Backpacking check-list

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        Planning to travel the world during several months? Better to know before leaving what to bring. I definitely know you would like to bring your entire closet but try to pack light to feel less vulnerable and to be ready to run after your flight/bus/taxi/tuk tuk/elephant or camel! Don’t pack too much and leave some space free to bring few gifts or to buy some clothes during your journey.

“On a long journey even a straw weighs heavy” Spanish proverb

 

 

  To cover your feet:

    Flip flops: might be useful inside the showers or to have a walk along the beach

  Hiking shoes: Even if local people wear only Flip Flops to hike the Amazon rainforest I assure you will feel better to wear Hiking shoes. If you are afraid of twisting your ankles, you better buy ankle boot which will hold them during more complicated paths.

  Light trainers:  because it’s not necessary to bring your Indiana Jones’ outfit to party or to have a simple walk in a city!

  Trainer socks/ wool socks:  bring a pair of wool socks could save your day if you decide to hike in mountains or during the night in a desert.

 

 


 

 To cover your legs:

Trousers/ sport Leggings: Up to you!

   Jeans: because Jeans are comfortable enough to visit a city

   A short: it doesn’t really cover your legs, but you will appreciate it during the days of hot weather.

   A swimsuit: to lie down on a beach, to bath in the sea or to enjoy hot springs, always useful to have one!

  Sports clothing thermal: they are usually light and keep your warm, perfect outfit for cold climates.

 


 

To cover your torso:

Moisture wicking t-shirt/ Long-sleeve shirts/ t-shirts: can be worn in lot of situations!

   A Jumper: I think two jumpers could be useful since you’ll lose one during a party for sure.

   Rainwater jacket / Windbreaker: there is nothing more terrible than to be cold because of the wind or because your t-shirt is wet.

   Sport clothing thermal: again, but really useful!

   A dress/a shirt: Small expectations in your backpack list but parties are part of the trip as well!!

 

 

 


 

To cover your hands                

Gloves/mittens: try to get Touch screen gloves if your camera and Smartphone have a touch screen.

To cover your head

  Hat/ Panama hat/ Sun hat/ sunshade: whatever you want but always remember to cover your head!

   Bandana/buff: really useful because they can be worn in different ways and then can be used for different situations.

 Headbands and winter hats: a not covered-head is a loss of 30% of your body heat.


What to bring in your cosmetic case?

A cosmetic case: because it’s much easier to carry your items in a case.

Sun protection products (in small quantity): sunscreen, lip balm, after-sun cream, sunglasses.

Shampoo/conditioner: keep in mind to pack light then buy the 2 in 1.

Biodegradable soap: To protect the environment where we travel.

Roll-on deodorant: usually smaller and lighter than a spray deodorant.

Toothpaste/toothbrush+case: sounds normal

Any products you may need according to your needs: contact lens equipment, razor…

 

 


Tips to travel in peace:

      Travel insurance: they are often expensive but it will be still cheaper than a hospital stay.

      Passport/Visas/Photocopies/vaccines proofs: Some countries require a passport valid six months after your stay and in good condition. Remember than a passport is not an ID card but a tool to travel. Then it would be better to keep it in a safe place and to bring photocopies or your ID card to prove your identity.

      Credit card: withdrawals abroad can be expensive then try to ask for a free cash withdrawals fee abroad.

     Travel money belt: Even if you think your bag or your pockets are safe enough pickpockets know how to rob you.

     Students ID: Can make you save lot of money, don’t hesitate to ask if hostels/Operator tours have any discount for students.

    Ear plugs /eye shade/ travel pillow: with 14hours of bus or a noisy hostel those small items might be a plus to rest!  I advise you a travel pillow that you can              blow up to save some space in your backpack.

    A Headlamp: always funny and really useful to have your hands free.

  A silk travel sheet: Most hostels provide linen, blankets and pillows,

but the cleanliness of it all is sometimes questionable. A liner is such a relief to have in these occasions.

