Planning, Prepping and Packing…
I’m down to the final week before traveling to Chile on Tuesday next week! I’ve been waiting for this moment for two years, and planning it since November last year… and the time has come. This time next week, Chad and I will arrive at BWI and begin our trek to South America to spend 13 days exploring, learning, and adventuring in Santiago and the surrounding area.
Chad always makes fun of me for planning so far in advance. In fact, I told him I was getting started packing last week and his response was “for what, Christmas?” ha. ha. ha… In all honesty, a few years ago I would begin packing MONTHS in advance so the fact that I started 9 days before leaving the country is a bit of a crunch for me! He might begin packing Tuesday morning for our noon-ish flight…
One of my wonderful BRF’s suggested I write a blog on my packing tips for international travel… However, as I was packing I realized I haven’t traveled internationally in 18 years (literally) and I have no idea what I’m doing! Since I am so overly excited that I can barely concentrate on what I need to accomplish in the next week, I’m going to lay it all out there and see what sticks… It will be interesting to look back after the trip and see where I could have made some changes!
So where do I even start? Well, Chile is winter right now so I’ve been stalking the weather for the last few weeks just to get an idea of what sort of temp ranges I’m going to be dealing with. It looks pretty consistent with mid-30’s at night, and mid-60’s during the day with plenty of sun. I also looked at our itinerary to see what sort of activities I needed to plan for. Since I’m going to research sustainability and water resource management, a lot of my time will be spent in the field at various organizations and with the Universidad del Desarrollo in Santiago and Concepcion. I also checked out our hotel online to see what our accommodations looked like and if there’s a gym and pool that I would be using while we’re staying there. Once I felt like I had a good idea of what I would be getting into, I started by looking at my wardrobe and finding pieces that fit together in a variety of ways so I wasn’t packing 13 separate outfits. Here’s a glimpse of what that looks like:
1 pair of black pants (goes with everything and looks nice for some of the more “business casual” events)
2 pair of jeans – one lighter color, one darker color
1 pair of hiking pants (Prana Monarch convertible pants)
1 pair of black leggings
1 pair of sweats
1 pair of thermals (for snowboarding the Andes at Valle Nevado!)
Since the hotel has a gym, and there are some options for hiking, I also tossed in two pairs of workout capris that will work comfortably for either the gym or the trails.
Keeping things as simple as possible, I opt for solid color items that can be layered and/or alternated. Layering is great for these temps because I might walk out and be chilly in the morning, but more comfortable throughout the day as it warms up.
1 jacket (I have a warm, windproof and lightweight Patagonia Nano Puff )
3-4 long sleeve options, business casual
2-3 tank tops or short sleeves for layering
1 thermal top for snowboarding
3-4 tops for workouts and hiking
8 pairs of socks including compression socks (Pro Compression Socks) for those long days on my feet, and warm socks for snowboarding and hiking.
3 bras – ladies… the staples here. Black, nude, white.
5 sports bras – I live in these anyway!
“Unmentionables” for every day. Aaaaand maybe a spare pair or two.
2 swim suits
Shoes: Who knew this would be my biggest challenge! We are required to bring safety shoes for some of the organizations we will be visiting (a copper mine, landfill, etc). I found safety overshoes, with steel toes that meet the requirements and take up less space. I’m planning to be on my feet a lot so I have sneakers, knee-high boots, and simple black flats. I’m still on the fence about one pair of heels for some of our nicer, business-casual events, too.
We’ll be close to shopping centers and stores so I’m not too concerned with toiletries. If I run out of something or forget something, I’ll have easy access to pick it up there. That being said, I have the typical shampoo, conditioner, soap, scrubby-thingy, contact solution, deodorant, hairspray, toothpaste, shaving cream, makeup, razor, ibuprofen, Benadryl, Pepto Bismol, tooth brush, hair brush, and flat iron (which doubles as a curling iron).
Since this is a Study Abroad course, I will be expected to complete some homework while I’m in Chile. I’m bringing our laptop, cellphone (on wifi only!), two GoPros, and our DSLR camera with 3 different lens options. I’m also packing a few portable chargers, just in case!
Other tips I’ve been told:
Keep a copy of your license, passport, and any other important documents with you, but separate from the originals. Also, give a copy to a trusted friend or family member at home.
Check on the voltage/outlet conversion needed (I found a 3-pack on Amazon for $10).
Invest in TSA locks (combination based, but they have an “open indicator” to make you aware if TSA accesses your luggage).
Call the bank and inform them of the places you’ll be using your debit/credit cards ahead of time… If you don’t, they’ll flag it as fraud and I don’t know about you, but I’m not interested in figuring that out the hard way!
I think that’s about it! I’ll pack my carry on the night before, and I think I’m ready… Any last-minute international travel tips you’ve come across? I’m hoping to blog as much as possible while I’m there, if for any other reason than to document as much of the experiences as possible!
On a side note, one last plug for my Etsy store! I’ve been selling hand crafted goodies to help offset the costs of this trip and my research, so please pass it along! I’m putting it in “vacation mode” on Sunday, so all orders must be placed by then!