Ecuador Winter Break
Packing List 2019
Main Luggage: Backpack or Suitcase
You just need one or the other. Most of your flights come with a free checked bag, so you can bring either. I personally love backpacks because they are easy to lug around. I love the brands Gregory and Osprey, but they are more expensive. They last several years, so, if you plan on taking a trips in the future, I recommend making the investment! Here are my recommendations:
Great combination bag (has a detachable day bag - saves you from buying 2 separate ones) for 1 week - 6 week trip length. I have a few friends who use this and love it! The day bag attaches and detaches with a zippers and the backpack also opens like a suitcase, so it's very accessible.
If you’re looking for an intro backpack, I recommend this Mountaintop on Amazon. I used it for around a year, and it never failed. It even held up well during a 4 day 30 mile trek!
If you plan on taking a trip over 6-weeks then I recommend you buying a bigger bag. I currently have an 60L Osprey that is very similar to this one.
Day Packs are a must! Usually on trips like these, you leave all of your stuff in your main backpack or suitcase at the hostel but use a smaller bag to carry around your phone, money, raincoat, camera, water, and everything else for the day. You can use anything for this including your school backpack, purse, string gym bag, or, if you want something to not hurt your shoulders while exploring all day, here's what I use:
This bag is a little pricey, but is incredible. I can't stress how nice it is to have a good day bag over everything else. You are doing everything with it and I believe it is 100% worth the cost. It can fit so much and feels really nice on your shoulders. It also has a netted back that helps you keep the sweat away!
Here's a few other bags that I think bringing are very necessary and shouldn't cost any money.
Dirty clothes bag (can be any bag from a trash bag to a HEB bag) - needed to separate the clean from dirty clothes while traveling between places.
Ziplock bags help immensely when organizing everything and can come in handy if you ever want to pack a lunch.
This is a very hard thing to recommend, but I will do my best! I want to point that it is very easy to over pack. It's only 10 days, and there are laundry services at the 1st and 3rd hostel. It's smarter to pack less and pay a little to do laundry if you ever need to.
Raincoat or Waterproof Shell
This is a must! It can rain a lot during these months, so make sure you have something to cover yourself and your day bag.
For the guys on the trip, I have listed which one I use.
For the girls, this is one that has good reviews and is stylish (I think) :)
For those budget hunters, ponchos can work great!
Light Hoodie or Jacket
I love fleeces!
If you haven't noticed yet... I do really like Columbia gear haha!
One pair of jeans
Good for if you want something nicer at night
One pair of hiking pants and/or two to three pairs of leggings
I prefer hiking pants, but this can be any pant that you don't mind walking all day in!
These convertible pants are the best in my opinion. I have used these exact ones.
Jess recommends and often uses leggings for hiking. Hers are Under Armor and Nike, but any brand works. I don't recommend using super fancy leggings, though, because you could fall or get them dirty.
If you're going to go with leggings instead of hiking pants, I would bring 2-3 pairs.
Three pairs of shorts
Mix of nicer shorts, like jean shorts, and athletic shorts
Girls - two pairs of Nike shorts and one pair of jean shorts
I just use baseball hats now, but the best investment are these waterproof ones. I know it's pricey, but I love this hat and used it for years!
Any mix of colors and styles work, but I recommend ones that won't take days to dry in case you get rained on
One dry-fit shirt or tank top
This is in case you decide to go hiking or want something you can sweat in.
Seven to ten pairs of underwear
This depends on if you want to do laundry or not
Jess recommends sports bras over other kinds. She suggests three to four sports bras and one to two regular bras.
You'll need it for the hot springs!
Four pairs of socks (+/- a couple of pairs)
I wore my Chacos almost everyday, so I didn't wear socks often.
Optional: one light dress
Good for the photo days!
This is very important because shoes alone can cause you to over pack and have to lug around a heavy bag. To travel anywhere in world, no matter how long, I always back my Trail Runners (hiking shoes) and Chacos. You can also bring a third pair of shoes that are light and easy to pack.
Trail Runners or running shoes
I live in my Trail Runners. I've owned and used many hiking boots and different kinds of shoes for traveling, but these are by far the most comfy and useful.
If you don't want to invest in new hiking shoes, any running shoes will be perfectly fine for this trip!
Sandals or Flip Flops
This is needed for whenever you go to the hot tubs or hot springs or if you want shower shoes.
I'm a huge Chaco advocate! I think they are the best all around shoe you can own. I hike, swim, and use them for normal daily use.
Jess highly recommends bringing a pair of sandals because she always wants shower shoes.
One pair of night time shoes or sandals
Not a necessity, but some people like to bring them.
Jess packs a light pair of sandals that are more stylish than her Chacos as her third pair of shoes.
Here is a short list of toiletries that are a must! I recommend bringing the travel size of everything to save yourself some room!
Sunblock and Bug Spray
Ecuador is on the equator, so the sun is brutally strong.
I'm a fan of the three in one, but I understand if you need all three.
This is an example of the where the travel sizes and ziploc bags come in clutch.
They make covers that help keep them clean while traveling. We get ours from Walmart in the travel section.
Travel size only!
Optional toiletries based on what you need:
Small bottle of Advil or Ibuprofen
Q-tips and tissues
Brush or comb
Jess brings a mini brush.
Jess recommends travel or compact sizes whatever makeup you want. She uses one travel compact that has brows, shadow, and face all in one.
A lot of activities are active, so she also recommends waterproof mascara.
There are small packs of makeup wipes in the travel size section.
Headbands and hair ties
Jess puts these in a little bag.
Jess doesn't recommend bringing these, as they take up a lot of space.
If you do want a blow dryer, there are very small compact ones that fold up. These are a better option, but the best option is using/borrowing one at the hostel.
It's also recommended to always pack feminine products rather than relying on buying them there.
Quick dry towel
This is a MUST. Quick dry towels are perfect for when you go swimming, but are used mainly for showering when the hostel doesn't provide towels. They are very compact and will dry much faster than the ones you use at home.
Don't forget your favorite pair of sunglasses :)
This can come in handy when you are sleeping in hostels and people are snoring or come in late
Eye mask for sleeping
This is great for sleeping on bus rides or when you want pitch black in your hostel room
There will be lockers for valuable at each hostel, so, if you want to lock those up, then this is needed :)
No outlet converter needed in Ecuador :)
Phone + Charger
Camera + Charger
If you're looking at buying one, let me know and I'll connect you with Jess. She knows a lot about them!
Not gonna lie, this is a great place for any action cam
I personally use an older version of the Sony Action Cam.
Power Bank (Portable Charger)
This is great, so you don't have to worry about getting stuck somewhere cool with deal cameras and phones
Check right now and make sure your passport isn't expired!!
I also like passport covers because you can keep other important information in them.
Most places in South America don't take credit or debit cards. Cash is something you must have for everything.
Ecuador uses US Dollars as their currency, so there is no need to get a different currency!
Although you don't want to carry a lot of cash around, it's a hassle and costly to pull money out of an ATM. I recommend bringing more cash than you probably need to be on the safe side.
These are great to assure that no one is going to take your valuables.
Jess uses them, and you can wear them under your shirt. She says it helps her keep track of her IDs, phone, and money.
If you go out, you might need an ID, and I don't recommend bringing your passport out drinking.
As stated in the contact, you should either buy travel insurance or make sure that you health insurance covers you abroad.