The Complete Packing Guide for Central America

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The Complete Packing Guide for Central America

I’ve historically never been great at packing light. My last trip to South East Asia was three weeks long, but I inexplicably thought it would be a good idea to bring a backpack that had a capacity of 85 litres. When full, the pack was bigger than me. Whilst it did wonders for my upper body strength, I wouldn’t recommend this course of action – especially as most of the stuff I packed, I didn’t actually need.

This time, the thought of looking like an awkward turtle and carrying around 20kg in 40 degree heat wasn’t so appealing, so I invested in a new backpack for Central America. Behold, the Osprey Fairpoint 55 L. What I liked about the Osprey was the detachable 15 litre daypack, which I usually carry as a shoulder bag. The majority of my clothes are in the 40 litre main pack, which means it’s actually pretty light – 8kg when I last weighed it.

When I was packing this time, I asked myself two key questions:

  1. Is it something I actually REALLY need?
  2. Is it something I can pick up for cheap, if I regret not bringing it?

The Complete Packing Guide for Central America

Clothes

Clothes - Packing List

List:

  • T-shirts x 5
  • Playsuits x 3
  • Dresses x 5
  • Casual trouser hareem pant things x 2
  • Shorts x 2
  • Jeans x 1
  • Socks x 10
  • Underwear x 10
  • Jacket (not pictured) x 1
  • Hoody (not pictured) x 1
  • Sweater (not pictured) x 1
  • Sandals x 1
  • Bras (not pictured) x 3
  • Bikini (not pictured) x 1

Thoughts:

I overpacked. I have literally no idea why I thought it was a good idea to bring my pleather jacket, probably because I was starting in Ireland and needed something for the journey. The thing is a burden, takes so much space in my backpack, and I will literally never wear it because it’s a million degrees outside. In fact, I’m going to the post office today to see if I can send it back home – same for the sweater. The hoody is useful for when it rains or when it gets a bit chilly with the air con blasting all night.

I could have cut some space on dresses, but I LOVE dresses; they’re an entire outfit in one and require very little effort to look nice. Same deal for playsuits. I hate my feet, so I usually wear socks and converse – if you’re a sandal or a flip flop person, you could definitely get by with half the socks that I brought. Underwear was not something I was willing to negotiate on. I don’t want to be doing laundry every few days.

This is how it looked all packed up:

IMG_3655

 

Toiletries and Miscellaneous

IMG_3659

List:

  • Hairdryer x 1
  • Hand sanitizer x 1
  • Insect repellent x 1
  • Sun cream x 1
  • Dry shampoo x 2
  • Mini shampoo x 1
  • Mini shower gel x 1
  • Mini conditioner x 1
  • Deodorant x 1
  • Esse cigarettes x 6
  • Birth control x 6 packets
  • Tampons x 3
  • Microfibre Towel x 1 (not pictured)

Thoughts:

Apart from the fact that I should obviously give up smoking, there isn’t too much here that I don’t deem essential. A few people took the piss out of me for bringing a hairdryer, but I love it. It’s small and it makes such a difference not having my hair in a big frizzy mess, especially when the humidity is really bad.

The mini shampoos etc I brought because I knew that in my first few days I would just want hassle free showers, without having to go out and look for a convenience store to buy this kind of stuff. I wasn’t sure about the tampon situation in Central America, because when I lived in China there were basically none to be found. So I brought I supply just in case.

The real winner in this section is my micro fibre towel. It dries super quick and folds up neatly, so takes up virtually no space at all. I don’t know why I’ve been carrying around big fat cotton towels all my life like a sucker.

 

Make Up and Miscellaneous

IMG_3660

List

  • Mascara x 1
  • Liquid Eyeliner x 3
  • Pencil Eyeliner x 2
  • Eyebrow Gel x 1
  • Lipstick x 1
  • Lip Balm x 1
  • Hair Clip Pack x 1
  • Hair Bands x 5
  • Nail Varnish x 1
  • Disposable Razors x 4
  • Plasters and Antiseptic Cream
  • Hairbrush x 1
  • Battery Powered Mini Fan x 1
  • Earplugs x 5

Thoughts:

Christ. I guess I’m more of a girly girl than I thought. The amount of eyeliner is definitely excessive, one of each would have done fine. And two hairbands, maybe three, is more than enough. But neither of those things take up much space so…eh.

My mini fan is a fucking delight. I use it all the time, because my head gets hot really easily. The earplugs suck, I don’t even know why they’re a thing. I just plug in my ipod when people snore.

 

Daypack – Electronics

IMG_3663

List:

  • Laptop
  • Kindle
  • Passports x 2
  • Nintendo DS with games
  • Ipod
  • Iphone
  • Notepad
  • Paracetemol
  • Camera (not pictured)
  • External hardrive

Thoughts:

Again, all pretty essential things that I don’t think I could travel without. I keep them in my daypack so that it’s less weight on my back, and so I can easily access all of it. That said, the daypack isn’t the biggest of bags, and it can be a little awkward rummaging around for things when my big ol’ laptop is usually in the way. I think at some point I’ll buy a bigger shoulder bag, with more pockets and secret compartments to fit things in.

I also have two passports because I’m a dual national boss.

Conclusion:

Having a smaller backpack really nipped my temptation to overpack in the bud. 40 litres is small, but with an additional bag to fit all your electronics/laptop in, it’s actually more than enough. Packing cubes are also your friend; I honestly can’t believe it took me this long to discover them. My list is obviously very female oriented, and boys should be able to pack even lighter than this, given the absence of make-up, tampons, etc. Now that I’ve seen how much easier it is to pack this light, I’m never going back – but next time I travel, I’m definitely bringing a suitcase instead.

 

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By | 2016-06-01T07:19:10+00:00 June 1st, 2016|South America, Travel Tips|0 Comments

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