Going on summer vacation takes some meticulous planning. Yes, I am one of those girls that packs at least a week before, starts thinking about which outfits to take at least a month before and has researched and made a list of every restaurant and tourist destination I will visit whilst on vacation. So, what do I pack, what do I not pack, and how do I choose to spend my time on a summer vacation? Here’s some insight into a donuts + detours holiday….
What I Wear
- I always take a different bikini for every day I’m on vacation. Excessive? Probably. Bikini’s are so cheap to purchase in London, so I feel zero guilt in currently having 11 different bikini’s packed into my suitcase. Some costing an insignificant £4. I never buy expensive bikini’s, if you shop around there are some lovely ones out there at rock bottom prices. Mine mostly hail from H&M, Cos, Topshop and Primark.
- Dresses for dinner. I like to wear a dress to dinner, if I’m going somewhere special, or even just pizza at the beach. So I pack a variety of my summer favourites to wear in the evening.
- Vests and shorts are my staple uniform. For going to the beach, walking around the town or heading out for lunch, I love little denim shorts, in colours such as blue, grey, black or white. Matched with loose, soft (essential!) All Saints or Cos vests, these always look clean, smart and casual, my favourite kind of look.
- Flip flops for the feet. Havaiana’s, in white, blue, grey or black (to match the denim shorts!). They are never a bad idea! I have now added grey and stone coloured Birkenstocks to my summer footwear essentials too, as they’re super comfy and look great with shorts or a little dress.
- Multiple sunglasses. Yes, you read right, I bring more than one pair. Three this time around. Different shapes and colours for different outfits. But I justify it the same way I justify the bikini’s, none are designer, so therefore bringing three with me is perfectly acceptable.
- A book. Every summer vacation I buy a new book. 95% of the time I never finish the book. I’m yet to finish reading last year’s book and I’m 27 pages into this year’s purchase, Gone Girl, after 7 days holiday. Still, regardless in the knowledge that I will unlikely finish Gone Girl by summer 2015 you can guarantee I will be stood in an airport again, agonising over which summer read to purchase.
- Magazines. Once through airport security I make a beeline for the bookstore to spend way too much money on magazines. At no other time during the year would I find it acceptable to spend £20 in order to catch up on where David and Victoria are on holiday, and the best creams for perfect summer skin. But once you’re through security at the airport, money doesn’t seem real, it’s like playing shop, £20 for magazines? Bargain! My magazine choices usually include one awful trashy magazine, this year it was US Weekly, followed by a couple of less trashy publications which consisted of Marie Claire and Glamour this time.
- Sunscreen. Important stuff when you’re planning to lay on the beach sloth-like for a week. My favourite? California Tan in SPF 15 and 20.
- My iPod. I spent a good hour agonising over which songs to add to this years vacation playlist. I haven’t listened to my iPod once. Good to be prepared though right?
- A small beach bag. I bring the same little beach bag with me each time, so I don’t have to lug my black leather handbag to the beach, which would obviously look ridiculous. A fabric beach bag that can get covered in sunscreen and melted ice cream is a must-have accessory to pack.
Things I Always Do
- Check my emails and social media accounts. Some find this completely unacceptable. I don’t care what those people think. I justify my online habit by the fact that I’m always sorting stuff out on my blog, and the fact work requirements mean I’m always going to be on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram. And anyway, I like to see what everyone is up to, whilst I’m kicking back in the piazza with a cappuccino.
- Spend way too long over breakfast. Every morning I have the greatest of intentions to just drink one coffee, quickly check my emails and get down to the beach as quickly as possible. This never happens. I end up stretching my time out over two coffees, checking emails, editing photos, staring out into the piazza or whatever lovely view is in front of me, and taking at least a couple of hours before I officially start my day. But I’m on vacation, and isn’t that what vacations are about? Taking your time and being lazy. So I’m not going to feel guilty about my super long breakfasts.
- Take hundreds of photos. I love photos. I love taking them, and I love looking at them. Every single day on a vacation, I literally take hundreds of photos, to capture as many memories as I can. What I ate, my view from my sunbathing spot, the scenery and so on. These are my souvenirs, and if you holiday with me, you will not be allowed to eat your meal until I’ve photographed it, you’ve been warned.
- Scan the supermarket aisles. I know I’m not the only person here who absolutely loves visiting supermarkets in different countries. Maybe it’s the food lover in me, but I find it fascinating!
Things I Never Do
- Pack high heels. Unless I know I’m going to a wedding/event/special dinner, I never pack high heels on a summer vacation. There is nothing relaxing about those shoes, they are uncomfortable and quite frankly I find that look a bit strange on holiday. I will never be a kaftan/high heel wearing kinda gal.
- Never buy mini toiletries. I know, I know, they are unbelievably cute, those pint sized miniatures of your favourite shampoo and moisturiser. But they’re also nearly the same price as the full sized bottle. What I often do is buy them once, and keep the bottles to refill for future trips. Otherwise, just purchase some plastic dispenser bottles from a pharmacy. Don’t fall for the cuteness of those mini bottles!
- Never pack a beach towel. I for one, never have room for a beach towel in my bag! That is precious space that I could use to stuff extra bikini’s or flip flops in. I always buy my beach towel once I reach my destination. And I often manage to squeeze the beach towel into my bag on my return home. I have a bunch of tacky beach towels with ‘Miami’, ‘Venice Beach’, ‘Croatia’ etc on, that I keep as a sort of souvenir/memory to use one day and reminisce about the places I bought them in.
- Fold my clothes. When I pack, I never EVER fold my clothes. It takes up too much space. Roll each item and you will be so shocked at how much more you can fit in your bag. My dad taught me this before I left New Zealand 13 years ago, and I’ve used this trick on every trip I’ve taken.
Leave the valuables at home, try to pack only what you need, as you’ll thank yourself for it when you’re lugging your suitcase around. Make sure you have the required power adaptors for the country you’re visiting, and notify your bank that you’re travelling so your cards don’t get denied. Don’t completely lose your mind and impulse buy on vacation, you don’t need that snow globe/magnet/tea towel as we both know it will end up in the bottom of the drawer once you return home. And now that I’ve spent way too long over breakfast, checked my emails and social media accounts, it’s time for me to hit the beach. Ciao!