Chile extends 2,600 miles but has an average breadth of between 100 and 200 miles, so what you pack really does depend on where you are planning to visit. There is something here to suit everyone from skiing in the Andes, to beaches, to the amazing Easter Islands.
The solution if you're traveling around is to dress in layers that can be shed as the day really heats up.
We've found light wool is a good choice to wear against your skin as it naturally helps to regulate your body temperature. It keeps you warm in the cold, wicks away moisture when it's hot, and doesn't retain odours – even after prolonged wear.
Ensure you bring a versatile travel jacket. We love the SCOTTeVEST travel jacket because it has over 23 pockets, removable sleeves and RFID protection.
If you don't want to stand out as a tourist then no matter how hot it gets avoid wearing shorts and short tops. Men can wear long Bermuda type shorts, but women would be better advised to wear dresses, pants or longer skirts.
While this dress code may seem more conservative than many Western countries, the greeting between Chileans is very warm. Chilean men often greet each other with hearty hugs, while women customarily kiss each other on the cheek.
If you plan on visiting an upscale restaurant such as you'll find in Santiago then pack a smarter outfit – it's not essential but you will fit in better and feel more comfortable.
Wear plenty of sunscreen (we love the Riemann P20 range for 10 hour protection), a sunhat and sunglasses.
What Shoes To Pack
Make sure you have really comfortable shoes, which you have ‘worn in' before your trip. We love Hotter shoes, for total comfort along with style.
For versatile footwear why not try the Lindsay Phillips Switch Flops range – using interchangeable shoe and flip-flop bases with snap-on decorations, you can change your look from day to evening in an instant whilst still packing light.
Clothing Tips for Women
If you're going to visit any religious sites then be sure to cover your shoulders and bare legs.
A few well-chosen pieces of costume jewelry will transform any outfit.
And a pashmina is a versatile piece that will dress up any outfit, keep off a chill or cover you for modesty.
If you are in Chile on business you'll find that a skirt-suit and heels, in sober rather than bright colors, is most appropriate.
Clothing Tips for Men
If you're looking for versatile and stylish casual wear, try the Madda Fella range of shirts, shorts and polos.
If you are here on business, wear dark blue or grey suits, a light shirt and a conservative tie.
For great versatile travel jackets with multiple pockets including RFID security options, we love the SCOTTeVEST range.
Pack for the Weather
Northern Chile is good to visit all year but southern Chile tends to be wet all year round. Winters (June, July, August and September) are cold, and even summers are cool and cloudy so pack a light raincoat.
We love the Weather+ app – it gives an accurate 6 day forecast for day and night, which when you're planning from home is really helpful. You can keep all the places you've been to too – a nice way to remember your trip 🙂 Download for iPad/iPhone or Android
Regions of Chile
If your trip includes an exploration of the mountains then it is likely to include lots of walking – some strenuous and at high altitudes and very cold, so be sure to carry good rubber-soled walking shoes, warm layers, and sunglasses.
The skiing season in the Andes is July, August and September and if you plan on joining in then you will need to add in some warmer layers, hat, ski goggles, gloves and a warm coat.
A bag or soft-sided rucksack is a more practical option than hard cases when traveling around the country, and using packing cubes can help to keep your belongings tidy whilst compressing the volume too.
A microfiber travel towel is another great item to pack – these are designed specifically for trekking: they fold really small so you can accommodate a larger size and they dry really quickly too.
Combine your bag with a fold away day sack that will carry your essentials on day trips.
Look after your mobile phone with a phone bunjee – it protects against loss, theft and damage and is especially useful in busy cities or when trekking.
Avoid paying unexpected baggage fees – use an accurate luggage scale to ensure you keep within the weight allowance. Don't forget to leave room for souvenirs on the way home! The Guante brand of shoes are very good, or look out for native wooden bowls in all sizes, and Kunstmann Bier is popular too (if you are in Valdivia you can visit the brewery). Just remember any liquids will need to be packed in your checked-in luggage.
Finally, it is worth noting that holding the palm upward and then spreading the fingers signals that someone is ‘stupid' and slapping your right fist into your left open palm is considered obscene.