Are you planning an escape in paradise? We all love relaxing with the sea, sand and sun, but before you can do that you have to pack. Sometimes packing can be overwhelming, especially if you are an over packer like me. You want to make sure you don't forget anything, but you also don't want end up paying extra luggage fees.
There are so many things to consider when packing for a trip, length of the trip, climate, who is traveling, itinerary, luggage and even the resort or destination requirements. Inquiring minds want to know, so here are my top 5 packing tips.
Packing Tip #1 ~ Carry-On Bag
You should always carry at least one change of clothing in your carry-on bag. This includes a swim suit, toiletries, make-up, medications and other essentials. We have all heard the horror stories of lost luggage. Who wants to be ready to hit the pool or beach and not have a swim suit to change into?
Many resorts hold your luggage until your room is ready which could mean several hours before you can slip into your room to change, but if you have a carry-on with everything you need, you can change in the resort bathroom and be sipping your pina colada poolside in a matter of minutes.
Make sure any sunscreen or other toiletries in your carry-on meet the TSA standards for travel size. Click here for current rules.
Packing Tip #2 ~ Travel Documents/Essentials
Keep all your necessary travel documents with you in a safe place that is easily accessible. This includes a valid passport (expiration date should be more than 6 months past any travel), driver's license, airline tickets and/or boarding passes, as well as cell phone, chargers, credit cards and cash. You should carry some small bills for tipping transportation or luggage handlers.
Do NOT put your passport in a carry-on that could potentially be separated from you. Sometimes airlines do not have room in overhead bins for carry-on luggage, so they stow your carry-on for free in the luggage area. This may result in your carry-on traveling without you to your final destination. We had this happen to the best man in our destination wedding. He missed a whole day in paradise because his passport went on to Punta Cana without him.
If you require any medication bring along a copy of the prescription. I also advise bringing a few extra days of your prescription(s) in case of an emergency. You may have to stay an extra day due to weather or unforeseen circumstances. Better to be safe than sorry.
Sunscreen, aloe, lip balm and bug spray are less expensive to purchase at home and bring along. If you are checking a bag, make sure you put them in a waterproof ziploc in your suitcase. I had a sunscreen explode in my suitcase getting all over my clothes. It was kind of a mess, but my suitcase smelled very tropical!
A small first aid kit with pain relief medicine, motion sickness medicine, antacids, bandaids and anti-itch cream can also come in handy.
Packing Tip #3 ~ Roll Your Clothes
The key to packing is to roll your clothes for minimal wrinkling. I was recently introduced to this method by a fashion stylist. Not only does rolling clothes reduce wrinkling it also saves space. Some people prefer packing cubes, where you can just transfer the cubes to your hotel drawers once you arrive.
I use all available space, by packing socks inside shoes and undergarments in a hat (it also helps keep the shape of the hat). I usually pack a couple of plastic bags to put shoes in or dirty laundry.
Packing Tip #4 ~ Resort/Destination Dress Codes
Some islands have different customs. Caribbean countries like Trinidad & Tobago, Barbados and Dominica prohibit civilians from wearing camouflage. Also, some destinations might not be as progressive as the United States in clothing styles...meaning that short shorts or skimpy bathing suits might feel out of place. It is always advisable to honor a destination's customs and values.
Additionally, some all-inclusive resorts have a dress code for some of their dining options. Men should bring a long pair of dress pants (kahki or light weight is fine) and close-toed shoes. Women tend to have more options, but a sundress and/or one nice dress for those special occasions is a good idea.
Packing Tip #5 ~ Packing List
What you pack will depend on where you are going, who is going, weather and what you will be doing. A packing list can save lots of time. It will also help you remember everything. My daughter-in-law is an organized packer...I wish I could say the same. She always has a list and packs in advance. I am a last minute packer. Which one are you?
No matter which type of packer you are, here are some worthy packing list suggestions for a tropical getaway: a brimmed hat, sunglasses, 2-3 swimsuits, 1-2 cover-ups, 4-5 tops (men bring a couple of collared shirts & perhaps a light suit jacket), 4 bottoms (men - 1 pair of long pants), 2-3 dresses, 3-4 pair of shoes (water shoes, flip flops, sandals/dress shoes, comfy shoes, men need a pair of close-toed dress shoes), and a beach bag.
When in doubt pack light. Pack items that you can mix & match. Items can be worn more than once. Leave a little space to bring home an thing or two. 😉
Those are my top 5 packing tips. Did I leave anything out? What is something you always pack? Share your comments below.
Are you ready to pack for your next getaway? If not, what are you waiting for? Contact me and let's plan your next vacay so you can begin packing!