What I packed for 3 months in South America

I backpacked around Chile, staying in hostels, as well as travelling in Bolivia on the weekends; worked in Bolivia, stayed in hotels in Peru (with my mum), and visited a range of climates – the jungle, salt flats, hiking in national parks, staying in cities, staying near the coast, mountains. Also La Paz is quite hard to dress for, as it is v hot in the day and often below freezing at night. The following list of items should cover any long-term stay in SA, unless you are insane and have decided to go wild camping, or cycle from top to bottom. You can probably hire proper hiking clothes when there.


Socks, underwear for 1 week – mix of thick wooly socks, thin ankle / trainer socks, and normal cotton longer socks, sports bra

Everyday ADIDAS trainers, black pumps, flip-flops (this combination was fine for everything, apart from serious hiking)

2 x vests

1x pair pyjamas (jogging bottoms and t-shirt, so also doubled us as casual wear)


Tops: mix of long-sleeved tops and t-shirts. Including: white long-sleeved top for the jungle, thermal top for desert at night / cold, exercise top, tops that cover décollotage area to protect skin at high altitude.

Bottoms: long green skirt, which fits in well with casual South American fashion, esp. in Bolivia + is smarter but demure. Sporty leggings, for exercise and general wear. Normal cotton leggings for layering. Wide-fit white cotton trousers, for the Amazon / hot mosquito areas, and general wear. 1 pair dark blue Levi’s jeans.

Thin black cotton jumper, fleece camping jumper, wool jumper from my Dad, wool gloves, wool beret, bought 2 x alpaca wool scarves while there. Tights.

1x dress, for going out and everyday wear.

Toiletries / cosmetics / medicine:

Toothpaste, toothbrush, razor + razorheads, suncream for face and body, blister plasters, nail clippers, normal plasters, malaria pills (probably not necessary for SA), solid shampoo, conditioner and soap bars, hand sanitiser, ibuprofen, paracetamol, anthisan, diarrhea sachets, water sanitising pills (used these in the jungle, and in the airport when I couldn’t buy any bottled water for a couple of hours), contact lenses + solution, LIFEVENTURE fabric wash leaves (v useful, read the instructions before using as they don’t work otherwise), insect repellent wipes, hair bobbles and bobby pins, menstrual kit (bring back ups of sanitary pads if you use a menstrual cup, you may find your cycle goes out of whack at sustained high altitude. No, there’s no research on this. What, you think you’re important and worthy of understanding your own body? Stupid woman, only MEN should receive scientific attention).


Lifeventure microfibre towel, 4x packing cubes from Amazon, 2x mesh laundry bags, foldable camping cup and bowl, cutlery set.

Diary, pen, notebook, guide books for Bolivia, Chile and Peru, and a guide to backpacking around Bolivia lent to me by a friend.

Extremely useful sleeping pouch for buses / hostels / long flights / sleeping in airports:

An old LIFEVENTURE pouch that I found (no, not sponsored by them unfortunately) containing: silicon earplugs, sleeping mask, headphones, mints, spare contact lens pot.


Macbook and charger, phone and charger, headphones, kindle and charger, CANON camera and charger.

Grey 10l Herschel rucksack

60l rucksack

Published by floracbowen

Languages student at the University of Cambridge, aspiring professional blatherer, from Yorkshire.

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1 Comment

  1. I am hoping to hear you are safely at home or back at uni after your adventures. It felt as if your amazing journey had got suspended in Madrid though I am sure that is not the case. Another blog please. With love from your concerned Great Aunt, Pamela pamelamh90@gmail.com


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