The following is my packing list for a 21 day backpacking trip through Argentina in December and early January. The video goes through each item I’ll be taking and highlights how and why I decided to take it.
This packing list is in preparation for a trip to Buenos Aires, Ushuaia, El Calafate, and Iguazu in December and early January.
***Update as of 1/13/09 I have returned to the states and will be doing a re-cap. The above list needs significant commentary as I overpacked/packed for a climate that was far colder than what I encountered. Things like the polos and wool socks should be avoided***
My anticipation is palpable. It’s been slowly building since September when I found a cheap ticket price, decided to leap at the opportunity and selected my destination. I’ve sent the past months fighting the urge to wander, dreaming of far off places and sorting through old travel photos from trips past. Now I can finally embrace the energy and anticipation! The raw nerves of a new experience in a new place, embraced on my own, in new territory and with new wonders yet undiscovered. Each trip pushes me outside my comfort zone, each trip helps me learn more about who I am and who I may yet become. This trip is another large step forward. I’m traveling solo for 20 days in a part of the world I’ve never experienced before. I’m excited, i’m nervous…i’m anxious.
I’ll begin by confessing that I don’t know much about my destination. I prefer it that way. In fact, though it embarrasses me to admit it – when I booked my ticket to Cancun, Mexico with the intent of then spending the lions share of my time in Belize I was under the impression that the natives spoke Spanish. It was only in exploring the Wikipedia profile for Belize that I realized the country – formerly British Honduras – actually spoke English. You should have seen my face! In the months since my original booking, I’ve done some minor research. I’ve reached out to my friends and contacts for advice on what to see, and explored the country briefly via google maps. That said, I’ve largely avoided organized guides. As I prepare to fly out tomorrow you’ll notice one rather obvious item missing from my packing list: A travel guide. Frankly, I don’t especially care for them. Even those geared towards my travel style (like Lonely Planet) seem too polished…too – dare I say pigeonholed? I’ll travel based on word of mouth, booking my hostels a day or two ahead of time as I go. Over the years this approach has made for some interesting situations, especially since I refuse to travel with a cell phone – but all in all they’ve been well worth it!
The Packing List
I’ll let those of you curious about my itinerary and general trip information read my previous post on the subject [here]. For the rest of you – here’s a quick break down of what i’ll be taking – if you’re interested in more in depth explanations of the items, please check out my packing list site – The Ultimate Packing List.
Despite it being December temperatures are expected to be in the mid-high 70s and low 80s. Water temperature should be about the same. Despite that, I’ve made the decision to over pack slightly – just in case it gets colder. I’ve also added several more shirts than I ordinarily would, and an extra pair of shoes to accommodate my Salsa dancing/night clubs.
What I’ve packed:
-1 Cheap Walmart school/sport backpack to serve as my daypack
-1 Cheap Walmart full sized backpack with hip and chest straps
-1 Dopkit bag
-1 Water proof rain jacket
-1 North Face wind blocking fleece vest
-1 Warm scarf (actually an old airline blanket)
-2 Polo t-shirts
-2 Graphic t-shirts (one from a Scottish tour company to serve as a conversation piece)
-2 Button up evening shirts (one of which will double as swimwear for snorkeling)
-5 Pair of cheap Walmart athletic hiking socks
-1 Pair of standard ankle high, light weight socks
-1 Pair of Shorts
-1 Pair of dark jeans
-3 Pair of Ex-Officio Travel Boxers
-1 Black English Driving Cap
-1 Passport and Passport Carrier
-1 Inflatable neck pillow
-1 Sleeping mask
-1 3.75 inch collapsible tripod
-2 8 GB high performance memory cards
-1 Canon G11 Digital Camera and battery recharge station
-2 Lithium Ion batteries for Canon G11 Digital Cameras
-1 Old Nikon 6 MP point and shoot w/ 1gb card
-1 Flip Ultra HD 120 minute video camera
-1 Underwater housing for Flip Ultra HD model video cameras
-1 Mini USB cord to transfer files and recharge my mp3 player
-1 Converter plug for British Colonies
-1 4GB Sansa mp3 player with earbuds
-7 weeks of Malaria medication
-30 probiotic pills to improve digestion
-10+ sports powder packets high in B vitamins, C Vitamins, Potassium and Electrolytes
-1 Old pair of glasses
-2 Books to read
-1 Old pair of Skechers that I use as dance shoes
-1 Pair of Keen Targhee IIs
-1 Pair of Sandals
-1 Lock and key to be used to secure hostel lockers
Curious about what/why I packed one of these items? Feel free to ask about it in the comment section below this post. All of these items will be split between my two bags based on use/security/regularity of use. You’ll notice a guide book and pocket knife are missing from the list. Most people will opt to add a guide book – I suggest going with Lonely Planet or a similar publication. For those checking their bag, I highly suggest a pocket knife. I hate not having one on the road, but prefer the carry on approach which mandates that I leave mine behind. I also suggesting putting the shoes you won’t be wearing in a plastic trash bag to keep things clean. Also, consider taking a handful of plastic ziploc bags and a garbage bag if flying into a rainy destination.
Depending on what time permits, I hope to blog periodically from the road and will be providing a break down of how this packing list worked for Belize/Mexico upon my return. Stay tuned!
My last update mentioned a number of different projects. While most are still under way and keeping me terribly busy, I’ve completed and launched The Ultimate Packing List, which can be accessed through http://www.ultimatepackinglist.com.
I found myself regularly answering a multitude of questions for friends who were about to embark on their 1st, 2nd or 3rd trip abroad. More often than not I was able to contribute a lot, but left out important details – or found that they were too close to their departure date to act on some of the advice/suggestions I had to offer.
There are a multitude of great travel tip posts out there. In fact, just about every travel blogger who’s spent any time writing has written up a tips and tricks post at some point or another. That said, most have great information but are either too comprehensive (and have been turned into multi-page resource sites which are overwhelming) or too basic (and lack a succinct, yet comprehensive approach to delivering the tips and tricks needed).
Additionally, there’s not a one stop shop out there that streamlines finding and potentially purchasing hostel/backpacking specific gear. You can read through posts which randomly suggest (and even in some cases link to) various items they recommend but it’s usually scattered and leaves the travelers scrambling to claw together a solid list. Which is a problem further confounded by big box stores which have too many options and completely unnecessary items.
My answer? Create a website with 3 basic pages. That’s it. The K.I.S.S. principle in action – An extremely comprehensive travel tip post targeted specifically for 20-30 something travelers. A page to display videos outlining what and how to pack submitted by experienced travelers and a final page that interfaces with Amazon to deliver a storefront delivering rock bottom Amazon pricing on a very limited list of hand picked hostel/backpacking relevant and recommended items.
I’m currently looking for new packing videos and always open to travel tip or gear suggestions – so without further ado – hop on over, check it out and let me know what you think!