You’re weeks away from your much-deserved escape to paradise, and the excitement of the trip is starting to build as you “X” days off of your calendar. It’s time to decide what thing to pack for vacation. If you are anything like me, this is a daunting task to say the least. As you sift through piles and piles of warm weather ware and begin to throw outfit after outfit in your suitcase, a couple things become quite evident. Not only have you filled your suitcase with your entire summer wardrobe, you have also single-handedly exceeded the free baggage allowance for at least four passengers!

So let’s start from scratch, shall we?  Here are some packing tips for your all inclusive vacation that are sure to lighten your load and prepare you for a relaxing holiday in the sun.

Create a vacation packing checklist

Before you begin throwing the “just-in-case” outfits in the suitcase, sit down and create a vacation packing checklist of the things you will need for your holiday. Your travel packing list should include: clothing items, toiletries, accessories, shoes, and other miscellaneous items, which can range from an umbrella to electronics. The list will help you identity what you have, what you may still need to get, and/or what you don’t really need to take.

Plan ahead

Planning ahead covers everything from checking the weather forecast to finding out the acceptable dress code for various food outlets. Also, if you plan to venture off the resort for an excursion, you can determine what you will need to carry to make your tour comfortable (i.e. a hat, walking shoes, sunscreen, bug repellent, hand sanitizer, etc).

Sort first... pack later

You have your packing checklist, you have done your research, but before you start throwing things in a bag willy nilly, here are a few suggestions to take the guesswork out of sorting.

  1. Lay your outfits out on a bed or table to give yourself a clearer picture of what you have.
  2. Choose multi-purpose clothing to save space.
  3. Organize day and night outfits, and then see which ones you can mix and match.
  4. Add in a couple scarves to spruce up your outfits and give them a different look and feel.
  5. Let’s face it: you will probably spend 60% of your trip in your bathing suit, which helps to eliminate a lot of daytime outfits.
  6. Shoes take up the most space in your bag, and should be kept to a minimum. One comfy pair of shoes or flip-flops for the day, a neutral colour heel or sandal for the evening, and one pair of traveling shoes is really all you need.
  7. Downsize your toiletries into travel size containers, and only pack multi-use accessories.
  8. Make sure to carry travel size medications, sunscreen and bug repellent –these things tend to be expensive in the Caribbean and Mexico.
  9. Avoid the urge to throw in a couple “just-in-case” tops or shorts, because, chances are, you won’t need them.
  10. Most all-inclusive resorts provide towels for the beach/pool so there’s no need to take up space bringing your own

Now, let’s start packing

Now that you have all of your outfits neatly laid out on the bed or table, it’s time to put them in your suitcase. If you want to conserve space, take each item, roll it like a pig in a blanket, then put it in your suitcase. I typically put all my clothes on one side and my shoes on the other (in a bag so they don’t dirty my clothing). I put my toiletries in a zip-lock bag to avoid spillage, and I slot my accessories into an open space.

Bravo, you are now packing like a pro! Preparing for travel can be stressful. Chances are you will forget something, but planning ahead reduces that risk significantly. Now, it’s time for a worry-free and relaxing vacation down south. Enjoy your trip!