What to Pack for a 3-Month Trip / by Erika Belavy

I recently spent 3 months travelling through South America. My first and most pressing question about this trip was: what do I pack?! I knew I would be living a variety of experiences, from hiking Machu Picchu to sun-bathing on the Galapagos Islands.

I also knew that I did NOT want to check my bag in, because when you're changing locations every few days, it would be a nightmare to lose my luggage! So I needed to be as concise as possible with my packing - bringing the fewest amount of items that would be versatile enough to be worn in various circumstances, while having everything in the same colour scheme overall. Layering would be key in colder climates.

Here is what I brought:


  • 1 light rain jacket
  • 1 warmer cardigan
  • 1 jumper
  • 3 tank top shirts
  • 3 plain, light t-shirts
  • 1 silk blouse
  • 2 dresses (one casual for the beach, one dressy for evening)
  • 1 pair yoga pants
  • 1 pair black leggings
  • 1 pair loose dressy black pants
  • 1 pair of shorts
  • 5 pairs Socks
  • 7 pairs of underwear
  • Pyjamas
  • 2 bikinis

Shoes /Accessories

  • 1 Large cross-body purse where I could fit my laptop, camera and use as a day bag
  • Jewelry + rings
  • 1 Scarf that matches with everything (best way to dress up an outfit!)
  • Small, cross-body purse (for going out) 
  • 1 pair Hiking boots
  • 1 pair flip flops
  • 1 pair black ballerina flats


  • Toiletry bag plus contents
  • Make-up
  • 1 face towel
  • 1 regular quick dry towel
  • 2x Suntan lotion
  • Insect repellent
  • Aspirins/meds/anti-diarrheal (MUST)
  • Travel blow dryer
  • Mini hair straightener
  • Mini travel size perfume


  • Canon DSLR camera +case
  • 2 x 16GB SD cards
  • 2 replacement batteries (you wouldn't want your camera to die while you're hiking up Inca ruins!)
  • Sigma 17 - 50 lens f/2.8 lens
  • 1 UV filter
  • 1 Hood cap
  • Lens cleaner cloth
  • 11″ Macbook Air + case
  • Chargers and cords


  • Sunglasses
  • Sewing kit
  • Mini first-aid kit
  • Cell phone
  • Travel Pillow
  • Lock
  • Notepad + pen
  • Wallet
  • Photocopies of documents
  • Passport
  • Itinerary

So there you have it! All these items managed to fit into one carry on bag, along with my larger purse where I kept my laptop and valuables. I am a big advocate for travelling carry-on, when possible. it saves the hassle of waiting for your bags at the airport, and all the trouble of the airline losing your luggage!