Packing is a concern every time I travel; I don't want to leave behind something I absolutely need and I certainly don't want to drag around pounds of crap I never end up using. Packing extremely light is an endeavor where you must be okay with wearing certain articles of clothing multiple times.
Do you want to drag a heavy suitcase up and down these stairs?
Here's the part where the story gets boring.
Stop reading now unless you really care about what I packed for the trip.
This blog post is literally about the contents of my suitcase.
Seriously, you've been warned.
I compartmentalize my suitcase, using a bag each for chargers, bathroom stuff and bras/panties/socks/swimsuits. This allows my clothes and shoes to fill the rest of the space and leaves room for the very few souvenirs I will bring back. My charger bag held the cords for my phone, mp3 player and camera, as well as my gorillapod (which never got used). [And while I did not technically bring it along, Stacey's iphone became a navigational necessity once we rented a car.]
My bathroom bag held an eyeshadow, mascara, deodorant, razor, hair ties and barrettes/hairpins, a bag of q-tips, brush, toothbrush, toothpaste and floss. Bras, panties, socks and swimsuits went into the netted pocket in the front panel of my suitcase along with my headlamp. I also brought along travel sized bottles of shampoo, conditioner and body wash, but they stayed in the TSA-friendly clear Ziploc bag.
The rest of my suitcase was filled with:
One beach towel. Used countless times. A second towel would have been nice, as my beach towel was used multiple times every day, both at the beach and after my shower. Keep this in mind when staying in a hostel. I also packed wet wipes and a partial roll of toilet paper. We were prepared to have nothing, so it was nice when we checked into the guesthouse in Old San Juan and Quique handed us one roll of toilet paper and a hotel-sized bar of soap.
I brought a pair of jeans, lightweight polyester pants, one skirt and a pair of shorts and wore each about twice, though I could have done without the skirt. I also packed one dress which I wore to the beach, wore out and about, and slept in twice. I'm glad I brought one pair of tights which I slept in three times and wore with a mini skirt. I wore that combo on both Sunday and Monday, but on Sunday I wore it with a pair of Chuck Taylors. I should not have brought these shoes because they were never worn on the trip. In fact, I've been home since Saturday and have yet to unpack them. I only needed two pair of shoes:
My Chacos aka sandals I could strap to my feet.
My Rocket Dogs aka a pair of shoes to wear when I didn't want to wear sandals.
In the way of shirts, I packed two tank tops and three t-shirts, which would have been awesome to realize during the trip because I did not notice two of them until just now. I brought four long-sleeve t-shirts but two were enough. I wore one from Chicago and the other once I got back to Chicago. Technically I only needed to pack one, but it was nice to have clean clothes to wear home. I'm glad I brought along my purple cardigan because I wore it every single evening. Having a lightweight sweater was perfect for keeping me warm. I get chilly at the slightest breeze and that might seem insignificant, but being uncomfortable will ruin a good time. I also brought along three bikinis, but I only wore one because the other two do not keep my boobs in their designated zone.
The moral of the story is: I need to buy two more bikinis that fit.
Listening to: Modest Mouse - The View