So it takes you a month and a half to backpack in South America. Without a doubt, these will be good times. You’ll experience Iguazu, Machu Picchu and a small Chilean surf village with new friends and delicious local projects.
Now the question is what to bring and how to bring it.
Many blogs offer lists of what to do and what not to pack. I won’t tell you what to bring, as much as the best way to bring it.
But don’t worry. It’s a journey. There is no wrong decision. One thing can be a little heavier or less comfortable than the other. But you are there to see the world and make friends. And you will do it no matter how you pack up.
1. Don’t bring half of it. Bring a quarter
You’ve probably read the travel tips that tell you that you should break down everything you’re going to bring and then halfway through what you’re going to bring.
This is a good start, but you have to do it twice. Seriously speaking, you just don’t need the vast majority of the things you plan to bring. If you’re not going to the farthest corner of the Brazilian Amazon, there’s a good chance that people are already there. And guess what? They wash their hair, feed and dress, and live in order with what they have there. And you can. And probably much cheaper than you would buy it at home.
My final destination is to travel for months with an empty parcel.
2. Rent or Buy Adventure Equipment. Don’t pin
Whether you’re wandering around Machu Picchu, surfing Brazil or on a snow-covered peak, you don’t want to wear a bunch of adventure-specific equipment for six weeks to accommodate four days of activity.
My friends spent five days hiking in the Torres Del Piane National Park in Patagonia, Chile, in deep snow and in the snowy winds. It’s a huge wilderness with weather that can kill you. And they didn’t bring a single thing.
They spent six months in South America and for five months did not have to carry in Torres Del Piane everything they needed for a week. And you shouldn’t.
Everything they needed – and probably everything you’ll need – can be found where you’re going. Even the most unclear adventure sites had already been visited before, and the cottage industry with second-hand clothes and equipment jumped outfit visitors. The best part is that you can sell it back afterwards.
In fact, you can only pack board shorts and conquer the glacier.
3. Plan part of your trip in advance
Another thing that can really reduce the burden is strategic travel planning.
If you are an experienced surfer, musician or just someone who loves their personal belongings, you can carry them with you. Just don’t wear it all the way through the journey.
Planning a trip allows you to send to the hostel where you will be staying the items you need in each part of the trip. Hostels will gladly accept your belongings by post in exchange for a guaranteed reservation.
Meet your teammates for a week in Buenos Aires? Don’t wear bongos all over the continent. Plan and ship.
4. A group of similar activities and climates together
Monthly and adventurous expeditions often exceed various climates with large fluctuations in temperature, altitude and rain. Collect as many similar climate actions as possible together and then send home what you no longer need.
The same applies to business. You will need shoes for the Amazonka and the Inca Trail, but not for La Paz or Rio. So take the hikes out of the road, send your shoes home, and then hit the beach.
5. Choose carefully what you are doing
Travelling is about getting to know the world and making friends. And you can do it almost naked. So you don’t need to buy a lot of fancy travel equipment.
But – especially for shorter trips – you don’t want to waste half a day trying to find a needle and thread to repair a bag or tablets to soothe your stomach. So bringing some key items can save you time and make your life easier.
What you decide is critical to raise, it is up to you. But I will say that all this should be ultra-light, fast dry and designed to travel. Items such as fast-drying travel towels or a folding brush and mirror for travelers can really relieve your load. So take the time to think about what you really need – whether it’s a solar charger or earplugs – and then buy the best and lightest item for the job.