A passport, some SPF 50, bug spray, warm weather clothes… Everyone remembers to pack the obvious essentials– at least, we hope you won’t forget your passport!– but not everyone thinks to bring the following six items that come in handy much more often than you think. Here’s what we recommend adding to your packing list before making your way to Playa Sámara, Costa Rica to begin your English teaching journey.
1. Camera or Journal
Making memories is one of the most important aspects of traveling. However, they can only make a lasting impact when you actually remember them! Pictures can be amazing ways to remember the big moments (like your TEFL graduation!), but sometimes, when you are living in the present, it’s hard to remember to pull out your camera and snap a photo. This is where a journal can be a useful tool as something you can fill in before bed with all the TEFL skills you’ve learned, people you’ve met, places you’ve seen, and memories you’ve made.
2. Your favorite writing utensil
Now, coming to Latin America may sound like you’re taking a holiday, but don’t forget you are also getting certified to teach English in Costa Rica. Whether you’re writing notes in class, lesson planning, or preparing your class materials, it’s nice to have a trusty writing utensil. It can be difficult to find the materials you are used to in Costa Rica, so remember to pack any pens, pencils, or art supplies you think you may want.
3. Insulated Water Bottle
Any type of water bottle is truly a travel life-saver, but what an added luxury when your drink will stay cold for 12 or even 24 hours! I’ll be frank, Costa Rica can be HOT. Whether you are at the beach, on a hiking trip, or out for a day in the city, the heat has a way of sneaking up on you. Taking a nice cool sip of fresh clean water is a welcome reprieve.
Do you know that one book that you’ve been meaning to read for forever? It’s time to pull it off the shelf and pack it in your suitcase. Maybe you read it on the plane, on the bus, or while relaxing on the beach. Before you know it, you will be ready for a book swap with your fellow TEFL peers or travelers.
Oh, the blessed peace and quiet of these wonderful inventions. Headphones and/or earplugs are a definite necessity for your TEFL course. They come in handy for noisy hostels, busy bus stations, or simply for some much needed alone time. The TEFL course can be quite intensive, so it is important to have a way to take time for yourself. At some point or another, we’ve all popped these guys in our ears and pretended we were completely absorbed in our music, podcast, or audiobook just so others didn’t bother us. Additionally, headphones can be super important for lesson planning if you’re thinking to incorporate videos into your EFL classes. Not to mention, headphones and earplugs are easy to squeeze into a suitcase, backpack, or purse for easy transport.
6. A little reminder of home
For many of our TEFL trainees, Costa Rica is a long way from home. Bringing a little trinket from home can feel silly at the time, but at 4,000 miles away from your family, friends, or pets, it can be very comforting. Something as simple as a stuffed animal, a small picture frame, a locket, or your best friend’s old soccer T-shirt is easy to pack in your suitcase and can be a reassuring sight at the end of a long day.
Whether this is your first trip abroad or your thirty-first, these six Costa Rica TEFL essentials can help to make your transition to teaching English abroad effortless. Now, we surely hope you remember to pack your passport, a credit card, and a swimsuit, but we hope you consider bringing these six items as well. Safe travels on your TEFL journey, and we hope to see you soon!
Feel free to comment your favorite travel items below!