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Lugagge and Clothing

Put your belongings in a small carry-on bag, a bag with wheels that will fit in the overhead luggage compartment is good, large suitcases that need to be checked are not encouraged, but a checked bag may be necessary. Keep in mind that you will be responsible for any fees incurred for checked luggage. Please try not to bring baggage that needs to be checked; there is a chance that your luggage will get lost. Bags can be delayed at the point of arrival. Once the bags arrive, it is a challenge to pick them up since they have to be picked up by the ticketed passenger and not some other person, and the group is in some other place than the airport city. You are also permitted one piece of carry-on luggage that can contain electronics or other important belongings which must fit beneath the aircraft seat. Pack at least two changes of clothing in your carry-on. Experienced travelers wear layers of clothing that allow for easy adjustment to climate changes. Make sure any fluids you bring are in a separate bag that can be easily removed and put through the security scanners. You cannot take any fluids like water. Travel light and leave room for souvenirs that you may purchase. Do not bring a lot of books and papers. You will not have time to use them. Attention: see carry–on rules.

Suggested Items to Pack

Your carry-on bag must be small enough to fit in the overhead compartment. You may want to make your other small carry-on a small backpack or daypack that you can carry with you in the field. Be sure that you have your two carry-on bags clearly marked, inside and out, with your name, address, and telephone number.
Since clothing and other luggage is a matter of personal choice, it is impossible to make a checklist suitable for everyone. In preparing your packing list, keep in mind:

  • Clothing —Temperatures will likely be in the high 80's to 90's and even 100's so bring wrinkle free, cool, loose clothing that is easy to hand wash and dry. There may be an opportunity to have clothing washed, but be prepared if you have to do it yourself.
  • You will encounter a wide variation in temperature throughout the trip. The warm extreme will be in the lowlands of Tapachula. The cool extreme will be in the mountains. Bring clothes you can layer for this variation.
  • Hat or cap to protect you from the sun. Though it won't replace sun-block.
  • Sweater, light jacket, and/or rain protection.
  • There will be occasions that warrant being professional. Bring something a little dressier for these occasions. A suit and tie is not necessary but nice dress shirts, slacks, a skirt or a dress would be adequate.
  • For reasons of cultural respect and professionalism do not plan on wearing shorts regularly.
  • Please refrain from bringing torn clothing, low cut blouses or revealing clothing. Wearing provocative clothing or appearing unkempt may compromise your safety.
  • Shoes – it is preferable that you not wear open toe shoes, sidewalks may be uneven or non-existent, and it is easy for an infection to enter your body via small cuts on your feet.
  • Medication – if you are taking prescription medicine be sure to bring your prescription to last you for the entire trip. Be sure to pack them in your carry-on bag. Go to Gannett clinic and make sure you are up to date on inoculations. I suggest you have typhoid and hepatitis shots, but make sure polio, tetanus, and others are up to date. Check with Gannett for malaria. Malarone is a good choice if you want to take a prophylactic. Ask for a prescription for the antibiotic Ciproflaxin, which may be needed if you get bacterial dysentery.
  • Sundry items – may include mosquito repellent, sunscreen lotion, and any other specialty items that you may require.
  • Sunglasses and prescription glasses or contact lenses (if you use them).
  • Small notebook for notes and journaling
  • Make copies of your travel documents as well as relevant information from course agenda/syllabus & this packet
  • Camera, music, etc. Be cautious with electronics as flashy items are temptations for theft and killed by dust and sand.
  • A pocket-sized Spanish/English dictionary.

Stock your carry-on bag with a few snacks. As your stocks run low and there are opportunities to buy more packable snacks along the way, replenish your supply. You never know when you might need a few extra calories to hike those additional miles before lunch is available.

Things to Consider Leaving at Home:

  • Unnecessary electronics. While convenient, they can easily get broken and may attract attention.
  • Your unfinished thesis. We'll be busy, bring a book or two, but you probably won't have tons of time to catch up on schoolwork.
  • Loads of books. One or two is probably enough?
  • Any jewelry, heirlooms, or personal mementos that you do not want to risk losing.
  • Anything that might be construed as a weapon. That could get you in trouble.
  • Any controlled substance. Absolutely not allowed.

Student Travel Insurance

Student travel insurance will be purchased for all students. The coverage is excess of other valid and collectible insurance only. If you are interested in the details of the coverage you may contact the Cornell Insurance Manager. Also, print out the MEDEX cards that have been provided for you: https://members.medexassist.com/Default.aspx Go to this page after logging in and get the Cornell ID card printed off. There is other medical information on this page.

Other Important Advice

Be punctual and courteous at all times. Stay together and give undivided attention to your hosts and interpreters. Do not chit-chat while they are talking or while professors are adding information.

Do not stray from the group. The itinerary is tight, and we must stay on schedule to complete our visits. You will be given adequate time to "do your own thing". Do not do it during scheduled visits.

When visiting farms, do not take anything (such as a piece of fruit from a tree) unless it is offered to you. Shorts may not be worn for any visit. Etiquette has visitors and guests dressing "up" on special occasions.

Do not take pictures of people or their property unless you are absolutely certain they approve.

Carry your money and passports securely. Do not wear a necklace or earrings that you do no want to lose. Carry your identification with you at all times. 

It is prudent that no one walks alone at night. It is imperative that you walk in groups. Avoid unlit areas as night and big crowds.