multi-pocket), 1 shorts, 2 T shirts, 2 collar shirts, 3 pairs briefs, 3 pairs socks, 1 pair shoes, hat, folding umbrella, folding cane/walking stick, toiletries in a separate plastic cube. You start out wearing the long pants, shoes, 1 of the 3 socks, 1 of the 3 briefs, 1 of the shirts. You have a small computer or tablet (had both, prefer tablet now, easier to use on the plane), folding blue tooth keyboard, pocket storage device for backup if cloud not available. You have a lot of room left over. If in a hotel I can send out laundry for 1 day service or I can wash it myself and let it dry over night in the room. Notepad and pen, medicines, LARGE bottle of anti diarrhea (4 bucks at Sams for 100 tabs), you really really need these if you wish to sample local cuisine. It’s not that people are trying to kill you, according to web MD and many travel sources, by the time you are 100 miles from home you encounter a whole new set of bugs. Add 12,000 miles to that and clean water issues and be careful. Drink nothing but bottled water (or beer), then think – what was that glass or plate washed in?
If you are currently traveling, when you get home and unpack make three piles. The first is for things I absolutely needed and used. The second for things I may have used, but could have done without and the third for things I just never used at all. Then look at the list above. Do you really want to fight that big suitcase everywhere you go?