What I’m packing for 2.5 months in South America

Awhile back I wrote a post on how to pack like a minimalist. This time, I’m sharing with you the specific things I’m bringing on an extended trip to South America.

My boyfriend and I are heading out from the USA to Chile, Argentina, and Uruguay, for a 10 week adventure. We’re staying in Air Bnbs and hostels, mostly in large coastal towns, with one inland city thrown in half way through.

I plan on spending the majority of my time on the beach, but anticipate lots and lots of walking around the city and some hiking outside the city. We are going in summer so the temperatures will be in the 70s-90s during our stay. We will have access to laundry at some of our apartments. We are each checking one large hiking pack on the flights, and each bringing a daypack as our carry-ons.

Here’s what I’m bringing for 70 days:


  • dresses x4
  • short-sleeve tops x6 + long-sleeve top
  • sweatshirt
  • shorts
  • workout shorts + yoga leggings + workout top + sports bra
  • lightweight nightgown + bra + pasties
  • underwear x 20
  • socks x9
  • sunhat + swimsuits x3 + beach towel
  • scarf (functions as headwrap for dreads + beach sarong)
  • baseball cap
  • sneakers + sandals

  • Dailies contact lenses (30 pairs… monthlies would be better if I had any!)
  • sunscreen (spf 50 sport + oil-free x2 for my face — and I’m sure we’ll buy more there)


  • makeup bag (2 shades lipstain, under-eye concealer, eyelash curler, mascara, mineral foundation ( + small one in darker shade to mix in as I get more tan), mineral blush, foundation brush, blush brush, tweezers, nail file)



  • shampoo
  • face wash x2
  • St. Ives exfoliating scrub
  • razor
  • natural deodorant + himalayan salt deodorant bar (both being natural, neither is perfect so I often wear both at the same time)
  • toothbrush + toothpaste + floss
  • bar of soap
  • mineral bath (bit unnecessary but we might want to indulge after the long flights 😉 )
  • bandaids (waterproof and regular)
  • cell phone + charger
  • laptop + charger + case
  • headphones + headphone splitter
  • Spotify playlists + podcasts/audio books downloaded
  • outlet adapters
  • passport + driver’s license (and photocopies)
  • saved pdfs of hotel/flight confirmations (accessible without wifi)
  • saved Google maps (accessible without wifi)
  • credit card + debit card + cash
Odds and Ends

  • herbal tea (Air Bnb’s often only have caffeinated teas stocked)
  • cbd oil
  • melatonin
  • Dramamine
  • toilet paper
  • handkerchiefs x2
  • sunglasses + case ( + Rx sunglasses + case)
  • crossbody handbag + daypack

And that’s it!

Update: If anyone’s curious, when I checked the hiking bag at the airport check-in, it weighed 17-20 lbs (differed a bit from airport to airport). Not bad! That was with everything listed above inside, minus the daypack which I had taken out to be my carry on, and inside the daypack I had my electronics, crossbody handbag, handkerchiefs, and some snacks we bought for the flight. The daypack weighed 6.5lbs.

Did I forget anything? Let me know if I missed one of your must-haves in the comments!

Decluttering my life has brought me peace of mind and relief from the world around me. There’s nothing like walking into the space you created and knowing you have nothing more than what you need. I write articles to help others create that same feeling for themselves.

I wore the same pants for 3 months and no one noticed

As you may know from some of my other posts, I work as a barista in a coffee shop. For as long as I’ve worked there (about two years now), I’ve kept a separate wardrobe just for barista days. This is because the clothes I wear there always end up 1. smelling like coffee, and 2. getting espresso, chocolate powder, or milk splattered on them (I’m not clumsy, I swear).

I have the perfect pair of pants for this job. They are comfy, strechy skinny jeans, and they are a mix of dark purple and black, in an almost watercolor design. I’m telling you, I can get all the espresso on them I want and you can hardly tell.

I used to also wear another pair or two of pants, usually black or brown skinny jeans, but because of their solid color, stains were still pretty noticeable.

So when it came time to do another quarterly wardrobe clearout, I asked myself if I really needed more than one pair of pants for my then once-a-week barista job. And the answer was no.

A few months ago though, I picked up two additional shifts there, so now I work and wear the same purple-black pants three days a week.

And so far, no one has noticed.

Now, I’ve wondered if maybe it’s just that I stand behind the counter a lot, so most people don’t even see my pants. But, the thing about being a barista is that you’re watched a lot. People are interested in how their drink is made, and I catch people watching me quite often. They see me steam the milk and ring them up while my lower half is hidden behind the counter; but they also watch me walk to the fridge to get a new jug of milk, or walk across the room to refill the cream and sugar. They see me try and carry one-too-many stacks of cups up from the storage room.

And I know people have seen these pants because I have gotten a number of comments on their unique color pattern.

Now you’d think that one of our regular customers would have noticed my “uniform” by now and said something. Especially because I do get comments on my appearance a lot. People ask how long it took me to get my hair into dreads. They comment on my “never-ending collection of cool tshirts” (which is also hilarious because I literally wear the same 4 shirts over and over. And if it’s cold, I wear the same green hoodie overtop — open, so you can see my tshirt underneath — and sometimes the same scarf.)

When I got the “never-ending collection of cool tshirts” comment, I actually said to him, “Really? Cause I feel like I have like three and just wear them over and over again!” To which he said, “Oh! I guess I never noticed!”

I couldn’t believe it.

But it just goes to show that people don’t noticed things nearly as much as we think they will. And, when they do notice something about you, it’s usually something positive.

What items in your wardrobe can you declutter? What are you hanging on to out of some idea that we need to “mix things up” or “keep things interesting” for other people? If you knew they wouldn’t notice, is there a favorite outfit you would wear more often? Why not every day?

