What to pack for a vacation

How and what to pack for a vacation is one of the more challenging yet fun aspects of traveling. Each destination and season has its own nuances. Some people use packing lists for a vacation, while others wing it.

After more than a half-dozen trips to the Caribbean, I have a pretty good idea of what I’ll take along. The following list will help you as you pack for your next vacation. Some items are better suited to sunny climes, but you probably can use them sometime.

1. Wide-brimmed hat – Your nose and ears can really take a beating in the sun. Many people wear baseball caps, but those don’t cover the ears. While in Puerto Vallarta in 2010 I saw a lot of people sporting a straw-type cowboy hat. Guess it was the fad then, but more importantly, those hats cover the face, neck and ears well. You can also use a “boonie” hat, or the Gilligan’s Island/fisherman’s cap.

2. Comfortable pair of casual shoes – You’ll be walking on the beach and along the pool a lot, so pack a pair of cheap but comfortable shoes. Make sure they’re made of synthetic fabric, as they will be damp the entire week. Nothing dries out in those humid environments, even if you bring the item indoors. Shoes made of natural fabric, such as canvas, begin to stink after a few days. If need be, you can toss them at the end of the week, leaving no major dent in your budget.

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