I like making lists, and thought this would be a fun one.
I tried really hard not to get sucked into buying a bunch of new stuff before traveling. I think it’s really easy to feel like you need a bunch of new, shiny, fancy stuff to embark on an adventure – so I tried to avoid that consumerism. Despite that, there were things I needed which I didn’t own and I definitely am not immune to the pull of new and shiny and ended up at REI more than once.
Things I actually needed to purchase prior to the trip:
Vaccines – $65
(I’ll likely get an insurance bill later, depending on what they cover)
I went to the travel clinic and got a typhoid shot, a Hepatitis A shot, and an official letter stating I wasn’t going to any areas in Ecuador that had Yellow Fever.
1 bottle of permethrin – $17
This is scary, poisonous bug spray you soak your clothes with prior to leaving and once it’s dry it deters skeeters.
Deet cream x 2 – $22
Turns out there’s tons of mosquitos in SE Asia, so adequate bug protection is key.
SteriPEN – $85
It’s typical for people to only use bottled water while traveling but in an effort to be as waste free as possible I opted for a SteriPEN so I can treat tap water in my Nalgene.
Over the counter meds – ~$30
Antacids, anti-diarrhea pills, ibuprofen, Benadryl, Airborne, anti-itch cream, peptobismol. I put together a small med kit just in case.
Z-pack – $20
Just in case antibiotics. Really hope I don’t have to use these.
Vietnam Visa – $25
This is a slightly different category, but it’s something I had to purchase before heading abroad.
Watch – $10
My watch died right before this trip and is totally necessary for everyday life.
Things I could have gotten away with without purchasing:
Nalgene x2 – $14
I lost my 1 liter Nalgene over Winter Break when I left it in the Valley of Fire visitor center. I made due without for a long time and then replaced it right before this trip and then left it in a restaurant in Ecuador on the second day, so I had to get a new one… again. I could have made due with another water bottle I owned, but the wide mouth, durability and liter capacity was important to me for this trip.
Thrift store tennis shoes – $25
My old tennies had holes in them, so I bought some ‘new’ ones so they’d last my whole trip.
Thrift store pants – $25
I managed to wear through my two favorite pairs of pants right before the trip, so I got some ‘new’ travel pants that I could both teach in and travel in.
Hat – $15
I really wanted a non-logoed hat to travel in to be neutral and less branded. My old hat had also been through the ringer and was looking ratty so I went for it and bought a super packable, lightweight five panel hat which was on sale (thanks, Abbott twins!)
Patagonia underwear x3 – $70
This one felt bad. Never did I ever think I’d spend more than $20 on a pair of underwear but a day before the trip I realized I only had cotton underwear. And wearing cotton for a month in hot, humid monsoon weather sounded bad. So I went for it and bought the nice underwear. I’m not proud, but I am comfy. (Since writing this I left one pair hanging to dry in the Dominican Republic. Ouch.)
Portable watercolor set – $23
I’ve been wanting to create more and I was gifted a sketchbook before the trip so I went for it and bought a fancy travel watercolor set while I was in New York. I figure I’ll have it for a long time, it’s tiny so I can bring it on outdoor outings in the future, and it has a brush that fills with water so you don’t need a bowl of water to start painting.
Snacks – $20
I bought a handful of trailmixes and Larabars for my +24hr travel day to avoid airport purchases. NYC is expensive.