Buenos Aires - What I Should have Packed and Should have Skipped

Image courtesy of morguefile.com.
The "Live and Learn" Post

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.)

- 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.

- 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.

- 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.)


Unknown said...

Great article, Mari. Other things to consider taking:

Anti-inflammatory (Aleve, etc.) for throbbing, swollen feet. No matter how much you dance, it will never be as much as you will do in BA.

Pair of slightly larger than normal shoes - for the above reason. Especially if you go during the warmer months. Swollen feet will not fit into even your most comfortable normal shoes.

Walking shoes - to get to and from milongas, and run around town.

Non-iron clothing - most likely you will not have access to an iron. Wash and dry is the way to go

Jane Prusakova said...

That's a great list. I travel a lot, and have developed similar travel habits.
- Plan to buy shampoo, conditioner, lotion, laundry liquid there. It's cheap enough, and I don't check-in luggage if at all possible.
- Stick deodorant, stick sunblock, stick Tide
- Comfortable shoes, socks, tights, a stash of Band-aids.
- Perfume minis (or a sample: Sephora gives sample sizes of any fragrance free)
- a comfortable purse: short enough handle so that I can control the body of the bag, but none of that travel-scared stuff
- a lint brush
- little things in sufficient quantities: floss, listerine strips, toothpicks, nail file, extra razor blades, business cards

Marika said...

to Unknown - Thankyou for the suggestions! I did take extra strength Tylenol which really wasn't enough. Aleve would have been better, but it wasn't too big of a deal. The pairs of non-tango shoes I brought were both stretchy which I was very grateful for throughout the trip. And I no longer own any clothing I have to iron lol. I am just that lazy.

Jane - Thanks for the tips. I totally forgot a lint brush. I used some duct tape to take the lint and hair off of my clothes. And there is stick Tide??? Holy crap I need that.

I love my purse which is why I keep resurrecting it from the dead, but it is one of those travel-safe type purses. The thing is damned sturdy though. *shrug*

Lorne Marr said...

Very useful ideas, thanks for sharing with other travellers!