The Perfect Women’s Packing List for Traveling Through Central and South America

When you’re planning a grand tour by way of Latin America, however don’t need to appear to be a backpacker, you then’ve come to the appropriate place. Particularly in case you’re into sustainable and moral fashion! Final yr my husband and I visited 5 cities in Mexico, Nicaragua, (and we’ve been to Costa Rica earlier than), Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Argentina. And we did all of it stylishly –– if I do say so myself –– with carry-on suitcases and backpacks.

OK, properly, the expander zipper on my suitcase was deployed. However nonetheless, South America has quite a lot of climates and quite a lot of social conditions, from laid-back seashore vibes to chilly mountain mountaineering, upscale mixologist bars to yoga retreats. And also you’ll need to deliver some mix-and-match clothes and gear so that you simply’ll really feel snug in each state of affairs. I’m fairly proud that we pulled this off!

(If you’d like packing lists tailor-made particularly for the nations listed above, discover them right here.)

Some common tips:

1. Simply because your going south, doesn’t imply it’s all the time heat. At excessive altitudes, Mexico Metropolis and Medellin get cool within the winter. Cusco in Peru will get very chilly.

2. South People are trendy. It’s the backpackers who aren’t. If you land in Medellin, Mexico Metropolis, Buenos Aires, or another massive metropolis, you’ll discover that the locals are on level of their type. (They’ve Instagram too, ya know.) So be sure to have one thing apart from cut-off shorts and climbing boots. Likewise, you gained’t put on resort put on as a lot as you assume. Pack issues that may go from the town to the seashore.

three. Think about the professionals and cons of artificial and pure fibers. Artificial and semi-synthetic fibers are lighter weight and don’t wrinkle as simply as cotton or linen. They’re additionally needed for some efficiency gear, comparable to raincoats. Nevertheless, should you do your entire wardrobe in artificial fibers, you danger wanting low cost, and feeling uncomfortable and itchy throughout lengthy bus rides. I packed as a lot natural-fiber trend as potential, and reserved synthetics for a couple of mountaineering issues.

four. Select a easy colour palette. As with all Capsule Wardrobe, you need to ensure you can combine and match. I went with white, black, navy blue, and purple.  My equipment match too: They’re both camel-brown leather-based, gray, or or gold.

5. Flat pack and stuff sack. Every little thing ought to both lay flat in your suitcase or include a stuff sack. That features your purse, your clothes, your hat, your puffy coat, your jewellery, your underwear assortment, and so forth. I even stuffed my bathe cap into a bit cotton pouch. Everybody’s so about packing cubes – I purchased a number of and truly don’t discover mine that useful, as a result of then I’ve to pack round these two massive rectangular issues in my suitcase, and I don’t like how they require extreme squishing of my cotton issues

6. Washable and dryable. You’re going to seek out your self handing your laundry over sooner or later to somebody who doesn’t perceive the idea of “lay flat to dry,” I assure it. So pack gadgets that may survive a visit via the dryer. And no “dry clean only,” for apparent causes.

6. Depart room for one new trend merchandise per nation. Or attempt, anyway.  You may need to eliminate some issues to make room. However will probably be value it!

Your Traveling Outfit

This supposes you’re leaving from a chilly nation. If not, put the Uniqlo jacket in your suitcase.

  • Tender cotton yoga leggings – I like to recommend these. They’re so versatile and cozy!
  • Ably white t-shirt – Once more, has stain-resistant know-how, which is essential in case you’re touring!
  • Merino wool hoodie – I used this always. A darkish gray colour ensures for those who layer it underneath a shawl or poncho, nobody will realize it’s for mountaineering.
  • Uniqlo extremely mild down jacket –  This comes with a stuff sack, so I might truly match it inside my mid-sized purse if the temperature fluctuates so much. When it’s on, nevertheless, it’s fairly heat. When you don’t need to purchase Uniqlo, Ecoalf makes an various, however I can’t vouch for how small it will get for packing functions.
  • Sports activities bra
  • Snug underwear in pure material
  • Wool socks – I really like merino wool as a result of it wicks away moisture and odor.
  • Path trainers – I might pack these when you assume you’ll be doing any hikes which might be longer than two hours, or any muddy hikes. We did a number of and I used to be grateful for these. In black, these aren’t tremendous dorky wanting, and are smaller and lighter than mountaineering boots. Simply add wool socks to make them heat in chilly climate and dry shortly if it’s a must to tramp via a stream, like we did in Hawaii. But when intense mountaineering is actually not your type, then I might recommend black sneakers, that you could put on within the metropolis with denims or perhaps a skirt, for exercising, or a light-weight, non-muddy hike.
  • Mini crossbody purse or bumbag – I received into the behavior of carrying a mini crossbody purse once I journey, as a result of it provides me fast and safe entry to my passport, pockets, and tickets, with out me having to take off my backpack. O My Bag has a ton to select from. You may additionally do a hip pack, although that’s extra of a European factor.
  • Passport and Passport case – Pockets are tremendous useful. I caught my Mexican visa in mine, and nonetheless had it once I came upon that it is advisable to current your copy to go away Mexico, or else pay for a brand new one on the airport. I additionally had my yellow fever vaccination card (which we would have liked to get into Nicaragua), additional visa pictures, and my worldwide driver’s license in there.
  • Telephone
  • Charging twine
  • Mini pockets – There’s tons to select from at O My Bag.
  • Sun shades – right here’s my buying information to one of the best eco sun shades.


