The idea of a trip is always exciting. New places, new people, new vistas, new language. But where to start?
Pick a country. Easy. Cities? uhhhh
- Trip Advisor. Great for searching the most basic questions like the most popular cities in each country, they’ll give you the top 7. it’s a good place to start. After you have an idea of the cities you wanna explore, move onto lonely planet.
- Lonely Planet – my first advice, don’t buy the books in the store. very pricey, they’re a lot cheaper online. Amazon and Chapters have the same online price since they compete with each other. Lonely planet is great for when you know where to go, they’ll give you activities, restaurants, hostel. you name it. Next, book your hostels
- Hostel World – since we were traveling in high season, booking our hostels ahead of time was recommended. Rates each hostel by factors such as location, atmosphere, cleanliness, etc.
- Transportation – fun fact, can’t book busses ahead of times. this was stressful. We learnt later that some hostel could book them for you, i highly recommend you inquire about this.
After all that was researched, we ended up wanting to visit Patagonia, the capitol of both Argentina and Chile and then the Lakes District which looks like the following:
Now the next step that everyone hates… packing. Since we were going to be in both summer and winter, this made it pretty tricky to pack lightly.
My packing list included:
- Bag: Black Diamond Women’s 65L and then a North Face 27L day pack
- Clothes: Rain coat and a fleece and puff that could fit under it. I found LuluLemon clothes were great for hiking and the city, they have tops made with silverescent (doesn’t smell) and they were super handy and lived up to their name. The only downside is they need special washing care and you can’t ask for that when traveling. One thing was really helpful for packing clothes are the packing/compression cubes from Eagle Creek. Extremely handy for packing quickly and efficiently
- Shoes: Hikers, sandals/shower shoes, and a casual shoe. I brought toms to Peru and found them useless and slippery. Didn’t wanna pack running shoes cause that means wearing socks. Bought a pair of Skechers Go Walk and they are amazing. great traction, light and sooo comfortable. don’t even need to break them in. downside: they look like mom shoes.
- Medication: i always over prepare, i’m like a walking pharmacy. Things that i could always carry with me and i encourage you too as well – Gravol, Immodium, Motrin, Reactine. And then i always pack cold and flu medicine. you never know.
- Misc: Sunscreen (so much sunscreen), Aloe Vera, hand sanitizer, tide to go pen, Kleenex, Lonely Planet books, blank journal. Also scan your passport and leave a copy in the bottom of your big bag.
- Hiking Gear: hiking poles (never tried them before but my right knee sometimes gives me problems, worth a try) and a camelbak bladder 3L – Saved my life.
- Electronics: Nikon D90 with a Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 lens. GoPro Hero 3+. iPhone 5. Didn’t bring a computer, really didn’t need one and all hostels provide Wifi.