Packing is an art and should be taken seriously, and done with care and diligence in order to avoid constant cursing of your backpack for the duration of your trip. Our South America trip will be our fourth big trip and we think we have just about perfected the art. See below for a copy of our final list with some helpful tips that will give you a head start.
- x2 pairs of long trousers (preferably cotton or another light weight cool material)
- x2 shorts (preferably cotton or another light weight cool material)
- x3 T shirts
- x2 shirts
- x2 vests
- x2 long sleeve t shirts
- x1 sarong (very useful to use instead of beach towel)
- x4 sets of underwear
- x4 socks
- x1 swimming Costume
- x1 waterproof and windproof jacket (we recommend gore-tex)
- x1 long sleeved fleece
Additional travel clothing for cold climates
- x1 thermal leggings – (cotton or silk; silk is more expensive but warmer and more light weight)
- x1 thermal long sleeved shirt – (cotton or silk; silk is more expensive but warmer and more light weight)
- x1 down jacket – (these jackets are very warm and light weight and take very little room in your bag)
- x1 hat woolen/ fleece
- x1 pair gloves woolen/ fleece
- x1 pair light weight walking boots
- x1 pair walking sandals (we recommend Teva)
- x1 pair lightweight trainers (optional)
- x1 rubber flip flops
- quick drying towel (you can leave this out if you happy just to use your sarong as a towel)
- small mirror
- nail clippers/ Scissors
- comb/ travel hair brush
- sun cream
- lip balm with SPF
We have not listed items such as creams and shampoos as these are subject to personal choice.
First Aid kit
- assorted sized waterproof plasters
- re-hydration sachets – these can be life saver when you have had a bad dose of food poisoning
- x 2 boxes paracetamol
- Imodium Tablets
- waterless hand sanitising gel
- alcohol wipes
- surgical tape
- DEET mosquito repellent
- tiger balm
- After bite cream for mosquito bites
Electronics & Technology
- mobile phone – (preferably unlocked for using with a foreign SIM card)
- 10 inch net book computer (light weight and great for organising you photos and using Wifi which is widely available)
- digital camera
- digital Camcorder
- IPod & head phones
- small travel speakers to plug into your ipod
- head phones with mic (for using VOIP services like Skype with your laptop to call home or make business calls)
- small external hard drive (useful for keeping a backup of important documents and photos)
- additional SD cards for cameras
- baseball cap (Sun Hat)
- light weight sleeping Bag (optional)
- silk sleeping bag liner (optional)
- ear plugs
- inflatable neck support
- travel adapters for plugs
- small waterproof bag for swimming
- head lamp
- lightweight thermos/ water bottle
- money belt
- All in one knife and fork
- universal rubber plug – fits all plug holes
- washing line
- journal/ notebook
- guide book
- novel/ reading material
1. We recommended a 50- 65 litre bag on wheels or backpack with front opening lockable zips. Maximum weight once packed should be a maximum 10 – 13KG.
2. A useful addition is a waterproof travel over bag, that is lockable for additional security and will keep the bag and straps in good condition when on planes and buses.
3. Ensure you have a packing trial run at least 3 weeks before your departure date.
4. Don’t even think about taking valuable jewellery and watches, or actually any expensive designer accessories or clothing that could attract unwanted attention.
5. We recommend a travel wash bag with multiple compartments, it should have an inbuilt hanger system allowing you to hang it on a hook and have access to all compartments. This will be your savour when staying in budget hotels and hostels where there are no shelves.
6. All creams and shampoos should be in small plastic refillable bottles and only take the essential items that are needed for the beginning of your trip, as almost everything can be replaced on the road.
Obviously preparing a complete list is difficult as there many additional items which are personal to each individual. We have tried to include the essential items however if you can think of any others to add, please go ahead and mention them in the comments section.