This female packing list for Argentina was submitted by Morin.
Argentina is a vast country, known as the eighth largest in the world. Given the great diversity in its geographical features, the country has a tremendous variety of terrains, climates and cultures.
Argentina is also referred to as the land of six continents; the northern region of Chaco, the Pampas, the northwest plateaus, Mesopotamia, the plateaus of Patagonia and the Andes. While the north has subtropical weather with hot-dry summers and mild winters, towards the south in Patagonia the winter can be extremely cold, with heavy snowfall in some areas and warm summers. Buenos Aires and the central region however, has a temperate climate, with high humidity and rain that seems to occur every few days no matter the time of year.
With this diverse weather and varied terrain it’s pretty challenging to squeeze all your essentials into one single bag. Spending 3 months backpacking through the country (during summertime), I found myself indulging in the urban pleasures of Buenos Aires one minute and heading south toward the beautiful glacier landscapes of Patagonia the next.
With all that said, be sure to pack in season and check the region’s weather forecast before you travel. Remember also that the seasons in Argentina are opposite to that of the northern hemisphere—summer lasts from December to February, autumn is March to May, winter is June to August, and spring is September to November. So the best bet is to dress in layers, and if you’re heading for a long term trip consider packing for at least two or three, if not all four different seasons.
Argentina, and especially Buenos Aires, is very fashionable and trendy, with a vibrant artisan culture. You can find beautiful and inexpensive clothes, shoes, jewelers and accessories almost everywhere you go. So a good option is to pack less and purchase some items when you’re there (especially if you start your trip in Buenos Aires).
1-2 pairs of jeans – Take casual day jeans or pants which can be worn day or night.
6-8 tops – T-shirts/summer tops and smarter blouses. If you’re first stop is Buenos Aires you can also buy stylish/basic tops in really good prices there. Remember to dress in layers, so instead of thick tops take several thinner ones and a few long sleeve T-shirts or cardigans for the cool evenings.
1-2 summer dresses and/or skirts – Pack these if you’re traveling during summertime. It’s so hot and humid, especially in Buenos Aires and the central region, so you’re going to need a few light and airy items.
Leggings – These are a great option for both long train and plane journeys and as a versatile item that can be dressed up or down.
“Going-out clothes” – Buenos Aires is a modern, stylish city with nightclubs and fancy restaurants. Chances are you’ll need to dress up once in a while. The perfect travel item for these kinds of occasions is a classic black dress or a colorful summer dress. In addition you’ll have jeans that can be coupled with a blouse for evening wear.
Coat/waterproof jacket – A lightweight fold-away coat to protect you from rain and add to your layered clothing.
1 fleece sweatshirt/sweater – For Patagonia and if you’re traveling during winter. If you’re going to Patagonia, you better bring a high-quality insulating layer. Another option which can save you some space in your backpack is to simply rent an insulating sweater/jacket or even trousers when you’re there.
Underwear – 2 bras, 6-8 pairs of underwear and socks.
Beach wear – shorts and bathing suit.
Flip-flops – Great for the beach and the shower.
Walking shoes/hiking boots – Essential for winter and if you’re into hiking and going up all the rugged mountainous terrain.
Sandals/flats – Comfortable but stylish sandals that can be worn night or day.
Toiletries and Medicines
Medicine – Because of the ever changing weather you might need anti-allergy medications, so stock up before you travel.
Eye mask and silicone earplugs.
Sunscreen is essential, of course. You can buy sun screen in Argentina but it is quite expensive and may not be available in rural areas. For the face I usually use L’Oreal or Maybelline BB cream (all-in-one ‘blemish balm’).
Feminine hygiene products are available but options are limited. If you favor a particular brand, stock up.
Bug spray/Insect repellent – Beware of the mosquitos, especially during summertime!
Make-up – The basic products (optional) and of course makeup remover wipes.
Scarf/ shawl – Very useful for chill evenings out and bus rides.
Warm hat for winter
Handbag – Nothing too fancy in order to not draw attention. (Try this Travelon bag)
An umbrella is essential – Sudden showers are not unheard of also in the summer so take either an umbrella or plastic, fold-away raincoat.
