Monday, November 9, 2015

Packing Tips! For An All Inclusive, Beach Vacation

There's nothing more exciting than packing for a trip. 

Adventure awaits you! What will you need to bring with you to look fabulous and be prepared for EVERYTHING?

That last thought is usually what leads to not being able to close your suitcase, or getting hit with an overweight luggage charge.

I find this to be especially true when I'm packing for an All Inclusive Beach Vacation. Because you're not travelling from place to place, but will still have daytime activities, nice restaurants and cocktail hours to enjoy, you seem to think you need more things when really, you need less!

If you're planning on hitting the beach for a week of relaxation, here are my packing tips!

First, there are three things you should check before you start making your packing list.

1) Check the weather/climate 

Hopefully you did this already before booking your hotel! Make sure to check what the standard weather is for the month you're going (hurricane season? 2 days of rainfall? 28C degree days and 15C degree nights?).

It's also useful to check out other relevant information, like what times of year are the bugs bad? When does the sun go down? What is the ocean water like near the hotel.

2) Decide on any excursions

Most hotels in the same region will offer the same types of excursions. Scuba diving trips, party catamarans, local bar-hopping, ancient ruins. nature hikes and zip lining are some great examples. 

Research the types of excursions that are available in your area, either through the hotel or by organizing yourself, it may require additional gear you wouldn't pack otherwise.

3) Check hotel amenities and restaurants

Again, hopefully you looked into this before you booked, but make sure you have a full understanding of what the hotel offers.

Restaurants are particularly important, as many of them come with a dress code. Usually the buffet is a free for all, but the A La Carte dining options almost always require something a bit more formal (that is, beach formal) than what you wear by the pool.

Also look into the amenities. Is there a gym on site? A golf course or a tennis court? Knowing the types of activities you can indulge in day-to-day will help you solidify your packing list!

Now that you're thinking ahead to how this trip is going to play out, it's time to make your packing list! Divide up your clothes into four categories: day stuff, night stuff, activity stuff and personal stuff!

1) Day Stuff

The number one rule about day stuff is this: you need about half as much as you think you do.

Lets face it, you'll spend most of your time during the day in a bathing suit, occasionally with a pair of shorts and t-shirt or a dress to slip on over top for lunch time. If you're going away for 7 days, you'll need:

- 3 dresses
- 1 pair of shorts
- 5 t-shirts

any more than that, and it just won't get worn. Don't waste the luggage space!

2) Night Stuff

It's nice to have a few nicer pieces of clothing for the evening! Even if you're not going to an A La Carte restaurant, you may want to slip into something a bit more fabulous for drinks, or a walk through the resort. 

I usually pack 3 dresses that I would be happy to wear to an A La Carte restaurant, and 3 that I can wear more casually (but still look nice for a moonlit beach visit). Leave the slacks and tops at home and pack a cardigan for warmth instead!

3) Activity Stuff

Activity stuff is a broad category which includes bathing suits, golf or tennis gear and hiking equipment.

Obviously, packing a bathing suit is the MOST important part of any beach vacation. I'd recommend bringing at least 3 bathing suits so that you don't need to wiggle into a cold, wet bathing suit in the morning.

Otherwise, be prepared with one outfit that you don't mind getting a bit sweaty on a hike or on the tennis court. If you like to hit the gym every day, take a set of gym clothes with you! 

But remember that if you'd rather just sit on the beach every day, that's good too!

4) Personal Stuff

The personal stuff includes things like shampoo (bring small amounts in travel sized bottles), sunscreen (high SPF) and of course jewellery!

I don't like to travel with my nice jewellery. I would be devastated if I lost it, and during the day I won't wear it. So instead I travel with mainly just earrings and maybe one statement necklace. Less to fuss about.

Did I mention sunscreen? LOTS of that.

A few final tips:

  • Bring only 3 pairs of shoes: Day-to-day beach shoes, one pair of wedged sandals (in a neutral colour so they're versatile) and a pair of running shoes
  • Wear the same travel outfit on the day you leave as the day you come back
  • Have a pair of slipper socks with you (for cool tile floors in the morning)
  • Don't worry so much! During the day, no one is going to notice if you wear the same t-shirt on day 3 and day 6. You're on vacation! 

And remember: don't forget your toothbrush!

What are things you try and keep in mind when you're packing for a trip? Are you the type to over pack? What's your favourite type of trip? Let me know in the comments below!