Before embarking on my journey for a month of excitement and learning in Costa Rica, I had everything ready, except my wardrobe. Sitting in front of me was my empty suitcase, lying next to me was the pile of clothes, shoes, and essentials I had to squeeze in. In addition to wanting to be prepared for any and all situations, I also wanted to keep my luggage under the dreaded fifty pound airline limit. Luckily, I was able to pull it together, and without losing my whole day, but I have to admit, after being in Costa Rica and living in this climate, there are some things I would have brought, or not have brought if I knew.
Before heading anywhere for an extended period of time it is important to bring any of the medications including creams, drops, bandages that you may need. Some of these items you may not have needed in a while, and do not necessary require on a daily basis, but pack them anyway. Being abroad can be fun while learning a new language and trying new foods, but you may not want to start off your trip reading Spanish labels trying to find an allergy pill equivalent to the one you use at home. Try to stick to basics, but never ever forget bug spray, or sunblock. These two items are not optional. Costa Rica has many new and exciting creatures that you may have never seen before, but they also have mosquitoes. To avoid itchy bumps all over your legs, arms, neck, and face (yes, mosquitoes will bite your face, they are ruthless) pack plenty of bug spray. Also, although it is the rainy season, when the sun is out it is bright. Pack sunscreen for the beach and those days where you are lucky enough to get a sunny day.
After all of your personal items are accounted for, it is time for the difficult part, clothing. Every trip you have ever been on has probably told you “pack for all occasions”, which as we all know is not very helpful. First and foremost, Costa Rica is in its rainy season during summer. No one truly knows what that means until they experience it, but I can tell you that you will absolutely need a rain coat, umbrella and closed toed shoes. When coming to Costa Rica I was excited to wear my summer clothes that consisted of sun dresses, shorts, and endless sandals and flip flops. Although you could get away with this once in a while, more often than not you will find yourself in jeans and sneakers. The humidity and rain may make finding an outfit a little complicated, but as long as you find your balance between shoes that can get wet, and light weight tops, you will be ready for a summer abroad!