1-2 Books or magazines – For the long bus rides and flights. (Or try a Kindle)
Take locks for your backpack.
Flashlight – From my experience, you’ll never know when you need it. (A headlamp also proves useful.)
Money belt – I use it especially when I’m on the road going from one place to another. Although I didn’t have any trouble with theft, I would recommend travelers to be cautious and keep their money/any valuable belongings on them while in transit.
iPhone + headphones – Great for listening to music/audiobooks on the road and of course staying connected. Wi-Fi is available in many coffee shops, restaurants and hostels around Argentina.
Batteries and any necessary chargers.
The voltage in Argentina is 220VW which is different from the USA so bring an adapter plug or converter.
Finally, two more tips I would like to suggest:
1. Download a language app (like “Talk to me cloud”) or a tourist dictionary app. Many Argentinians do know English but are not so eager to speak it. So a good app will help you manage around Argentina much easily and learn faster the basics of Spanish. (Check out these language tools.)
2. In Argentina there is a difference between the “official dollar” and the “blue dollar”. There’s a great demand for dollars in the country and tourists can get much better rates in the ‘blue price’ than the official exchange rates. So the best thing for travelers is to take a good amount of dollars and exchange them into pesos in the black market.
Well, I think that’s about it! I manage to fit all of this, plus my laptop, in my 50 liter backpack. Have fun and buen viaje!
>> Check out this packing list for South America, or this packing list for Chile, for more packing inspiration.
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About the author: Morin is a digital nomad traveler, always dreaming of her next adventure. She is an SEO & social media professional, and a blogger at indietavel– a blog where she and her boyfriend document their RTW journeys and share their travel tips, philosophy and photography. Now she is still on the road in Argentina and will visit Uruguay, Peru and Bolivia next. To keep up to date with Morin you can visit indietravel or follow her on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.
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Joella J (J in Beijing) says
Great packing list. I was in Argentina in 2007 (agh seems ages ago now!). I had been living/travelling in a warmer climate until then so I had to buy a winter coat for Patagonia. I actually still have and wear it now, so it wasn’t a wasted purchase!
I’m Argentinian, and since this article was written in 2014 I would like to provide a little update: “Blue dollars” don’t exist anymore, so now there is only one exchange rate.
Thank you Martina, I have been looking at the “Blue Dollars” for our recent trip. This helps. Cheers!
Lucky Vela says
Thank you! The clothing list was very helpful. I am headed to Argentina March 2018 and will spend about about 7 days in Patagonia and the rest (3 weeks) in Buenos Aires. Since I am only taking one bag, I agree that layering for two climates works best (puffy jacket, merino wool layer, rain jacket, gloves, beanie, and wool socks, all packable, and hopefully sufficient for that cold blustery, rainy weather. I do have one concern: I will be taking economy on domestic airlines, and am finding their carry-on rules very tight: one bag, 7 kilos limit, and specific luggage sizes. Since I still looking for that one travel bag, do you have any recommendations for suitcase style backpacks that would meet the strict one bag allowance for the So. American domestic airlines, perhaps total 32L – 35L size?
mary ann martin says
Would like to see your list if we were taking a 2-week cruise. starting in Buenos Aires
and traveling around to Chile and back to Buenos Aires Lots of people feel safer on a cruise
and doing their excursions.
I have traveled to 30 countries, so not a beginner. And I have all these little nick nacks. What I want to see is exactly how many days clothes you put in that little bag and what you wear each day, how often you have to find a laundry mat and what if it just doesn’t feel right of that day. I am in Uruguay today, struggled to find the laundry mat and have to leave it with her for a day. But just about out of clean clothes. . Or my co worker who only took one pants to Japan, split the butt out and at his 5’9” 200 lbs, could not find pants big enough in Japan.
There are tons of scenarios where, just having three identical outfits just is not going to work. Also, getting older and putting pounds on my back is a struggle. I take a lot and while dragging around the wheels can be a bummer, I don’t see how I can do it lighter. Please show me what your actually doing, please.