Vacation packing must haves

It has sort of become a tradition that every year I go away – at least once, to the Caribbean.  Last year I went to the Caribbean and to Florida thanks to my friend Kim for the invite, so I have become somewhat an expert at packing.

Okay, that’s bullshit.  I am not a “master packer” I am an over packer.  My suitcase always weighs too much coming home (with the added things I buy) and I usually have to throw more in my carry on and whomever is travelling with me – their suitcase and carry on.  It’s sad!  However, I have also learned some great things from my mistakes over the years so todays blog is dedicated to things I must have when travelling!

1 You need to begin with the suitcase (duh!) and while I have always loved the tracker brand, this year I needed a new suitcase and I switched because I wanted one that had four wheels instead of two (trust me, when travelling with a heavier suitcase (see above) its nice to be able to roll the suitcase instead of pull it throughout the airport both in Toronto and the destination.  I also never buy a solid colour like black or navy because everyone and their mother owns this suitcase.  I bought a red one this time that has darker red swirls on it.  I also have a special scarf that I tie around the handle.  It is white with navy and red polka dots!  It was my grandmothers (though I swear I never saw her wear this)  Having a scarf that makes your bag stand out is really important.  When I went on my first trip in 2K7 I had a navy blue suitcase that had white, purple and hot pink designs splashed all over it.  I thought it was really original!

It was taken.  Someone who had the exact same bag saw (mine) and took it, got on their bus and left.  I saw theirs (which clearly was not new) with a blue tag (which I did not have).  I had to go through a huge thing with my travel lady to go to their hotel and get my bag and then they had to bring my bag back to me.  It was drama – about 6 hours of me freaking out!  So now I have a bright scarf wrapped neatly around the handle so hopefully no one “accidentally” takes it.

2. I always bring more clothes than I need because you know what – you never know.  You just don’t know!  So do I bring a lot of stuff I don’t necessarily end up wearing, yes…but has their been times where I have thanked my lucky stars I brought that extra swimsuit (I bring 3 for a week-long Caribbean vacation) or pair of socks I swore I would not wear – yes!

When I went to the DR for my friend’s wedding, I forgot to bring a cardigan or a sweater.  Well at night, after the disco and after my hours of conversation with the best man (long story) I had to do the walk of shame back to my room in a tank top and it was cool.  I shivered while hustling as quick as my flip-flops would carry me to the other side of the resort and while watching the shows each evening.  By the way, I bring 4 sandles/flip-flops and one pair of runners in case I go on a day trip sometimes running shoes are more comfortable and logical for walking on various terrains.

3. Large shampoo and conditioner and body wash.  I leave whatever I have left for the maids.  Speaking of…

4. I always bring a little tote full of toothpaste, tooth brushes, shampoos, perfumes, nylons, toys, crayons and I leave these for the maids to share after the last day of my trip.  When i dated my ex, he had Raptors and Leafs gear and left it for the guys who drove the trolleys and the guys who filled the fridges (clearly we had beer stocked every day).  It’s just a nice little thing to do for people who work hard to make your week off a breeze!

5. Sun tan lotion. Sun screen is sold at most locations in the Caribbean, however it is very expensive!  They know you need it if you don’t bring it so they jack the price up mucho dollars!  So please don’t forget it, buy it in bulk and bring it with you!

6. A camera – cause really these memories you are going to make are amazing.  I always have a full album worth of pictures and take pictures of everything from the resort to my excursions and the people I am travelling with and the people I meet there!  I always wonder if the staff realize they are made famous on people’s Facebook and Instagram accounts as well as on websites like Tripadvisor?

7. A variety of medications.  I always bring a tray of meds that include Advil, gravol, NyQuil, my anxiety meds and my muscle relaxers.  I have gotten strep throat my last two vacations so I freak out and bring a bit of everything!

8. Something I don’t bring, but I do before I leave is photocopy all my ID.  My passport, drivers license, health card, health insurance card etc.  I leave it with someone who is not traveling with me as well as a copy of my travel plans – hotel name and phone number, flight info etc.

So these are the things that I have found to be helpful with my 7 years of travel experience – I am sure as I continue I will have more and I will update accordingly, so far, I am packed and ready to go for my DR trip this year!  I am so excited I cannot handle it!  My whole family is going (12 of us) and I really just want to get to the airport and on the plane!  Lots of pics and details to follow!

So tell me…what is your travel must have?

Love Nicole



3 thoughts on “Vacation packing must haves

  1. I agree with most of this but why are you taking up valuable suitcase weight with heavy shampoos, etc., toys, toothbrushes etc. to leave behind in the Dominican? Unlike Cuba, these goods are easily available to all. We just take a stack of US $1 bills, leave 2 on the pillow every morning for the maid and in the fridge for the beer guy. A lot lighter to pack and they can buy whatever they need!

    • OK I agree with the “stuff” for Cuba and I guess that will change once they establish ties with the U.S. again – but the prices will go up!!

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