Microfiber towel: light, small and with a quick dry, the microfiber towel will avoid you spending money in hostel to get a towel.

Emergency contacts: Stay responsible while having fun

Adaptor/usb cable: To bring an USB cable can let you charge your phones on computers

A padlock: Choose one with combination lock to not lose the key!

A Plastic bag: for your dirty laundry

Plastic Playing cards: to be the king of the night and to gel a group together!

Books: Some hostels offer a book exchange service; then you can have new books for free and enjoy them during a transfer between two places.

Condoms: Have fun but travel safe =)

 

I hope this article provided you numerous tips and I wish you an amazing journey

More article: How to save money while visiting cities?

El Cajon del Maipo, Santiago de Chile

       Our fabulous journey started at 9 AM with the meeting point at Ando Andes’ office which offer sustainable tour services. The Santiago’s sky was clouded and grey of the smog when we left the city. It’s on the way to El Cajon that the sun had started showing up. The view of the grandeur of the Andes with the wild horses and the flowered villages were splendid. We passed in front of the Rio del Maipo where during summer rafters come to practice their activities.

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     We drove around two hours before reaching the main point of the visit “ Embalse Del Yeso” a wonderful reservoir surrounded by the snow-covered mountain. We dropped the car and started walking around.

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   During the walk the guide explained us what were the effects of the glaciers over the mountains and the nature. Unfortunately, there are many mines which are still running and which destroy El cajon by wasting water and polluting the air with trucks.

 Armed with our camera we crossed paths a deserted-former military base from the Pinochet’s dictatorship and drunk the magic water from Cascada la vieja. Why magic? Who drinks this water will come back to drink it again on a future day. I’m looking forward going there again!

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     We continued our way to a terrifying deserted tunnel formerly used as a train to convey commodity and people. Horror movies-lovers we dare you to cross this dark and endless tunnel!

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    After this moving tunnel we came back to the car to lunch at the main village called San Jose del Maipo. We ate in a pleasant restaurant called Las ovejas negras “the black sheeps” before going back to Santiago.

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During the lunch we listened to a last story about el Cajon del Maipo:

   “When the Spanish came to overrun Chile, inhabitants from El cajon went to hide their gold and valuables through the mountains in order to protect them from the invaders. However, some of the inhabitants died before revealing where their fortune were hidden.  So we assume there is still gold somewhere between the rocks of the mountains.” Always wanted to be gold prospector? 😉

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TOP 10 to do at Aji hostel !

  1. TAKE A PICTURE WITH CARLITOS / SACA UNA FOTOGRAFIA CON EL CARLOS

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Start your stay with us by taking picture during your Check-in with our Jack Sparow and his red hot chili pepper necklace

 

  1. TASTE THE BEST PASTA EVER FROM EL MAHATTO/ PROBA LOS MEJORES PASTAS DEL MAHATTO

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ALL OUR DINNERS ARE INCLUDED in the price (except the BBQ) then you have no excuse to not taste the delightful/awesome Pasta con verduras (with vegetables) from the chef every Mondays and Saturdays!! Because: “when the food is cooked with heart it’s always better” Mahatto’s quote.

 

  1. DRINK THE FREE PISCO SOUR TO START THE WEEK/TOMA PISCO SOUR PARA EMPEZAR LA SEMANA

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What a better way to start the week on Monday with our FREE PISCO SOUR! Such a nice way to meet the other guests and to create new friendships!

 

  1. GET A FREE ENTRANCE FOR THE BIGGEST PARTY IN SANTIAGO/ RETIRA TU ENTRADA LIBRE PARA LA FIESTA MAS GRANDE DE SANTIAGO.

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Get ready for Miercoles Po, the biggest exchange party in Chile! Miércoles Po’ is an itinerant party with weekly changing topics for exchange students. “What happens to Mpo stays in Mpo”

 

  1. GET OUR FREE GLASS OF WINE TO DRINK WITH THE PASTA WITH PISTOU SALSA FROM FENA

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There is nothing better than a glass of wine with the delectable Fena’s Pasta with Pesto to chill out with the others guests before going to MiercolesPo’.

