Many readers have requested a list of what I packed on my recent 2 week vacation to Belize. I learned that traveling with a single backpack is not as much of a  challenge as I had anticipated. In fact, even though I believed I packed only the bare essentials, there were many clothing items that were never used. If I didn’t get so cold in airplanes, I could have forfeited the jeans, hoodie, socks, hiking shoes and long sleeve shirt.

One of my major challenges in packing for this trip was that I agreed (upon my husband’s request) to not plan anything except where we would stay the first night. For business trips, I typically chart out each days activities in advance and then make a list of what I will wear each day.

My fabulous hubbie prefers to travel during vacations in a completely open, receptive and unplanned fashion. His intuition and synchronicity is incredible and he feels that if you let vacations run organically and go where it feels best in the moment, you have much more fun. While I have experienced incredible adventures that I could never imagined and agree completely with his philosophy, as a professional organizer I have a hard time letting go of the details.

My compromise this trip was that I  only purchased one travel guide and did a lot of online research in advance. With the multitude of options saved into a word document and stuffed into my travel book, I felt comfortable stopping at this level of planning. At least I knew what we could do if we needed guidance at some point during our trip! In the end, our compromise paid off, we found a sailing charter and set off for 3 days on a whim which turned into 6 days when we jumped ship and decided to stay on a tiny island for a few nights.

Here is the list of what I packed for my 2 week vacation. In the end,  I did not need as many clothes as I packed.

2 cotton skirts ~ lived in them!
2 pairs of shorts ~ never used
1 little black dress ~ of course!
2 pairs of Reef flip flops ~ dressy and everyday
1 pair of water sandals ~ never used
3 swimsuits ~ only used 2
1 lightweight sweater ~ never used
4 t shirts ~ only needed 2
3 sleeveless shirts ~ could have used 1 more, we had a freak heat wave and temperatures soared over 100 degrees a few days
1 pair of all purpose hiking shoes ~only wore on airplane because my feet freeze without socks in the air
1 pair of jeans ~ only used in transit
1 long sleeve cotton t-shirt ~ only used in transit
1 cashmere hoodie ~ only used in transit
2 pairs of socks ~ only needed 1 for airplane
1 organic cotton hat ~ thank goodness
1 pair of cotton dress slacks
7 pairs of undies
2 bras

We had our laundry washed half way through at Tobacco Caye and it worked out perfectly. In retrospect, I could have culled down my clothes collection even more. The challenge was since we had no set itinerary, I was not sure what types of activities we would engage in. The hikers and shorts might have been used if we  spent less time island hopping and more time exploring the jungles and ruins. We ended up spending 13 days sailing and exploring islands and only one day on shore visiting ruins and forests.

As you can see, some of my items never left my backpack.You will be better able to pack if you know exactly what you will do during your trip.

The one thing I have learned after years of being a road warrior is that the worst thing that can happen if you forget to pack something is that you have to buy it when you arrive. It is possible to replace almost everything you might have forgotten, even in third world countries.

I will continue this travel diary with a checklist of the first aid items that we packed for our adventure. Stay tuned for more!