I began with a Fjallraven, however I didn’t like how anybody might attain proper into the again pocket, and it additionally wasn’t waterproof. I ultimately switched to an eco-friendly, waterproof, pickpocket-proof backpack that I helped design. It’s referred to as the Alden!

  • Moveable telephone charging battery – These by Nimble are moral and eco-friendly
  • Earbuds – conventional jack for laptop computer/airplane console, and a dongle when you have the most recent iPhone
  • Digital camera and lenses, additional battery, battery charger, additional reminiscence playing cards – I really like my compact however highly effective Fuji x-t10, with a extensive angle lens for panorama, structure, and room photographs; and a 50 mm lens for portraits and meals.
  • Macbook Professional and charger 
  • Laptop computer hardcover – I really feel like my Macbook is just too shiny to have peeking out of my bag or on an outside desk at a restaurant in a creating nation. So I purchased a case for it and slapped a black sticker over the light-up Apple emblem. You would get one in every of these fairly (however not eye-catching) wooden covers.
  • Matador lens bag and digital camera bag
  • Moleskine
  • Chico reusable bag with stuff sack
  • Broad-mouth reusable espresso cup with sealable lid – Can be utilized for espresso, or additionally as a to-go container in a pinch for soup, fruit, snacks, and so forth.
  • SPF chapstick
  • Mini tube of SPF cream. It’s so nice to have this in your backpack or purse always, since you’ll end up strolling round a sunny metropolis and assume, oops! Ought to have placed on sunscreen! Listed here are my favorites.
  • Hand sanitizer – It was widespread in Latin America that the general public toilet wherever doesn’t have any cleaning soap obtainable. Or, in the event you’re like me, that you simply’ll need to pet a pleasant stray cat or canine!
  • Bamboo journey utensil set – so that you don’t have to make use of disposable one in areas which have horrible or non-existent waste disposal. Be sure it’s plastic or wooden (not metallic) so it doesn’t get confiscated by airport safety (whoops).
  • Reusable straw – Most drinks don’t want straws, however mojitos and coconuts do!
  • Pack of tissues – this isn’t for your nostril, so don’t assume I’m advocating this over a reusable handkerchief. It’s for rest room emergencies.
  • Reusable handkerchief – Yup, this one is for your nostril, or you should use it as a serviette.
  • Journey pen with carabiner – so useful! I went 10 months with out dropping this pen, which is astounding.
  • Moveable pillow – all the time deliver this, even on a aspect journey in case your aircraft journey is an hour. You by no means know when will probably be delayed by 5 hours till 2 am, as occurred to us in Zihuatanejo. I purchased mine in Singapore – it converts from a neck pillow to a sq. pillow.
  • Matador droplet moist bag

In My Suitcase

I’ve a Samsonite carry-on with an enlargement zipper that’s made with recycled water bottles. Right here’s an inventory of eco-friendly baggage choices.

