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Packing for 5 Months For Central & South America

Perks of Packing : simplifying your closet down to basic (yet still fashionable) pieces 

Since moving out of my downtown condo to my parents place for the week prior to take-off, I didn’t realize how much stuff I have accumulated. I did an initial clothing sweep before I moved, but once I started to pack, I decided this was a perfect time for a total closet cleanse. Anything I haven’t worn over the last few months was donated and then I was left with a basic wardrobe to sort through for my trip. 

For my 5 month trip starting in Costa Rica and moving through Panama, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia, it posed a packing challenge because there are so many climates and terrains to account for. What I decided to do was to keep it simple with basics that cover cooler and warmer temperatures and if I needed to supplement along the way I will pick up those pieces as I go. 

Starting out, I am using a Gregory Amber 60L backpack. I picked it up at Mountain Equipment Co-Op and the sales assistant explained this was a great option as they have bags to fit every height for females! My short frame (only 5’2″) has handled other unisex bags in the past, but this was a great investment because the weight is evenly distributed over my core. It’s also a great blue colour – what more could I want!


Packing cubes – I decided to invest in a set of Bagail packing cubes that allow me to organize my clothing in my backpack. My Type A personality loves this travel accessory! I didn’t have enough space in my backpack to use all 4, but I used the largest three they sent and I used the laundry bag to roll up my doughnut towel and microfiber towel in the bottom on the bag (pictured above)

Large Packing Cube  – bottoms + long dresses

  • 2 jean shorts
  • 1 active pair of Lululemon shorts
  • 1 dressy pair of shorts
  • 2 active capris
  • 1 long pair of gap active leggings
  • 1 long dress 
  • Uniqlo ultra light down jacket

Medium Packing Cube -shirts/dresses/rash guards 

  • 3 tees
  • 3 long sleeve quick dry 
  • 2 collared shirts 
  • 2 dressy tanks
  • 1 summer cotton dress
  • 1 little black dress
  • 3 cotton shirts
  • 2 rash guards 

Small Packing Cube: 


  • 3 bathing suits
  • 5 pairs of socks
  • 15 pairs of underwear 



  • Flip flops
  • Nice sandals
  • Sneakers x 2



  • Toothbrush/toothpaste
  • Face cleanser
  • Cotton swabs
  • Bobby pins
  • Sunscreen
  • Mosquito repellent 
  • Mascara and eyeliner 
  • Body creme 
  • Small shampoo and conditioner 
  • Comb 
  • Neti pot – this saves me from any sinus related issues ! 
  • Advil + Tylenol
  • Allergy pills
  • Electrolytes 

Accessories (all packed in my carry on) 


  • iPhone
  • iPad
  • Notepad
  • Action camera + extender
  • Charge cords
  • Medical documentation
  • Passport
  • Pencil Crayons
  • Headphones
  • Three protein bars 


It’s really important when travelling to new places to check with your government health website to see the additional vaccinations and medications needed. Before my trip, I got yellow fever, typhoid, and hep A shots. My arm hurt for two days but it was worth it!I was also given a prescription for malaria pills and some strong antibiotics just in case.

It was a miracle to get all of this into my bag but it did all fit in the end. The most important thing for me is to have my key pieces when I’m away from home for so long. 

I take off on Sunday! 


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