Thursday, 10 November 2016

Inside My Pack: South America

South America Packing List

 The itinerary: 9 days total spent in Peru and 9 days in Bolivia, just prior to the onset of the rainy season; late September into early October.

I did so much research prior to take off, consulting the weather of the various cities I was to visit and still I struggled with figuring out what exactly to pack.

In the end, I realized I was putting too much stress on myself as to what I was putting in my suitcase, when really there was no need. If I forgot anything or required warmer clothing, I could easily buy items in the larger city centres I was traveling to.

Once I made that realization, it all became a lot easier and I was able to start packing. I kept a neutral colour pallet in mind (so things could be mixed and matched), the weather (so I would be comfortable), and my desire to keep things limited to the space available in my carryon bag (so I wouldn't have to lug around a huge suitcase).

Here's what I packed.

In my suitcase (which is a carry-on)

3 trousers
1 leggings*
3 tank tops**
1 windbreaker
6 shirts (most short sleeved or 3/4 lenth)
1 pashmina
1 sweatshirt
2 long sleeved shirts
1 spring coat
1 swimsuit
1 wool headband and gloves
1 warm pjs
1 small purse
1 fold up reusable bag
2 travel towels (one bath and one face)
travel laundry liquid
3 pairs of shoes: flip flops, slip ons***, and hiking shoes

*I ended up only wearing these once and really didn't need them.
**could have done with one less tank top, as I only wore two of them. The sun was piercing and the culture modest, I solely wore them as undershirts.
***Do over: I'd switch these out to some sneakers. 

toilet paper*
facial cloths**
shampoo and conditioner
toothbrush and paste
face cream with SPF
foundation with SPF and other make up
chap stick with SPF
wet wipes
shower gel
hand sanitizer
bug repellent
mini first-aid kit
medications: anti-nausea pills, anti-diarrhea pills, antibiotic ointment, chewable antacid, and Ibuprofen, after bite cream, altitude pills***

*Don't skip this one. Find the room in your bag no matter what. It's first on the list for a reason. I brought a whole roll. Smushed it down and removed the cardboard centre to save a bit of space. Used the whole roll over the course of the trip. Handy for loo visits, and shared with a friend.
**I had dry ones that require a bit of water for lather, however, I would recommend wet ones as I didn't always have access to water when washing up.
***Got a perscription from my doctor before leaving, but I'm told this can be picked up in country easily enough. 

small backpack* 
snacks; 4 cliff bars and 4 fruit bars
head lamp
money belt
Soles and American Dollars**
warm socks
sleep mask
ear plugs
inflatable pillow
clear bag for liquids at security***
a good book/magazine
phone and charger
ear phones
travel journal and pencils
Spanish/English dictionary book
passport with copies
water bottle

*In this I packed the items that I'd want to have close at hand while flying
**I also required Bolivianos but didn't get any until I was in Peru.
***Pro tip! When doing international travel pre-pack your carry on liquids (all under 100ml) into an airport appropriate baggie and keep at the ready for a quicker security check. No hassel, no fuss, no muss. 

While visiting Peru and Bolivia I noticed a lot of people wearing traditional dress and others wearing western casual clothing. I didn't see  too many people dressed up or even all that dressy. Bringing clothes for a night out on the town would have been very out of place. The tourists, I noted were wearing activewear and comfortable walking shoes. These are not the streets of Paris.

Locals also know how piercing the sun can be in these parts. They are completely covered. Wearing long sleeves, hats and pants even in the heat of the day. Take their lead and cover up exposed skin and don't forget the sunscreen if you do happen to be caught with your elbows out.

I hope that is helpful to someone out there stressing about what and how to pack for there trip to South America.

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