To Bring, or Not to Bring...
Updated: Sep 6
So we are 1 month into our trip, and there are definitely some items we have been super thankful to have. On the flipside, there are items we wish that we had not packed.
Our "Can't Live Without It" List:
1. Trail running shoes.
Both of us bought new shoes before embarking on our trip. So far, the investment has definitely paid off. Plain old running shoes lack the tread needed on many trails. The harder sole is also much more comfortable walking the uneven streets. Plus, they dry faster than regular running shoes. Yes it's dorky, but it's totally worth it.
2. A travel laundry bag or dry sack.
We brought three 15 foot pieces of cord, which have been super useful for hanging up our clothes after washing them, or drying anything out. It's also been useful to keep anything we want off the ground when we are staying in a hostel or hotel. No one wants ants in their pants!
4. Ziplock bags.
LOTS. And many sizes. Ziplock bags have been a lifesaver for us. We use them for our toiletries, dirty clothing or shoes, miscellaneous items, etc. They keep everything dry, clean, and organized, they make it easy to find whatever we need.
5. A headlamp.
The lighting in many rooms is poor. Sure, you can use the light on your cell phone, but being able to do things hands free is handy (haha).
6. Smart phone.
This one is a no brainer. See our upcoming blog post for our favourite travel apps.
7. Flip flops (non-fabric/non-leather).
Great for indoor and outdoor wear. Quick dry and odourless!
8. Travel locks.
Great for locking up your bag, but also useful when you need to use a locker. Many of the tourist destinations we've visited have free lockers but you have to bring your own lock.
9. Sewing kit.
You probably rolled your eyes when your mom told you to pack this, but it is something that you may need. It takes up very little space, and when you need to sew on a button or fix a backpack strap, you'll be grateful!
10. Ultra Lightweight Daypack.
Invaluable for day trips, bus rides, etc.
11. Packing cubes
We each brought one 50L backpack (carry-on size) for 6 months. Packing cubes have been useful for keeping clothes, electronics, toiletries etc. organized and separate.
12. Eye mask and ear plugs.
Because you need your beauty sleep.
Multipurpose use. Cuts, repairs, etc.
14. Carry-on size BACKPACK.
Not a duffle bag, not a suitcase on wheels. Find a backpack that has a light frame and is comfortable. Ideally, if you can find one that opens up like a duffle bag (as opposed to a top-loading backpack) this makes packing/unpacking much easier, and also you can lock your bag.
15. Contact solution.
We just learned that the silly 100mL limit on liquids does not apply to contact solution! It has been extremely hard to find here, and very expensive. Bring lots!
Our "Luxury" List
1.Noise cancelling headphones.
Crying baby on the plane? Noisy bus ride? No worries! These headphones block out all that annoying background noise. They take up quite a bit of space, so we put it on our luxury list. A regular pair of headphones or earplugs would also do the trick.
Anyone who has travelled with only their phone/ipad knows how frustrating it can be to navigate websites without a computer. We have a MacBook Air which is relatively small and lightweight. It has been useful for uploading photos/having a backup of our photos, and much easier for booking flights and doing travel research on, compared to on our phones.
3. Snorkelling mask and fins.
These are taking up quite a bit of room in our bags at the moment. We have yet to use them. But we are off to Belize and then Mexico and Costa Rica, so finally they will get to earn their keep! Most boat tours seem to offer free snorkeling gear to use. Some places apparently can be expensive to rent though, and having your own gear allows you to snorkel whenever and wherever you want!
4. Travel towel.
Nice to have, but most places provide towels.
Our "Things We Can't Live With" List
1. Travel Guidebooks.
We brought with us 2 huge heavy books on Central and South America, and so far, they have not been much use to us. There is so much information online these days. We were hoping to have a great resource to reference, but unfortunately these books have not provided us much information. If you're going to get a travel book, we suggest getting the online/electronic version.
2. International power adapter.
We have yet to use this yet.
3. Money belt.
We have felt completely safe in Central America so far. Most locals are carrying around purses and probably more cash than we have on us at the markets. We make sure to keep our bags close to us and we constantly try to be aware of our surroundings. Don't ever leave your bag unattended - EVER (for some reason, this seems like common sense, but in the moment, can be easy to do if you are distracted).