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Packing for an Over Packer!

November 15, 2023

Lolita on Vacation in Mexico

If you are reading this, you are an over packer. Admitting the problem is a great start! As a professional traveler (almost) I think I have a little wisdom despite my packing illness. If you are like my minimalistic daughter, stop reading now!!

Over the years, I’ve had catastrophes when traveling, especially abroad. For example, on a trip to China I arrived but my luggage did not! It finally made it to my hotel the day before I left, and everything was wet inside. So, I tend to bring A LOT more than I need. Over the last few years, after traveling during and through Covid and having a couple of medical emergencies, I’ve gotten my packing priorities straight! For instance, I don’t skimp on my medications and first aid.

I’m planning a trip to Mexico where everything is super-chill, so casual and not too fancy is the name of the game. This is the hardest thing for me… not bringing more dressy and fancy stuff! But I know I won’t wear all of it if I take what I want to take.

So, here we go… over packers, UNITE!!! Let’s go over the basics and then plan a 10 day trip to Mexico!

Luggage

Get Sorted (Luggage & Accessory Bags)

I’m one of those that checks all my luggage. I carry on and use my roller briefcase from Brookstone! It’s smaller than a carryon suitcase… I say no-frills for this. Must have a lot of organizing aspects! I work from everywhere, and there are pockets for everything including my meds, jewelry, and on-board essentials. If my purse gets too heavy, I can put it on top of my roller briefcase for an easy trip to the gate. I haven’t found another brand that does this better!!

Speaking of medications and other essentials, if you don’t already have good travel-sized travel containers you ABSOLUTELY need them! I got these off Amazon and love them. I also found a fabulous cosmetic bag for my travels (it matches all my accessory bags and has so much organized space for all my makeup). Also, to make your suitcase packing life SO much simpler, packing cubes are awesome!! I can say using packing cubes has made my travel life so much easier and much neater, and it will also look like you aren’t bringing that much (little do they know!! LOL)

We’re planning a trip to Mexico, so don’t forget something like this handy sunglasses travel case (perfect for the few pairs we’ll be bringing!).

ALSO, do invest in some good accessory bags. I have learned over the years that luggage should be as cheap as I am willing to go. It just gets destroyed. But my accessory bags are beautiful, look minimalistic in my hotel room, and are perfect for me. I like the Beis brand for my accessory bags. I am obsessed with how chic and streamlined but practical they are!! Here are some of my go-to bags from them:

If you don’t have these, go shopping for them. I swear you won’t regret it!!

Travel Packing

As Soon As Possible: Starting Picking Your Outfits

There is always a place to start. I have a spare garment rack in my closet to start hanging, sorting, trying on, etc. For shoes, find space near your hanging items, and another clean surface for things you will only use at your destination. If you don’t have a spare room, use any room that won’t get disturbed. This can be started as early as you want! It will remind you of your amazing trip around the corner.

I follow the 1 for 2 packing rule for choosing items to bring: 1 item in a category for 2 days. If you’re gone 10 days and think you need 10 pajamas, think again! Underwear is the ONLY place I relax these rules. For over packers, in the long run you WILL bring less, if you stick to this game plan! Be thoughtful and think it through (it pays off!!) Start pulling items in your packing area and place into neat piles by category (described below). Add to and subtract from each pile as you go.

Pull the things you normally don’t need but will need where you are going (example: packing for a trip to Mexico, I would bring sunscreen, hats and a beach bag) and sort on another free surface. It helps some people to lay out outfits together with shoes, jewelry and everything else before packing. I usually don’t if it is a non-work or tropical trip. I try to remember that this is a vacation!


Gather travel items

1-2 weeks Before: Start Laying Everything Out

Get your suitcase(S) and use a guest room bed if you have it to open suitcase and start placing items by category into small piles on the bed. But don’t put piles in your suitcase, NOT YET!!

I’m not a to do list person, but for packing, I find it essential!! It helps me to not overpack! The end of this blog post has my go-to lists for a Mexico trip.

