Tips from Alumni to Help Pack Light and Travel Smart

Good work gloves are a MUST!

Good work gloves are a MUST!

If you’re signed-up to ship-out this summer with AFAR to Belize, Spain, Portugal or Greece, you already have the official packing list to prepare you for fieldwork.  But those in the know will tell you, there are certain essentials you’ll want to make room for – and a few things you may want to leave behind. 

 We reached out to AFAR veterans and alumni to ask them “what’s the one thing to bring?” besides your passport (duh!).

 “Cash for candy and small souvenirs,” says Claire Oosterhouse, AFAR ‘14/15.  When you’re walking back to the hotel in Belize there’s a small store.  “I ate a Snickers Bar every day for a dollar.”

 For times when you’re not onsite at the project there’s downtime, and Henry Jamison, AFAR ’18 says, “I bring a Frisbee and a deck of cards.”

 Sweat, combined with chemicals like sunscreen and bug spray can cause skin irritation.  Burke Roberts, AFAR ‘15/16/’17 says he always packs a BIG bottle of baby powder.

“Definitely pack a swim suit for the excursion in Belize,” says Hannah Wolter, AFAR ‘13/‘14/15. 

 “Your favorite snacks,” says H. Strachan, AFAR ’11-15, who always loaded up on his favorites.

 Sunscreen is available and abundant, but take a tip from River Hamme, AFAR ’16,’17,’18 “I bring a brand of sunscreen I’m used to so it doesn’t irritate my skin.”  He also has a tip for a good night’s sleep – “Pack a small electric fan for your room to keep you cool at night.”

 As far as field fashion goes, forget about style.  Here’s a round-up of suggestions from several former students:

Hannah Wolter’s backflip off a boulder in Belize.

Hannah Wolter’s backflip off a boulder in Belize.

·      Loose fitting pants with pockets – dry fit if possible

·      Sunglasses - it get bright out there!

·      A wide brim hat to keep sun off your neck

·      Spare plastic bags – zip lock, grocery store – all good for wet items

·      Dry fit shirts instead of cotton tees to keep you cool

·      A great pair of leather gloves to save your hands

·      Light weight rain jacket

·      A light-weight sweatshirt for cool mornings – especially in Zorita. 

And here’s the top tips for what NOT to bring…

·      Anything nice – nothing you will do will require a dress or a button-down shirt.

·      For girls, leave the full make-up bag behind.  A nice tinted moisturizer will do.

·      Too many electronics – you won’t need screen time with so much to do and see

Sherri Johnson