Thursday, January 9, 2014

Packing Light for Caribbean Travel

The first time my luggage went missing for several days was a lesson learned - if you need it, keep it with you! 

Traveling with just a carry on means less weight to drag around, fewer items to keep track of, and the ability to easily pack and unpack.  Forget about waiting at baggage claim, and these days the money spent for baggage fees could be better spent on more vacation fun.   

I can hear the groans from those who feel they must travel with loads of baggage, however once you free yourself from the weight, travel will become more enjoyable and less stressful. 

Traveling to the airport in the summer months is a breeze, however when traveling in the cold, snowy winter months I opt for wearing a lightweight down coat. The coat serves as a warm blanket if the plane is cold, and folded it is a comfy pillow cushion. Upon arrival and clearing customs, I tie the arms on the carry-on handles, and I'm quickly out the door.  

Purse, Beach Bag, Beach Blanket, Sarong

Love items that serve more than one purpose!

One of my favorite beach items was a shopping find in Costa Rica. When packing it's un-zip and folded flat.

Zipped up it's a lightweight purse or beach bag. It's perfect when you find one of those remote spots of sand with no chairs - simply up-zip and it's a great cover to sit or lay on - it's quite large.  

Packing List:
I have a file with blank "things to do prior to leaving" lists, which includes a pre-made packing list. There are several packing list apps, however I prefer my custom list, and stick to pen and paper. Each to do item and packing is checked off when completed.

  • Stop mail delivery or have neighbor pick up mail
  • Notify family & friends of travel itinerary
  • Put my own brand of toiletries in 3 oz. containers - toothpaste is only travel sized purchased
  • Chargers/Cords/Plugs/Earphones 
  • Airline Check in - day before 
  • All travel e-mail confirmations are forwarded to TripCase app, and it syncs everything - or you can manually enter to view your entire itinerary. App also shows available seats, and if you miss a flight, alternative flight info is given for all airlines. Especially good if you have connecting flights. Free - available on Apple and Android. 
  • Passport

My carry on is a hard case, and has held up pretty good considering the number of trips. A hard case helps prevent wrinkles by compression, and if packed right everything should arrive just as you packed it. I don't use them, but there are many large large packing cubes for clothes, and smaller cubes for accessories which fit into carry on's making packing easier.

Guest bedroom serves as the packing station with all items laid out on the bed. Clothes are color coordinated to mix and match. 

For a 7-10 day Caribbean stay, here's what I normally pack:

Makeup, comb/brush/flat iron, cords & chargers are in a small travel case - each compartment has velcro on the bottom making it easy to attach and remove - and it folds up into a small neat case.

(6) Tees in various colors, (2) T-shirts
(3) Pairs of shorts, (2) Capri pants
(3) Swimming suits, (4) Sarongs
(1) Lightweight wrap for cool evenings
(2) Foldable straw hats, (1) Cap for sailing, and "bad hair" days
(2) Wrinkle free dresses for evening dinners
(1) Pair of comfortable shoes for walking, (1) Beach Sandal, (1) Dressy Sandal
(2) Scarves & a decorative belt
Compact first-aid kit
Beach Bag
Light Sleepwear
Enough underwear for duration of trip unless washer/dryer is available
Last but certainly NOT least - Pack mosquito repellent!!

Travel Purse is lightweight, and large enough to carry all items with room left over

Organization Tote fits inside the purse with wide sized zip pockets on each side for passport, travel documents, and mini first-aid kit. 

The pocket slots hold cell phone, iPod touch, portable charger, and all charger cables and plugs. Stretch pockets on each end hold keys, pens, sanitary wipes, and phone purse case.

Rather than carrying a camera for pics, I use my iPhone. The small purse-case slips around the wrist and is great for traveling light in the evening.  

I also like the wrist pouch for carrying cash, credit card or key. Phones & iPod touch are too hard to get in & out of zipped pocket, and far too heavy for the material. 

Other purse travel items include mini iPad with keyboard case, collapsible water bottle, and crew socks to put on walking through TSA scanners. Even if I have on socks, have to slip on another pair on - we all have our travel quirks.

Something every traveler should have

A few more tips:
All "undies" are packed in a gallon size zip-lock bag. If TSA makes a decision to go through my bag, they won't have to handle my underwear, or have them dumped on the belt. Once was enough!!

Rather than pack a bunch of dresses for evenings, I choose one brightly colored dress, and one in a solid color. A plain solid color dress can be jazzed up with a wrap, scarf, decorative belts, long necklaces and dressy earrings.

Sarongs/Beach Wraps can also be worn as dresses if you know how to tie them correctly - Check out these 9 different ways to wrap at this video link - 9 Different Ways Wear/Wrap a Sarong 

Well that covers how I pack light for Caribbean travel. If you have any packing tips, please feel free to comment.

Happy Travels,

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  1. Packing and organizing your luggage is probably the second most important thing to do on when travelling, especially if your destination is very far. Linda made the perfect plan in order to avoid embarrassing or unpleasant situations at the airport. If only we could all be as organised as she is!

  2. Hello Ana - Sorry I missed your comment until now! Yes, organization & traveling light is the key to happy travels. Thanks for visiting