Packing List – Guide for Future Travellers

The time has finally come. After nearly 6 months of living at home, working in a restaurant (NO MORE, “MORE WATER!”) and suffering the cockles of crappy Ottawa night-life I am heading to South America on Monday for at least 4 months. Peru, Bolivia, Argentina and Brazil are on deck and I have never done anything close to this before in terms of travel.

I have spent much of the past summer daydreaming and wishing I had left already… To make the time go faster I did a lot of research in preparation for my trip. Now that it has arrived this is the final packing list I have compiled. Refer to this for a trip of your own or send to a friend who is going.

Here it is:


Day bag from Costco – The multi-pockets and comfortable feel made me decide to use this school bag instead of a travel-specific bag. Condoms for safety of course.
Big canvas black and pink traveller’s backpack – This bag was handed down from my brother who purchased it cause it was so ugly. Who would have nice things in a bag that looks this bad?


Passport – Make sure your passport is renewed and not going to expire before your trip. Renewing my Canadian passport cost me $85.

Blue cross insurance – I did my research and Blue Cross was the cheapest, most reliable and with the best coverage. It cost me $366.

Immunizations – Another major expense of my trip. Just the consulting fee for the travel doctor was $50, plus the cost of Yellow Fever, Measles and Hep. A shots made the cost of shots $300 alone.

Air tickets – I got a round-trip flight to avoid hastle from airport security. With the use of credit card points my flight from Toronto – Lima, then Sao Paulo to Toronto was $859.

Drivers license – legal identification is key and much more preferable to bring out than my passport.

Bank card

Credit card – Make sure to call and let your company know you are going abroad.

Printout copies – Copies of everything put into different places in my luggage.

Cash – I will start out with $200 American cash, displaced throughout my stuff then refill as I go. Unfortunately, it costs $5.50 every time I withdraw from an ATM so limiting my withdrawals will be key.


Laptop – The $$. I brought my MacBook Pro, because I can’t live without it. In order to do multimedia journalism I absolutely need it. I predict that it will get stolen, but I’ll cross that bridge when it comes, plus I got it insured.

Mac case

Mac charger

iPod touch – I have an old iPod Touch from 2007 that I don’t really care about. It’s a major step down from my speedy iPhone 4, but I’m not worried about it and that alone gives me peace of mind.


iPod usb charger

iPod wall charger

1 TB External Hard drive – I bought a WD 1 terabyte hard drive to backup my stuff. Yet, I am still worried that things will be lost. If all of my stuff is stolen, clearly the hard drive would go to. That is why I plan on paying the $9.99 a month for DropBox

Canon Rebel T3i DSLR Camera – My big purchase of the summer. This baby is compact, light and I did not break the bank buying it. I did my research and this camera body was perfect for this trip. Of course I got it insured and under warranty. With lens, lens cover and warranty it set me back $1000. So far, it has been worth it.

16 GB SD Card – For camera (May pick up a smaller one on the way to be safe).

Camera cover – this fallic-looking faux-camera case cost me $5 on eBay and is perfect for putting in my day bag.

Camera charger

G-Shock waterproof watch – Without my iPhone and potentially without a cell I thought it would be good to have the time and keep an alarm. My friend actually gave me this snazzy watch for free. Thanks!

Olympus Recorder – For recording interviews and even using as a microphone instead of the weak on-board mic from my DSLR.

Tripod – Ok, I know its crappy, but it only cost me $19.99 and we’ll see where it takes me. If it breaks who cares.

Head Lamp – For dark walks to the bathroom.

Universal plug


3 T-shirts – All plain. The goal here is to look as little as a gringo as possible. I also expect to pick up some stuff when I’m there.

1 Hoodie

1 Button up shirt – For dressy occasions.

1 Long sleeve

2 Jerseys


1 Jeans + belt

1 Travel pants

1 Base layer – Basically like loose long johns for sleeping in when its cold. Apparently, due to the altitude of about 3800m in La Paz, Bolivia, it gets very cold at night.

2 Shorts – 1 athletic, 1 cargo

1 Bathing suit

7 Boxers

5 Socks


Flip Flops – For hostel showers.

Toms – For lounging in hostels/couch surfing homes etc.

NorthFace Goretex Waterproof Hikers – Not just water resistent, these shoes are GORETEX waterproof so they should hold up for those wet hikes in the Amazon and in rainy season. Only $77 on sale at Bushtakah cause they were “last year’s colour.”


Miscellaneous :

Waterproof bag cover – To cover my day pack in the rain.

Rain jacket – Another big investment. This Goretex Arc’Teryx shell cost me $280 (on clearance), but I’m sold to believe that it was worth it. This jacket is essentially guaranteed for life even if it rips. Last thing I want is to be soaked when waiting for a bus somewhere or walking to my hostel. It’s also not the flashiest jacket so I won’t look like as much of a silly gringo (foreigner), hopefully.

Caccoon – An extra layer to sleep inside of for nasty hostels. It packs up small and it was also a free gift from a friend. Thanks!

3 locks – 1 combination, 1 key, 1 snowboard with a chord to attach my bag to my bed when I sleep.

Notebook + pens

Hat Can’t find one I like at home, time to get one when I get there. Sombrero?

Pillow case

Ziplock bags – Waterproofing on the cheap.

Travel towel – Silky smooth and packs extremely small.


Money belt

Spanish Dictionary

Canada patch – So I don’t look like an American.


Aluminum Water bottle – For filtered water instead of allowing the weak plastic to degrade into my water.

Lighter – I don’t smoke, but I won’t wanna seem like a jerk when people ask me for a light. I heard that it is a good way to make new friends.


2 mini bottles of hand sanitizer






Shaving cream



Nail clipper

Condoms – “Don’t get sick, wrap your stick.”

Tissue packets

Laundry bag

Moisturizer – Due to the high altitude, La Paz gets very dry.

All-purpose soap – As body wash, but also for cleaning my clothes int he sink.


Tide to go

Toilet paper

Earplugs – For those obnoxious Americans in hostels.

First Aid kit


Malaria pills

Elevation pills

Diarrhea pills



Oil of Oregano – Kills any throat cold.

Insect repellant

Vitamin C

Ok, so that’s it. I’m ready to fly out on Monday, November 12th and feel confident in what I am bringing. Now I can walk through South America with the same bounce in my step as this guy!:


4 thoughts on “Packing List – Guide for Future Travellers

  1. Amanda

    Hey Joel,
    I’m looking forward to reading about your trip, will you be publishing everything on your blog or will you be publishing with a media outlet as well?
    Also, good thinking on the condoms, hope you get to use ’em.
    Best of luck on your travels!
    -Amanda L. Shore

  2. Mom

    Great 1st Blog on your new adventure. I loved the inspirational video. I will enjoy it whenever I need to lift my spirits. Have a safe and fun experience. Come back to Canada safe and sound. I look forward to hearing about your adventure. Bon Voyage!!!!
    Love, Mom

  3. Pingback: Welcome to Southern Exposure | Forget The Box

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