Sunday, May 11, 2008

Tips to packing lightly for your next vacation

I just came back from my week long West Caribbean cruise...and it was awesome! Although I'm no jet set darling ( I wish I were), I'm fond of travelling and try to make an international trip once a year. I've been travelling since 2 years old and one of my goals is to travel around the world.

One thing I've noticed that distinguishes me from many of my friends/family and fellow tourists when travelling is how lightly I pack. I'm not kidding when I say that I'm a light packer. I don't cheat either, by buying new luggage and bringing it back filled with stuff. I went on a 5 day trip to the U.S. last year to attend a conference with a group of college students, guys and girls. I had the smallest luggage, and I'm a GIRL! For the recent 9 day Caribbean cruise, I went to and came back with a small rolling carry-on suitcase along with my Tokidoki tote with everything that I needed for the trip and souvenirs during my return.

I've mentioned in other posts that I'm low maintenance and would not sacrifice comfort for fashion...but that doesn't mean I travel looking like a slob! The key is organization. I always print out a checklist when packing for a vacation. You can list items by categories or you can plan outfits by day.
Here's what I packed for my 9 day Western Caribbean Cruise:
-3 cotton printed dresses ( 2 strapless, 1 sleeveless) for day-to-night
-2 formal dresses (for captain's night and formal dinner)
-1 tunic that could be used as both a beach cover-up or minidress for clubbing
-1 graphic tee
-1 v-neck solid coloured tee
-1 dressy halter (for night)
-1 white camisole (for layering)
-1 black tube top (for layering)
-1 denim miniskirt
-1 trouser shorts
-1 pair of jeans (flight)
-1 pair of leggings (for flight)
-1 pair of casual shorts
Outerwear (for chilly temperatures at night and air conditioned indoors):
-1 cardigan (to go w/ the day-to-night dresses)
-1 fleece hoodie
-1 sheer blouse (fashionable, yet doesn't leave you as cold as wearing a tank alone)
-1 casual button down shirt with collar
-1 windbreaker (in case it rains)
-1 jacket ( Toronto's weather was 10-16 degrees celsius, Caribbean was high 20's low 30 degrees)
-1 pashmina scarf/wrap (w/ formal wear, and on flight)
-1 wooden bangle (for day)
-1 cocktail ring
-1 pair of hoop earrings
-1 large tote bag (to carry to beach and on flight)
-1 small purse (for evening and running around the ship in general)
-1 hat
-1 headband (for fuss free hair w/ style)
-1 pair of sunglasses
-1 pair of flip flops (for beach, in room, on the ship)
-1 pair of ballet flats (looks good with dresses, comfort of a slipper)
-1 pair of flat sandals
-1 pair of sneakers
-1 pair of heels (for evening and formal)
-1 set of exercise gear (yoga pants, sport tank)-->to burn those calories from all those buffets!
-2 swimsuits ( 1 tankini top + black boyshort bottoms (that go with everything), 1 reversible bikini set)
-underwear and socks (remember to pack extras!)
-Nintendo DS
-1 towel, if you're uncomfortable w/ using 'public' items
-****Extra flat, foldable, carry on bag in case you buy more than you can fit into one bag alone****
bring everything in travel size(except for sunscreen),
and under 100 ml if you don't check in your luggage like me. That's when those samples/GWP sets come in handy.
-if you're not too finicky about your makeup like me, a good makeup palette (w/ blush, eyeshadow, lipcolour), eyelash curler, mascara, face brush, and concealer is all you need. You don't really need (much) makeup for the beach anyways!
-a small wireless hair straightener/curling iron if you insist (I recently chopped my hair off to a shoulder length I left these at home)

Yup, all of the above went into my little carry on suitcase and I never repeated an outfit twice. You'll get an extra boost of confidence too when you're just as comfy in your light cotton sundress as the other people onboard are in their t shirt +shorts+velcro sandals combo. Of course, the way you pack is important too. Always roll hard plastic, fragile items (wooden bangle, chargers) up inside clothing for extra cushioning to prevent breaking anything. Fold your clothes properly and lay them flat, but wrinkle free items (like sheer blouse) can be rolled and stuffed in the extra holes. Wrinkle free items are the best for travel to avoid the extra costs of ironing. Toiletries should also be cushioned by clothing so they won't break and spill all over your stuff.
Pack only a little bit more than what you need but don't go overboard. Always pack extra socks/underwear and no matter how high the temperature of your destination is, a jacket and scarf is a MUST.

I hope this extra long entry will be beneficial to all those preparing to travel this summer! Leave me a comment if you have any other good advice for packing :D

1 comment:

Ian said...

I couldn't agree with you more. People going on vacations should pack lightly. It can be inconvenient to bring a lot of things that you would not be using anyways. You should just pack the necessary things. I liked the checklist idea because it keeps you in track of the things that you placed on your luggage.

Aside from packing, it is important to select a good place to stay in during vacations. There are hotels and short term furnished rentals (NYC and other tourist spots)available for tourists. It's good to decide on this prior to the trip to be sure of the accommodations.

Good luck on your next trip!