Sunday, February 14, 2016

Packing List. The Caucasus.

Advertisement for for Louis Vuitton July 1898.
From from Villanova Digital Library.
 Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.
I wasn't planning on putting together my packing list for the Caucasus until I got home from my Thailand and Myanmar trip but now that I'm sidelined with a sprained ankle, I might as well use the time to come up with the list.

Pat and I are headed to the Caucasus pretty much around the same time that we went to Central Asia in 2015.  The one thing we learned from that trip was that we were not well prepared for the cold weather that faced us.  It was 23 degrees Fahrenheit the morning after we arrived into Tashkent!

With El Niño affecting weather world wide this year, it's going to be more difficult than usual to predict what the temperatures will be like when we are in the Caucasus.  I've been keeping watch and  even in February, there are days that the temps are unseasonably warm, some days unseasonably cold.  So, I think I will err on the side of cold than warm meaning packing in more long sleeve shirts than short, bringing along a down vest and my lightweight down jacket.  Good thing is that shirt wise, Pat and I are the same size so we can borrow clothing from each other if need be.

Luckily, with the exception of our time in Azerbaijan where we will be staying in hotels and guesthouses, our accommodations in Georgia and Armenia will be mainly Airbnb apartments, all of which are equipped with washers so we can do laundry.  This will lighten the load of the clothes we need to bring along with us.  Otherwise, I will pretty much follow my Central Asia packing list.

Even before leaving for Thailand, I had already started to gather up some of the items I plan to take with  me and some of what I have with me now, will go in to the laundry and then right back into the suitcase! 

While we both think the food is not going to be as much of an issue for us on this trip as it was in Central Asia, we're both still planning on bringing some food items with us - granola bars, instant oatmeal and bagged tea for sure are going in the suitcase.  I'll be packing in a small travel kettle, collapsible bowls and sturdy, plastic cutlery.

Pat and I bought some t-shirts at a souvenir shop in Chinatown.  We'll be bringing them along as gifts/tips for the guides and drivers.  I can't tell from our itinerary how many guides/drivers we'll have but with the money issue being so tricky, we're counting on the t-shirts as a backup tip.  Our plan B.

Most importantly, we need to be bringing along US cash to cover quite a lot of expenses - especially in Azerbaijan which is pretty much a cash only economy.  With the exception of our local guide in Georgia, we've not had to pay for any of our trip up front.  We'll be doing that on arrival so organizing our money will be an important consideration for this trip.

I'm going to try and keep my packing list to a minimum.  I long for the days when my suitcase tipped the scales at 8 kilos!

The List
  • Trip itinerary
  • Passport, airline vouchers, hotel and Airbnb vouchers, Azerbaijan e-visa.
  • Two passport sized photos.
  • $US cash, credit card, debit card
  • Rain poncho
  • 2 short sleeve, light cotton shirts
  • 4 long sleeve shirts
  • Lightweight cotton sweater 
  • 2 pair of hiking pants
  • 1 pair of jeans 
  • 1 pair black pants
  • Fleece jacket
  • Down vest
  • Down jacket
  • 1 wool scarf that can double as headscarf, if needed.
  • Underwear and three pairs of socks
  • Sunhat and sunglasses
  • 1 pair walking shoes
  • 1 pair hiking sandals
  • 1 pair rubber slippers 
  • Toiletries and first aid kit (including Tylenol, Band Aids, Neosporin, lip balm, Immodium AD, Pepto Bismol, Zithromax, Cipro)
  • Sunblock and lotion
  • Toilet paper, handiwipes
  • Flashlight
  • Travel kettle
  • Collapsible cups and plastic cutlery
  • Spare pair of reading glasses
  • Nikon dSLR camera, filters, spare batteries, chargers and outlet adapters, external battery, SD cards
  • iPad with SD card reader
  • Pens
  • iPod
  • Key lock
  • Drain plug, laundry detergent, and plastic clothes pins for drying clothes 
  • Food
    And last but not least,..... my favorite collapsible tote to bring back all those things that I buy along the way.

    Though this list is shorter than many previous ones, I am carrying some bulky items like my down vest and jacket so I hope I can get it to all  fit in to my suitcase and daypack.  If not, I hope that Pat will have some room in her suitcase :-)