Last time I wrote a text about choosing the travel destination in the South America. Today I’m going to present you what shouldn’t be missing in your backpack and what should be better left at home.I was inspired by a discussion on a Facebook group dedicated to backpacking in the South America.
Quite obvious, isn’t it? But I think you can take few of my advices. First things first: going for a week or a month, it’s pointless to have more than about five changes of clothing. In both Ecuador and Peru there are plenty of laundry places for a good price (about a dollar for a kilo). In few hours time you can get everything washed and dried. That’s also why I don’t see the point in taking any special cloth washing equipment (about that was the discussion) unless you’re going in some God forgotten places in the middle of the jungle for few weeks. If you’re planning to visit a town ever few days, you will be good without hand washing.
What cloths should you take? It depends where exactly you’re going. I suggest light cloths with long sleeves – the sun burns the skin here. Of course some raincoat and something warm – a jumper or a sweater should be enough. If you would need more, you can always buy a poncho and have a great souvenir. The same for the hat – buy one in Ecuador! It’s famous for them – and prices are really good.
Of course the situation changes if you’re going to climb Chimborazo or other mountain or you’re going to Patagonia in winter where it gets really cold. You would need proper clothing then – but I believe in your common sense.
If you take pictures, videos, you use some data stocking equipment, powerbanks or drones, TAKE ALL OF THIS STUFF WITH YOU. Especially if you’re going to Ecuador because the prices here are ridiculous and the accessibility far lower. Of course you can buy everything, but it would take a lot of time and money. Why would you make your life harder? I know what I’m talking about…
If you’re from the US, you’re ahead of us, Europeans – the electric outlet format is the same. For all of Europeans, be sure to have an adapter with you. Also, I recommend a splitter that will let you connect many devices to one outlet. You shouldn’t have problems with the tension as all modern devices have transformators built in.
Here is the link to the complete list of personal object a tourist can take in Ecuador without tax. In Spanish.
The content of your wash bag is mostly a personal choice. From my experience, I suggest replacing the shower gel with a regular white soap. In many hostels there is no hot water and the shower gel is difficult to wash off with cold one. But, as I said, it’s the personal matter. It’s good to have a towel – microfibre towels are great as they dry quickly and don’t occupe much space.
Of course if you can’t live without some special cosmetic, take it with you. The basics (shampoo, ear sticks, soap etc.) you can buy here but finding this special cream of this special brand for your special skin can be just impossible.
By the way, a standard travelling tip – a roll of toilet paper and wet antibacterial wipes in your hand luggage can save the day.
An interesting thing. Tissues are not so common here. You can’t buy them in every store and they cost more then in Europe. But you’re not going to take a half a year worth tissue supply with you, are you?
A torch, a knife, a compass, some pen. Map is optional. Maybe a guide. Spare batteries. I highly recommend a canvas bag for shopping – you will buy a lot of stuff at the market and using a tone of plastic bags is neither comfortable, nor nature friendly.
When it comes to choosing a credit or debit card, go for VISA. MASTERCARD is not so widely accepted, not even speaking about others. Anyway, you will mostly rely on cash. Don’t take the notes over 20$ because you’ll spend a lot of time trying to exchange them – most stores don’t accept them and banks don’t like changing them. Also, even with 20$ or 10$ you’ll sometimes cause panic when they’re going to run around looking for change.
I think it’s better to take too few things than too many – as I’ve done.
In the future I’ll describe how to prepare for the travel – vaccines, tickets and stuff.