Here’s some extra prep to get done ahead of time (you’ll thank yourself for doing this later):
  • Always Bring Ziplocs and a Trash Bag for Wet Items.
  • Make a Carry-on List (Mine is Below). Bring the important on-board items you must have. Make this a separate list and tape it to your carry-on so you don’t forget the important stuff. You can also tape it to the door you exit from, for a last minute run through. Start assembling (I use same list for every trip, it’s a comfort to have it. I stay with the same items every time, regardless of days gone. Most of the time I can remember but the list just ensures that on a morning at 4 am you don’t have to turn around and grab your glasses or meds.)
  • Make a List of What You Need for Your Trip, to Pack.
  • Pull Out Passport, Take a Few Pictures of It. One with you in the picture… and make extra copies of it. Keep it somewhere handy.
  • Start Putting Travel Docs in a Marked Paper File. Flight info, hotel info, transfer info, etc. next to your passport in a prime location. You will need this stuff up to the second you board.
Wear Comfortable Clothes

1-2 days Before: What to Wear and Carry Aboard Your Flight

Advice on this is all over the place! Dress up? Dress down? PJ pants??? No #Lululemon….? I say, whatever makes you the most comfortable!! To some, it’s crazy to travel so lax but come on… reality is that we can decide and not worry about judgement anymore.

My rule for going anywhere by plane: No shorts or flip flops! Your feet and legs will get cold on the plane.
  • Loungewear or jeans and a sweatshirt with a tank top under it.
  • Sneakers/comfy flats that you can wear socks.
  • Layering is great to remove weight from your luggage and you can adjust if you are going to different climates.
  • Also, plan to wear the same outfit home.
  • Or wear your #Lululemon workout outfit that you HAVE to bring but make the bottoms leggings, not shorts.

Pick out and lay out your travel outfit somewhere handy. If resorting, try and pack an extra change of clothes or a swimsuit and coverup and flip flops so you can change before your room is ready if necessary. These all fit in my roller briefcase!

Packing luggage

Day or Night Before Trip: Packing Your Luggage!

Remove at least one item from EVERY STACK!! Yes, you heard me! Do your best, but believe me, it helps the weight and clutter so much (it’s all I can do to not add anything else to my suitcase but I stay strong!!)

Go Ahead and Fill Your Suitcase!
I’m a converted roller. I mean, I roll anything I can except smaller items and shoes. Some people like to lay dresses flat versus rolling. This is where those packing cubes and other accessory bags come in. Pack all of your essentials and appreciate how clean and organized it all looks.

Have fun, and bon voyage!!

Carry On Essentials

Lolita’s Packing Lists! (for Mexico)

In Your Carry On (A Must Do If Going Abroad)

  • Medicines
  • Electronics (lap top, I pad, phone, and chargers…I list all of this so I don’t forget anything)
  • Jewelry (I usually stick with 1 metal: Gold, or silver. Rarely do I bring both anymore)
  • Sunglasses (I have to pack at least a few pair)
  • Eyeglasses, extra set of contacts
  • Passport/ID (I make copies of my passport and put in my luggage and carryon as well)
  • Car keys
  • Travel socks (for extra chilly plane floor!)
  • Extra pair underwear
  • Carry on toiletries (wipes, lotion, lip balm etc.) And sunscreen.
  • US Embassy information (I always print out the nearest embassy to where I am going! (Helped immensely on my cruise when my passport was stolen).
If you can fit all of the above in a tote bag or purse, I LOVE YOU and you should start a blog, lol.

Blog Notebook

Checked Luggage List for Mexico

Toiletries and Hair-tools/accessories (I am a beauty girl: I bring EVERYTHING and try to size down into containers or sample size when I can! Skin care is important here. I bring all of my stuff.

Sunscreen (if you didn’t know, it’s outrageous outside of the US.)

Hats (1 sunhat, one baseball cap) I don’t take hats that I can’t pack in my suitcase and that can’t take getting smushed. Target brand will do.

