|Image courtesy of morguefile.com.
True to my trainer heart, I am doing what's called a "plus/delta" evaluation of my trip. What worked, what didn't, what I would take again - what I would leave behind. Hopefully this will be useful to others traveling to Buenos Aires (or anywhere internationally.) Please let me know your thoughts and experiences.
Here's what I really missed and should have taken with me (many of things of course are available at the market, and I did get them once I settled in - but I could have brought them from home easily enough, and for free.):
A nail brush - it's such a simple thing but Buenos Aires can be a gritty, grimy place - especially where I was staying in Once. A nail brush works great on clothing, calloused feet, grungy finger nails etc. I bought one at the market, but I have a few at home and I should have grabbed one.
Perfume - I missed my perfume. Another thing that just seems silly, but it would have been nice to have. I didn't want to carry one more bottle of liquid through the TSA checkpoint, so I didn't bother with it. Now I've found solid versions of several of my favorite perfumes, and next time I'll go with that option.
Liquid Shampoo and Conditioner - I opted for Travelon Shampoo and Conditioner sheets because they were very light weight and not liquid. When I tried them at home, they worked great but that's because I have a water-softener. The water in BA was quite a bit different and these little buggers took forever to dissolve and then even longer to rinse out. I should have just brought small bottles of my shampoo and conditioner. (The bar soap I brought, Dial, worked just fine.)
Brush-ups - I had a few of these, should have brought more. They're genius - great for tucking into your wallet or coin purse. (Especially considering how much wine I was drinking.)
Floss - I brought one of those travel floss thingees you get from the dentist. It had enough for about 3 uses - I should have just brought a regular container, it's not like they're big or anything.
Pens - what the hell was I thinking only bringing one pen???? I'm a writer!! D'oh!
Pesos in small denominations - I always needed change and rarely had any. Very frustrating for me and for the merchants I had to do business with.
A decent razor - I brought a cheapo disposable razor and it was terrible. I know fancy razors are ridiculous with their triple blade, moisturizing strip with aloe or whatever, but damn, I really missed my good razor.
Febreeze - washing my clothes in the sink worked ok - I used Travelon detergent sheets which worked only slightly better than the shampoo sheets did on my hair. Again, they worked great when I tried them at home with my soft water - not so much in BA's water. In the end I mostly used my bar soap to wash clothes which didn't do that great either. I know there are lots of places, including milongas, that have banned smoking - but I always seemed to smell like smoke anyway (that and diesel fumes.) Febreeze would have been nice to freshen up my clothes and shoes.
Wash cloth/sponge/shower puff - I picked one up at the store, but I have several at home and they weigh next to nothing. We had a bath towel and a hand towel in our bathroom, which was great, but after an entire day of walking all over the city, I felt pretty grungy and in need of some serious scrubbing. Next time I'm throwing in a Buff-puff sponge.
Things I should have left at home:
My beige fishnet tights - I thought black fishnet would have been too touristy (probably true) but the Capezio fishnets in beige are nice looking without being horribly clichéd. The problem is they're damned uncomfortable. I forgot about that. I put them on once and took them right off. I was bare-legged at almost all the milongas because I'm frankly too lazy to bother with tights.
Detergent Sheets - see above, these were not very useful. The bar soap seemed to do a better job actually.
Braza Secret Stash money holder - every time I thought about how the heck I was going to inconspicuously try to get money out of the damned thing, I thought better of using it. Didn't use it a single time.
Arm/Thigh strap and pouch - same problem as above - just not convenient, especially as a garter-pouch. You can feel it constantly when you're dancing and getting anything out of it requires a trip to the ladies room. It was a novel idea, but not useful. (I think I was probably overly excited by what looked like a cool spy-accessory. Can't blame a girl for trying.)