Let’s just get it out of the way and start with the thing everyone says to do but no one actually does; PACK ONLY WHAT YOU NEED! We all have the tendency to pack for every occasion. Going on vacation for a week doesn’t mean somehow we may end up at a black tie affair. Take out the ball gown and jewels and reduce your travel headache. Instead, use space saver bags. Seriously, use the bags they work! Or simply pack modestly and still use the space savers. Your suitcase and arms will thank you for it.
When it comes to makeup and hair keep it SUPER simple. Don’t pack things you don’t use on an everyday. That’s right. That new urban decay palate does not need to go vacation too. Leave the multiple hair tools at home. Most hotels have hairdryers. If you are staying somewhere that doesn’t then buy a small folding travel hairdryer. Personally, I have fairly curly hair and sometimes a flat iron comes in handed, but I much prefer a wand to keep my curls tight and manageable while on vacation. Plus it’s small and can usually fit into my case with little to bulk. Rarely will I take both. I realize everyone is different though so really when it comes to hair pack what is going to help you. If you feel you need several different products then downsize the bulk by using travel size containers. Refills are easy to find. I use rubber squeeze bottles for shampoo and conditioner, while also using smaller ounce plastic jars for any other hair products. Any leftover empty containers work great for small jewelry storage. Plus they are washable.
Be a SMART souvenir consumer.
Now that we have all that room in our suitcase we can fill it up with all the things, right? Not so fast! While I like to say it’s your money use it how you like, I will still insert my own two-cents here. Ultimately we want to get our money’s worth. For now, we will sideline that living in the moment of being in a beautiful place is your ultimate ROI and focus on things of material nature.
We made to Costa Rica and can’t wait to live brag, Pura Vida. Tempted by stores and stands offering “local art”. Cut to your next vacation in Hawaii and curiously Ticos and Hawaiians have similar, almost exactly the same “local art”.
Everything’s made in China, that’s who!
Look it’s true that in some way we are supporting locals when buying on vacation. Locals are employed by these shops and everyone needs to make a living. Just don’t be fooled into thinking that cute set of Maui wooden turtles for $19.99 was carved from an old fallen koa tree and represents an ancient Hawaiian tradition of turtle art. It’s not. Buy smart. Research and ask around.
Back to living in the moment. Do we always need to buy everyone something? I don’t think Johnny’s piece of the week will cry if you don’t include her on the wooden turtle buying. If she does…Johnny has big problems ahead. Enjoy why you are there. Take it all in and tell people about it. If you feel like bringing back something memorable think small, especially if you are on a budget. Locally made products are always a good idea and it doesn’t have to be a hand-carved ukulele. I mean, if that’s what you’ve saved for and dreamed of buying then, by all means, go for it. But grandma and cousin K don’t need or expect you to bring them back something. Send a postcard. No one does this anymore but honestly, it’s awesome! Make memories not more credit card debt.
That Hawaii trip is insight. We scored on a deal and we aren’t passing on it. January on the North Shore of Oahu must be better than January in Minnesota, right? Not so much. Okay so it’s a definitely not freezing cold and the weather is still gorgeous, but research will tell you the North Shore of Oahu between the months of November and March can have some very rough surf. Major surf competitions can be held during these months, due to the fact that the surf is in prime form. This also means it’s dangerous for the average swimmer. So Susan from the midwest you may want to rethink getting your snorkel on for the first time in Waimea Bay. Maybe go check out the surf competitions during the day (warning: traffic is crazy!) and get your beach on somewhere else on the island.
Pack smart = pack less
Buy smart and make memories not debt
Research. Know before you go and don’t be disappointed. Nature doesn’t give a shit about how much money you spent on your tropical vacation.