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A Guide To Belize: What To Pack

The worst part about going on vacation is not knowing what to pack. Some people are what I like to call "professional packers." That's Eddie K. He travels a ton and he knows exactly what he needs to bring. Then.....there's people like me. In my 24 years on this earth, I haven't been able to master the art of packing. I'm NEVER consistent; it's either WAY too much or ENTIRELY not enough.

This time, I left Austin feeling like I had packed the perfect amount of clothing. I managed to fit everything in a small suitcase that only weighed in at about 20 pounds.

After doing anything and everything we could possibly do in Belize the past week, I have decided I packed WAY too much. I told y'all, I can't win for losing!

Below is a list of items I packed and used daily PLUS a few items I left home without but desperately needed.

1. Chaco sandals: If you don't have a pair, you should. Chaco was nice enough to send me a pair of their "Z Cloud 2" sandals in "Laced Aqua" and I barely took them off. They were the perfect shoe for going from water to land. They have a very sturdy, yet comfortable, sole that makes walking around the island a breeze. I wore these sandals while hiking up Mayan Ruins in Belize City, snorkeling in the Barrier Reef, cave tubing through Belizean rainforests, and day-to-day activities around the island of Caye Caulker. I even have the "Chaco tan" to prove it.

2. Sanuk Sidewalk Surfers: And the award for cutest/comfiest lounge shoes goes to..... That's right people, these win the award and every award after that for being the most perfect casual shoe. I got SUPER sunburnt the second day and was left with a crazy Chaco tan line on my feet. It was kinda cute but EXTREMELY painful. This is when my "Sidewalk Surfers" came in handy. I wore these to walk around the island and to dinner with a cute pair of cutoffs and a yellow tank.

3. Sanuk Yoga Sling Sandals: I ended up only wearing these sandals once during my trip. Truthfully, I didn't want them to get messed up. Because they are made using yoga mats, they are COMFY as you know what. Since returning to the states, I've worn them lots. While they are lightweight enough for beach weather, they aren't ideal for sand/dirt. Save these for summer and wear them with all your favorite sundresses! Ps...they come in TONS of colors!

1. Athletic shorts: I LIVED IN THESE. Period.                 Okay,  I was going to leave it at that but I felt like it needed more explaining. Nike and Under Armor running shorts were my go-to during this entire trip. They were my swimsuit cover-ups, my casual brunch attire, and my fancy dinner attire. People on Caye Caulker embrace the casual style so I did to. I packed 3 pair and swapped out wearing them the entire trip. Next time, I'll maybe pack 4-5 depending on how long our trip is.

2. Loose fitting pant: Just in case you get cold or super sunburnt. Not bad to have in your suitcase in case of emergency or to sleep in on chilly nights.

1. Tanks/Tees: I packed 3 tanks from Tribe Kelley (on sale here) and 2 basic tees. I wore all 5 while on the trip. If they are light colored and loose fitting, pack them. And if your fave team is playing in the Super Bowl while you are on the island, make sure you remember to pack a tee to support. Go Pats! If you don't have a lot of tanks, don't sweat it. Most days, I wore my bathing suit anyway!

2. Long-sleeved shirt: This is an item I didn't pack but wish I had. At first, we noticed a lot of the locals wearing super thin Nike or Under Armor long-sleeves and thought they were crazy because Belize is SO HOT. But, one day into our trip we figured out why. It's SUPER EASY to get sunburnt. The wind constantly blows on the island so you don't realize just how hot it truly is. With that being said, next time I will make sure to have a long-sleeved shirt or two in my suitcase for days when I'm not looking to get a lot of of sun.

1. PACK THEM ALL. It's my number one rule.

1. Flannel shirts: If there was one item I packed that I couldn't have lived without, it would've been my Tribe Kelley flannel (sold out!). I wore it basically every single day. It was the perfect weight to wear while  walking around Caye Caulker. It gave me coverage from the sun and also a breaker from the constant wind. Going back, I'll probably bring multiple!

2. Warm jacket or sweatshirt: This is mostly for people who get cold on airplanes. It's always nice to have something just in case. Additionally, these are convenient for those nights with wet hair and a strong breeze. (The sweatshirt photographed below is from: Manready Mercantile)

1. Hats: I packed three and I wore three. These are a necessity if you are traveling via boat and have longer hair. They saved me a lot of time with the conditioner bottle! Additionally, they work great for those trying to avoid face sunburns too! (The hat photographed below is from: Old South Apparel)

2. Sunglasses: I brought three pair and only wore one. I was worried about taking my favorite Ray-Ban sunnies but ended up wearing them EVERYWHERE. My suggestion: invest in a pair of sunglass straps. My favorite pair is from "Gobi Straps" and features a bottle opener adjuster. (If you are worried about losing them in the water, THESE float. )

3. Backpack: I recently worked an event where a ton of local vendors bring their lines HEAVILY DISCOUNTED. I picked up a small yellow backpack for $20. I knew I wanted something small to lug around since we would be doing a lot of walking on and around the island with my wallet and camera. The "Rambler Pack" from Poler really was the perfect bag for this trip. I can honestly say that I used it every single day. It is no longer available in yellow, but I'm a big fan of the "green camo" which you can find here.
(Keep a look-out. This backpack can be seen in MANY of the photos I post from this trip. Ha!)

1. Sunscreen: Trust me, wear it. Take advice from the girl still peeling. Buy it. Bring it. Wear it. 

2. Bug spray: Sand fleas/flies are sometimes basin Belize. The first few days of our trip we didn't really notice them. BUT, towards the end of our trip, they started to become a bit of a pest. I can only really compare the bites to something like a mosquito. Small red bumps will more than likely pop-up on your ankles. Not a major issue but definitely itchy.

*Both the sunscreen and bug spray were provided by Smart Stuff. Both are made using all natural ingredients and are both beneficial to you and the environment. BONUS: the sunscreen is reef safe! That's right, you can wear it while snorkeling! 

3. Cash: Try to avoid all those bank fees by pulling out cash before you leave the states. I suggest getting a couple of hundred dollars in $5's and $10's and maybe about $50 in $1 bills. This will come in handy so you can avoid getting change in Belizean currency. NOTE: no need to exchange your American cash into Belizean dollars. Everywhere excepts US currency. Expect change in Belize dollars!

3. Water bottles: This is VERY IMPORTANT when traveling to Belize and especially when staying on Caye Caulker. You will find out very quickly that getting water isn't as easy as it in the states. You'll need water bottles to refill whenever you are on tours or walking around.

Things To Leave Behind:
1. Make-up: I took my make-up bag and didn't open it once. Embrace your suntan/sunburn. 
2. Towels: No need. Most places provide unless otherwise noted. 
3. Sneakers: A pair of water shoes like Chacos will suffice. 
4. International Phone Plan: EVERYWHERE on Cay Caulker has wifi. EVERYWHERE. 
5. Jewelry: Just something to lose along the way!

Most important tip? RELAX and GO SLOW. It's the Caye Caulker way. 

Going to Belize? Have more questions? I'm your girl.