Decluttering my life has brought me peace of mind and relief from the world around me. There’s nothing like walking into the space you created and knowing you have nothing more than what you need. I write articles to help others create that same feeling for themselves.

Live simply. Feel better.

Bringing you a short quote today that I read in Essentialism:

“If one’s life is simple, contentment has to come. Simplicity is extremely important for happiness.” —Dalai Lama (tweet that)

Decluttering my life has brought me peace of mind and relief from the world around me. There’s nothing like walking into the space you created and knowing you have nothing more than what you need. I write articles to help others create that same feeling for themselves.

How to pack like a minimalist

Any time I go on a trip, I try to pack lightly. But pretty much everyone says that, don’t they?

Well, let’s start by defining “lightly”. I define it similarly to how I define minimalism: everything you need and nothing more. Except with travel I would say to try and bring even a little less than what you might need. Think of it more as getting by.

At home, I might want to wear a different outfit every day this week. But on vacation, I can easily get by with a few repeats. At home, I prefer to read paperback books. But I can easily get by with ebooks, and so on.

Things to consider when packing
  • Trip duration (how few outfits can I get by with?)
  • Weather conditions (long sleeves, short sleeves, both?)
  • Anticipated activities (hiking boots, beach towel, nice outfit for dinner, modest outfit for visiting a temple?)
  • Storage space on the airplane (will I need to check this bag? how much will that cost?)
  • Risk of losing an item (is it worth bringing my favorite bracelet?)
  • Alternates to your current routine (can I buy coffee at a cafe this week instead of bringing my french press? can I wear my hair curly this week and leave my flat iron at home?)
  • Travel mates’ items (can we share one tube of toothpaste instead of bringing two?)
  • Downtime (will I even have time to read or work on my knitting project there?)
Type of luggage to bring

I do not need a whole luggage set. You do not need a whole luggage set. Luggage sets are for people who over-pack. (tweet that) You really only need one big bag and one small bag. (And just use one of them per trip.)

I used to always admire people in airports who effortlessly pulled along their single piece of small luggage. It looked so easy and manageable. And there I’d be with my huge, heavy bag weighing me down, double checking that I didn’t leave my handbag or smaller carry-on on the seat behind me.

The more bags you have, the more you have to keep track of. The easier it is to leave one behind or for it to get snagged by someone with bad intentions. Any smaller bag I have such as a laptop bag or handbag all fit inside my main bag, so when I’m moving around, I have only one thing to keep track of.


All the clothes I bring follow these guidelines:

  • it’s comfortable
  • it doesn’t need ironing
  • it’s not too bulky or heavy
  • it can be paired with multiple outfits to get multiple wears on the trip
  • it’s not super valuable or special to me

Remember that you have many opportunities to wear something once you’re back home and conditions are different. Do you need to also wear it while on vacation?

Toiletries + Accessories

Again, think about what activities you’ll be doing. Do you really need makeup if you’ll be hiking or on the beach all day? If you’re having one fancy night out, can you get away with wearing your everyday makeup with maybe just one shade of eye shadow to add to it? What areas of your skincare routine can be skipped while you’re away?

Can you wear the same pair of earrings, the same bracelet, and carry the same handbag the whole trip? Wear the same watch, the same tie, the same belt? Usually the answer is yes. (And no one will notice.)


Bring only your lightest pairs of shoes and avoid clunky wedges or boots. I like thin sandals for the beach and a basic pair of (comfy) sneakers for walking. The sandals I wear (similar) are casual, but clean and nice, so they pair perfectly with sundresses for both day and night.

Don’t bring new shoes unless you break them in first. I bought some zero-drop shoes because I knew I’d be doing a lot of walking and hiking on an upcoming trip, and wanted shoes that would be both versatile and healthy for my feet. I bought them about a month before I left and wore them around the house to break them in and also to get my feet and knees used to how barefoot shoes feel.

Books + Music

Do yourself a favor and download all the entertainment you’ll need for the plane and bus rides while you’re still at home and have wifi. Trying to do it on the go can be a hassle and take up precious vacation time, so I like to make myself a few playlists and “borrow” audio books from my local library’s app ahead of time. You can always do more of this on the trip but it’s nice to have at least a few things in case you’re unexpectedly caught without wifi at the last minute. If you go with a paperback book, borrowing from the library is a great option for a trip shorter than a few weeks.

Maintain perspective

Sometimes we start packing so many things and the fear sets in that we might be forgetting something crucial. To calm my nerves about forgetting something, I remind myself that the only thing I really need to be comfortable is a toothbrush. And then of course I remind myself that I can buy one of those anywhere. And then I really feel extra-comfortable with all the luxuries I know I’ve remembered to bring.

Scuba diving in Missouri? Good thing I brought my wet suit!

Being prepared allows you to be spontaneous on your trip. So it can be tempting to over-pack just in case an occasion arises. But really think about the likelihood of an activity before packing for it. And see if something you’re bringing already can double as usable for the activity (for example, bring full length yoga pants instead of shorts for working out, and they can double as an outfit that covers you for a more modest occasion.) And if you do find yourself completely unprepared, you can usually rent equipment or borrow from someone else once you’re there.

Leave your expenses behind

If you’re going to be gone for a month or longer in another country and you’re on a month-to-month cell phone plan, consider cancelling your service while you’re away. With so many other ways to stay in touch, I can easily get by without texting and phone calls (and their international charges!)

Consider pausing other monthly expenses like Netflix or music apps if you wont have time to get your money’s worth while on vacation.


Those are my tips for packing like a pro minimalist! If you have more tips, please share them in the comments below.

Safe travels!

Decluttering my life has brought me peace of mind and relief from the world around me. There’s nothing like walking into the space you created and knowing you have nothing more than what you need. I write articles to help others create that same feeling for themselves.