After quite the ordeal to find the “perfect” bag, we finally resolved that these Osprey bags were almost exactly what
we I wanted (let’s be real…I did all the researching and second guessing on bags here). While the intention was not to match or anything, these turned out to be the best travel-friendly carry on backpacks for us. They are carry on sized, can open all the way up for easier packing and have a good amount of support through the straps for walking around all day.
What to Pack:
- Snacks – SO many snacks. With a long list of food allergies/sensitivities/whatever you want to call it, I don’t exactly know what I will be eating when outside of my home. So, Lara Bars, Think Thin, Trader Joe’s Fruit Bars, trail mix, KIND, Luna Bars and so many others become trusty companions rather quickly. But even without food challenges like mine, it’s always a good idea to pack plenty to eat on the go.
- Important documents (duh) – For this trip, it’s a passport, plane ticket, immunization records and the receipt of the reciprocity fee (saying we paid the money required to enter the country).
- Printed itinerary – this one doesn’t always make the list for people, but I think it should. We have a mix of planned and unplanned days ahead, but it’s nice to have it all in one place. Ours includes all the information (and directions) to each of the places we are staying (we’re staying in six different hotels/hostels in our time there!) as well as information on a few things we’d like to see or do. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but it helps put it all in once place.
- Phrasebook – yes, they still make these. Lonely Planet has an excellent line of phrasebooks that are ideal for travel.
- Notebook (Noticing an old school theme here yet? things like paper and books) As much as we love technology, they can at times be less reliable, plus they can become a liability. Who might want to steal my computer? On the flip side, who would be interested in grabbing my tiny notebook? This is for random notes and thoughts along the way.
- Camera – I already gave you the full run-down on this one.
- Clothes, shoes, toiletries. You know, the things that you pack no matter where you go. Nothing groundbreaking really other than the fact that we are fitting it all into one backpack each. Packing layers is key. So is rolling your clothes and supposedly, packing cubes are all the rage these days. We’ll try out a few packing cubes, but don’t think you can’t pack light without one.
- Clever Travel Companion Shirts – We’ve tried the money belts before and think they are okay. This is the first time we are trying the shirt/tank with a pocket built-in, and I feel pretty good about it.
- Small bags – I’m sure you’re thinking, we get it, you’re only bringing backpacks. But we aren’t going to want to have our full backpacks with us while hiking through the jungle or climbing a mountain (are we doing those things? time will tell). Therefore, we’ll each be bringing smaller bags as well to take around during the day. I’ll be using my Keen purse I bought a few years back and the hubby will be bringing a tiny backpack that folds up super small. Both have great pockets with zippers – what I consider to be an absolute must for a day bag.
What We Didn’t Pack:
- Large suitcase – I promise I didn’t do this just to be difficult. I’ve packed large suitcases in the past (like when I studied abroad for an entire semester) and it can serve a purpose. But it can also get in the way. With the amount of moving around we’ll be doing, it seemed best to keep things simple.
- Current cell phone – meaning, don’t try to get a hold of me while we’re gone. We are bringing old phones for the purpose of wi-fi when it is available, but otherwise there didn’t seem to be a need to bring our actual phones, especially considering how common pickpocketing is.
- Engagement ring – GASP. Don’t worry. I’m still married. Also, still wearing my wedding ring. My rings are antiques and not exactly the kind of thing you can replace. I never got my rings soldered together, so sometimes it’s nice to leave the engagement ring home in a safe place.
- Computer – I am not going to Argentina to blog or send emails, believe it or not. When you only have one (small) bag, you are also forced to prioritize, and a computer did not make the cut. We’ll have access to computers in some of the places we’re staying if absolutely needed, but it’ll be good to take a break. I’m sorta looking forward to that kind of freedom from technology.
For more info about travel bags specifically, I wrote an entire post dedicated just to travel backpacks, luggage, and daypacks. I’d say that’s a great place to start, and it makes a huge impact on your overall packing strategy!
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