What To Pack for One Month of Travel in South America
If you read last week's blog post, you know my husband and I are about to set off on our longest travel adventure yet! We leave next week for 1 month in Bolivia and Colombia.
We will be backpacking these two countries with only two packs and a very light packing list. This can be tricky because I've been known to over pack, even for trips that are only two weeks in length but this time I am challenging myself to pack only the necessities and I'm stoked about it.
Last year I wrote up a post about Packing for International Travel, prior to our Ecuador trip and while some of these items will be the same, I wanted to create a more detailed list of what we will be packing for our 1 month trip to South America. This will be our sixth and longest trip, so we're changing up the game! Here's a detailed list of what we're bringing (with links included)!
Weather and Altitude
BUT FIRST, a little background about what we'll be experiening while traveling.
The weather in Bolivia and Colombia during the dry months (May to October) is actually quite mild and chilly in certain regions.
In Bolivia, days tend to be sunny with temperatures averaging in the 50's to 60's (F) during the day and dropping to temperatures in the 30's (F) at night during June and July.
In Colombia, temperatures range from the 60's to 70's (F) during the day and dropping to temperatures in the 40's (F) at night during June and July.
Obviously, these temperatures differ based on region within the country.
Both Bolivia and Colombia also have cities at very high altitudes. La Paz, Bolivia is 11,942 feet above sea level (the second highest city in the world!) and Bogota, Colombia is 8,660 feet above sea level. For your reference, Charleston, South Carolina is 20 feet above sea level (according to my trusty source--Google!) That's a huge jump. No wonder Altitude Sickness is real!
Luggage and accessories
Let's kick this off with the luggage and accessories we will be using to pack. Again, we're backpacking so we're only bringing packs.
- Osprey Farpoint 55 with detachable Daypack -- this is the pack we carried to Ecuador last year and Michael really liked it, so he will be carrying this pack. We love that it has a detachable Daypack (this will be the only Daypack we carry.)
- Osprey Aura AG 65 Women's pack -- this is the pack I will be carrying. It was rated very highly by many backpacking sites. It is quite expensive, but we consider it an investment.
- Eagle Creek Pack-It Wallaby Toiletry Organizer--this is what we will use to organize and store all of our toiletry and medication items.
- TravelWise Packing Cubes--we've used these on almost every trip and love them! They make packing easier and help us stay organized! I will use these in my pack to help me stay organized.
- Eagle Creek Pack Garment Folder (2 of these)--another great way to stay organized! Michael will be using these in his pack.
My Clothing and Accessories
Knowing what you now know about the weather and altitude we will be facing in both countries, I'm attempting a more "layered" approach to outfits. Here's what I will be packing for 1 month:
- Northface Women's Osito 2 Jacket
- Lightweight Old Navy pull-over I bought on clearance
- Lightweight Columbia Raincoat that packs into its own pocket
- 1 button up flannel (for layering)
- 2 long sleeve shirts
- 4 short sleeve t-shirts
- 3 tank tops
- 1 sleep shirt
- 4 pairs long yoga/workout tights--these are lightweight and easy to pack
- 1 pair of thicker fleece-lined leggings for colder weather
- 1 pair capri yoga tights
- 3 sports bras
- underwear--enough for 2 weeks. Mama doesn't skimp on clean underwear options.
- 3 pairs of Darn Tough Vermont Merino Wool socks
- 1 bathing suit
- 1 hat
- 1 pair of gloves
- 1 scarf
- 1 pair of Mayari Birkenstocks--by far my fave travel shoe!
- 1 pair of tennis shoes
- 1 pair of Old Navy rubber flip flops--for shower shoes.
Toiletries and medication
Toiletries is one area where I really tend to over pack! But what if I need that 6th bottle of shampoo or that 12 pack of Burts Bees lip balm? How will I survive!? One thing I've come to learn in my travel experience is most of these items are available in some form or another in the cities I've traveled to (not everywhere and maybe not the exact item you're looking for, but most places.) Here's what we're bringing:
- glasses and glasses case
- contacts and contact case
- contact solution
- Cocokind Organic Sea Moss Exfoliator (facial cleanser)
- Cocokind Organic Rosewater Facial Toner (travel size)
- Cocokind Golden Elixir (moisturizer-travel size)
- JR Liggett Travel sized Shampoo Bar--this is a new one for us but instead of having all of those bottles of shampoo, we're going with this highly recommended shampoo bar. It works just like a bar of soap for your hair. You can also use it as a body soap or to wash your clothing. The company claims that this one bar is the equivalent to a 24 oz bottle of shampoo!
- Paul Mitchell Style Sculpting Foam--this is the only product I use on my hair. I luckily found it in a travel size so it's coming with us!
- 1 bar of soap in a travel case
- nail file
- nail clippers
- Goldbond lotion
- Burts Bees chapstick--a few just in case one gets lost.
- Travel size Febreeze for clothing--used when we can't wash clothes but we're smelling extra ripe.
- Goddess Garden sunscreen
- Menstrual Cup--This may be TMI but #yolo. I use the Diva Cup and love it. It's comfortable, easy to travel with, cuts down on money spent on tampons/pads, and eliminates excess plastic consumption. Ladies, I highly recommend this.
- generic anti-diarrheal medication
- generic Pepto-Bismol (pill form)
- Lactaid pills--my husband is lactose intolerant and we always have to have these on hand.
- Traveler's Diarrhea medication--I'm hoping we won't have to use this but just in case.
Note: All toiletries are travel size (under 3ml) if possible.
