Preparing for Ecuador Part 1: Packing List

Over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing a series of posts as I gear up to return to Ecuador in April. This is the first of that series.


How is it possible that I feel both more and less prepared for my trip to Ecuador this year? The time seems to be just flying by – It’s like I know what all I have to do, and even with 40 days left, there doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day to get it all done. I’m sewing way more for this trip than I did in 2013 – plus I’m visiting with an additional child. Which means my packing is a bit out of control… as witnessed by the luggage and ton of stuff to pack in the photo above. Gifts for 3 kids/families, gifts for the centers we visit, and my own clothes/toiletries means that my bags are filling fast. Right now, the plan is to check 2 bags on the way to Ecuador, and then stow one inside the other and just check a single bag on the way home. With my “two” carry-on bags (1 carryon & 1 personal item….aka the biggest laptop bag/backpack I could find) I’m looking at wrangling 4 bags through the airport. This should be fun. At least I’ve figured out how to hook two bags together so they’ll pull one behind the other.

Anyway, in an effort to keep track of what all I’m packing (besides my gifts…more on those later)- and because I’m always super curious about what other sponsors take on their visits, I thought I’d share part of my packing list and some notes as to where to find the not-so-basic items and why they’re worth the space in my luggage. Brace yourselves, this might be a long post.

I’ve broken my list down by category to help me keep track, and I’ve included some great packing checklist resources at the end. So, without further adieu, here we go:

My Clothing

  • 5 shirts
  • 4 pants
  • 1 dress
  • 3 pairs of shoes: tennis, Toms, & flip flops
  • 1 swim suit
  • 1 pair of pajamas
  • necessary underwear, undershirts, & socks
  • 2 jackets: rain & sweater
  • Ecuadorian Hat (Emily got me this the last time I visited, and I want to wear it again when I see her)


  • toothbrush, paste, & floss
  • razor
  • hairbrush
  • lice repelling shampoo (seriously worth the investment)
  • body wash
  • deodorant
  • makeup (minimum here, just taking: foundation, powder, eye shadow, and eye liner)
  • Chapstick
  • contact case
  • contact solution
  • 2 pairs extra contacts
  • glasses/case
  • face wipes
  • baby wipes
  • hair ties
  • travel-sized hair spray
  • lotion
  • nail clippers
  • nail file
  • tissues (because, when it comes to these trips, I’m a cryer)
  • straightening iron (I didn’t pack this last time, and wished I had, so I’m making room for it this year)
  • camper’s toilet paper (no toilet paper was provided at any of the stops we made in 2013, and I was so, so thankful to have packed this)
  • washcloths (most hotels do not provide washcloths – bath towels, yes. washcloths, no.)


  • Imodium
  • Melatonin
  • Dramamine
  • Tylenol
  • Headache Relief Extra Strength tablets (equate brand) – let me just say, altitude sickness is real. And it will knock you on your butt faster than anything. These headache pills saved me last time, they allowed me to function until my body could adjust. So yes, even though they contain aspirin, I will be taking them again.
  • allergy pills (probably generic Claritin)
  • sunscreen
  • bug spray
  • tweezers
  • bandages
  • sunglasses (2 pair because I cannot function without them – see headache pills)


  • laptop or tablet (haven’t decided which yet) & accompanying charger
  • phone & charger
  • headphones
  • notebook & 2-3 pens
  • 3 digital cameras for my sponsored kids (did this in 2013 and loved how I got to be present and they took all the photos)
  • lots and lots of AAA batteries for the digital cameras
  • key chain flashlight


  • passport
  • photocopy of passport
  • passport lanyard (I bought mine years ago, but this one is similar)
  • ID
  • Credit Card
  • Cash
  • vaccine chart
  • airplane tickets
  • trip guide book

Whew! I think that’s all of it other than the gifts I’m taking for my kids (which fill up the two checked bags already!). Honestly, it feels good to have it all listed out like that. The goal is to fit most of what’s listed here into one of the carryon bags, with the exception of the liquid items. If you’ve stuck with me this far, can you think of anything I might be missing?

Packing Resources

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