Extra evening purses (2 purses for 10 days)

Medicines and First Aid: For prescription meds, leave in containers for your purse/carryon, you never know sometimes what to expect through customs, especially getting back into the US…

For over the counter, it’s a good idea to bring Benadryl, Tylenol, a thermometer, Cortisone cream (I always end up using it, even after being in the sun to calm my face down!) Band-Aids with Neosporin, alcohol wipes, Epi pen if allergic to anything. These can be in a bag to put in your carryon. I usually do have a couple zip locs for first aid and supplements, and now I have a new medicine box with awesome little baggies (omg I’m crazy for this kind of stuff… link available!)

No one wants to end up in the hospital on vacation anywhere (believe me, I know.) No matter the prep and what you brought, people get sick and have accidents on vacation all the time! If in doubt about the drinking water, bring a good general antibiotic and anti-nausea medication. Believe me, it is worth it to be prepared.

Hair and Makeup: Since I travel solo, I don’t try as hard. For instance, I don’t bring false eyelashes and other all-out makeup items to Mexico (just as I won’t bring those extra sexy earrings that only match my dress.) I’m thinking fun and sun!! More basics! But I will decide between a flat iron and a curling iron usually. Most hotels have blow dryers, etc….

I like to look cute so I do take more lipsticks/gloss than I will need. What is a girl to do without the right lipstick?

Clothing: For clothing, start stacking neatly folded piles on the bed near your suitcase! Don’t put in the suitcase, because as an over packer, you will whittle it down the day before, and the morning of! It helps…
  • Underwear: 1 pair for each day, and 2 extra (12 total); SPANX. Strapless Bra (1 nude); Regular Bra (1-nude); socks (2 pairs). Nude because it will be good under anything.
  • PJ’s: I love clean pj’s when I’m out of town! I bring 1 pair for every 2 days.
  • T-shirts: I Love the comfort of my favorite t-shirts from home, so I pack 1 for 2 days (Don’t skimp here, especially in the tropics.) You need easy throw on stuff!
  • Shorts/Bottoms: 2-3 shorts but no jeans! (I wear mostly dresses or I’m in my bathing suit with a coverup) And you have your lounge pants/leggings/jeans from the flight, right?
  • Dressy Tops: 1 is enough (hardly EVER use them, again, don’t usually wear jeans or even shorts out to dinner in Mexico)
  • Casual tops: tank tops, fitted t-shirts… 2-3 at the most! And one tank or fitted t-shirt you will wear under your jacket or sweatshirt on the plane….
  • Jacket or Sweatshirt: This is a must. And wear to and from, on the plane! I have gone to the tropics and had to get through a tropical storm. It got to be freezing and lost power in the hotel.
  • Dresses: As a bonafide dress girl, I pack more than necessary here, for 10 days I’ll bring 5-7. 1 for 2… Some very casual t shirt style and a few dressier. (after all, I’m being good on the above, so far anyway!)
  • Shoes: Need I say it? I usually bring more versus less. This trip to Mexico, I’m bringing 3 wedges and 1 dress mules, 2 flip flops, and water shoes…and of course sneakers which I will also wear on the flight with one pair of flip flops in my carryon. Pick shoes you have worn before and trust the comfort level! If you are going abroad to the tropics, casual is better! Believe me… and it’s amazing what one pair of wedges will do for you!
  • Swimsuits and coverups: 1 for every 2 days for swimsuits, 3 coverups (these can double as outfits if you are at a resort and eat dinner next to pool, etc. so keep this in mind!) So, my 1 for 2 day rule applies here. This is ample even for over packers.
  • Workout wear: Okay, I always bring one sports bra, tank and shorts that match. But come on, do we really use the hotel gym? Give me long walks on the beach anytime! Or morning yoga! 1 matching set is enough. You will wear your sneakers/leggings/yoga pants hopefully on the flight.
  • Beach book: Even if you don’t find the time, having something to read while you enjoy the amazing tropical sun is a must. It also doubles as a way to fill the time while you’re on the plane or waiting at the airport.
  • Lolita Glasses! YES! In their packaging they will do great in a suitcase! Bring some for your friends! Better yet, for this Mexico trip, bring a set of my Tulum stemless glasses or something fun and coastal! And bring a Stainless Thermos to keep your beach drinks cold from the bar!
Coastal Collection Glass