 

  1. REGISTER FOR THE BBQ TO START THE BEGINNING OF THE WEEK END AND GET A FREE ENTRANCE FOR A CLUB

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Our BBQ is not just hot dogs. We offer buffet of different types of salads (tomatoes, asparagus, broccolis, potatoes, pasta) pies, tortillas.. And of course Choripanes, beef and pork!

 

  1. GET A FULL MENU FOR LUNCH (starter-main dish- dessert- juice) FOR CLP 3300

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If you are hungry and don’t really want to cook for your lunch, you can eat at our restaurant for CLP 3300!

 

  1. SLEEP IN A SAFE PLACE

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We are located in a safe and dynamic neighborhood. Then, enjoy your day by visiting and come back to sleep in our safe place!

  1. BRING AS MANY BAGS AS YOU WANT

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We have a safe storage where you can leave your backpacks, suitcases, bags, surfboard, snowboard or shopping cart, no matter how you travel! Travelers used to excess baggages are welcome!

     10.TAKE A “SUSTAINABLE SHOWER”

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We are really pride to offer you the possibility to be eco friendly while staying with us! Our hostel is equipped with Solar panels and recycling bins in order to protect our environment.

 

TOP 10 Things you should visit in Santiago de Chile

  1. SAN CRISTOBAL HILL

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To catch the best sweeping views over Santiago and the Andes you should go to Cerro San Cristobal. Reach the top with runners and bikers to admire the Virgin de la inmaculada Concepción, to drink a Motte Con huesillo and to taste an Empanada.

  1. SANTA LUCIA HILL & LA FERIA SANTA LUCIA

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Known as “the green lung of Santiago” Santa Lucia Hill offers one of the best view inside Santiago. Go for a stroll inside this park and reach the top in order to take some nice panoramas of Santiago. Then you can buy some traditional gifts at la Feria Santa Lucia. You might find funny souvenirs like a Indio(a) Picaro(a) or jewelry made of the famous blue metamorphic rock called Lapis-Lazuli.

  1. PLAZA DE ARMAS

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The main square of Santiago is a vibrant place where lots of artists perform and street shows take place. It’s a perfect place for walking in the street a Sunday afternoon or to observe people. Unfortunately the square by itself is closed for renovation, then don’t be disappointed to not be able to visit the place.

  1. BARRIO LASTARRIA

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Located in the center of the city, it regroups in a same place culture, bohemian style, white buildings, restaurants, terraces, designer shops… This neighborhood really worth it and deserves a walk.

  1. El MERCADO CENTRAL Y LA VEGA

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Santiago is a city which doesn’t really break your habits; you will not be stunned in front of its contemporary buildings and its modern facilities. However, you just need to cross the Mapocho River to perceive what the Chilean culture is. The Central Market and The Vega are two indoor markets: one of seafood and the other one of fruits and vegetables. It’s the perfect place to lunch, to amaze your taste buds with the Chile’s treasure and to slip between the locals.

  1. BARRIO BELLAVISTA
     

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Barrio Bellavista is one of the most typical and picturesque neighborhood of Santiago, with a bohemian style and a particular architecture. It’s a perfect mix between gastronomy, art, and entertainment making Bellavista a really special neighborhood. One of the finest examples of cultural heritage is the Pablo Neruda’s house called La Chascona. After the sun went down this neighborhood turns in a place to party hard and to chill out till the sunrise.

  1. THE GENERAL CEMETERY

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The General Cemetery is one of the largest cemeteries in Latin America. Its 85 hectares became a magnificent grounds filled with ornate mausoleums. Notable interments like presidents, senators, musicians and scientists found their final resting there. The cemetery is surrounded by palm and leaf trees together with numerous sculptures (around 237). More than its vocation it serves as a true urban park decorated with thousands of flowers.

