WHAT TO PACK FOR YOUR NEXT TRIP TO ECUADOR
If you have an upcoming trip to Ecuador and you’re struggling on what to pack + how to pack efficiently this blog is for you! I traveled to the cities of Quito and Banos, in September 2021 and definitely did NOT pack correctly for this trip LOL. I packed efficiently in just a carry on duffel rolling suitcase, but totally had the wrong clothes for the two different climates experienced. Short dresses, tank tops, lightweight cardigans, sandals, and thin pants lined my suitcase. And I was shivering from arrival to departure. I felt ridiculously silly walking amongst locals in winter jackets, hats, gloves and scarves with my short black dress trying to hold onto any heat in my ripped jean jacket. Nice one Raqhelle!
This trip was 4 days and I still had enough room in my suitcase to add souvenirs like scarves and even a huge alpaca poncho to keep me warm. First things first, mastering how to pack your clothes in a carryon can save you checked baggage fees, limit the risk for your bags to get lost, and avoids you from lugging around a 50lb checked bag. I’ve experienced it all. I promise you, trying to roll a 50lb suitcase across heavy traffic with uneven cobblestone streets is just embarrassing in itself. Not to mention a lot of the cars in Latin America are a lot smaller than cars in the United States. Learning how to pack efficiently can save you a lot of hassle so check out my top travel tips below:
RAQHELLE’S TOP 8 PACKING TIPS
- Remember that the majority of non-budget airlines allow one personal item in addition to your carry-on suitcase. You can bring up to a 20'' carry-on suitcase or duffel suitcase. Your personal item can include a large backpack, duffel bag, tote purse, or weekender bag. This allows you to pack even more items for free.
- Save space by rolling up your clothes instead of folding them. You’ll be able to tightly roll any piece of clothing to allow for more space.
- Use packing cubes. The mystery behind how many outfits you can fit in just 3 packing cubes baffles me! Plus packing cubes help a ton with organization. The packing cube packs usually come with a small, medium, and large cube with additional laundry or cosmetic bags as well.
- Try to choose shoes and clothing pieces that are interchangeable between outfits or that can be worn twice. For example, a cardigan, pair of jeans, or bodysuit can all be worn, interchangeably between activities or a night out.
- Bring at least two back up outfits in case one of your primary outfits gets soiled, dirty, or rips! Because I do several activities on each day of my trip I usually try to pack two outfits per day.
- If you know you tend to overpack on your trips, reflect on your last trip that you took and be realistic. Ask yourself: what did I actually wear? What was more practical for my daily activities? What was more comfortable? Those stilettos may look like a great idea in your head, but in actuality after your first day you’ll quickly realize you’ll probably opt for a more comfortable pair.
- If you don’t already have a type A personality like me you may want to outline what outfits you would like to wear each day. Depending on your daily activities this will help you avoid over packing because you have specific outfits in mind for each day of the trip.
- Ready to pack? Lay every single piece of clothing, jewelry, bags, purses, gadgets, toiletries, hair items, etc. out onto your floor or on your bed. You’ll be able to see every item you are interested in packing and reflect on what you need the most. Then, separate out your necessities first. These are your absolute must haves that you need on your trip. Once you’ve chosen your necessities, you can start adding extra outfits or clothing items that you may deem practical, depending on your trip.
WHAT TO PACK FOR QUITO, ECUADOR
So what should you consider when packing for a fall Ecuador trip? I experienced two different climates in two different cities. Quito was extremely cold, windy, and cloudy. From the two photos below you can tell I was happy to have a long denim jacket to cover up my arms because this little ole black dress did nothing for me! I ended up purchasing one of their super soft handmade alpaca scarves to keep my neck warm.
