"He who would travel happily must travel light." - Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Lugging a heavy pack or suitcase around for the entire time we are in Argentina will be extremely tiresome for you, and for the rest of the group. There will be plenty of times when we'll be traveling around and we don't want to end up like this.
Since you will be responsible for carrying your own luggage, seriously challenge yourself to pack light. An old traveler's trick is to put out everything you think you need, then pack half of it and return the rest to your closet. Then, carry your bag around your house for 15 minutes to make sure you are able to easily carry it by yourself. If not, take some more items out! Remember, you will be able to purchase anything you forget in Argentina. And, you will most likely want to leave some extra room in your bag so you can bring home small souvenirs or gifts you may buy during your travels.
A NOTE ON DRESS: We will be visitors in Argentina and we will strive to be respectful of our hosts at all times. This means that the clothing and the way we dress may be different and more conservative than what we are used to at home. While Buenos Aires is deservedly known as a very fashionable city, the country is also 90% Roman Catholic and very traditional in values, and we should do all we can to lessen the unfortunately widespread Hollywood stereotype of flashy, promiscuous young Americans.
So, when packing please do not bring tank tops, sleeveless shirts, pants that come too high above your ankle (i.e. shorts, short skirts, mid calf capris), low-cut shirts, T-shirts sporting inappropriate phrases, cut-off jeans, clothing with rips or holes, tight fitting clothing, etc.
By dressing in loose fitting clothing that covers your legs and shoulders, you are being respectful to the local culture as well as protecting your safety, as inappropriate clothes draw more attention to you. In addition, you are protecting your skin from the sun.
• Internal Frame Backpack or Suitcase - Your main "suitcase" should be comfortable, durable, and as light as possible. Make sure it is easy for you to carry, as you are responsible for your luggage.
• Daypack - A small, light backpack for day trips. This should also be your carry-on bag.
• Ziploc Bags - These can be invaluable for keeping things organized and dry.
• Plastic Bags - This is good for any wet and/or dirty clothes.
IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS AND MONEY
• Passport - Valid for at least 6 months from the beginning of your program.
• Visa - US Passport holders do not require a visa to visit Argentina.
• Photocopy of Passport - to be stored apart from your original passport.
• Spending Money - This, of course, depends a great deal on your personal spending/shopping habits. Personal spending money is usually used to buy extra snacks and souvenirs. In our experience, some people spend well less than $100, while others spend well over $500. We suggest bringing at least $100 in cash in a mix of $20 and $50 denominations. ATM cards can be used in some of our destinations though the machines are often not as reliable as they are in the US and they will probably charge you a big fee. Also, note that "Cash Gift Cards" (available at some banks and through American Express) do not always work at ATMs or money exchange bureaus.
• Money Belt - A very important item to wear daily, under your clothes, safely hiding your passport, money, etc. A passport-sized neck pouch can serve the same purpose.
• Water Bottle - Please bring one, one-quart, metal or plastic bottle to minimize use of disposable plastic water bottles.
• Very Small Flashlight or Head Lamp and Batteries - Flashlights are okay, but headlamps can be more convenient.
• Alarm Clock/Watch - Travel-size, to make sure you are up on time! This should not be a cell phone.
• Umbrella - A lightweight, compact travel umbrella can serve you well in rain or shine.
• Towel -Small to medium size (and ideally fast-drying).
• Rain Coat, Light Poncho, or Light Waterproof Jacket
• Light Sweater or Fleece
• 4-5 T-Shirts
• 1-3 Lightweight Long-Sleeve Shirts
• 1 Nice Shirt/Blouse - This is for special occasions (i.e. evening cultural programs)
• 2 Lightweight Pants - Comfortable and not too tight fitting.
• Skirt/ Dress - Ankle-length skirt or dress with long sleeves. This is not necessary though it is a good idea for women.
• 5 Pairs of Socks
• 5 Pair of Underwear - Plus bras for females
• Bathing Suit - Adult supervised swimming may be a option at times if your leaders/chaperones approve, so be prepared.
• Comfortable Walking Shoes or Sneakers - Durable and comfortable, for daily wear.
