• Claire

Everything I Packed for 3 Months in Central & South America!

Updated: Apr 20, 2019

I've just embarked on my Central and South America trip for which which I plan to be away for 3-4 months. In this blog post I share with you everything I'm taking with me on this trip!

My aim while packing for this trip was to be as minimalistic as possible. However, this was challenging because my trip involves travelling through many different climates: from the beaches of Mexico to the jungles of Guatemala and the mountains of Peru! This trip is also the longest period of time I have ever constantly been on the road for. I didn't want to overpack as I wanted to leave plenty of room for things I might pick up along the way and I hate struggling to close my bag every time I go to leave somewhere. Thankfully, I was able to leave a bag of clothes and jumpers I didn't need in Canada to lighten my load.

You can read about my upcoming plans for my Central and South America trip in my blog post:

See: Where to Next? | 260 Days Overseas

Before I left Australia, I wrote a detailed blog post on everything I usually pack in my carry on for a trip:

See: What's In My Carry On? - Gap Year Round The World Trip

I've been travelling with all this stuff for 3 weeks now and I haven't felt like I'm missing anything important, nor have I had to offload anything. My bag weighs 16kg which is slightly heavier than I would like, but I do have some backups of toiletry products - so my load will lighten as I use those up!


I'm taking 3 bags on this trip. My main bag is my Black Wolf Cuba 65 - which I love and have taken on every single trip I've been on. This bag is great because it zips open fully so you don't have to stuff everything down through the top opening like many other backpacks!

For carry on, I'm bringing my pink Kathmandu 20L. I find it to be the perfect size day pack for me!

I'm also bringing my black HNM side bag. I find this so handy for walking around cities - it's the perfect size as it fits my phone, camera, wallet and passport!

I also bring a small calico bag and use it to take to the showers etc.


I tried minimise the amount of clothes I'm taking as much as possible. I generally just live in comfy t-shirts and activewear while travelling and don't bring anything fancy. I have around 1-2 weeks worth of clothes that will hopefully be suitable for the range of climates I'll be in. I can layer my fleece under jumpers and my puffer if it's super cold and have rain pants/jacket to keep me dry when hiking in the rain! I like to take heaps of socks and undies as I always seem to loose them during laundry!

  • Tops - x7 t-shirts, x1 long sleeve quick try top and x3 nicer tops

  • x1 Jumper

  • Fleece long sleeved top

  • Pants - x3 pairs of activewear tights, x1 pair of rain/hiking pants

  • Shorts - x2 pairs denim, x1, nicer fabric pair, x1 running, x1 PJ

  • Swimmers

  • Rain jacket

  • Puffer jacket

  • Cap

  • Beanie

  • Socks - x 3 pairs merino wool hiking socks, x7 pairs of ankle socks

  • Bras - x2 sports bras, x1 bralette and x1 normal bra

  • Undies - lots!


I'm only bringing 3 pairs of shoes on this trip to save as much space as possible:

  • Thongs - for hostel showers and the beach

  • Runners - for day to day wear

  • Hiking Boots - which I will wear on the plane!

Toiletries / First Aid / Medication


I like to just bring the basics when backpacking - I don't take any fancy lotions or makeup! I like to stock up on good quality sunscreen before I leave because sunscreen is super expensive in places like Central America/Asia where the locals don't use it. I like to take reasonable sized bottles of shampoo and conditioner and refill them along the way - there's no point taking travel-sized products because you'll be out in the first few days!

  • Shampoo / Conditioner

  • Tissue packs

  • Nail polish

  • Razor

  • Hand sanitiser

  • Hair brush

  • Toothbrush

  • Toothpaste

  • Dental floss

  • Deodorant

  • Moisturiser

  • Face cleanser

  • Aloe vera gel

  • Sunscreen

First Aid/Medication

First Aid

I have a super basic supply of first aid - all of which has come in handy at some point! Hydration tablets are super important in the case of travellers diarrhoea (which is unfortunately super common!) or to take on long hikes.

  • After-bite

  • Band-aids

  • Tweezers

  • Anti-bacterial cream

  • Hydraation tablets


I've found that it's super handy to bring a general course of anti-biotics with you when travelling. These can save you going to the doctor for something basic if you already have them on hand. I'm bringing Doxycycline malaria tablets as I will be in Malaria-prone areas in Guatemala and other medication like antihistamines and iron tablets just in case.

  • Birth control

  • Ibuprofen

  • Antihistamines

  • Anti-biotics

  • Gastro strop

  • Vitamin C sachets

  • Malaria tablets (for Guatemala)

  • Travel motion sickness tablets

  • Iron tablets


My newest favourite travel accessory is my Belkin travel adapter. It has x2 plugs along with x2 USB slots which enabled me to charge all my technology at once! I'm also bringing my portable charger (which I can't live without) and a few different Go Pro mounts.

  • Portable charger

  • Earphones

  • Go Pro accessories

  • Charger cables for laptop / phone / Go Pro / Fitbit / portable charger

  • Memory cards

  • Hard drive

  • Travel adapter

  • Spare batteries

Travel Essentials

These items are my most essential and most valuable that I have with me while travelling. I make sure to put all of these items in my carry-on luggage so I always know where they are. Also, I like to bring $100 worth of the currency for my next country so I have cash on me when I arrive.

  • Travel documents - printed copies of my flight confirmations, accommodation bookings, travel insurance, photocopies of my passport and yellow fever vaccination certificate

  • Passport

  • Laptop

  • Camera

  • Go Pro

  • Phone

  • Wallet

  • Foreign currency - for this trip I'm bringing extra USD as it is widely recognised in Central/South America


The other random bits and pieces I'm packing are not all necessary, but most come in handy regularly:

  • Travel towel - an absolute backpacking essential, I just bought a new one off Amazon

  • Hammock - my favourite new travel accessory, I can't wait to hang it up between two palm trees on the beach!

  • Waterproof backpack cover - I have one for both my big bag and carry on

  • Pillowcase - in case hostel pillows are gross (also can fill it with clothes to make a makeshift pillow)

  • Laundry bag - for dirty clothes, cloth laundry bags work much better than a plastic bags as clothes can breathe in a cloth bag so they won't smell as much

  • Snacks - I will probably bring more than this but choc almond fudge Cliff Bars and peanut butter choc chip Lara Bars are my fav the only energy bars I like!

  • Water bottle - my 1L Nalgene which I can constantly refill to cut down on my consumption of plastic bottles

  • Cards

  • Sunglasses

  • Bag locks - I make sure to always bring one with a longer cable so it will fit all different sizes of hostel lockers!

  • Spare plastic bags

  • Laundry powder

  • Ear plugs

  • Head torch - comes in handy more than you would think!

  • Travel Journal & pens

  • Dive logbook

  • Lonely Planet Central America on a Shoestring / Moon Cuba Travel Guide (I will donate these/pass them on to other travellers when I leave each region!)

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You can read the blog post I wrote on what I pack in my carry-on here or find more of my travel tips here!