My packing list: South America

A full rundown of everything I’ll be packing and taking with me to South America for the next four months, including clothes, toiletries, tech & gadgets and other essentials.

Tomorrow is the big day. I’m taking an early morning flight from London Heathrow with a big traveller’s backpack, a day rucksack and a small personal bag to last me for four months in South America. I say four months as my plans for the ski season are waiting to be confirmed. I still have my heart set on Canada but I’m not sure what form I’ll be going there in. Stay tuned for updates on that front…

So with just over 12 hours left to go before my first flight (to Portugal and then onto Caracas, and then Puerto Ordaz) I am finally packed! It has taken me a long time to collect together every last item to include in my bag – and I’ve probably spent a lot more money than I intended on items to go into the bag, and the bag itself. But I’m happy that I finally have everything I want and it all fits, just about.

As promised, here’s a full list of everything going into my bag (I was planning to do a video instead but ran out of time…):

9 short sleeve tops/t-shirts
2 long sleeve tops
1 long skirt
2 cotton dresses
3 pairs of leggings (2x sporty, 1x cotton)
1 pair of jeans
1 pair of cotton flowery trousers
1 demin jacket
1 thick cardigan
1 hockey sweatshirt
8 pairs of socks (4x walking, 4x sports)
2 swimsuits (1x bikini, 1x swimming costume)
Underwear (pants, bras, sports bras)
1 fold-up waterproof

Flip flops
Walking boots

1 scarf
1 belt
1 pair of gloves
1 Nike cap
Personal bag (small over the shoulder bag with lots of pockets)

Shampoo & conditioner
Face wash
Toothbrush & toothpaste
Hairbrush & hair bands
Suncream & aftersun
Insect repellent
Face wipes
Make up (probably too much of it…)
Tampons (apparently hard to find while travelling)
Universal sink plug & travel wash
2 travel towels (little and large)

Tech & gadgets
iPad & keyboard (which I’m practising on now)
Portable battery pack
2 torches

Other essentials 
Travel money
Purse & bank cards
Packing bags (to separate all my belongs in my bag and keep them protected)
Travel folder with all my important documents printed, scanned and photocopied
Books and travel guide
More tissues
Inflatable neck cushion
Eye mask & ear plugs
Cable ties & duct tape

And that’s just about everything I think… It’s not the most exciting list – I’d love to carry around a bag full of Haribo (it would be a lot lighter too) but it’s hopefully everything I’ll need in South America. And if not, I’ll either throw it out or pick it up along the way!

That’s it for now – next post will be more exciting, I promise! It will come from Venezuela!

First stop: Venezuela

First stop on my travels is going to be Venezuela. This is a country with amazing natural beauty and often gets overlooked by travellers.

When I tell most people that my first stop on my travels is going to be Venezuela, their reaction is often quite negative. Don’t you know it’s really dangerous? Have you really thought about this? On your own? I don’t think it’s a good idea.

But I’m really excited about going to this beautiful country. I’d be ignorant to say it isn’t dangerous in parts but that shouldn’t stop people going to places and doing things they want to do. If you take precautions and are sensible then you shouldn’t let the fear of what could happen stop you.

I’ve done a lot of research on travelling in Venezuela. It appears that the safest way to visit as a solo traveller is to book group trips through a travel agency. Initially there were four sights I was interested in visiting: Los Roques (amazing islands off the north coast), Angel Falls or Salto Angel (the world’s tallest waterfall), Roraima (a breathtaking table top mountain) and the lightning show at Catatumbo (a natural phenomenon unique to Venezuela). After more research and first enquiries with travel companies, I realised it wasn’t going to be feasible to visit them all in the two weeks I have set aside for Venezuela. As the destinations were reasonably far apart, I made the decision to just see Angel Falls (pictured above from Google) and Roraima.

From here I had lengthy email conversations with a few travel companies, trying to figure out logistics and compare costs. This was quite complicated and the time difference was slowing me down but I’ve finally decided on the expeditions and the company I want to go with.

Osprey Expeditions, is run by local Venezuelan travellers and does lots of different trips across the country and continent. I’m going to be visiting Angel Falls first for three days and then trekking for six days to the top of Roraima and back down. On one of the days I’ll be trekking for at least eight hours, which is slightly worrying but if I can run a marathon, surely I can mange this, right? I’ve invested in some hiking boots which I’m hoping will make the journey a bit easier.

In the next post I’ll give you a full rundown of what’s going into my four month traveller backpack (also a new purchase!)