I like to create a massive list of everything I need to pack before I head off travelling, however I couldn’t find a huge amount of resources on what I should be packing for South America, therefore I thought I would try and list everything I could think of.

We have a tendency to overpack therefore remember quite often more is less, however you also need to ensure you pack the fundamentals. Remember it is also worth washing some of your clothes in sinks and then hanging them up, before venturing off into town.

  • T-shirts – Don’t pack your best t-shirts as there is a high chance you will lose it along the way. Also remember there will be times when you will be sweaty, so try to think what colours show the sweat the least. I found grey tops to be a disaster with sweaty armpits. I would normally pack about a week’s worth of clothes as this gives you enough time to wash them, dry them and have them ready to wear while the others are on their related cycle.
  • Shorts/skirts – You will need a couple of these as you might decide to go two days running and one might be dirty, or alternatively you might be wearing one for a swim suit, then want to change out of it to wear a different pair of shorts casually. These will be incredibly useful with the high temperatures, however the mosquitoes will target your legs and ankles.
  • Swimwear – if you’re a guy, the shorts can be combined with swimming gear
  • Thermal underwear is an optional one – I didn’t buy any but some swore by them when taking overnight bus journeys
  • Waterproof coat – the rain can pour in these areas
  • Scarf and gloves – it might sound odd, but once again this is what people wore on the overnight buses as the temperature dropped dramatically
  • Socks/underpants – a weeks worth should do you fine, however honestly I would bring some extra socks so you can hide some backup money in them. Also, if you find you do have any extra space, try and sneak some extra underwear into that spot. If you have to throw it away to make room then it isn’t a big cost, yet you will be forever grateful to yourself if you pack extra and there aren’t any washing machines for miles.
  • Two pairs of jeans – these don’t have to be jeans, but should be two strong pairs of trousers. I wouldn’t recommend tracksuits/sweats as these can take longer to dry and are also seen negatively in some restaurants or buildings. You will need something which is fine for hiking and then clubbing the following evening, so think in both respects.
  • Walking shoes – let’s just face it, leave fashion behind because your feet will hate you for it. I chatted to a travel blogger who brought out 7 pairs of shoes and threw away 4 pairs because of the room they took up in her bag.
  • Flip flops – who wants to wear trainers on the beach
  • Hiking boots – only if you plan on going hiking
  • diarrhoea tablets – better safe than sorry
  • wind up torch – this is one I have packed however I will let you know soon whether it came in use or not
  • A towel – this is an odd one as you might not use it for a whole month as most hostels provide one, however out of no-where you might desperately need one, therefore better to have than not.
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Mosquito bite cure – these can come under a number of different names, however they will help your bites recover quicker and remove the irritating feeling.
  • Toothpaste and toothbrush – also floss if you’re good to your teeth. Forget about electric toothbrushes, go back to the old school ones
  • deodorant and eau de toilette/perfume
  • hair gel
  • tweezers / nail clippers
  • imodium, useful when you have the runs
  • painkillers – they might come in use when you need a full day but you’re suffering with a hangover
  • Malaria tablets – the once a week ones are pretty good as you don’t have to constantly remind yourself
  • a padlock – you have to pay a hefty amount if you want one of these in the hostel, while this will keep your possessions safe in the safes provided in each hostel.
  • Plug adaptors, get the world universal ones to ensure they work.
  • Laptop, everyone who didn’t bring one stared on jealously at my laptop in hand, as they all gathered around one old computer from the 90’s and got ten minutes each. It was the best decision ever to bring my own laptop, allowing me to book tickets online as well as keep up with my blog.
  • paper and pens – never know what you might want to jot down.
  • maps and guides of the areas/countries you will be visiting, normally Lonely planet ones do perfectly for me.
  • books to read – you will have a good few long bus journeys so it is good to have something to keep you occupied
  • pack of cards – good for keeping yourself occupied, but can also be used for drinking games.
  • water purifying tablets
  • a warm fleece
  • hat / gloves / scarf
  • pack some dollars as some back up currency, will be really useful if you are visiting Argentina or Ecuador.


As with any list, these could be further extended, while I’m sure there are a number of items I haven’t listed which females obviously need, however I hope this has come in use to you. Do email me if you can think of anything else you feel should be included.

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