  1. EL PARQUE QUINTO NORMAL

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Located close to the Matucana neighborhood, this park has been elected one of the 30 most splendid parks of the world. Bring your picnic (or some empanadas) and have a nap on this park can be a good idea to spend a nice afternoon. But more than a simple park, it regroups 5 museums which are all free the Sundays (/!\ but they are all closed on Monday). Outside of the park is located the Museum of the memory and the human rights. A place which tells the Pinochet’s dictatorship in order to never forget what happened not so long ago.

  1. CAJON DEL MAIPO

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Cajon del Maipo is a canyon in the Andean Southeastern portion of Santiago. You will enjoy riding, hiking, taking a bath in the hot springs and taking part to all the others activities. AndoAndes ANDOANDES is a Green Company tour; they take pride Recycling, Reuseing, Composting all of our tours. Their company is dedicated to showing the best places, magnificent and natural beauty in the Andes Mountains that can be found within just a few hours of Santiago like Glaciers, waterfalls, ancient forests, lagoons, volcanoes in Maipo Valley and national parks.

     10. EL PERSA BIO BIO

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El Persa Bio Bio is a giant second hand market located in the Franklin neighborhood. You can spend hours bargain-hunting for a really old writing machine or for a Chilean style backpack. They get everything you need and much more!

Top 10 of our best restaurants in Santiago

Triana 863

Triana 863, providencia, Santiago de Chile (Salvador Metro Statio, Red line)
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       Alright, I start this list of good restaurants with the Triana café. Triana café is the Aji hostel’s restaurant. Located in the famous tourist neighborhood called Providencia, they offer really tasty meal and delicious natural juice. Every day of the week (from Monday to Friday) the restaurant is full of people who want to taste of our meals. Prices are cheap, so if you’re looking for somewhere to have something to eat, that’s your place!

 

El Mercado Central

En el mercado central  de Mariscos (seafood)
( Puente Cal y Canto Metro Station, Yellow line)
 
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          If you want to try delectable seafood, the Central Market “Mercado Central” will open your taste buds. They offer seafood dishes which are the treasure of the sea. Prices are in general reasonable!

 

California Cantina

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urbinas 44, providencia, Santiago de Chile  (  Los Leones Metro Station, Red line )

       California Cantina is a sport brewpub that offers American and Mexican meals with burgers and huge tasty XXL Burritos. As well, the bar sales craft beers, then if you’re a beer lover this place is made for you, but if you prefer cocktails they also have really good choices. Not only a restaurant, it’s as well a place to party from Thursday to Saturday. The atmosphere and the service are really good, and prices are reasonable (either cheap, neither expensive).

Bocanariz

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Jose Victorino Lastarria 276, Santiago de Chile (Universidad católica Metro Station, Red line)

          The fifth best restaurant in Tripadvisor, they got the certificate of excellence in 2014. I really enjoyed this place for its wine list. They have plenty of wine and if you are wine lover you will appreciate its wine-cellar, which is filled with the best Chilean wine and really good other references. Moreover their really good wines they also have flavorful dishes (ex: ribs with wine sauce and mashed sweet potatoes). At last, waiters speak English which is unusual in Chile. This restaurant is a bit more expensive than the average but it really worth it!

Zanzibar

San José María Escriva de Balaguer 6400, local 6, Vitacura, Santiago
 
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       Just the name makes me travel east. Zanzibar is a restaurant/lounge which offers African, Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine. The food is scrumptious and the mix of flavors and spices will marvel your buds. Moreover a delicious menu they also have a bewitching atmosphere, a fairy tale for your eyes, a dance of colors and romanticism. The service is great: a caring team and shows of dance, this restaurant gets everything you expect and much more!