If you plan to visit TeleferiQo, you will definitely need warmer clothes. TeleferiQo is a beautiful site that brings you up the east side of the Pichincha Volcano via a gondola ride, to see the lookout of Cruz Loma. Reaching the very top of the lookout will have your teeth chattering. Not to mention no one explained to me how light headed you can feel traveling throughout Quito due to the elevation levels. I was soon sick afterwards which was not fun after experiencing such an amazing view of the city. Learn from my lovely mistakes and arrive better prepared ;)
Take a look at some of my recommendations on how to pack for this weather and change in elevation:
- Bring a thin or thick jacket to your comfort level. Locals wore mostly bubble coats and jackets and treated it as their winter time. I would've sufficed with a regular jacket and scarf because nothing compares to Michigan winters but you may want a thicker coat or jacket to ensure you stay warm walking throughout the day. Or just buy a fluffy poncho like I did to stay warm and cozy!
- Lightweight sweaters
- Longsleeve shirts
- Jeans or comfortable pants for walking and exploring
- Sneakers or lightweight ankle walking boots. I would avoid sandals or flip flops due to the various hills and cobble stone streets. Comfortable walking shoes especially for some of the top sites in Quito will save your feet from some pain!
- A pair of lightweight mittens, a scarf, ear warmers and hat can help keep you warm while walking up to the Cruz Loma lookout.
- Crossbody purses, or backpacks and bags that are functional with lots of pockets.
- High altitude relief medicine or coca leaf tea will help tremendously with symptoms like headaches and nausea due to the elevation levels. Coming from Memphis, TN, the altitude hit me HARD and I wish I knew this ahead of time so I could have prepared better for hiking up city hills and gondola rides up the sides of volcanos LOL.
- Drink plenty of water while exploring the city. This isn't something that doesnt necessarily need to be packed, but a reminder can help alleviate symptoms of altitude sickness.
This is me below smiling wide while riding the gondola to the top of the lookout. Not even knowing whats shortly in store for me including freezing hands, ears, and blaring headaches. I was so happy to have a chai latte to warm me up in their cafe. Dress warm!
WHAT TO PACK FOR BANOS, ECUADOR
For our day trip to Banos, Ecudaor I actually was a little safe with what I had initially packed but it ended up raining the entire day so I was thankful I had brought a rain jacket. A lot of the thrilling and adventurous things to do in Ecuador couple with their numerous waterfalls, and lush green scenery. So what you wear can be detrimental to how you spend your time unless you are ready to risk it all for adventure. For example, since we were gunning for adventure, we wore athletic casual outfits and rain coats. As we walked along the busy streets, we ran into a tour company that conducted water canyoning experiences in Banos. Meaning us straddled to a single rope and careening down several waterfalls with a huge 40ft drop at the end to jump off of.....crazy right. I convinced my friends to go even though we didn't have any swimsuits with us. Because how could I not do something so exciting?! I mean a little dangerous....but exciting none the less!
Although the rain caused a nice relief from the hot weather, it was still pretty humid and hot. This was a huge difference from the cold weather in Quito but definitely more my vibe and more enjoyable even with the rain. It will probably rain more often in the Fall months so keep in mind packing items friendly for humidity and lots of sun.
- Rain jacket or rain poncho for the waterfall visits
- Athletic shorts and tops
- Baseball hat
- Swimsuit (for adventerous water activities like water canyoning!)
- Sneakers or gym shoes
- Extra change of clothes
RAQHELLE’S 13 TRAVEL MUST HAVES
Take a look at some of the top items outside of clothing that I consider bringing on my international trips. A lot of these items I have used repeatedly and don’t take up too much space in my carry-on bag or backpack!
- Clorox or Lysol wipes: helpful for the plane and using in public restrooms.
- Hand sanitizer
- Charmin mini toilet paper rolls
- Disposable toilet seat covers
- Mini Kleenex packets
- Tied stain remover pens
- Portable phone charger
- $10 Airplane phone holder mount to watch free entertainment on your phone
- $12 Airplane Footrest swing for extra leg stretching during your flight
- $13 Travel neck pillow
- $20 Inflatable travel pillow
- Travel size first aid kit
Ecuador was amazing to explore for a few days and I would definitely return....with better clothes next time!