What to Pack for an Extended International Trip

Phew, I’m back from Costa Rica! I still have at least one more post about things I did while there, but as I just finished unpacking, today I thought I’d share a revised list of what I actually used/found useful for this trip as several people have expressed interest.

Becky’s 3 Month Costa Rica Wildlife Volunteering Pack List

Carry on or on person:

  • Passport
  • Cash + cards
  • Chapstick
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Black shoes (worn)
  • Hoodie (worn)
  • Capri pants and teeshirt (worn)
  • Phone + charger
  • Kindle + charger
  • Laptop + case
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, floss
  • Tiny bottle ibuprofin
  • Printed directions to Wild Sun
  • Printed version of this list
  • Printed sheet of phone numbers in case of emergency

Everything laid out

Checked backpack

Not clothes:

  • Copies of passport
  • Orientation guide for Wild Sun
  • Headlamp
  • Bug spray
  • Sunscreen
  • Basic jewelry
  • Nail clippers
  • Beach towel
  • Washcloth
  • Sunglasses with case
  • Floppy hat
  • Brown sandals
  • Toe shoes
  • Green Rain jacket
  • Laptop charger
  • Travel shampoo
  • Travel soap
  • Travel conditioner
  • Mini tripod
  • Blue mesh bag
  • Small lock
  • Ear plugs
  • Practice poi
  • Pod poi
  • Fire poi (bagged)
  • Feminine supplies

Close up #1


  • Three tanktops
  • Four old teeshirts (for volunteering and surf coverup)
  • Two old shorts (for volunteering)
  • Gray capri pants (for volunteering)
  • Swimsuit
  • Surf shorts
  • Two pajama shorts
  • Jean shorts
  • Khaki shorts
  • Fire safe performance pants (for poi)
  • Fire safe performance top (for poi)
  • Five bras (two sports/three regular)
  • As many pairs of socks and underwear as will fit*

*I did not have as many as I would have liked!

Close up #2

Listed like this it looks like a lot of stuff, but actually I was one of the lightest packed people at Wild Sun. I came back with only one pair of shoes, the toe shoes got ruined surfing and the black shoes got ruined from volunteering (both were really old though and I went in expecting this to be their last hurrah). Overall, I had a pretty good handle on what I needed for this trip and consider my packing quite successful for my first such adventure!

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At IO I teach people how to ditch the status quo and travel full-time before retirement, and share stories of my adventures (and misadventures) to inspire future nomads and armchair travelers alike. Included at no additional charge: seizing your dreams, living boldly, and making a difference.


  1. amycoz on June 19, 2019 at 9:57 am

    Love all of these fabulous suggestions. I can tell you’re a true traveler babe

  2. Philip Roll on June 5, 2019 at 4:45 am

    Foe those of us not as health as you, they must be sure to include any medication in their carry on. This is one of the better lists I have seen. Thanks

    • Becky on June 11, 2019 at 9:57 pm

      A very good point Philip. Glad you enjoyed this!

  3. Ava on June 3, 2019 at 12:25 pm

    I look at how minimally people who travel with one bag pack for a long trip and I am always amazed. And then I think about what I use from day-to-day and how 90% of my “stuff” just takes up space. Glad to see you back safe and sound.
    Ava recently posted..Freddy Fender Museum is Just One of the Museums of San BenitoMy Profile

    • Becky on June 3, 2019 at 4:23 pm

      And I thought I’d done really well, but then the friend I traveled from Wild Sun back to San Jose with had just a carry on size bag… and he’d been in the country for 6 months!

      • Sharvo on June 11, 2019 at 7:49 am

        So much easier for guys.

        • Becky on June 11, 2019 at 9:57 pm

          He also was here last winter and left some stuff behind from that trip so he didn’t need to bring as much this time. So, he kinda cheated. 😉

  4. Mary on June 3, 2019 at 9:05 am

    Thanks for all of your posts about this trip. How exciting! Also great information about what you packed. I look forward to hearing more about your future adventures. Greetings from Wisconsin.

    • Becky on June 3, 2019 at 4:20 pm

      Thanks for following along on the adventure Mary, glad you enjoyed this!

  5. Y Knowles on June 3, 2019 at 6:26 am

    I hope you had a great time! My daughter just came back from there (other side of the country). She was with her university class studying sea turtles. She ended up not wearing her shorts and wore her long pants the whole time due to mosquitoes. Did you have many mosquitos?

    • Becky on June 3, 2019 at 4:20 pm

      For as long as dry season lasted there were no mosquitoes at all, the last few weeks when the rains came there were some, but nothing like early summer in Wisconsin where I grew up. But I was on the Nicoya Penninsula, the driest part of Costa Rica. I imagine wetter regions get more of them.

  6. Jay Dee on June 3, 2019 at 4:18 am

    I stumbled upon BS’ blog many month ago. Still one of the best in the RV/ Full Time-Travel genre.

    Stop perving WANDXR BUS and buy her books, people!!!! I did…..and I RARELY buy people’s books. LOL They are worth every dime.

    • Becky on June 3, 2019 at 4:18 pm

      Thanks for the kind words Jay and I’m glad you’re enjoying my books/blog. 🙂

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