 

 La Peluquería Francesa

Calle Compania de Jesus 2799, Santiago de Chile (  Quinta Normal Metro Station, Green Line)
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        I must confess this article won’t be written with an objective mind since I’m French. But I’m really proud to recommend this restaurant. They offer an unbelievable French food and desserts are toothsome. The owner is as well really proud of his restaurant designed in a former French barber shop from 1868 (then peluqueria francesa makes sense!). The design is full of small details which will catch your attention throughout your meal. Moreover it is located in the really nice bohemian neighborhood but anyway just the place deserves a look.

 

Uncle Fletch

 Dardignac 0192, Bellavista ( Baquedano Metro Station, red line 1)
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       Located in the famous Bellavista neighborhood, the surroundings of this restaurant are splendid with a New-York Style: bricks, wood and beer barrels.  Uncle Fletch raises the Hamburgers to the rank of gourmet dishes. The Supreme Blue Cheese or the Cheese cake will satisfy your hunger, the burgers are generous and the pan and the home-made French fries are delectable: crunchy at the top and spongy inside! Moreover the staff is welcoming, they speak English and they recommend you well.

 

Santo Remedio

 Calle Roman Diaz 152 (Salvador Metro Station, red line)
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           First time I went there I was really impressed by the decor, industrial surroundings with a dim light and a soft electronic music that warm up the atmosphere. Also they offer a list of aphrodisiac cocktails with impressive mix of flavors and alcohol. I’m pretty sure you will be charmed by the sexy names they gave to their cocktails and you will want to try them all! They have an utter menu, lovely presentation, with a mix of spices and textures. Finally the waiters are good advisers and speak English.

 

Domino

Alhumada 146, Santiago de Chile ( Historical center)
Close to Tobalaba Metro Station ( Red Line)
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        Alright this is not really a fancy place to date with your girlfriend, but still you cannot miss it out! Domino is a Santiago institution which offers Chilean style sandwiches. You must try their value hot dogs and order and “Completo” (hot dog with avocado, tomatoes and mayonnaise).  You definitely should try this local flavor for a lunch, a break during two tours. Getting a seat at the count it’s a good place for fun. Who thought that a fast food could have been lot of flavor and fun?

El caramaño

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Purisima 257, Santiago, Chili ( Baquedano Metro Station, red line)

     This restaurant would be a perfect choice after getting up the San Cristobal Hill or visiting the Chascona ( Pablo Neruda’s house),  located in Bellavista neighborhood, they offer traditional Chilean food. The food is delightful and they have a wide choice of dishes and wines. The most of this restaurant is its decoration: you’re welcome to write your comments and advices on the wall!

A great tip for travelers with small budgets

What is the concept of Freetournetwork? A website  which regroups free local tours all around the world. A concept designed by Robert Rosenthall, an experienced traveler.

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Tourist industry has been growing from the last years and mass tourism emerged with it. Then, nowadays flight tickets are cheaper compared to 10 years ago, what offers us the possibility to do what we like the most: Travelling (we are lucky =).There are different types of tourists according to their budgets, but sometimes we all have the same bad feeling to be only a cash cow, to be paying more that it should be, and to stuff companies’ pockets. Beauties of the world should be approachable for everybody. Then, some people have started travelling on a different way and the backpacking phenomena appeared “I’m a backpacker” or “I backpacked in South America”.  That’s why I thought you will be many to use his precious tips.

I hope you will follow the concept: not only to travel for free but to meet local people and to share experiences with them.  Freetournetwork is 172 tours, 139 cities, 56 countries on 6 continents … I think you have enough to be going on with!

http://www.ajihostel.cl

We are Eco friendly !

Travel to discover the beauty of the world, travel respecting its lands. 

Aji hostel and the entire staff is really proud for getting the label ” S” level 2 of sustainable accommodation.  We are the unique hostel in the Metropolitan region which has this level. We received this distinction because we are committed to the recycling of glass containers, plastic and others which can be reused in our hostel and our restaurant. Also to avoid the waste of paper we don’t print unnecessary files and only use the new technologies to share those information.  Finally, 50% of our hot water is warm up with solar panels ! If you want to be Eco friendly while travelling you can share your devotion with us =)

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