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January 15th, 2006

As it turns out, packing 6 months worth of stuff into 2 suitcases is hard. It took me 2 days to get everything together.

Some general packing tips a la my mom:
-Put the heavy stuff on the bottom. (where the wheels are, not the bottom while you’re packing)
-Put anything that may leak or break in a plastic bag for damage control.
-Also put your underwear in plastic bags, as strange men may have to finger them as they go through your suitcase.
-Roll your clothes instead of folding them.
-If you’re taking more than one suitcase, makes sure you separate your clothes enough that you have complete outfits in both suitcases, in case they lose one.
-Put anything breakable in the middle, so it’s padded by clothes on both sides.
-Roll your socks and put them in your shoes.
-Put anything you don’t want to get wrinkled on top.
-Finally, fold all the straps on clothes inward, so that if security has to go through the suitcase, they won’t accidentally get the straps caught in the zipper

For me, I first had to figure out which clothes to bring. On the advice of past students, I took twice as many short sleeve shirts as long sleeve shirts. I also took lots of skirts, but only one pair of shorts for hiking. On the advice of my program pamphlets, I brought enough toiletries to last for my entire stay in Costa Rica.

For my carry-on, I have a lot of paperwork. I have lists of all the contact numbers I could possibly need the day I fly. I have all my medical documentation, and all my school documentation. I have my letter of acceptance from UNA, to show the customs officials as a reason for my visit. I have my plane tickets, my passport, and my driver’s license. I organized all of this in an expandable file. If I lose that file, my identity will be stolen before I can even blink.

I also brought some really cool stuff. I brought a 160 gram frisbee (the perfect weight) because I can’t live 6 months without it. I brought a headlamp for hiking, even though my program guide suggested a flashlight. I brought my neti pot, as I hear there are generally more allergy concerns down south than up north, which makes sense when you take into account how biodiverse Costa Rica is.

By far, the coolest thing I brought is my brand new Hennessy expedition camping hammock. I’ve wanted one of these for months, and a trip to Costa Rica is the perfect excuse. I mean, this thing is waaay cool. It’s only 2.5 lbs, fits neatly into a small stuffbag, and takes under 5 minutes to set up. It completely replaces a tent. It has no seeum netting, and a rain fly, making it ideal for mosquito infested rain forests. Just think: no more sleeping uncomfortably on the ground, no more waking up soaking in the middle of the night, and no more mosquito bites! I’m completely psyched to try it out, so you can be sure you’ll hear a review of it soon.

Countdown: 1 more day! I can’t wait, I’m getting really excited!

4 Responses to “Packing”

  1. Anna on January 15, 2006 9:56 pm

    Hi Christin,

    I am so excited for your trip! You are going to have an awesome time! I spent 7 months in Heredia last year and it was the best experience of my life. If you have any questions or want any tips about Heredia, you can email me at ajb543@yahoo.com.

    Buen viaje,

    P.S. You can use your ATM card (if it is one of the common ones) to withdraw colones from a cash machine.

  2. jack-a-roe on January 23, 2006 8:19 pm


    Sounds like your trip will be a lot of fun! I am very excited for you and can’t wait to read more of your entries. Keep up the good work

    And as they say round these parts…

    fi yani be,

  3. Nic on August 21, 2007 9:41 pm

    How did the hammock work out?

    We’re going to be camping in Costa Rica this year. What kind of stove/lantern did you take?Where did you buy fuel?

    What was the best camping experience? How bad are the bugs in December/January?

    Thanks! Nic

  4. Tim on August 22, 2007 8:08 am

    I kind of doubt you will get a reply.

    She has long since returned to the USA, moved to New York, and gotten engaged.. but who knows?

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