Friday, June 18, 2010

What and How to Pack – Argentina

Argentina possesses a variety of environments and activities, from the tropical reaches of the northwestern wine country to the urban chic and nightlife of Buenos Aires, to the majestic and largely unspoiled wilderness of the Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego regions in the south. Packing well will help you to get the most out of your trip and not leave you scrambling to find something you need in a foreign country.

• Bring copies of prescriptions of any medications being taken as well as any pertinent travel-insurance documents.

• If you are visiting during the Argentine spring or fall, long sleeves and light jackets are a prudent choice. Consider bringing some cooler clothing as well. During the Argentine summer, most areas of the country are hot and humid, so cooler clothing is the norm. Anyone visiting the Andean region should bring along warm clothing and jackets for that leg of the trip, regardless of the time of year. Argentines tend to dress more formally than people from the United States. Men tend to wear slacks or jeans rather than shorts, and women tend to wear skirts rather than pants or shorts. In general, the more rural or provincial the area is, the more conservative the dress will be.

• Pack a sturdy pair of hiking shoes or boots if visits outside of Buenos Aires are planned, as they often include hikes. Dancing shoes are a must for anyone visiting Buenos Aires, the birthplace of tango and a city renowned for its nightlife.

• Credit cards are widely, but not universally, accepted in Argentina, especially in urban areas. While Visa and MasterCard are the most widely accepted, more establishments are starting to accept American Express. Leave any other credit cards at home. ATM cards from the major networks are usable in most cities, although the selection of ATMs may be limited. Leave traveler's checks at home, as most places won't accept them in Buenos Aires. Outside of Buenos Aires, even banks won't exchange them.

• A digital camera for picture-taking is a must. While film is widely available in Buenos Aires, decent film outside of the capitol can be harder and pricier to find.

• Bring guidebooks to Argentina, one that focuses on Argentina on the cheap and one that caters more to the upscale.

• A Spanish phrasebook that focuses on the voseo dialect used in Argentina will come in handy when trying to read maps or signs and conversing with the natives.

• Pack a headset for making Internet phone calls via Skype or other VOIP phone service.