  • Black-and-white striped long-sleeved tee – Lengthy-sleeved striped tees can go from excessive summer time to winter, and it’s saved me from many a sunburn! I introduced a Saint James one, and one yr later it nonetheless seems new.
  • Reversible washable silk tie prime – I wore this to the seashore and out on New Yr’s Eve in Oaxaca. Tie it within the again and it’s a stunning prime that goes with any backside, from denims to a skirt. Tie it within the entrance and it’s tremendous attractive. It appears to be bought out at Elizabeth Suzanne, however she appears to solely promote them in the summertime.
  • Par en Par gown/gown – I can put on this as a seashore cover-up, a gown, or a gown. Having a gown available is so useful!
  • Par en Par culottes – modest, trendy, and snug, they’re tremendous versatile, from the seashore to a restaurant to a spiritual website.
  • Linen long-sleeved button-down – It’s versatile and could be worn from daytime to nighttime to protect towards mosquitoes. Tradland has some nice variations
  • Slim denims – I might go together with black or darkish indigo, which stylistically are somewhat extra versatile than a mild wash.  Right here’s an inventory of eco-friendly denim manufacturers. 
  • Excessive-waisted shorts – Both in denim or cotton. I selected black cotton as a result of I’m getting too previous for brief jean shorts and material is lighter than denim.
  • Lengthy vest – I picked this up in Mexico Metropolis, a sleeveless cotton, striped, lengthy, fringed vest that was so versatile I wore it always (see 4 footage in a piece aboveThe closest I can discover on the web is that this pima cotton wrap from Voz.
  • Caftan gown – modest but flattering, doubles as a private mosquito internet once you’re in tropical places! I really like this one at Accompany.
  • Sundress
  • Midi skirt – I received one in a jersey cotton, and wore it in scorching informal climate in addition to the town.
  • Yummy sweater – You want one thing heat, belief me.
  • Leather-based jacket – A should for each metropolis on the earth through which it will get chilly at night time. Go together with a light-weight, smooth one which folds and packs small. So no stiff motorbike jackets.
  • MATTER pants – A should for touring, these pants will take you from the town to the temple.
  • Hobes footwear – They flat pack and look tremendous cute on.
  • 2 tanks in black and white – For layering underneath your day outfit or for a scorching hike. I packed the scoop necks from Groceries Attire, or attempt a stain resistant one from Ably.
  • Pons Avarcas strolling sandals in camel brown – These final eternally and are tremendous snug and versatile. Learn my full evaluate. 
  • Fairly sandals – in Europe Birkenstocks would do it, however Latin American women are into one thing extra female.
  • Chila Bag from Noa Commerce or leather-based backpack from Raven + Lily– Each serve the identical perform as a flat-pack trendy bag that holds rather a lot. I’ve used each and love them each.
  • Rain jacket with hood by Marmot – Folds up tiny. I’ve been so grateful for this a number of occasions.
  • Patagonia athletic shorts – for climbing, doing yoga, or understanding. I initially introduced two, however I noticed I solely wanted one pair.
  • three bras and eight pairs of underwear. Right here’s my 5 guidelines for packing underwear for journey.
  • Wool socks – Merino wool retains your ft cool or heat, and wicks away odor and sweat.
  • Lengthy-sleeved white tee – Cute sufficient to put on within the metropolis, at night time towards mosquitos, but in addition nice for mountaineering. Get one from Ably, in order that it resists stains.
  • Sarong – Nice as a canopy up, towel, or seashore blanket. I received mine in India from Anokhi, however in fact you will get these anyplace!
  • Pajamas – I selected this set as a result of I might put on the t-shirt individually out in public (and did!), and the shorts to the seashore.
  • Easy jewellery fundamentals – I had a lot enjoyable jewellery purchasing, that I truly want I hadn’t packed something besides my ear studs. So simply pack the very fundamentals: studs, a hoop, perhaps one favourite delicate necklace.
  • Skinny belt – This one from Nudie is the right measurement for me as a result of the final gap lets me use it for my denims, and the primary gap lets me wrap it round my waist.
  • Small scarf – I exploit this for wrapping my hair quite a bit. I had a white cotton one, however colourful is enjoyable too!
  • 2 bathing fits – 1 one-piece and one bikini. I’ve a Black Vitamin A one-piece and a pink bikini. Right here’s my record of favourite sustainable swimwear manufacturers.
  • Packable wide-brimmed hat – You’ll be within the solar lots, whether or not at a seashore or doing strolling excursions within the metropolis.
  • Sports activities bra 
  • Teva’s or different water footwear that strap on – Not simply for climbing or waterfalls, additionally useful with it’s raining buckets!
  • Additional sun shades – Past the city-style ones, you’ll need beach-y, pageant type ones, too. Right here’s my listing of eco-friendly sun shades. 
  • Informal watch
  • A hand fan – A should for festivals or dancing on the seashore to music. You may as well purchase this as a memento whereas touring from actually any museum.
  • PurSteam touring iron/steamer – this factor is tiny, however essential!
  • Photo voltaic lamp by Luci – This undoubtedly got here in useful for excursions and eco-camping websites.
  • Journey yoga mat – So you will get a great lengthy stretch in each morning, no matter the place you’re. I fold mine up and pack it contained in the suitcase
  • Common sink plug – So you possibly can wash your clothes within the sink. I used mine always.
  • Journey dry line –  I like this one as a result of it comes with a stuff sack.
  • Waterproof reusable laundry bag – Issues will get moist and you’ll need to put them in one thing waterproof…so synthetics wins out on this one.
  • Journey stitching package – I used this a number of occasions.
  • Reusable sealable luggage – I acquired these on suggestion from a digital nomad weblog, and I’m so glad I did. We’ve been utilizing numerous sizes already for issues that come up, however they take up no room in my suitcase aspect inside pocket.
  • Baggage locks – Deliver two! Once we have been in a tenting state of affairs with no protected, I put one on my suitcase and one on the tent zippers once we stepped out.
  • Journey first assist package – Get a primary one, then add in drugs you’ll want, like malaria tablets, altitude medicine, ibuprofen, Imodium, and so on. You possibly can all the time get extra drugs the place you’re going, almost certainly, for cheaper than within the U.S.

