As a traveller, I think my life goal that applies to absolutely every single trip is packing just enough. Not overpacking and having my suitcase overflow, nor arriving there realizing I left half my life back home. It’s that sweet satisfaction of being able to close my suitcase without a struggle, and knowing I’ve got everything I need.
And of course there are the struggles of white pants getting dirty by getting packed against a pair of shoes, clean and dirty underwear getting mixed up, and of course, everybody’s favourite, a liquid spill of some sort all over your clothes.
Hopefully these few tips that have helped me avoid my own packing disasters, will help you avoid yours.
First and foremost, don’t underestimate separating things. As fun as it may seem to literally throw everything in your suitcase and go, unfortunately, that’s not very logistical. I use a plastic bag for each pair of shoes as well as toiletries (like shampoo and conditioner) that don’t fit into a large toiletry bag. My favourite: I have these Kate Spade washbags to separate my clean and dirty underwear. I wouldn’t normally go out and search for them, but after getting the set as a gift, I realized it’s actually essential to successful travels. I never have to worry about accidentally grabbing a pair of dirty underwear after the shower, and for me, that feels good.
Take two pairs of flip-flops and one pair of heels (or a pair of dress shoes for men). A couple years ago, we took an excursion on a catamaran, and having to be barefoot on the boat, I left my flip-flops on the floor of the boat. A big gust of wind, and one of them was out to sea… Forever… From now on I take pretty flip-flops and Walmart flip-flops. I’m able to wear the pretty ones for any occasion, even to dinner, and the cheaper ones I take on excursions in the case that I dirty them or lose them. This is also a great way to have back-up in case one of the pairs breaks! As for the heels, whether you plan to dress up often or not at all, one pair of nude sandals will have you set for either scenario.
As a general rule of thumb, make you sure you have an evening outfit per day packed, and a few pairs of shorts and tops for the beach. I literally only took four pairs of shoes with me (flip flops, heels, sneakers, evening sandals), and it didn’t feel like too little. If you plan on doing an excursion, I would recommend packing a full outfit (bather included) you wouldn’t mind to throw out. Some excursions involve getting wet and dirty in the mud, and you wouldn’t want to risk ruining clothes you actually really care about.
A few things that maybe you don’t really need, but they might come in handy:
- Medicine & vitamins. I always have Vitamin C, Advil, Gravol and Arnica Gel with me in case anything happens. Polysporin would be a good one to add to the list!
- Scissors. You never know what can happen, but scissors are a great item to have with you. Just make sure you pack it in your checked luggage!
- LOTS OF EXTRA CASH! This past trip we thought we’d get by with just enough cash for tips, and then have our Visas as back-up. Well, the ATM didn’t work, and we only found out upon arrival that there’s a $10 entry tax and a $20 exit tax if you travel with SunWing. We were blessed enough to make some friends who lent us money that we then wired back to them through PayPal.
Needless to say, I think every single trip, no matter how short, how far, and how lazy or adventure-filled, is a learning experience. Each time I learn what I’ve over-packed and what I’ve forgotten or could have used.
What packing tips do you have for resort travel?