I am going to Colombia in January for 3 months and I could really use some help in planning.
Since now my trip is less than 90 days away, I want to begin making a packing list– especially of items I might need to purchase as I need to allow time for ordering and shipment. Overall, though, the purpose of my planning is to minimize the amount of stuff I take with me.
Thus far, I have been perusing the blogosphere for good packing lists. Here are some that I like:
I think these packing lists have given me some good ideas. I have already decided to pull the trigger and buy:
- 2 pair of the Ex Officio Boxer Briefs. These had rave reviews… If I can survive on only 2 pair of underwear, it reduces my luggage load by probably 5% and reduces my laundry needs, as I can simply wash these each time I shower. They dry within 3-4 hours.
- Kensington Laptop Lock. I have read that this is more of a deterrent than a fail-safe solution. If someone wants to damage your laptop, this will not stop them, and if someone has a cable cutter, they can flat-out steal your laptop. But, so many people have mentioned this lock that I went ahead and got it. How do you protect your laptop abroad? (See big question 1 below)
- Kiva Keychain Duffel. This duffel is the size of a key chain yet can be opened to carry all sorts of stuff. I really like the idea of having it because it is so flexible… I could use it as a dirty clothes bag, a souvenir bag, an extra carry on, or even an electronics bag. And, it was only $10 bucks.
I have heard from numerous travel writers that the mistake is always to bring too much. The idea is that if you forget something, you can always buy it or find a substitute.
I would like to travel by carry-on only if I can. So, this means I would have a small suitcase and a backpack to fit all my stuff in. It would be a minimalist experiment of sorts.
So, here are the big questions I have now (please respond below):
First, do I take my precious MacBook on the trip?…Or do I set up a go-to-my-pc account to access it instead? If I take it with me, how do I protect abroad, especially in a “hostel environment”? (Pun intended, hehe.) If I don’t take it with me, can I really access everything I need remotely? (BTW, I have an old cheap Dell laptop (about 5 years old) that I could take with me instead… but it is heavier, bulkier, and not my fave.)
Second, how do I pack and keep unwrinkled nice shirts and pants? By “nice” I mean shirts and pants you would wear to go to a nice restaurant, or possibly to an evening professional meeting. Are there any special shirts or pants that you simply cannot wrinkle? I have no desire to do any ironing on this trip.
Third, how many pairs and what kind of shoes should I take? Tim Ferris recommends sandals with detachable ankle straps. Other folks recommend one nice pair of shoes, one pair of sneakers, and one pair of flip-flops. The big concern for me is that shoes take up major space in a suitcase… What to do about this? (For reference, here are the kinds activities I will be doing: professional, hiking & outdoor, stylish & going out, indoor & around the house, beach/sand/water excursions, bus rides & travel.)
Finally, how do I guard my travel documents and money from thievery? In the US, I carry a wallet with me and simply keep the rest in a drawer at home because I feel like I live in a safe place. But if I am traveling from hostel to hostel, how do I keep them safe, while not dragging them around needlessly on excursions and nights out?
I could really use the wisdom of experience. Please leave a comment if you can help me out!