Have you ever been island cliff jumping? Or gone tropical snorkeling? Or stayed at a resort to find out that a section of it is named after your distant relative?
I have, and it’s all thanks to traveling.
My family has always loved to travel. And the more I do, the more I realized the endless benefits of seeing the world.
It’s always such a great opportunity to see how others live. I am humbled more and more by each place I visit, and have a strengthened desire to see even more of the world.
Regardless of where or how far I’ve gone, I’ve always learned and seen something new.
In 2012, I went to the Dominican Republic, and in spring of 2016 I went to Aruba.
If it’s your first time really traveling, maybe for a school break or a study abroad, then this packing list is a great place to start.
Visiting other places has had such a big influence on my life. It provides me with tons of stories to share with friends, new and old.
So, wherever you’re going, lucky you! I hope you have an awesome trip!
If you don’t travel often, that makes the experience that much more exciting. Below I share a list of packing tips so you can focus on the trip and the things you’ll remember, and not all the things you forgot.
These packing tips are based on a week-long trip length. 🙂
Only 2-3 Bras
They don’t really get dirty, and they can take up a lot of space when packing. Don’t bring too many, because you’ll want the extra room in your bag.
I always end up needing them, and they are so not worth $6 at a convenience store.
This is basically a given, especially if you’re going somewhere tropical. There’s nothing worse than being caught in a hot and sweaty place without a nice layer of cool cucumber protection.
Sunglasses (even if you don’t normally wear them)
Sunglasses don’t seem to cooperate with my face shape.
I’ve been looking for years and I can’t find one pair that I think looks good on me. But when I go on vacation, I don’t even care. Having sunglasses, especially in tropical destinations, increases comfort by 110%.
And if you’re like me and don’t wear them often, don’t go spend $20 on a pair you’ll never wear again. Find a cheap pair that works. They only have to last you a week.
If you’re leaving the country, I would recommend bringing most, if not all, of your money in cash.
When you go out, don’t bring it all, in case you lose your bag or wallet. But by having cash on you, it makes exchanging it with international money super easy and avoids the stress of having to deal with your card company.
Speaking of credit cards: call your credit card company
If you are bring your credit/debit card, make sure you call them about a week before and tell them that you are going on vacation. If you do, you should be alright.
Otherwise, your company will think there is suspicious activity/fraud on your card, and will lock it. You really don’t want to be stuck in a foreign state or country with a frozen card and little to no money until your company unfreezes it.
Sunscreen = a must
This is something I always forget. But I definitely won’t after my last vacation.
I recently went to Aruba, and the first day I got burnt to a crisp! (lol) I had put some sunscreen on, but I had missed a few areas, so some parts were burnt and some were fine.
I looked like a candy cane! (And don’t forget, the next few days were nothing short of painful.)
Please learn from me, and bring a 30 SPF sunscreen and ask someone to put it on for you. I promise you’ll still tan, and you won’t have trouble putting on clothes the next few days.
3 Pairs of Shoes
No matter where you’re going, it’s best to stick to the 3 shoe staples: sneakers (preferably old), flip-flops, and a nice sandal.
If you love your shoes and always want to have the perfect one for every outfit, I know this will be hard. But trust me, it makes packing a whole lot easier.
If you’re worried about matching, bring shoes in neutral colors, like black or white, and that way they will match any outfit.
If you’re trying to save space while packing, wear clothes that can also be pajamas, like t-shirts and athletic shorts.
You can wear them out if you want, or just wear them to bed. There, you have an outfit and pajamas, and you only had to use space for one outfit.
What goes last?
Any time you are packing to go anywhere, you should pack more socks and underwear than you think you’ll need.
They’re small and flexible, so pack them last. You can shove them into all the nooks and crannies in your bag to save space.
How many bags?
This is my standard system for packing my bags.
Bag 1 (checked) – clothes, pajamas, socks, bathing suit, bras & underwear, etc
Bag 2 (checked) – shampoo & conditioner, toiletries, vitamins, brush
Bag 3- Carry-on.
Keep in mind, I always fly SouthWest Airlines. My bag system is based on their 2 free bags checked, and one free carry-on.
My Last and Most Important Tip
If you want to go swimming, do it! If you want to dance, do it! If you’re not the most confident person or don’t like the way your body looks, then I completely understand. But don’t let that get in the way of your fun.
When I was in the Dominican Republic, I didn’t go in the ocean because I thought I was too fat. I also don’t have any pictures of me! Don’t let that happen. When you look back, you don’t want to remember how sad you were over your weight or anything else.
It will feel great to look back at all the fun things you did, and all the new memories you have. I promise you won’t regret it.
What’s you number one vacation tip?
Hasta la vista!