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Okay, you've agreed on the ideal honeymoon destination; you've booked the perfect travel package; now all you have to do is arrange for a house sitter and make sure you have proper identification, right? Well, almost. Before you shop for that fabulous trousseau, you'd best do a little research on what (and how) to pack! The last thing you want to do is lug around a bunch of clothes and supplies you don't need, only to find out you'll have to buy duplicates of items you left at home.
Where, when and for how long you're going is the place to start. But even if you're going to the tropics and can expect great weather, you'll need different clothes for sailing than you will in a luxury hotel; you'll also want to know what to expect insofar as availability of laundry facilities and beach towels, and get a heads up regarding occasions that require formal wear. This is the first of three sets of tips on what to take where, plus a few little tricks I've learned over years of packing that will help ensure a carefree time. Let's just cover the basics. Finding out what to take along will not only free your mind for the important stuff (having fun!), it'll probably get you even more energized about taking your special journey.
You can start by asking your travel expert for basic advice. If possible, before you even book your package, find out if he or she has actually stayed in a Fijian bure, visited the Great Barrier Reef in December, taken a bite out of the Big Apple, or whatever applies in your case. For example, if you're going to an all-inclusive resort, you'll want to know what sorts of clothing are commonly worn. If you're going on a Mediterranean cruise, you'll want to know whether or not to bring formal wear, cash for tipping, etc.
Your travel expert can advise you about the probable weather conditions to expect during your trip. You can also check out Weather Underground's great websites or take a look at my newsletter , Honeymoon Weather, of April 2, 2004. Some very warm locales can get cool in the evenings. Some dry spots can become suddenly quite damp. You'll want to plan ahead, if possible, so we'll work on what clothes to take along over the next weeks. But there's more to smart packing than clothes!
Find out whether or not your accommodations will include an iron and ironing board. If not, you'll want to take along a bottle of wrinkle releaser (Downy makes a good one) that you can just spray onto creased or rumpled clothes.
Another question might be whether or not your rooms have a coffee maker. If you're like me, you may want a cup of java before even heading out to breakfast. When traveling in North America, I take along a small (one-pint) electric water kettle, ground coffee, a two-cup coffee cone and filters. Also, your rooms may contain a hair dryer, Internet portal, or outlets that will charge your laptop, electric shaver or cell phone--maybe not. If you're traveling abroad for the first time, be advised that our standard a/c appliances are generally incompatible with foreign outlets, so you'll need an adaptor. No point in carrying useless gadgets!
Here are a few (probably obvious) non-clothing items to consider packing, no matter where you're going:
A small clothing brush/lint remover
Manicure set and miniature sewing kit (not in your carry-on bags)
Sun block and appropriate hats
Extra glasses, contact solution, sunglasses
Birth control (?), plus any prescription medications, all packed in your purse or carry-on luggage in their original containers.
Razors, brushes, toothpaste and floss, lotion, cotton swabs, makeup and small versions of all the stuff you simply can't live without at home. Even in paradise, you'll want to condition your hair, wax your mustache, or whatever.
A small first aid kit, including over-the-counter painkiller.
Gum and breath mints
Batteries and film for your camera
Travel alarm clock (check with the hotel)
If possible and/or necessary, some small-denomination cash from the country you'll visit (for tips, cab fare, incidentals).
I'm packing for a short trip right now, and my best advice, again, is to pay attention to what you use every day, find out if it will be available where you're going and, if not, pack it!