We live in a technologically advanced world, so of course there are some technological items that we will be toting with us! Here's what we're bringing:
- iPhones--the cameras are so wonderful on the new iPhones that we're solely using my iPhone 8 Plus as our camera! Pro tip: Before leaving the U.S., we always make sure to turn off our Cellular Data and roaming. This makes sure that we don't get charged when we turn our phones off of Airplane Mode in a different country.
- Kindles--Michael has the Kindle Oasis and I have the Kindle Paperwhite. In case you haven't noticed from my Reading Wrap-Up posts, I love to read and would definitely not miss the opportunity to catch up on reading on the long bus rides we have in store for us!
- 2017 HP Chromebook--we purchased this refurbished Chromebook solely for the purpose of travel blogging (I have to keep y'all updated along the way!) It's lightweight and portable, making it easy to throw in my pack!
- Bose QuietComfort 20 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones--these are the headphones that Michael uses for travel.
- Fitbit Versas
- Anker PowerCore 20000 with Quick Charge 3.0 charging brick--this has been one of the best purchases we've made for travel. Michael always carries this in our Daypack (along with a charging cable) and whenever we need a charge, we just plug in our device and we're good to go! This is great for on-the-go charging needs.
- charging cables--for iPhones, headphones, Fitbits, etc.
- travel plug adapter--we have a really old adapter and I'm not sure where we purchased it but I'm sure you can find good ones on Amazon for cheap. I'm not linking one because I don't know which one I'd recommend.
You may not realize this, but there are many apps out there geared to make your travel life much easier! We have a few apps that we use for each trip and we highly recommend!
- Maps.me--we've used this app for every single trip we've taken. It's basically a GPS that does not run on wifi or data! Before you go on your trip, simply download the maps for each country you'll be visiting. When you arrive in the country, you can use the map to give you directions without using your wifi or data! Note: Sometimes it will require you to use the local wifis around you to locate yourself faster, but since you've turned off your Cellular Data on your phone, you should not be charged at all! One of our favorite features is Bookmarking. As soon as we get to our first hotel/hostel, we bookmark it so we will also know where to head back to. We also love that it gives you turn by turn directions! We 100% recommend this app.
- Trail Wallet--this is an app that we use to capture our expensives. Michael uses it to keep track of what we spend and how we're spending it. You can classify your purchases and expenditures into different categories. For example, there are categories for accomodations, food, transport, entertainment, miscellanous. You can also add more of your own categories. The app will provide you will bar charts showing you where you spent the majority of your money. This app is perfect if you're looking to keep track of your spending or if you're trying to stay on a budget.
- Google Trips--This app is great for creating your itinerary. It gives you personalized recommendations based on where you're traveling for food, things to do, discounts, how to get around, need to know, etc. It also provides day trip itineraries making it easy to plan a trip!
- What'sApp--This is a text messaging app allows you to connect with people who do not have iPhones or with people abroad at no extra cost. It allows you to make voice calls, video calls, send photos, etc. We've used this a lot to talk with people we've met abroad!
- Downcast--This isn't necessarily a travel app, however; if you love to listen to podcasts, this is a great app! You can download podcasts prior to your trip so you have something to listen to while traveling! Note: This app costs $2.99.
This is the category where all the "other stuff" falls. A lot of these items are travel items that we've used in previous trips and that we read about on various blogs.
- Microfiber towels (full size)--these are quick drying and anti-microbial, perfect for showering in a hostel and hanging to dry.
- Anker Universal Waterproof Phone Pouch--we always bring this along just in case we do any water activities. You pack your phone into this case (my big ole' iPhone 8 Plus fits!) and seal it up and you're good to go!
- Raqpak Travel Laundry Set--this is small and easy to pack so we bring it along for any of our laundry needs. Laundry services are usually widely available at a very inexpensive price, but these are for the times that we don't have the availability and need something washed.
- Passport Travel Pouch--Michael is responsible for handling all of our passports and travel documents, so he carries the trusty travel pouch! It's accompanied us on every single trip we've taken and we love it. It holds our passports, cash, cards, etc. and can be easily tucked underneath your shirt.
- Sleeping bag liner--we haven't needed this up until now, but we've read on some blogs that some of the places we're traveling to in Bolivia (specifically Salar de Uyuni) are very, very cold and central heating is not an option. So we're bringing along these sleeping bag liners for an extra layer of warmth during the night. They provide warmth while being easy to pack away.
- Toilet paper--you definitely want this in South America. Public restrooms usually do not have toilet paper available or you have to pay for it each time you want to use it. It's nice to just have a roll or two for backup!
- A few plastic bags for dirty/wet clothing
- Passports and a printed copy of your passport
- Travel documents--itinerary, flight info, proof of insurance, proof of vaccines (if necessary) etc.
The most important category (duh) and the one I saved for last. We normally pack quite a bit in the way of snacks but I'm going to try to be more concise and picky this time around about what snacks we're bringing. I'm also using a Bumkin Resuable Wet Bag (yes, this is technically a diaper bag) but it's a perfect size for carrying around our snacks!
- The New Primal Beef Thins--we will be bringing a few pouches of these delicious Whole30 compliant beef snacks!
- The New Primal Meat Sticks--another great source of protein and super portable.
- Chomps Meat Sticks--have you noticed a pattern in our snacking options? We're bringing high-quality animal protein that are very portable! I love the original Chomps Beef sticks.
- Clif Bars
- Roasted almonds
- Individual packages of nut butter--great for on the go snacking!
Well there you have it folks! This is what we'll be bringing for our 1 month trip to South America. I've added and subtracted so many things from this list but I did my best to compile it for you!
Did I forget anything? Let me know in the comments below and make sure you follow along as we travel to Bolivia and Colombia next week!