It was interesting to see how well I'd packed for this trip - or how well I hadn't.
Here are some tips to get it right based on my latest experience:
A power bar is essential if you want to remain "plugged in", so you can social media your travels, or blog as you go, or both.
Best items in my ruck sack - quick drying micro fibre travel towel and my Kindle.
Always pack - toilet roll, hand sanitizer and wet wipes.
Should have packed - definitely more than 3 t-shirts (luckily we got a free tee from the Bigfoot Hostel and Volcano Boarding guys and I managed to buy one in Costa Rica, not too expensive), a sleeping sheet to protect against any dubious sheets, a padlock (don't ask me why I didn't, considering I'm so security conscious), battery operated toothbrush (not essential but I like my teeth to be super clean), hairbrush (didn't realise how much I would miss the feel of bristles against my scalp, once I'd washed all of the volcano dust out, even though I have short hair) and deodorant spray to mask smelly boots, shoes and flip flops.
Would have liked - my roommate's Samsung Galaxy Zoom K mobile phone and camera in one. It took ace pics!
Also a GoPro with a head / helmet mount would have been awesome.
I'm naughty because I hate wearing slimy suncream - but using Nivea's factor 30 ruined my white kaftan, leaving yellow edges on the sleeves, neck line and hem - and it didn't even stop me from getting burnt! Disaster all round. I googled to see if there was any chance I could rescue my lovely kaftan and it said to try neat washing up liquid. After applying the liquid and washing at 40, I can confirm it's working, but there's still a way to go. I'm going to try more neat washing up liquid (maybe leave to soak overnight?) and try washing at 60 next. Sadly Vanish, the thing I always turn to in "stain crisis", isn't any good because the suncream is oil based.
I did 2 or 3 laundry sessions whilst travelling, average price 6 USD. I hadn't planned to, but it was necessary with the hot and humid weather. You soaked your clothes in a few minutes whilst walking to breakfast! I doubled up with my roommate on 1 occasion to save money, but the other time/s, I was putting in my whole back pack's worth - about 14 items.
I didn't have an electric toothbrush for a month, but my floss and Tepe brushes saved me.
I took a water bottle with me, but I ended up refilling a plastic water bottle I'd bought at the start of the tour.
And selfie sticks just make me laugh! A good thing to have for those group shots, but otherwise an annoying lump to carry. Mind you, my trekking pole was irritating. It dragged me up Concepcion volcano on Ometepe Island, but after that, I really didn't use it again. It was slightly too long for my big ruck sack, so I managed to get it in by not pulling the drawstring completely shut at the bottom, but it still ripped the lining in two places.
Blogging is an amazing concept so here I am giving it a whirl. You'll get words. You'll get pics. Sometimes a vid or two. You'll get tongue in cheek, the odd humble opinion and an honest insight into my travels and writing life. Maybe even a few gems along the way. I'll be musing on home turf as I see more and more of the UK and sharing my experiences further afield on holidays and adventurous trips across the globe.