Whenever people travel, there is an age-old quandary – what should I bring? The answer is complicated by the fact that we’re all different, with different needs and preferences. We provide an in-depth packing list for each trip, but here are some considerations for you.
Essentials – At the top of every list are the things you absolutely cannot forget: passport, boarding pass, flight itinerary, credit cards, emergency contact, etc. You know, just in case you need a reminder as you walk out the door to go to the airport! We know how easy it can be to forget even the most important items.
Currency – We keep you up to date on currency exchanges and the availability of ATMs; if and where you can use US dollars, and tipping guidelines for guides and a suggested amount. Personally, I always bring a couple of hundred dollars, but I use the ATMs if I need more cash. When you do take money from an ATM, remember to take the money in local currency, without a conversion. For example, if you want $200, get about $200 worth of currency. You’ll usually get a better conversion rate this way, instead of requesting $200 converted to the local currency. ATM machines only issue paper currency, so they round in their favor for portions of the local currency.
Electricity – Most people are so excited for their trip that they forget some small but vital details, like whether or not you need an adapter to charge your phone! We do the research and tell you exactly what you need and give you guidance on where you can get it.
Clothing list – We take into account the weather, average temperatures, activities, and any cultural considerations when we send out our suggested clothing list. In the Galapagos, you need to make sure you have GOOD walking shoes that can get wet as we go from our catamaran to the shore via Zodiacs. The same goes for the Arctic, only it’s a lot colder there! We make sure you know to bring warm, waterproof pants and are able to rent the appropriate rubber boots needed to go ashore. Don’t know how to dress for a safari? We’ve got you covered! Avoid wearing bright, white and dark colors, and instead bring clothes of neutral colors, such as khaki, or mid-tone brown, beige, olive and green, the typical colors used for safari clothing. Leave your fashionable party clothes at home.
Camera – You certainly want to bring some sort of camera to capture the sights. For those who don’t consider themselves
photographers, your phone camera will be just fine; the quality of these devices is truly amazing. Make sure you have lots of storage space on the device for lots of photos. Set your camera to the highest quality image if you think you’ll want to print some of your photos or make an album.
If you’re a “serious” photographer, think carefully about the gear you bring.
Some airlines will limit your carry-on by size and/or weight. Limit your gear to fit the excursion. Too much gear can wear you out; consider an all-around lens instead of bringing lots of different lenses. Don’t forget your charger, backup batteries, and storage. We can help with any questions you have.
Luggage – We investigate all the baggage requirements and restrictions for the airlines and any other transportation we take in-country. For example, in Tanzania it’s important to bring soft sided luggage so it can be easily transported in our safari vehicles.
Culture – We also provide valuable cultural insight in our guidelines for each trip. For example, we give you an introduction to the languages and cultures you will encounter in Namibia, including the tribes that still follow their traditional way of life. For Morocco, we include a short “how-to” guide on bartering in the souks.
Communication – While this is typically up to you, we do provide advice on how you can communicate to your loved ones back home. We provide guidance on WIFI availability, international phone plan options, and can help when you need it.
Travel Insurance – You should at least consider purchasing some travel insurance to cover you in the unlikely event something happens outside our control. If you come down with an illness before or during the trip, this insurance can recover all or some of your costs. Some countries we visit will require a policy that covers your evacuation back to the US, at a minimum. We recommend Travel Guard from AIG, but you can buy from whichever company you choose. Be sure to bring your policy information along with you.
Keep an eye out for our Amazon affiliate link on our Travel Gear page we will be adding soon with our recommendations on what you should get for our various trips.
Packing doesn’t have to be so stressful! We’ll answer any questions you have. Just bring along a positive attitude and a receptive mind to fully enjoy the culture and new experiences on your journey with us.
By Alyssa Brown