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In praise of UNDER packing

TX
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In praise of UNDER packing

Our trip will soon be upon us (finally!) and I'm starting to do that "woman thing" and think about what all I'm going to be packing. I need to get a head start, as I will be traveling for work the week before we head to Isla, and won't have a lot of time to pack once I get home. Because we go to Isla in the summer months when it's hot-hot-hotter 'n' you-know-where, I am really, truly, HONESTLY endeavoring not to take a suitcase full of clothes that won't get worn. That's what I've done on our past visits to Isla - taken all sorts of mix and match pieces -- shorts, skirts, sundresses (heaven help me - once I even took PANTS! Yikes!). When we were there this past summer, the lightbulb over my head finally clicked on and I realized I was wearing only a very small percentage of the things I brought with me. Swimsuits are a must, and maybe a few cute cover-ups that can pull double duty as "evening wear." I use that term VERY loosely, because we have never seen anyone dressed up on the island in the summer. Or maybe we just go to really low-key places (yes, actually I KNOW we only go to low-key places) where the vibe is more surfer dude than city sophisticate.

I'm also not going to pack all of the fussy products that I feel I can't do without at home. Don't need a lot of hair gunk or makeup ... the hair will frizz and curl and insist on doing its own thing anyway. I'm convinced there is NOTHING one can do to tame hair on Isla in June! And the makeup? Pffffffft. Melty mess in 20 minutes or less.

Need a couple pair of trusty flip-flops. I've stopped taking even the flip-flops with a slight wedge heel. Too many tripping opportunities abound. Free-flowing drink definitely exacerbates that little issue!

Sunscreen ... gotta take sunscreen, and thanks to the recommendations obtained on this forum, I'll be able to choose a good brand easily when I shop.

Camera, iPod, couple of books, a few mindless magazines, sunglasses, basic toiletries ... Really, what more IS there to throw in the suitcase? I won't even wear a hat while there (it might protect my hair and scalp, but can't stand the thought of something on my head when it's THAT hot). Anything else that YOU take - even if you pack minimally - that you wouldn't leave home without?

Plattsmouth...
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1. Re: In praise of UNDER packing

The only things I HAVE to have are my ipod and laptop. But I tend to be an overpacker possibly a recovering overpacker. I admire anyone with underpacking skills.

Chicago, Illinois
Destination Expert
for Isla Mujeres
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2. Re: In praise of UNDER packing

"I'm starting to do that "woman thing" and think about what all I'm going to be packing."

I must be in touch with my feminine side because this subject has been on my mind, and we still have 105 days, 2 hours, 12 minutes and 17 seconds before we arrive. Fortunately, I am married to the world's best packer. I can't believe the things she pulls out just when we need them, like clothesline and clothespins to hang our wetsuits. My greatest packing concern this trip will be having to take (ugh) long pants to wear in the more conservative Merida. First time I'm taking long pants to Mexico in years.

Calgary
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for Akumal, Riviera Maya, Cancun
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3. Re: In praise of UNDER packing

ALWAYS a spare pair of flip flops, usually embellished ones that can do double duty in the evenings but aren't too expensive to wear on the beach. I once took only ONE pair of beach flip flops and they broke. Since the only other footwear I had was heels (and I didn't want to look like a total rube by wearing heels to the beach), I HAD to go shoe shopping - usually a favourite activity of mine but not so much on vacation.

I always bring several pareos (sarongs). They have a multitude of uses:

- obvious one first - they're a great beach cover up;

- a scarf if your scalp starts to burn;

- a wrap if the evenings are cool and/or you can use 'em on the plane where it's always cold;

- use as a bib on the plane (c'mon now, I'm not the only one who ends up a crumb-covered mess when I eat in flight);

- lay 'em on the sand as a beach blanket;

- if you get creative with how you tie it together, it can even be used as a tote bag.

Added bonus - they're readily available on Isla and they're cheap so if something nasty happens to it spillage or rip-wise, just toss it out and buy a new one.

