Things Not to Pack

  1. Your iPhone. It takes away from your experience–being unconnected on the weekends was great for me–and you very well might lose it if you bring it.
  2. Shorts. Either there will be bugs or it will be cold. Bring rain pants instead. More importantly, wearing shorts is not a part of the culture–I honestly cannot think of a single Ecuadorian friend who wears shorts–and, for girls, will bring unwanted attention.
  3. Bug spray. Okay, don’t actually believe me on this one or you might get bitten to death, however, I have never needed it–I spent four days in Yasuni National Park in the amazon rainforest and despite wearing no bug spray, was bitten only once, and that being solely because I was too busy photographing a Pygmy Monkey to brush off a mosquito that landed on my hand. It really has not been a problem at all for me, despite traveling to all corners of the country. No promises, though. You should pack a lot anyway, in case the mosquitoes show up!
  4. Malaria medication. Bug spray might be necessary in some cases, but in my unprofessional opinion I have gathered that no one should bring Malaria medication. Available Malaria-prevention drugs have potentially harmful side effects, and from what I have heard, Malaria is very rare and nearly eradicated from the country. Sometimes benefits outweigh the very small risk from not taking it. Consult your doctor.
  5. Considering not getting your Yellow Fever vaccination before coming, if it is not covered by your health insurance like it was for me. If it is expensive for you to get in the states, consider that it may be worthwhile to stop in Quito and get it for $15. The savings might make it worth the inconvenience.
  6. Anything common that you have to go out and buy and don’t already own. It can probably found for a lot cheaper here. For example, a scarf or hat, shampoo, soap, bro tank, etc. You’ll want to go to the market anyway for the experience, and buying a sweater will help your wallet and the local vendors’.
  7. Snacks. A lot of people suggest packing Costco quantities of snacks, but (1) it will disappear super fast, (2) street food and snack food is delicious, cheap, and abundant here and (3) it will cost you more and take space in your bag.
  8. Ecuadorian currency. Other than coins, the Ecuadorian Sucre is no longer valid as of the 1999 economic crisis and subsequent dolarization in 2000. I sure hope you already knew this if you’re planning a trip, but this is something to look forward to!
  9. Charger adapter. I’d recommend not bringing your phone or laptop anyway. Leaving my technology at home in Quito when I travel has enriched my experience. If you must bring something that needs charging, the outlets here are the same at the U.S. standard! Don’t bother with those silly adapters that you need in most countries.
  10. Expensive stuff. Jewelry, expensive clothes, etc. You could lose it on the bus, forget it somewhere, or have it stolen. Folks here are very friendly, but the occasional person who needs money more than you do will be tempted by that expensive watch you just set down on the counter. Don’t risk it. The exception would be a camera or binoculars–there’s no living without those! And robbery other than pick-pocketing is extremely rare as long as you avoid sketchy areas at night, so unless you keep your $1000 camera in your back pocket…

Remember, traveling as light as possible makes for a better experience. Another tip, don’t forget to bring copies of your passport. You will want to pack a camera, extra batteries, sunscreen, any kind of medication you need, anything technologically advanced or not manufactured in Ecuador (imported items are very expensive), a journal, an eye mask, a travel clock, good hiking shoes, warm clothes, rain jacket, lots of extra plastic bags, etc. Cheers! Enjoy your trip.

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