I bought a set of four clear plastic 80mL travel toiletry bottles that I could fill to the brim with shampoo, face cream, sunscreen and bug spray (five months without conditioner was interesting).
I knew it wasn’t going to be enough to last me the entire trip, or even through one or two countries, but I bet on the fact that restocking along the way would be much cheaper than paying for a checked bag on every flight I took.
As for the rest of my bag, I packed things that I could wear through two seasons:
– one very lightweight pair of jeans which I later left behind in Japan – five dresses – two pairs of jean shorts – one regular bra and one sports bra – one pair of athletic shorts (which I only ended up using to sleep in) – four t-shirts
As for shoes, I brought a pair of Rainbow flip flops which I swear by for comfort and cuteness, and a pair of flats for Japan and Taiwan that I threw away before heading to the Philippines.
The key I found to keeping my bag light was not getting too attached to anything I brought with me. If it started to get worn out or I was tired of wearing it, I left it behind.