Climate and time period: Arrive in their summer; leave in their Fall. 5 ½ months total.
Locations: Leave in U.S. winter; Buenos Aires in summer and fall, Patagonia summer (still winter-chilly and windy!), Mendoza in summer, Rosario in very hot, humid summer to fall, Salta and north in fall.
Why: I returned to Argentina February – June 2016, in order to experience more of the country, touring in different parts of the country including far south and north, as well as several months’ stay in an apartment in Rosario. My goals were to immerse in the language and culture as well as to live as a “temporary local” as travel guru Rick Steves puts it.
Number of flights, accommodations: My trip was to involve numerous domestic flights with different baggage policies from the international flights and hotel stays. I would stay in AirB&Bs in Mendoza, Salta, including a 4 month long stay at my own apartment (un “departmento”) in Rosario.. I knew I wanted to travel light. I practiced packing several times.
Important things to know:
baggage sizes permitted on multiple airlines
baggage policies anticipated and actual
Tips: gauge packing according to the most restrictive numbers, sizes, weights allowed.
how you pack might be more important than what you pack
Colors and weights for different weather
Mostly blacks, whites, some color (I chose purples and reds) so I wouldn’t get sick of my clothes.
Patagonia – wind and cold even in summer 30’s to 50’s F. Wind chill unknown
Must-haves: wind breaker jacket, hat, neck warmer, gloves. I bought a lightweight REI down jacket. I brought a waterproof windbreaker and a lightweight running vest that could be a first layer, with the other two on top if I needed to layer all.
Rosario – hot and humid summer to fall. For me, must-haves were skirts and dresses for a number of reasons. For one thing, they are cooler and you can add leggings or tights to cross over into cooler weather. I tried on all my potential outfits and surprisingly ended up with 3 different black skirts (you would think I could limit to one!), plus a patterned skirt. All are very light weight.
2 Pants – 1 pair black “Wearever” JJill super comfy pants great for plane trips and good for the 3 cooler seasons, 1 pair of gray Prana quick-dry travel capris.
SHOES – I am bringing 5 pair! Theoretically I would have liked to have only two pairs of shoes but that is just not possible for me. I have short, fat feet and have had neuromas & plantar fascitis – I have to have a number of shoes to alternate. I run and walk and have to have my running shoes. Running shoes had to used for walking and hiking, even though that shortens their life.
Keen water shoes – can be worn with or without socks so good for different weather and for walking long distances. Downside: I don’t like to stand out as an outsider, because it makes you more of a potential target for crime. Boy did people stare at my feet! In Latin America people are much more into nice shoes than in the U.S. Heels and athletic shoes are common. And Crocs! Who knew? If I had worn those, no one would have blinked.
One pair of sandals with Velcro straps, Clarks, beige.
One pair of closed shoes – Clarks, brown.
One pair Chaco flip-flops (they have some support and are sturdy), to mainly be worn as slippers with and without toe socks, for all seasons, and also for going swimming.
I thought about boots but was glad I left them out.
I bought some really nice facial cleanser and had to buy quantity – now I am going to want to haul it back – this totally violates my original strategy
Yikes I should have brought enough deodorant to not have to buy any. All they sell is antiperspirant with aluminium in it. I finally had to buy some.
Keens – next time, no.
1 more T shirt?
I like to write myself a note for my next trip, usually when I’m standing in the airport regretting the heavy load I am dragging in the security line. I told myself only 1 T shirt/running shirt was necessary. Surely I would buy a souvenir T shirt at some point? But how long will it take to acquire that? (They are not cheap. I didn’t find any I wanted until the end of the trip.)
Gifts to bring, gifts to take home
How you pack
Planning and practicing
Use sample size toiletries and buy when you get there strategy
Limit colors to mix and match – e.g., black & white with accent color variations – e.g., red or bright blue, purple, patterned, scarves
How will you manage packing new things you buy?
Don’t bring a lot of expensive stuff – used is great, plan to give away some pieces before you come home, wear any valuable items on the plane or put in carry on & don’t let go!
Weigh the pros and cons of travel insurance – not just flights thru the airlines, but including health ins
I took 2 cellphones, iPad, keyboard for iPad, an external hard drive, small Soundmine speaker
Know your technology before you go
It still took me a few months to get the Soundmine working. I never was able to get the external storage device to back up my photos. Still can’t figure out how to manage photos from Android vs. the auto sharing among apple devices but I did not want to take an iPhone out on the street. Camera photos – my iPad storage got filled up so quickly that last time I plugged my camera chip adapter directly into my iPhone and it uploaded immediately to the cloud. Eventually they will upload to the cloud, to be able to see them on the iPad.
2 conversion plugs – take only the ones you will (or may) need, not all.
What to wear on the plane
I hang things off my body – fanny pack, money belt, wrist pocket, neck passport holder.
I sometimes look like a nut case – but really, most isn’t visible
Security on the street – street crime happens.
Bring a purse you don’t like, if you can. I always wore my keys around my neck, under my shirt. Bring a lanyard of some kind. Purses are grabbed and I would be doing a lot of walking. Worst anecdote from the friend of a victim: a woman wore her purse across her body but once the thief decided to take her purse that didn’t stop him – the purse was yanked off her and she fell backwards onto the sidewalk.