Packing. Some love it, some hate it. Either way, I’ve created a packing list for those visiting Chile, to make the process a little easier for you.
I am currently in Chile, and will be here for 8 months in total, before I continue my journey around South America and eventually, back home. So I had to pack everything I needed to last me up to 10 months, in just two bags, to ensure I could carry it all around when I travel with no problem.
No matter who you are and where you’re traveling in Chile or around, this list should simplify your packing process and make the whole experience a little less stressful.
- 2 Pairs of Jeans – Jeans are an essential because they’re incredibly versatile. You can wear them anytime, anywhere and if they’re not white, you can wear them over and over and over again.
- 1 Pair of Convertible Pants – They’re ugly, they’re certainly not cool, but they’re actually incredibly useful. They’re especially useful in Chile where the temperatures vary massively and most places the temperature drops significantly at night. Convertible pants are also much easier to hand wash and are a lot lighter to pack than jeans. I wear them a lot when I hike because it’s cold in the morning, and then you start to get hotter the more you walk and the hotter it gets you can turn them into shorts.
- 2 Pair of Shorts – It gets hot in Chile, especially if you’re travelling up in Northern Chile, so you’ll want shorts. The best part is, they take up very little space.
- 5 or more T-Shirts – You’ll wear your tees every day, so bring ones you can wear over and over and won’t get bored of.
- 1 Long-Sleeve Shirt – You know, to keep a little warmer.
- 2 nicer clothes (shirts, dresses) – No matter what you plan to do when you travel, you’ll want something to dress up a little, whether that’s because you like to go clubbing, out for dinner at a nice restaurant or likely to try and impress someone while you’re here.
- 2 hoodies or jumpers – Again, it depends on where and when you go. But I recommend bringing a comfortable hoodie you like to lounge around in and you know will keep you warm, and a nicer one you can wear out to dinner.
- 1 waterproof jacket –These are awesome. I use mine all the time. I’d never thought I’d say this, because this is the type of freebie thing you can get anywhere, but invest in one you like to wear regularly, and this is what you’ll be wearing daily. It packs lightly and weighs nothing, I keep mine in my bag wherever I go.
- 1 large coat –Your need for a Jacket will also depend on where and when you’re going. Anywhere Santiago and South I’d recommend bringing one, especially if you’re going in the winter.
- Hat/Scarf/Gloves – Especially if you’re planning to ski, or going down south to Patagonia for example, where it gets cold.
- Underwear (pants, socks, bras) – This is one thing that does depend a lot on how long you’re staying. Some things you can get away with wearing over and over, and some things you can’t. This is one of those things where you can’t. Bring as many as you can fit in the extra space in your bags… unless you know there will be a washing machine nearby the duration of your trip.
- 1 pair of trainers or hiking boots – If you plan to hike a lot, then don’t forget to wear proper hiking boots rather than trainers, I made that mistake and the result is a very bruised backside, because the hills are pretty steep in the Andes… clearly. If not, trainers will do you fine.
- 2 pairs of everyday shoes – Cutting down on shoes was the hardest decision of all. I started at 8 pairs, and managed to narrow it down to 2. These are annoying to pack as they are heavy and take up a lot of space, so don’t be tempted!
- 1 Pair flipflops or sandals – For the warmer days. Waterproof sandals are a good idea as well if you’re planning to go camping or staying in hostels where you might want to wear them in the shower!
- PJs – Two pairs will probably cut it, perhaps a pair for hotter temperatures and a warmer pair for when it’s colder.
- Gym clothes – The amount you want to bring is dependant on the amount of exercise you plan on doing while you’re here, but I’d bring at least one and you’re bound to need it for at least one of the thousands of activities there are available to do here.
- Swimsuit – Whether it’s in the sea, a swimming pool or volcanic hot springs, you’ll want a swimsuit!
Most places you go will provide you with the basic shampoo, soap, etc. and remember, you can always buy some once you arrive but some things you want to remember to bring so that you have them as soon as you land.
Some things to think about:
- Toothbrush / Toothpaste
- Makeup – Try only bring what you really need!
- Medicine – If you need to bring a lot, then bring a prescription.
- Nail clippers / Tweezers
- Razor / Shaving cream – Unless you have a tremendous beard you plan on keeping.
- Glasses / Contact lenses – Basically whatever you need to see.
- Female sanitary products
- Hairbrush / Comb – Plus any hair products you need.
- Deodorant – The key to smelling good when you’re wearing the same clothes you have been for a while.
- Towel – Towels are likely provided wherever you stay, but I brought one of the compact ones just in case and use it a lot.
I wouldn’t recommend bringing a hair dryer or hair straighteners/curlers if you’re not going to use them every day, as they’re big and bulky!
- Adaptors – Chile uses type C and L plugs. So you may not need an adaptor, as type C plugs are fairly common. If you do need to bring them, then I’d recommend bringing one plug-to-socket adaptors (for bigger devices such as laptops or cameras), and one 2-USB-to-Socket one (for phones and tablets). Info about Chilean plugs available on this website: https://www.power-plugs-sockets.com/gb/chile/
- Phone + Charger
- Laptop/Tablet/etc. + Chargers – If you think you’ll need them
- Portable battery – If you don’t have one I’d recommend investing in one no matter what you plan to do once you get to Chile.
- Camera – Unless you plan on just using your phone for pictures.
- PASSPORT – Obvious of course, but it’s the one thing you absolutely can’t forget.
- Sunglasses / Cap
- Money – I’d recommend getting about 200,000 CLP out before you arrive, so you’re ready with cash in hand when you land
- Prepaid travel card – Not necessarily needed depending on your situation, but I needed one as I couldn’t open up a bank account while I was here. They’re a great and easy way take out cash while you’re here, for no cost (if you go to the right bank. I used Monzo, you can find out a little more about Monzo here: https://monzo.com/
- Money belt or similar – Chile is not a dangerous country, but they do have a reputation for sneaky pickpocketers. I bought a dinky purse that loops onto my belt and so far hasn’t had any problems.
- Travel Backpack – No matter what the purpose of your travel is, I’d recommend bringing a travel backpack for several reasons. 1) It’s the easiest to carry around, 2) It’ll stop you bringing too much stuff, and 3) even if you’re not planning on travelling too much, I’m sure you’ll be tempted as it’s so easy to travel in and around chile for not much money!
- Smaller backpack – Try bringing a versatile one that’s suitable for a trip to town as well as a hike or tour.
- Pen and notebook – I like to always keep one on me, whether it’s to quickly note something I want to remember down or to log what I’ve been up to.
A few final notes before you go…
If you’re currently thinking I’m crazy for suggesting to bring such a small amount of clothes for such a long amount time, then let me explain.
Before I came I remember my University Year Abroad Director saying “Pack half the amount of clothes and twice the amount of money” and she couldn’t have been more right. You won’t notice it’s missing if you don’t have it with you, and if you really need something you don’t have, then you can always buy a new one.
So, I’d pack the same amount of clothes for 2 months than I would for 6 or months, so long as you have enough to keep warm, keep cool, and keep comfortable.
Lastly, remember that you’ll want to save space for souvenirs and things to bring back, so make sure you leave some space for that.
That’s it! You’re ready for your adventure!
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