As I said in my first post, I packed for my 5 month-long trip in a day, and actually ended up packing a near perfect amount. There were really only a couple of pieces that were somewhat unnecessary, and maybe one or two items I wish I had.
Besides toiletries, since those items vary depending on the person, here is a list of what I brought in one suitcase and a duffel bag to Costa Rica:
- 2 pairs of regular jeans (one pair nicer than the other)
- 2 pairs of cropped jeans
- 1 pair of hiking zip-off pants
- 1 pair of comfy loose-fitting pants (saved me while traveling on buses)
- 8 pairs of shorts (variety of patterned, solid, casual, and dressier)
- 4 skirts (only used 1)
- 5 dresses (only used 3, beach dresses)
- 3 workout shorts
- 1 workout legging (good for hiking so as not to get bitten as much)
- 14 pairs of underwear (nice to have this many because laundry)
- 7 regular everyday shirts
- 6 tanks tops
- 2 long-sleeve chambray shirts (different shades, used all the time as layers)
- 2 dressier shirts
- 4 workout shirts
- 2 sweatshirts
- 2 rain jackets (one was long, only used the regular one)
- 10 pairs of socks (barely used, mostly wore sandals)
- 2 pairs of hiking socks (much needed, it sucks re-wearing wet, dirty socks)
- 1 pair of hiking boots
- 1 pair of tennis shoes
- 1 pair of Tevas (or any kind of water shoes, NECESSARY)
- 2 pairs of flip-flops (1 broke)
- 1 pair of nicer sandals
- 1 umbrella (sturdy, all my friends’ cheap umbrellas broke)
- 2 pairs of sunglasses (such a good idea because I lost one)
- 2 necklaces, 2 pairs of earrings
- 3 baseball hats
- 1 big sunhat (saved me many sunburns on the beaches)
- 1 swimsuit (definitely should have brought more)
- Pain medication
- Allergy medicine
- Imodium tablets (thankfully did not use, but is NECESSARY just in case)
- Water bottle
- USB flash drive
- Memory card for camera
- Travel toilet paper to-go (ran out quickly, when there is no TP provided which happens more often than I would like)
Wish I had brought: a beach towel, a pair of regular, everyday closed-toed shoes, more cold-preventing medicine, more toilet paper to-go, hand sanitizer, and at least for the rainy season, a comfy, flannel shirt to layer in case it gets a little chilly or rainy.
Should not have brought: nothing in particular, just less of some of the items I listed above that I ended up not using.
Do not recommend bringing travel guidebooks, they just take up space and add weight, so we took pictures of the pages/places we really wanted to remember to visit.
Do not need plug adapters.
Recommend bringing your driver’s license or identification card for going out at night, so you are not taking your passport everywhere, and some places do not accept copies of passports.
Empty wallet of extra cards and change you would not be able to use.
Ticos tend to wear jeans most of the time, even if it is hot, but shorts are not uncommon.
Don’t forget to pack for everyday in a city and attending classes, instead of only thinking about lounging on a beach or hiking.
It was nice to have a backpack just for school; using my duffel bag for traveling. My everyday backpack was not smelly, and didn’t have to be constantly unpacking and re-packing it every weekend.