Getting Ready for South America

WATCH your goofy GypsyNesters as we prepared for the South America!

We're so excited!
You voted for it - and we delivered!

We live-bloggied our South American journey through Ecuador, Peru, The Galapagos Islands, Machu Picchu, Cusco and much, much more!

Click here to see our South American live-blog!

Map provided by Road Scholar, click on map for detailed itinerary:
Road Scholar Map for our trip

We traveled with Road Scholar, a not-for-profit organization - who provides educational travel programs for like-minded folks wanting to learn as much as they can about the areas they are visiting. Our journey had only fourteen other fellow adventurers, so we were very excited that we could participate in a program like that AND still feel like our low-to-the-ground traveling selves.

Luggage we're taking to South America

In keeping with our "One Trip Rule", we packed so we could easily carry everything at once from plane to cab to hotel to train to boat.

Veronica had a small backpack and her rolling bag that is small enough to carry on airplanes.

David had a large backpack that he checked.

What we've packed for South America

As usual, we had a change of clothes, toiletries, cameras and laptops with us in our carry ons. We never pack things we we'll immediately need upon arrival in our checked luggage, in case it's lost or delayed.

Normally we don't check anything, but since we spent such a long time in South America, we opted to bring our large backpack. We also had to keep in mind that there is a 44-pound weight limit on flights from Quito, Ecuador to The Galapagos, so even though we had the extra space, we still had to watch our weight.

Click here to see our South American live-blog!

Packing for South America - large zip-lock sandwich bags our your friend!

Large zip-lock sandwich bags are our friends! For many reasons:

- Convenience. We moved from hotel to boat to hotel to train, and having a bag just for travel-sized toiletries is easy and convenient for on-the-fly packing.

- Moisture and sand. We were in some wild and wet places! Having a small cache of baggies help keep our belongings dry and clean.

- Cord management. We always have a soft cord bag with us. Inside the bag, we separate cords into plastic baggies. Camera, phone, airplane headsets, laptop and wireless accessories all have separate baggies. Keeps cords from tangling!

Note on electronics: Most laptops are dual voltage (look at the excruciatingly small print on your charger - usually on the "box" on the cord). If it can handle both 220 and 110, your laptop will become your personal power station. We use a small travel adapter (adapters don't change the voltage, a bulky TRANSFORMER would be needed to convert the power) and use our dual voltage laptop to charge our cell phone, camera, I-pod and the like via USB cords. Cool, eh?

Packing for South America - Roll your clothes!

Veronica's packing secret: Roll clothes!

By rolling clothes and setting them vertically in the suitcase, the ability to see everything packed is achieved! No more unpacking to find things!

Two-quart zip-lock plastic baggies filled with bathing suits and undergarments go in the upper compartment (once packed, sit on them to squeeze all of the air out) with shoes. Keeps stuff separated and clean. We brought extra large plastic zip bags for dirty/wet clothes.

Learn more about how we pack and our always-adhered-to "One Trip Rule"!

What we wore on the plane:
We experienced a huge range of climate variation on our trip, from islands on the equator to chilly nights two miles high in the Andes, so we had a few hours of discomfort at the beginning of the trip by wearing WAY too many layers. And our coats!

By wearing our bulky stuff we make more room in our luggage. Later in the trip, coats and sweaters make great extra blankets/pillows on airplanes/buses/trains and can be draped over luggage, affixed to backpacks or tied around our waists when we don't need them. We always bring a blow-up neck pillow too - nothing like a sore neck to ruin a long distance trip!

Underwater camera practice!

Most exciting! We're now the proud owners of underwater camera gear! We had a chance to snorkel (with turtles and penguins and sea lions!) in The Galapagos Islands.

Don't forget to watch the video above to see how we "trained" for capturing underwater moments!

David & Veronica,

Click here to see our South American live-blog!

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