Hair - I too have naturally curly hair that gets completely out of control in Mexico. I use conditioner mixed with very strong gel or other "holding" product to slick it all back into a ponytail or chignon.

Bathing suits are my weakness and I'll typically take one for each day of my vacation. This is COMPLETELY unnecessary of course, but I don't think three suits are too many given how long it takes things to dry (and how icky it feels to put on a still-damp bathing suit).

Plattsmouth...
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4. Re: In praise of UNDER packing

I forgot to mention my Sanuk yoga mat flip flops. They are SO comfortable and can take a LOT of mileage! Plus they come in so many great colors.

I agree with Llisa about the icky feeling of putting on a damp swimsuit and the one I have feels like putting on a too small wetsuit. I can work up a sweat trying to put it on when it's damp.

Ontario
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5. Re: In praise of UNDER packing

For a 2 week trip I take a couple of bathing suits and 1 week worth of clothes..great excuse to go to the lavanderias - can't get enough of how good clothes smell from there!

Sun block and after sun lotion - buy it from USA Transfers.

I take one pair of foot wear...my flip flops 'Hecho en Mexico' lol..then I buy a pair or two on the island.

Hair products, except for shampoo/conditioner 2-in-1, all stay at home. No need for a hair dryer, hair spray etc....if my hair isn't dry by the time I leave the bathroom it is in about a minute when going outside LOL.

I use to bring a light jacket but now no need...I've bought cotton Isla Mujeres hoodies for about $15.

Make up...won't leave home without mascara or lip balm but the rest stays home.

Cameras and battery charger definitely!

Sunglasses and reading glasses a must.

One cup coffee maker and coffee.

Mapchick maps!

I don't worry about forgetting stuff...the island has everything I personally need.

Happy packing! :-D

Morton, IL
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6. Re: In praise of UNDER packing

Tervis tumblers & hazelnut creamer for our coffee....lol! Although a bottle of Baileys from Covi is a great substitute...:-)

Chicago, Illinois
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for Isla Mujeres
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7. Re: In praise of UNDER packing

The other reason to take extra swimsuits is to avoid sea lice (thimble jellyfish), for those who travel in that season (which I believe is March to August on Isla). If your suit is still damp they can survive, but if you let the suit dry fully in the sun for a day or two your less likely to get irritation. The other thing that causes them to "fire" is moving from sea water to fresh water such as a pool or shower. Take your suit off first.

That ought to make the pool area more interesting.

Saskatoon, Canada
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for Riviera Maya
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8. Re: In praise of UNDER packing

I am A-Ok with overpacking for trips to Mexico.

It makes absolutely no sense to me when going on a one or two week vacation and only staying at one or maybe two hotels to waste time and energy stressing over trying to cram everything into a small case and then annoyin fellow passengers on the plane with my carry on, lugging it around airports, etc. for no benefit whatsoever. You still wait just as long once you land, and my medium rolly suitcase is no trouble at all when only taken from airport-hotel.

Now, this July I am going to Kenya and then three days in Bavaria on the way home and my weight allowance on the smaller plane out to the Maasi Mara has a weight max for my baggage of only 22 pounds. (!! :-0)

That is a different story, and for THIS trip, I will be underpacking- and it will make sense.

Ontario
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9. Re: In praise of UNDER packing

I only pack 1/2 my suit case..other half is empty for whatever I decide to shop for when I'm there. And I still check my luggage as I don't want the hassle of dragging it around the airport either..lazy lol.

USA
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808 posts
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10. Re: In praise of UNDER packing

Have you tried those plastic packing envelopes that you squish the air out of - they end up looking like a freeze-dried pack of clothes? I use two of them - only take a carry-on, 3 flip flops, 3 bathing suits, 2 cover-ups, 3 sundresses, 3 shorts, 6 tanks - love the smell of clean clothes washed on Isla - pare down - you can do it!!! Just got home - the water was wonderful and love how the sand never gets burning hot. Good times!