In My Toiletry Bag

  • Journey toiletry bag – So, I ditched my eco-friendly however not very organized journey toiletry bag. My husband ordered two sizes of this nylon one, and gave me the bigger one and I adore it. It has a journey mirror, so many pockets, and isn’t stiff so it takes up much less room.
  • Argan oil – I can’t reside with out argan oil for making my hair shiny and clean, plus sealing in moisture on my face after a bathe.
  • Coola Tinted SPF BB cream – That is my absolute favourite tinted SPF moisturizer. It’s not too thick and makes your face glow!
  • Micellar water – I really like touring with Micellar water, since you don’t want to make use of water for it. I like Sure to Cucumbers, which yow will discover within the journey measurement in your native CVS or Walgreens.
  • Reusable cotton rounds
  • Extremely moisturizing night time face cream – For whenever you’re in arid, mountainous areas. My night time regenerative balm from Apoterra was a lifesaver in Mexico.
  • Physique lotion – this one from Osea comes within the journey measurement.
  • Journey toothbrush and toothpaste – I’ve to confess, mine is plastic, as a result of I needed a compact toothbrush with a protecting cap.
  • Deodorant – right here’s my roundup of my favorites.
  • Mini hair iron and/or hairdryer – I didn’t have room to deliver each, although I want I did! I went with the hair iron for my bangs.
  • Mini hair brush
  • Tweezers
  • Hair elastics
  • Reusable metallic nail file – nice for each submitting and digging crud out from underneath your nails.
  • 1 matte lipstick – I like Jane Iredale lipstick in purple
  • 1 lip tint – One thing extra delicate and beach-appropriate
  • Mascara
  • Eyeliner
  • Bathe bag – Having all my bathe stuff in a separate bag is essential to make sure I don’t depart issues behind within the bathe, as a result of I see the empty bathe bag once I’m packing and keep in mind I have to fill it up.
  • Shampoo and conditioner in journey measurement – I exploit conditioner for shaving, too. I refilled the mini bottles each time I used to be in a lodge or place that retains giant bottles within the bathe.
  • Bathe cap – I obtained one from Shhhowercap that wouldn’t be thrown away by the cleansing individuals the best way small plastic ones are, nevertheless it got here in over-the-top, wasteful packaging, so I don’t advocate it. However as soon as I had it, I stuffed it in somewhat cotton bag.
  • Security razor and razor blades – I switched to this as a result of it’s simpler to seek out razor blade replacements overseas then the flamboyant heads that include no matter fancy razor blade you will get out of your drugstore within the U.S. I obtained a alternative pack of four blades for $three in Ecuador! It’s additionally much less wasteful and inexpensive, and the replacements take up no room. I assumed Illich and I might share, however then he went and acquired his personal! Simply remember that you must examine the bag with razor blades as a result of safety will confiscate them.
  • Sunscreen – Right here’s my information to non-toxic sunscreen.
  • Dr. Bronner journey sized cleaning soap – Nice for if the place you’re staying doesn’t present hand cleaning soap, or if that you must wash your garments within the sink.
  • Ear plugs – Get them on a string so that you don’t lose them once they fall out
  • Security pins
  • 1 bottle nail polish and 1 bottle prime coat – learn my critiques of one of the best non-toxic manufacturers
  • Nail polish remover pads – get ones that are available a bit of screw-shut container, as an alternative of individually wrapped ones.
  • Bugspray – My absolute favourite

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