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Packing and equipment tips for visitors to Chile

The peculiarities of Chile’s geography and climate make it a perfect destination for travellers with a sense of adventure and pioneering spirit – but we’ve found that the most-satisfied visitors are those who have planned ahead and made sure to bring the proper gear.

The distance between Chile’s northern border with Peru and the Strait of Magellan is similar to that between Spain and Norway – with the corresponding climatic differences compounded by deserts, high mountains, and the Westerlies of the far southern latitudes. The central valley, where Santiago and the primary wine-producing regions lie, enjoys a Mediterranean climate; on the other hand, the dramatic Atacama Desert in the north endures hot days and frigid nights, and while during the summer months (that is, December through April) the south is relatively temperate, strong winds and stormy weather are always a possibility. Outside of the central region and the coastal cities of the north, unpaved roads are common, and while Chile is rapidly modernizing, travel conditions are very different than one would find in Europe. travelArt’s personalized attention helps to minimize unexpected inconveniences, but flexibility – combined with the proper equipment – is highly recommended.

travelArt has assembled the following packing list as a basic guide for our customers; please keep in mind, though, that every visitor may have his or her own individual needs or requirements. Furthermore, particular programmes may require special equipment, so please don’t hesitate to contact your travelArt representative with any questions or concerns.

Clothing

  • Light fleece sweater with zip
  • Rain jacket (ideally Gore-Tex or similar)
  • Comfortable travel shirt, short-sleeved if visiting central or northern Chile during the summer months
  • Trekking trousers: long or zip-off
  • Light summer trousers if spending time in Santiago
  • Short pants or short sport trousers if visiting central or northern Chile in the summer
  • Layered undergarments, especially if visiting the south; remember that cotton is not ideal if cold or wet weather is a possibility
  • Trekking socks, wool or synthetic
  • Swimming trunks / bikini (Don’t forget – Chile is full of hot springs!)
  • Head gear: wool or synthetic cap for cold nights, and a brimmed hat for protection from the sun (especially if travelling to the north)
  • Light gloves and extra layers if travelling to southern Chile

Shoes

  • Light trekking shoes with Gore-Tex or similar
  • Trekking sandals (such as Teva), recommended for northern Chile

Toiletries

Everyone has individual requirements in this category. In Chile, visitors will find that even small towns have pharmacies selling a wide range of common toiletries and medicinals. We do, however, recommend that visitors remember to bring:

  • Suntan lotion with a high SPF rating
  • Lip guard cream
  • For contact lenses users: lens case, extra set of lenses, and associated care products
  • Spare pair of glasses

For resting

  • Light travel pillow (can also be used on longer journeys as a seat or back pad)
  • Earplugs
  • Sleep mask – usually one is distributed free-of-charge during the airline flight to Chile; we recommend that visitors take it along for the rest of their trip

Papers and Money

  • Valid passport
  • Vaccination card
  • Driving license (For self-drive-tours, please bring an international driving license)
  • Credit cards, which are accepted throughout Chile
  • Cash money: Euros are accepted in the bigger hotels and in all exchange offices, while US dollars are even more-widely accepted
  • Private address list (if necessary)
  • Copies of all documents + information for an emergency (waterproofed – for example, in a Ziploc bag – and preferably one copy in each item of luggage)
    • Photocopies of passport, flight and other tickets/vouchers, and driving license
    • Name, address, nationality, and contact person at home
    • Blood type, allergies, illnesses
    • Credit card issues, emergency phone numbers, in case of loss or theft
    • All relevant insurance information, including contact phone numbers

Tools

  • Sewing kit and safety pins
  • Sticking plaster
  • Pocket knife (But during airline flights, store in checked baggage, not in hand luggage!)

Technical equipment

  • Extra batteries
  • Chargers for electronic equipment
  • Adapters are generally not necessary, but they can be purchased in Chile if necessary
  • Small binoculars (optional)
  • Number/combination lock for travel backpack and/or suitcase
  • Extra camera memory card(s): Chile is a very photogenic country!

Bags, etc.

  • Small day-pack; rain-proofed if trekking tours are planned
  • Neck pouch for important documents and money, recommended in particular for Santiago
  • Suitcase securing-band, to ensure that luggage does not open during transport
  • Soft travel bag (duffle bag or similar) for overland travels in which rigid suitcases can complicate vehicle loading
  • Sunglasses
  • Torch
  • Lighter
  • Trekking poles, depending on program

Our legal liability to the customer

As we are only the procurers of the travel services provided – which applies particularly to all transport by rail, car, bus, ship or airplane, and also to hotel accommodation etc – we accept no liability whatsoever. Each individual service provider is liable to the customer. Nor does travelArt accept liability for lost items. The customer is solely responsible for making use of the travel services offered. Should customers chose not to make use of travel services they have booked, they are not entitled to any refunds. We reserve the right to amend individual holiday services in a manner that customers can reasonably accept (for example, by changing hotel reservations, but keeping to the same category, or by slight amendments to travel routes). We also reserve the right to cancel holiday contracts prior to departure dates. In those cases, the customer is refunded the full price of the holiday. Unused services during a holiday are not refunded. We reserve the right to accept or decline contracts with customers, and also to decline customers’ inclusion on any given holiday. Customers are solely responsible for their luggage. The receipt and use of vouchers is understood as the customer’s agreement to the above conditions.

