Saturday, July 20, 2013

How Do You Pack For An Adventure?

My backpack.
My home away from home.
It has everything I need to live in another country.
My backpack in the Amazon, Coca, Ecuador.
This backpack is perfect for a three week - up to a month or so adventure. I have another one that's a whole lot bigger. It's somewhere hidden in my garage - haven't used it since 2009 so not exactly sure how many liters it is but definitely worthy of a year or so adventure.
The questions I always get when anyone sees my backpack are: How do you pack? What do you pack in there? How in the world do you fit everything in it? It's so small!
By only using a backpack, I feel more prepared, extremely organized, and left being able to travel and see more without having to worry about my belongings.
I find the smaller the bag, the better I pack. There's nothing worse than packing items that you won't even touch on your adventure!
I thought I'd put a list up of the items I take on my travels. My trips have so far been 3 weeks so this list is good for short-term trips. I see, hopefully, longer trips in my near future! And in that case, I'll have to change the list when that happens!
Here's my go to travel essentials:
My Backpack
Travel Plug Converter - I use an all-in-one so I don't lose the pieces!
Camera and Two Memory Cards
Apple iTouch iPod
Camera and iPod chargers
An Inflatable Neck Pillow for the plane
Small Fleece Blanket - For the plane, bus, and hostel; To stay warm when it's cold.
Money Belt - Which I definitely prefer over a 'neck belt'.
Money and a Good Credit Card - In case of emergencies; Always inform your credit card agency of your travel plans. It would hurt if you needed to use it and they don't authorize the transaction!
2-4 Locks With Keys - I prefer hostels for my low budget so this is a must to keep your items together.
Toothbrush, Travel Size Tooth Paste and Mouthwash, and Floss
Travel Size Shampoo, Conditioner, and Leave-in Cream - Because I have crazy curls that tangle easily! I buy the bottles in the $1 section at Target so I can fill them with my own liquids.
Hair brush, ties, pins, clip, and straightener
Make up - loose powder, Mascara, Chap stick (can't live without!), and Lip gloss
Make up remover wipes- Amount needed is based on how many days are in your trip. I use one per day, with a few extra left just in case.
Travel size Sun Screen and Aloe Vera
Travel size Body Lotion- Any brand you prefer
Dry Soap- The person who created this = Genius!
Travel size Deodorant
A pair of Flip Flops
A pair of regular Shoes - TOMS are my go-to travel shoes
My Running Shoes - Because I know I'll be hiking or climbing up something!
Two undergarments and One sports bra
Enough Underwear to last the trip or enough to get you until your next washer and dryer (or washer and clothes line)
As for clothes-
I like to pick shirts that I can wear alone and mix & match them with others. It goes a long way!- About 6-9 shirts. I also stay away from shirts that stand out. I try to look as normal as I can and blend in with the locals. My good friend taught me the military-style way of folding clothes from her brother to help make room when packing. I haven't folded clothes any other way when I travel!
1-2 pairs of shorts
1 dress or long skirt
1-2 pairs of jeans
1-2 pairs of leggings
1 long sleeve shirt - Only when traveling during the cooler months or staying in a rainforest/jungle area
1 jacket - Only when I know for sure there will be cool weather and/or staying in a rainforest/jungle. Or I end up just buying one when I get to my destination.
5-7 pairs of socks - I do a lot of exploring where I need my running shoes!
1-2 Travel size Laundry Detergent
Items for your time of the month 
1-2 Heating pads - This item is HIGHLY loved and appreciated. TMI but needed information for us females!
Naproxen Prescription - For the pain.
Lactose Pills - I drank way too much of this good stuff: 'te con leche' in Argentina back in 2009 and when I came back, I no longer had the tolerance for milk. Now, in 2013, I've been working at it and slowly I'm able to have my beloved milk products. I bring the pills just in case.
Pepto Bismal and/or Immodium - Because it'll be a miracle if you go a whole trip without having stomach problems!
Band-Aids and Neosporin
Water Bottle Holder - Found it in the Galapagos and I absolutely love it! Helpful when hiking up volcanoes or wandering around the jungle! My hands are free!
Bug Bite Cream
DEET - For Mosquito zones. I have one 25% DEET spray and one 100% DEET spray.
Mini Alarm Clock
Pens and a Journal
Travel size Snacks - I prefer mixed nuts in individual bags. Great for the airplane, bus rides, and days when you aren't able to get any local treats.
Small Word Search Book and a Small Sudoku book
Deck of Cards
A Good Book - Lately, I've been thinking about taking this off the list! I find I like to keep busy and never really have the time to read. (I'm like the Energizer Bunny!:)
*To note:
I never have a set itinerary but I do email a few friends and family the dates I plan on being gone and either where I'll be or what country I'll be staying in so someone does know my whereabouts.
*Some of the vaccines I have gotten for my trips:
Hepatitis A
Yellow Fever
Updated on Polio and Tdap
Have received and used Mefloquine - (Malaria prescription) Which I didn't like and don't plan on ever using again.
This list appears long but everything is small enough so that it does all fit in the backpack with some room left over. This is a list more for a budget traveler and for short-term travel (about a month). If this is not your style of travel, you can get away with not using all these items and just purchase what you need; clothes and such, as you go from one place to the next. For me, I like to have everything already that way I can put my budget towards hostels, food, and adventures. Of course long-term travel means packing your bag (or bags) differently. 
Did you see something new on this list? Didn't see your favorite go-to item? Please let me know! I'd love to learn about new things.
What do you bring on your travels and how do you pack?