Thursday, May 2, 2013

30 days in 1 Backpack

It's Tuesday, so it must be time to pack....

We leave Thursday for a month in Belize!  We travel around the country by bus, taxi, boat and water taxi so we limit ourselves to one backpack.  Well, technically 2; we each have a small day pack that we use as a carry-on (yes, we check the big backpacks) and for packing things on day trips and tours.  But that bag and everything in it fits in the larger bag to make the longer travel days more convenient.  

Everything in my pack goes in zip loc bags.  That way it stays organized and dry, and you can compress the clothes.  It's also nice to have a zip loc bag available for wet clothes for when you go directly from a tour to your next destination, and I always pick up little things like small shells or stones on the beach, bottle caps, coins, etc that it's great to have an extra bag for.

So here's my packing list, refined from previous trips.

Toiletries:  toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, mouthwash strips, q tips, comb, sun screen, shampoo, deodorant, bug spray, razor, tweezers, rubber bands, safety pins, mini first aid kit (a couple of band aids, allergy meds, antibiotic ointment, ibuprofen, anti-diarrhea meds, tums, etc) and laundry soap and wipes.  We pack our own towel and washcloth since very few of the hotels we've stayed at have provided them.

Clothing:  3 pairs of socks (I'll only wear them hiking), 10 shirts, 2 dresses, 5 pairs of shorts, 1 pair of carpi's, lightweight jacket, 2 swimsuits, sarong, hat, 12 underwear, tennis shoes, 1 long sleeve white shirt (to wear while snorkeling so we don't get sunburns on our backs) and I wear a pair of sandals and lightweight pants. 

Extras:  Snorkel gear (we've found lots of opportunities to go without guides), extra goggles, bandanna, head lamp, waterproof flashlight, a plastic fork (we've found ourselves eating cup-o-soup at least once!), books, a deck of cards, beef jerky, beads, jewelry, jewelry making tools and supplies, business cards.

In the carry-on:  reading glasses, sunglasses, more books, guide book, pen/pencil, notebook, camera (with extra battery and cards), passport, plane tickets, cash, credit card, phone and charger (will be a first this trip) mints/gum, lotion, chap stick, Kleenex, book light and any prescriptions.

He also packs a foldable fishing pole and a small assortment of hooks, lures and line.

A few notes:

Weight ~ the total weight of my pack (with carry on included) is 27 pounds.  That will be a LOT if I have to run for the bus, but probably the most I'll do is walk a couple of miles with it.

Books ~ we always take a couple because there will be plenty of time on the plane, bus or beach that you'll want something to read, but don't worry about bringing "enough" to read, lots of even the cheapest hotels and restaurants have book shelves with a "take one, leave one" policy.

Beef Jerky ~ Our first travel day is REALLY long! Our flight leaves at 6 am and arrives in Belize at 3pm.  From there you have to take a taxi into Belize City, but to avoid staying in the city we go directly to the bus station and take a bus to almost anywhere.  We won't get to our room until 6 or so that night.  As an added bonus, it gives us something to "declare" when we come through customs.  Since most people want to avoid talking to the customs agents the line to declare something is always shorter!

Snorkel Gear ~ Bringing your own is worth it's weight!  I like having it always available when the opportunity presents itself, and it frequently does.

The Beads ~ This is the one place I could easily lighten my load!  But beads and jewelry are kind of what I do, and it makes me happy to give them away to people I'm touched by   :)

The Guidebook ~  This book will be making it's 3rd trip.  Much of the info is probably outdated by now, but we keep notes in it when a business changes, or we have a particularly great guide.  We've even left it with other travelers on our way out of the country and had it mailed back to us!

Don't worry if you forget something, you can more than likely find it or it's equivalent there.  

Hopefully, I'll get a ton of research done this trip and have LOTS to write about starting in June.  Bon Voyage!

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