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Lessons from Packing at the 11th Hour
No really, I packed at 11pm the night before my first vacation in years. Here are the five things I'm so glad made it into my suitcase. And five things I would have brought, if I had planned ahead.
I consider myself an expert packer. I love the paring down of pieces. The mental math of making sure everything can be worn more than once and in multiple ways. But last weekend, my husband and I took a much much MUCH needed getaway and both of us were frantically stuffing our suitcases the night before. So it brought me much much MUCH delight to read about Marie Kondo giving up on tidying while we were away. We all can’t be our best selves all the time!
This was originally meant to be a meticulous packing guide, but that will have to wait a few years, until my next mom and dad getaway. Because at 11pm the night before we were to leave, I made some stacks, threw a hodge podge in a carryon and didn't overthink it. This turned out to be good and bad. Forgot any and all jewelry. Couldn’t find my Eres bikini. But delighted in the miscellany of colors that I mixed and matched, which probably wouldn’t have happened if I’d packed more thoughtfully. Below, Five things I’m SO glad I brought…plus five I would have if I did it all over again.
Vintage-y running shorts
These do the double duty of actually working for a workout (I managed to play tennis once!) and looking ironically stylish with a summery non-t-shirt top. Tiny to pack, quick to dry when worn as a coverup, a great full coverage beach option when you are not quite feeling beach bum ready…because, I truly never feel ready to show that much skin, TBH. Plus the cut of a retro-y short is leg lengthening!
A Pareo/Sarong and Driving Mocs ala Ann Mashbrun
I have to give credit here and take a moment to share a packing story I read a few years ago (I actually ripped it out of the Yolo Magazine at the hotel I was staying at and brought it home) by Ann Mashburn. I thought I was an expert packer. But she is Mount Everest levels. Its a great read if you have the time. Cliffs Notes are: a few things that make you feel great are actually better than dozens for both physical and brain space. Second, always pack a sarong/pareo. It mutates from beach cover up to chilly evening scarf to airplane blanket, to towel on a hike, etc. I didn’t even own one til I read this! And third, the driving moc is your best friend. I’ve found this to be extremely true. They look great with a skirt or white jeans at dinner (and keep mosquitoes from your toes!), comfy for walking around, the treads are helpful if you end up somewhere rocky, they let your feet swell with no remorse, etc.
One of the many things wrong with packing so last minute is that when I couldn’t find something, I didn’t have time to buy a backup. So of course, I somehow misplaced both my beach sarong and every swimsuit that is not “kid swim lesson friendly.” So devastating. Therefore I did not in fact bring a sarong, but a thin scarf that was sadly not saltwater friendly (but still helpful at mealtime).
Since a sarong/pareo/scarf or whatever you’d like to call it is essential to this trip and a tip I picked up from Ms. Mashburn, I’m lumping it in here with our driving Mocs, even though it actually belongs in the “wish I brought list.” My favorites of the moment, in both categories, below.
A long sleeve T-Shirt
Seems silly, but so important. The rationale being, you can always just wear your swimsuit if you need to delayer, and when you’re chilly, you need the coverage. Nothing worse than being uncomfortable on vacation! And it literally does not cost you any more luggage space than a short sleeve! Bonus: sun protection
Everything in Color
As much as Ann says its not a time to experiment with too many new pieces (which I agree with), it is time to bring out all your color. This past trip, I overpacked due to lack of time to think my outfits through, but I did enjoy the mish mash of color and pattern that such scatterbrain packing afforded. I left my black leggings at home in place of purple. Wore a yellow pique button down daily and breezed through the airport in my orange High Sports. It made dressing for the buffet breakfast feel like an occasion. No need to stick to a true uniform on vacation, be your brightest self and let loose.
Five things I would bring next time…if and when I plan ahead a little better
A really fun beach cover up dress, but just ONE. (It can be a nightgown)
Jewelry! So sad. Wish I brought a stone or bead necklace. Here’s the one I’m eyeing at the moment.
Fatter strap flip flops. I ordered these Havaianas, but they sadly didn’t arrive in time.
A Suzie Kondi terry cloth sweat suit. Nothing better for lounging post shower, pre dinner. Worth all the space in a carryon! I brought my grey suit from The Great, but would have been happier in something more colorful (note above.) This one is high on my shopping list for this summer.
A sarong. See above.
Bonus: The trendy thing I tried and do not recommend
A bucket hat. See how it didn’t even cover my nose!?! I thought I was being so clever, folding it up into nothing in my suitcase…but I was not pleased.
If you are going to go bucket, make sure to get a much longer brim. These two below look equally cute, full coverage and washing machine friendly.
Another thing I don’t recommend…driving a pseudo-automatic on extremely steep hills. High stress. Low reward. Know that its ok to say no to activities on your relaxing getaway. The saving grace? I wore my driving mocs, LOL!!! And on that note, see you next week!
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