(originally published on February 18, 2013)
In my last Resorting post, I shared with you my closely guarded fashion tips and sources. This week, what are some of the things you should do in advance?
Crowdsource! -- Read the reviews on TripAdvisor, the information on Facebook, the comments on Twitter, and everything posted on the resort message board (Here's the one for our resort in Jamaica). Beyond just answering the question: "should I stay here?," these resources are chock full of good tips, great ideas, cautionary tales, and general fun. I never would have found the Daiquiri Shack across the street from our resort in the Bahamas, or the One Love Bus bar crawl we booked for my birthday this year, or that adults-only infinity pool on the other side of the resort in Puerto Rico, if I had not scoured these resources.
Search for photos taken by normal people who were there. -- Not only will it give you a better sense of what is there, it gives you a sense of what people wear and what the general vibe is. Professional photos make everything look awesome and don't give you a real view of what you should expect. Beyond a Google image search, I've checked Pinterest Boards, Flickr, and Picasa. TripAdvisor has some photos but more often than not they are from people who take photos of things that aren't perfect. I ignore them.
Create a packing list. -- I've been keeping extensive packing lists from year to year and only recently just added the whole thing into a database. It will help you feel totally prepared and not at all anxious that you'll forget something.
Take photos of your outfits. -- Seriously, I don't know if it's the rum, vacation brain, or early-onset dementia, but I forget everything the minute I step into that tropical climate. After putting all that effort into creating an outfit for each evening, it would be a shame to forget what you decided. Take photos on your iPhone so you can easily reference them. I do the same for my swimsuit/coverup combos.
Bonus tip for my OCD-inclined kindred brethren -- Pack your accessories for each outfit in a separate bag that you label with washi tape. I then put all of them in a large chevron pouch that goes into my carry-on. If I double up on accessories, I even write a note on the outside "+ gold chevron bangles."
Iron and Roll -- I iron everything and roll it tightly before putting it into the suitcase. Most of the clothes stay in pretty decent shape that way. You won't spend your precious vacation time ironing or looking frumpy, for that matter.
Cross pack. -- Half the Mr.'s belongings and half of mine go into each suitcase. If one bag is lost, at least we'll each have clothes to wear. And bring a carryon with enough to get you through a few days -- swimsuits, coverups, dresses, and gold or silver sandals. I learned this one the hard way back in my teens when I had to wear the same clothes for three days straight! It sucks.
Pick an emergency exit word. -- Resorts are filled with people. Most of them are lovely wonderful people, but not all of them. The Mr. is very friendly and chatty -- especially when he has some rum in him. In order to avoid being saddled with the wrong people for the rest of the stay, we've started using code words which essentially mean, "Abort! Abort!" Be sure to pick something you can work into a conversation but won't get confused with other words that might be used regularly. Like "pomegranate." (That's not our word, by the way. I'm sworn to secrecy.)
Only two more Mondays until our trip! Next week I'll share a well-researched list of things to bring with you!