Once you have the flight tickets the next question that comes to your mind is for sure “What should I pack for South America?” We will publish soon
a separate article with a universal packing list, including all the necessary items sorted by category. The idea behind this post is to point out 10 essential products that you should pack, no matter for how long are your planning to travel. Here you have my list of must have I couldn’t do without on my backpacking trip to South America.
As I mentioned, I always put my safety on the first place. If you want to travel without feeling constantly at the risk of being robbed, the best solution is to replace a small bag with money belt. You can wear it underneath your shirt, just make sure the clothes are long enough to cover the belt. I found this option very comfortable because even when I was sitting in a bus, there was no need to take the belt off. It’s invisible and you can always keep it close without worrying about leaving it somewhere on the way.
The first thing I learnt when I went to Mexico was that when you move from one country to another, especially crossing the ocean, plug sockets change. That’s why the universal charger adapter is a total must on your list. It includes different plug types and you simply choose which one you are going to use in your destination. Easy and so convenient!
Speaking about charging, another significant item in your back should be a portable phone charger. Sometimes the trip may take much more time that you predicted because the bus came late or the road leads through some difficulties. Keeping in touch with your family is essential but it’s also important to be connected to the world in case of emergency. Make sure to charge your power bank to 100% every night and use it only when the battery is low and you are still far away from your final destination.
Portable water bottle
Another important point right after your safety is definitely the appropriate care and hygiene. I don’t use to trust the street sellers, even in Barcelona. If you see someone selling a bottle of water in the heat and without any fridge, the red light should turn on in your head immediately. The same rule applies for traveling. Buy yourself a portable water bottle and keep it close during your whole trip. You can easily find mineral water in any supermarket all over the world and then just fill your bottle with it. It’s not only a cheap and sanitary solution, but also very environmentally friendly – make sure you buy a reusable one. The last thing – don’t forget to clean your bottle regularly.
Regardless of whether you are heading to South America or you are planning Euro Trip, one thing that shouldn’t miss in your back is a waterproof jacket. The weather can be tricky, especially in the tropical countries where the possibility of rainfall is very high. Before I went to backpacking South America, I read a lot about how much the weather between one region and another changes. America is several times larger than Europe and consists of many climate zones. You can purchase a lightweight, foldable jacket in any sport store and it will take up almost no place in your back.
Despite the fact that there are people who travel without taking a lot of pictures, the vast majority of backpackers bring their camera or take pictures with their phone. I treat my camera as an inseparable travel buddy and I can’t imagine going on a trip without it. When I was planning my backpacking to South America, buying extra memory cards for both my camera and phone was a must. This way I didn’t have to worry about using the whole memory space in the middle of the trip and I came back home with tones of memories, hanging on my walls today and reminding me of the great time I had.
One of the things that I learned during my backpacking trip is the fact that no matter where you are, you should never completely trust everybody. As I mentioned in this post, the most popular way to get around in South America is by bus. This means that your backpack is travelling in the bottom luggage hold for most of the time. Make sure to close is with a padlock before putting your back there. You never know who’s going to be close to your backpack during the upcoming hours. In South America bus robbery is not an occasional situation, sometimes it’s a matter of few minutes when the bus stops at the gas station and someone opens the hold. It never happened to me but I heard stories from other backpackers so again – put your safety on the first place.
Choosing the clothes and shoes for backpacking is the hardest part for many travelers and I will write more about it in another article. But one thing that should not be missing on your list are definitely flip-flops. They are super comfortable and don’t weight a thing, which means you can easily put them on the bottom of your luggage. Believe me, you will use them a lot – from taking a shower in the hotel to spending time on the beach. I never go under the shower in the unknown place without flip-flops. Not all the hotels respect the sanitary rules and you have no idea who took the shower there before you. So, I wouldn’t recommend to step on the hotel floor barefoot.
Electric Multi Plug Adapter
If you travel with many different electronic devices such as mobile phone, camera, Go Pro, tablet and others, one socket in the hotel room won’t be enough to charge all of them during only one night. Make sure to bring with you a multi plug adapter. It allows more than one device to connect to a single socket at the same time. I am sure you already have one at home, close to TV.
The last point on my list wasn’t the easiest to decide but for one more time, I put the safety and health on the first place. As a daughter of Pharmacist, I grew up watching my Mom to pack the essential medicines every time we traveled. No matter where you go, sometimes due to emergency you might need analgesics or bandage, and you will not always find the closest pharmacy right behind the corner. Make sure to back medicines for different occasions and don’t forget the medicines you take every day, especially if you suffer any kind of allergy.
At the end, I would like to point out few things that I didn’t put on the list but considered very important for my trip. When I came back home, I realized that among the items I used the most was my own set consisting of plate, cup, bowl and cutlery. Despite the fact that most of the hostel kitchens are fully-equipped, sometimes the cleanliness of the utensils is questionable. When it comes to hotels, many of them don’t allow their guests to use the kitchen because it’s a different type of accommodation, so If you need to cut an apple or simply make a tea, your own set of dishes will prove to be a good choice. The last items I personally recommend to pack are notebook and pen. I love to write, I’ve been writing for my entire life and this is one of the reasons why I started this blog. I was writing a diary during my whole trip and I thing is a good idea for anyone who wants to keep all the travel details.
I hope you find this article helpful and in case of any doubts or questions, let us know!