• Sandals, Flip-flops, or Crocs - Make sure these are comfortable and good for walking.
• Visor/Sunhat - for sun protection
TOILETRIES (Just the basics! No hair driers, hot irons, etc.)
• Toothbrush & Toothpaste
• Hair brush/Comb
• Sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher)
• Lip Protection
• Glasses/Contacts/Contact Solution - Bring extra pairs of glasses and contact lenses.
• Purell - A small bottle of anti-bacterial hand gel or anti-bacterial hand-wipes.
• Insect Repellent (non-aerosol)
• Pads/Tampons - Bring enough for the duration of the program.
PLEASE NOTE: Any toiletries that you would like to bring in your carry-on luggage need to be 3oz or less and need to be stored in a quart-sized clear plastic bag.
• Prescription Medications - Make sure to keep any medications or vitamins in their original containers and bring enough for the entire duration of your program. Also, bring a paper copy of your prescription from your doctor in case you lose your medication. Travel with all essential medications in your carry-on luggage.
• Other Medicine - We will have a group first aid kit, but please bring the medication you normally use for minor ailments like body aches and upset stomachs.
• Book - Ideally about Argentina (we can swap around to minimize weight)
• Camera and Charger - You should bring an extra camera battery and memory card. Remember to pack your camera charger! You can also bring your Camera USB Cord - This will allow you to plug your camera into a computer to post pictures onto the group blog.
• Electrical Converter and Adapter
Electrical Converter - The electricity in Argentina is 220-240 volts, while the United States uses 110-120 volts. If you try to plug an American appliance into an outlet of a different voltage, you may destroy the appliance and cause yourself injury. Check your appliances (i.e. camera charger) to make sure they are dual voltage, which means they will work on 220-240 volts without a converter. If the symbol 110/220 is present on the device then it has dual voltage capabilities. If it does not, then you will need to purchase a converter to change the 220-240 volt electricity into 110-120 volt electricity in order to use your US device in Argentina.
Electrical Adapter -Outlet types vary in Argentina and are not the same as those found in the US. You may wish to bring a universal converter/adapter to be sure your device will work during your travels.
• Bandana - These can serve multiple useful functions while traveling.
• Duct Tape - Wrap some around your water bottle and take it off when you need it. Comes in handy in surprising ways.
• Playing Cards - Just for fun!
• Small Extra Duffel Bag - While you will want to be able to fit all of your things in a backpack and daypack, an extra duffel bag can be handy for the trip back to the U.S (for any new purchases). This bag should be nylon and durable.
• Swiss Army Knife - Pack this in your checked luggage, not in your carry-on bag.
• Stuff Sacks - Lightweight and compact sacks bring order to your packing as they allow you to separate your belongings (i.e. clothes, food, toiletries). You can get away with Ziplocs.
PLEASE LEAVE CELL PHONES AND LAPTOPS AT HOME: As Global LAB's programs emphasize cultural immersion, possession of personal cell phones or smart phones (e.g. iPhones) is strongly discouraged. Personal cell/smart phones are conducive to distraction, detraction, and divisiveness: they distract from the cultural immersion experience by a perpetual connectivity to friends/family back home; they detract from appreciating the immediacy of the moment and hinder understanding/interaction with local cultures; and they can create divisiveness between students who possess them and those who do not, negatively affecting group dynamics. In addition, near-constant contact with family/friends often has the unintended consequence of stirring significant home-sickness.
Students will be able to make calls from phone shops using their spending money and can access the Internet from Internet cafes where the computers are provided.
Global LAB's Program Leaders and Local Coordinators carry cell phones with them 24/7, so the group can, if necessary, be in touch with the USA at any time in the event of an emergency.
A NOTE ABOUT WATER: A water filter and/or purification devices/tablets are not needed. Tap water in Argentina is considered safe to drink and purified water is also widely available.
ONE LAST THING TO PACK: There's one more crucial element that you need to bring aside from what's on the packing list: AN OPEN MIND. You will take part in new and different experiences every step of the way, many of which may take you outside of your comfort zone. Having an open mind is essential to making this experience all that it can be for yourself and the group as a whole.