Adventure Planning: Last last minute shopping

Hopefully this post wont cause you to find my last post on last-minute shopping for our trip to Central America to be a bit dishonest, but having a full five days in suburban Florida before our departure date is a whole lot of time to think about all the things you might possibly need. We also discovered when we left Denver that we seemed to have packed lighter than usual, so we did what every good American would do and went on a little shopping spree to even out that load.

Here’s some absolutely last, and I mean last, minute things that you might not have thought to bring on your next adventure trip unless you had a full five days to think about it:

  • Traveler’s Checks: It’s part of the great travel debate these days whether or not these are really worth it, with the abundance of ATMs these days in big cities and the small number of places you can use TCs in rural areas. In the end, there’s just some piece of mind in having some of your dough in a slightly more secure format.
  • Phrase Books: I definitely can’t claim to be fluent in spanish, but I do know quite a bit and I originally thought my pocket spanish/english dictionary would do the trick. But the differences in dialect between New Mexico, Mexico and Central America can be pretty significant, so it seemed worthwhile to pick up a Lonely Planet phrasebook for Central America. Overkill? Maybe, especially since I plan to take language course in Antigua, this is really all about feeling confident and comfortable for our first few days, when we’re going to be quite tired and out of the flow.
  • Another Guide Book: Like I said, we’ve been hanging around the in-laws place in Florida for five days, giving me plenty of time to already read much of the Footprint Guide to Belize, Guatemala and Southern Mexico. I felt like I wanted to know more about Guatemala, and a friend had recommended the Rough Guide, so I figured it would be good reading material. I don’t advocate strict adherence to guide books when it comes to planning and conducting your adventures, but it never hurts to have info from as many sources as possible.
  • Decent batteries: Finding batteries when you need them in many places can be a real pain. Decent batteries are overpriced at resort areas, and the batteries you find in smaller towns are total crap that don’t last long in many electronic devices, not a good thing if you’re relying on your headlamp for an all-night guided volcano hike.
  • Contact solution: Tough to find outside major cities. Good to stock up a little bit.
  • Ear Plugs: The number of times I longed for these in unexpectedly loud hostels or buses and train rides. I finally remembered!
  • A New Digital SLR Camera: Many will chastise us for bringing an expensive camera along, but we’re hoping to actually sell some of these shots along with some travel writing, so it’s an important investment and we’ll need professional quality equipment.
  • A decent, cerrated knife: Bound to come in handy. Remind me to make sure it’s in the checked bag!