Packing in a Carry On: Galapagos Islands

Packing in a Carry On: Galapagos Islands

Packing in a Carry on: Galapagos Islands

Time to test of our packing skills with a trip to the Galapagos Islands. Our carry on bag weight limit for this trip was 17 pounds and we were ready to accept the challenge. Since a trip like this is mostly beach wear, shedding off pounds would have to come from places other than clothing. With a bit of research and separating out the needs (sun protection) from wants (beauty routine), the packing list became quite simple.

Watch the full packing video here:

In addition to our packing backbone as deskrib’ed in Packing in a Carry On, we made some new additions for this trip:

Shoes- Xero trail sandals

Screenshot 2018-06-07 at 7.56.37 PM

Since flip flops are not the recommended shoe to choice (can lose easily during water landings off boat), I wanted to find a Teva styled shoe without the price tag or bulk. I was also intent on bringing one pair of shoes only- packing extra shoes adds pounds to the carry on I do not need or have.

I wanted a shoe I would rewear after this trip and not despise the look of the shoe to appreciate the utility. It needed to be functional on land for hiking and water resistant as well as lightweight and attractive. I was not optimistic that a shoe would meet all of these needs.

Then I found Xero trail sandals. The shoe is insanely light- Kevin even questioning if these shoes would stand up to our needs of several miles of walking a day, hiking, sharp lava rocks, and water landing but the hundreds of reviews said these tiny shoes would do the trick. These shoes were incredible, achieving everything we wanted out of a shoe, super comfortable and supportive- these will be a staple to future trips.

Camera- Gopro 5

This was a tough decision for me – mostly because I saw a new camera as an investment for future blogging and not just a purchase for this trip. I want great photos and video quality without needing multiple cameras. Since underwater housing made traditional camera options massively more expensive, I opted for the waterproof GoPro 5 for underwater video footage and depend on my trusty phone for land photos as I have been doing.

Accessories- Gopro 5

Iphone waterproof case – once again, at under $5, why wouldn’t we get these since we will be around water constantly on this trip? Piece of mind. Disclaimer: We never used them underwater.

UPF Shirts/Shirts- his and hers– Being near to equator is no joke with the sun (as the locals reminded us repeatedly- “Do not forget sun protection” “Did you apply sun protection?” “What sun protection do you have?”) and to avoid constantly being plastered in sunscreen, we got UV sun protection shirts. We each brought two and we ended up wearing these every day. They washed great in the sinks and dried overnight quickly.

Waterproof bag– Since we would be out all day in the water, having a bag that was actually waterproof rather than resistant was important to me. Being compact was also key since this daybag was in addition to our backpacks. While I could not find a truly waterproof bag that was compact, I did find this one that was cheap, water resistant, and folds up into itself for easy packing- and it had water bottle holders! We used this every day- definitely loved this bag. 

Wide brim hat for Kevin and for me– both collapse and lay flat for easy packing

Microfiber Towels– It was our first time using a microfiber towel and it was essential for our water activities. It quickly dried us off and also dried on its own overnight, ready for the next day.

Returning favorites include sunscreen stick or stick (solid sun tan lotion= win win), lush products, and Northface rain jacket compact and ready for wet weather!

Here is the full list:


The bag: EBags TLS Mother Lode Weekender Convertible

Packing cubes (Amazon or Ebags) size small, medium and large

Small Packing Cube: Toiletry Bag


  • Medications (Pepto Bismol, Imodium, Motrin, Meclizine, Tums)
  • Deodorant
  • Bar of solid soap
  • Contacts
  • Solid sunscreen
  • Lush solid shampoo
  • Razor /Spare razor head
  • Toothbrush with sanitizer pod
  • Hair Brush
  • Floss
  • Band-Aids and Q-tips
  • Hair accessory bag (headband, hair ties, hair clips)


Quart Bag for 3 Ounce Liquids


  • Tooth paste
  • Travel size body lotion
  • Travel size l’occitane hand cream
  • Travel size conditioner
  • Travel size face wash
  • Face moisturizer in repurposed container
  • Travel size sunscreen
  • Steroids/Aquaphor (for my terribly dry skin)
  • Travel size aloe vera


Medium Packing Cube: Small Clothing Items



Large Packing Cube: Clothes


  • Three pairs of shorts
  • One pair of yoga pants
  • Two tank tops
  • Two t-shirts
  • One sundress
  • Two UPF long sleeve shirts (hers)


Front Compartment


Side pocket: Rain cover for backpack


Large Compartment


  • Wide brim UPF hat for me
  • Medium and large packing cubes

Laptop Compartment


  • Folder with paper confirmations and documentation
  • Notebook
  • Pen

Crossbody Purse


  • Passport
  • Wallet
  • Gum
  • Lip balm
  • Glasses and case

What I wore on plane:



Phew we did it! With a little wiggle room to spare.

Make sure to read what to expect, what to pack (including this packing video), and our full itenerity. Video clips can be found here!

To read full posts: Santa Cruz, San Cristobal, Isabela and an overview of the trip.


Happy travels!

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