With all I thought I needed for a week hoisted on my back, I set off for Torres del Paine in Chilean Patagonia. It wasn’t until I reached the end of the world that I realized I had forgotten a few necessities. One of the best opportunities to take advantage of while abroad is getting to know the natural assets of your host country but, wherever you go, there are several supplies you can’t forget.
Do Your Research
Know who you’re traveling with. The company I toured Torres del Paine with was approved through my university and I was assured that the trip was all inclusive, complete with a knowledgeable guide and all the food and materials I would need. However, I had to pay ridiculous prices for materials that had been advertised as included. On top of that, I had to cook food and set up supplies for both myself and our guide. It is imperative to compare all the travel companies available, research your chosen company fully, and communicate with them to make sure what you paid for is what you are receiving. In the case of travel companies, the best brands are a must.
Anticipate Changing Weather
I summited the famous Torres in a blizzard wearing only a t-shirt and thin leggings because when I set off it had been 60 degrees and sunny. Thankfully, I had an entire wardrobe in my pack. I was not another unprepared visitor in the Patagonian weather, as untamed as its towering mountains. You must know where you are going and what you will encounter there. When you pay a travel company you are paying for the security of knowing you are being taken care of, but no one can control the elements or ensure that you will be safe or comfortable. No matter who you follow, it’s important to have your own map in hand to ensure that you get where you want to go and do so safely.
A Shrug and a Smile
Know that you’re with the right people in the right place. My trip to Torres del Paine was full of stumbles with the travel company and the inconsistent weather. Each was worth it though for the mountains I summited, the sights I took in and the smiles I shared with those with whom I experienced both. No truly memorable trip is without its tripping points but you have to shake these off with a smile, shrug and realize that you have everything you need to make the most of where you are and who you’re with.
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