Do you make refunds?

travelArt does not make refunds for services, such as hotel nights, meals, city tours etc that customers have not taken up during their holiday.

What if I have to cancel?

All cancellations of the travel contract must be made in writing. The level of cancellation fees is dependent on the date we receive your written cancellation prior to departure. The following customer guidelines apply for cancellation fees: up to 46 days prior to departure, you will receive a full refund minus a US$100 processing fee. From 45 to 30 days prior to departure, cancellation fees are 30% of the total holiday price. From 29 to 15 days prior to departure, cancellation fees are 50% of the total holiday price. 14 days or less prior to departure, or by failure to take up the holiday, the cancellation fee is 100% of the total holiday price. Special cancellation conditions apply to Patagonian holiday packages: Up to 61 days prior to departure, you will be refunded the entire holiday price, minus the US$100 processing fee. 60 to 30 days prior to departure, the cancellation fee is 30% of the entire holiday price. 29 days or less, or by failure to take up the holiday, the cancellation fee is 100% of the entire holiday price.

How will I receive my travel documentation?

You will receive a detailed travel schedule together with our booking confirmation. On arrival in Chile, you will be met by a travelArt member of staff at the airport, who will present you with your travel documentation and our complete information pack. This includes *vouchers for every hotel and every booked service, *a detailed holiday schedule with the latest up-to-date information and a precise time table for internal Chilean flights (if they have been booked with us), *our 24-hour telephone helpline numbers, *city information (tips on sights and leisure planning) and, depending on your type of holiday, *a map of Chile and *an informational brochure on Chile.

How can payment be made?

As soon as you have received our reservation confirmation, we request that you pay a deposit of US$100. We accept the following credit cards: VISA, MasterCard, Diners Club and American Express. We can also process payments by bank transfer. The total fee is payable (and must be received) at least 60 days prior to your travelling dates. All prices are given in US Dollars and we reserve the right to make changes to prices. For holiday reservations made at short notice, with less than 60 days between booking and travel dates, we request payment of the full amount due, as soon as you have received our booking confirmation.

How do I book my flights?

We are happy to book your internal flights for Chile. Your international flight to and from Chile needs to be booked by you, please.

Can I book individual excursions or transfers with travelArt?

We specialize in arranging high quality holidays and do not offer individual excursions or transfer services. The excursions listed under Chile à la Carte can only be booked as part of a complete holiday package.

How do I book with travelArt?

Please complete our contact form and outline your wishes and we provide you with a detailed offer. You can also design your own package with the travel planner (Travel Module, Cruises, Hotels, Active Holidays) and we will immediately send you the relevant information and prices. If you prefer to travel in small groups, our Fixed-date Group Holidays are the right choice. Dozens of emails are often forwarded between our customers and ourselves before the perfect holiday plan, complete with hotels and specific features, has been agreed. We only make reservations once you are entirely satisfied with the holiday we have designed for you. Please be aware that the research and planning undertaken to design your holiday is very time consuming. The first holiday plan we offer you, based on your requests, is free. If you then decide that we are the right partner for you, we provide additional developments and changes to your original holiday plan for a flat fee of 50 Euros, included in the final bill.

Do I need a Visa?

You do not require a visa if you come from western Europe, North America, South America (excluding Bolivia), Australia, New Zealand or Japan. Nationals of all other countries should please consult the relevant Chilean embassy. In ALL cases, visitors require a passport to enter Chile, which must be valid for a minimum of another 6 months, from the date of arrival. Citizens of the following countries must pay an entry fee: Canada (US$132), Australia (US$117), Mexico (US$23), and Albania (US$30). Fees are subject to change. Visa requirements can also change at any time. Every traveller is therefore personally responsible for arranging appropriate travel documentation. In case of queries, you are strongly advised to contact or visit the Chilean embassy in your home country.

Is it possible to travel to Chile all year round?

Yes! Santiago and the surrounding region, as well as the beach resorts, have a very pleasant Mediterranean climate and enjoy mild weather, even during the Chilean winter, between June and September. The Andes, meanwhile, get covered in snow at that time, and become a paradise for winter sports enthusiasts. Easter Island is pleasantly warm all year round, with an average temperature of 21ºC / 70ºF. There are no clearly differentiated seasons, and the island is a special holiday experience all year round. Northern Chile enjoys a great deal of sun, and can also be visited all year round. The north Chilean city of Arica is known as the ‘City of Eternal Spring’ due to its pleasant climate. In the Atacama Desert, a constant of warm days and cold nights can be expected. In Chile’s south, the summer begins in October and ends in April. September and May can also be wonderful months for travelling to Patagonia and the Chilean Lake District, the latter offering a bouquet of flowering blossoms during spring, and southern beech trees tinged by red during the autumn. It should be noted, however, that visitors to southern Chile can often experience all four seasons in a single day. Patagonians like to say: ‘If you don’t like the weather, just wait half an hour.’

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