I have one more work day before I head out to Cancun and I am seriously excited!
I’ve got everything packed, my house clean, trashed cleared out, (forgot that last year and almost killed myself walking in the door.)
Now I have had many people ask me how I pack just the right amount of clothes every time I go somewhere and still manage to cover almost every circumstance I might run into with style. So I decided I would put together a post about what I am packing for Cancun and why.
There are two schools of thinking in the women’s world of packing.
First, it’s the bare minimum; keep your packing light and easy to haul around, and for those backpacking through Europe this would be a wonderful idea.
Second, there is the fashionable girl who packs two Louis Vuitton steamer trucks, her purse, a carry on bag and a tote.
I have a bit of an issue with both of these styles.
The first girl is ready to go with her hiking boots, quick dry undies, and her favorite band’s t-shirt, along with a pair of faded jeans. Hey girl, if you can live off of that, I say, more power to you.
But what are you going to do if that handsome French art student you ran into at the Louvre invites you out to a nice candlelit dinner?
The second girl is packing for a war, with three pairs of high heels in different heights, fifteen outfits just including one that will be perfect in case she gets invited to the yacht club party with a handsome millionaire, and every last cosmetic and hair tool she can scratch up in her house.
Babe, I understand, believe me, as a former fashion student I totally see where you are going with this. But if you are travelling alone can you easily carry all your luggage? Do you really need the high-heeled fuchsia pumps that only go with the gold dress that really goes with nothing else?
So what is the normal stylish female packer to do?
Obviously meet somewhere in the middle. My thought process when heading out on another adventure.
1. Where is it you are going?
I am headed to Cancun so I don’t need those high heels or the huge jacket. I will be on a beach almost everyday and perhaps go shopping or to a semi-nice restaurant while I am there.
2. What are you doing?
Are you legitimately going to a party worthy of an Oscar dress? For the love of God Bring that baby! And pack it carefully, kids. Are you going into the jungle, in search of the elusive pink tree frog? Get your khakis and waterproofs out. Are you for the most part going to be at a touristy area? You probably just need the basic tourist uniform i.e. flip flops, shorts, a t-shirt, and sunglasses.
3. Am I going alone and for how long?
Face it ladies, we can’t haul two huge rollies, (my term for the rolling suitcases) our purse, carry-on, and light jacket on our own. If you are going alone, make sure you can easily carry it. You never know what might come along and you must be ready to be self sufficient.
4.How long are you gone?
Any more than 2 weeks and you are going to need washable clothes. WASHABLE clothes, kids, like t-shirt that can hang up in the hotel room, not the dry clean lace blouse.
5. How much are you planning on bringing home?
OK so I am not a souvenirs kind of girl but maybe you’ve got five co-worker who always bring you little trinkets. Or perhaps you are like me where you want to find a nice something to wear everywhere I go. (Tip: Great conversation starter when people say “Where did you get that?”) Leave room in your bag, or buy a new one while on the road but make sure you can still walk with it. Also keep in mind those awesome checked bag rates! Yikes!
So what am I packing for Cancun?
I have mastered the art of Cancun packing because I have been down there a good five or six times. So I can confidently speak on this location and I would expect most other tropical beachy like havens.
- 2 tee shirts (wear one as a night shirt.)
- 1 pair of shorts
- 1 swimsuit
- Sun screen
- Undies and a pair of socks (sounds crazy but most hotel floors in Cancun are stone-like material and when you step on them in the middle of the night, just trust me here.)
- YOUR PASSPORT
- Credit card
- Hat (does not matter what kind)
Wear to the airport:
- Flip Flops
- a pareo as a scarf*
- a maxi dress or other summery dress you will feel comfortable in on the beach or at dinner.
That’s it. If you are only going to be there for a few days, you don’t need a whole bunch of stuff. You don’t need any other shoes, you are set.
*What’s a pareo? These are like sarongs, only made from a light weight material that are the original wear this any way dress, only these are the wear this any way piece of clothing! I use mine as follows and I truly think these are, other than the swim suit, the number one must have in a beachy location.
- Wrap (I suggest wearing as a scarf to the airport and then when you get chilled on the plane, you can wrap it around your shoulders on the plane.)
- Swimsuit cover-up
- Beach chair cover
- to wrap up in your bed when you have a really bad sun burn on your back and the starchy white hotel sheets are killing you. (not that I would know this from experience.)
I brought all my goodies in a tote last year, including my I-Pad. I wouldn’t suggest this when you go into Mexico, especially when you have bought the plane ticket the day before. Take it from a seasoned pro, you don’t want to have a meeting with the Mexican Customs officers. (They assumed that me being an American woman I would pack more. Once they pulled me into the office and found out I’d bought my plane ticket in less than 24 hours, well… let’s just say I was very happy for vaseline and margaritas…many, many margaritas!) Pack a rollie.
Leave the tote trick for that hot guy calls and says you’ve got an hour to go with him to Vegas for the weekend trip. He’ll think you are an easy going fun breezy woman who can take off at a moments notice! (I’m still waiting for that phone call…)
Now I am going to be gone for a week. Which means I am going to need slightly more items to wear. Next I am going to be in a jungle! Not Indiana Jane style, it’s going to be a very touristy type jungle, in between zip lines, and they ask that you wear pants.
One week in Cancun:
- All of the above items
- another swim suit. (they don’t quite dry over night and slipping back into slightly cold bikini the next morning to lounge by the pool is not very appealling. This allows you to switch them up. Also keep in mind where you are going to be. Are you going with some hottie college boys during spring break? Wear that stringy thingy bikini girl! Are you mostly going to be hanging out with the family like this chick here? I wear my tankini for the most part. It’s AccountDad approved.
- A jacket. This is for the jungle along with if it’s one of those rains for five days kinds of vacation.
- another pair of shorts
- Trainers. Once again heading to the jungle. Bring extra socks.
- A few more t-shirts or tanks.
- perhaps another maxi dress. (I find Maxi dresses are the best option for just about any trip. They are modest enough for most places, can be dressed up or down for any occasion, keep you warmer in the colder rain storms and still allow air to circulate and keep you cool in the hot summer months.)
- More Sunscreen (Yeah I’m pasty white Irish, so I go through this stuff like it’s the fountain of Youth or something. Actually it is as it defends against sun damage that causes ageing. Remember to buy under four oz. bottles if you are carrying on, something I forgot to do this time. Also keep in mind that more is better, if you run out I can guarantee it’s going to be super expensive to buy another bottle. Even in Mexico. Finally Don’t forget to put these in their own little baggies, inside the liquids baggie. These suckers have a nasty tendency to leak, or burst during altitude change.)
- Maybe, MAYBE, a pair of heels if you are planning on kicking it at a club some night. (I can tell you right now you will wear your flip flops the next day but if you insist wear the heels. Also don’t wear them the night before you go out exploring Tulum. Achy feet ruin expeditions and adventures every time.)
Now I have not included things like makeup, hair tools, purse items, etc. This is just clothes and shoes. And sunscreen. Which is the most important part of your vacation outfits.
I will show you what I bring in my travel tote for almost every trip I go in my next post.
Until then, happy travels kids, and don’t forget the sunscreen!