I recently returned from a 17-day trip to the British and United States Virgin Islands where I was born and raised and learned a lot about myself and my packing practices in the process.
As y’all know, I’m on a journey to a more minimalist lifestyle which entails gradually living with less stuff. If you want to keep up with that journey always check this blog or on social media via the hashtag #glamazinilivingwithless.
Although I made a point to pack light, I still didn’t use everything I brought with me. For future reference I’ve decided to share what I’m calling my
Don’t Pack List for My Next Trip To the Virgin Islands
Note: this ‘don’t pack list’ is not limited to VI trips, I see myself using it for other destinations in the future as well. Leggo!
Next time I go home to the Virgin Islands I will not be packing …
Above is a photo of my actual laptop right before I actually packed it for this actual trip. I’ve my laptop along with me to the Virgin Islands in the past and had the same results: regret. LOL!
Here’s the thing: the way the internet in the Virgin Islands is set up it’s just not worth it to me. The return doesn’t warrant the investment.
Granted, the connection speeds have gotten EXPONENTIALLY faster in recent years, BUT the connections I had a chance to use were still either too slow for me to be productive #firstworldusedtohavingCharterSpectrumInternetspeedsproblems, or unreliable and kept going in and out. I planned to upload videos while there but that plan fell flat. Case in point:
⏳Q: Who’s probably not getting any videos from Glamazini while she’s traveling? A: YOOUU! 👉😕👈 😂😃😀😐😯😑😕😢 … sooo I put this video to upload TWELVE HOURS AGO and uh … yeah … so … well … no. 😒 I’ll leave it see if it eventually decides it wants to live on YouTube yay y’all, but if not then you will get to enjoy these suckas (Weekly Update included) when I get back to Charter Spectrum Internet a.k.a. Missouri. Continue to pray saints. 🙏😔 #glamazinitravels #butapparentlydoesntuploadvideoswhileshedoes #wompwompwomp
Beyond that, I’m just too busy to whip out said laptop to do anything while I’m at home visiting family and soaking in the sunshine. If I need to get on the internet I can use my phone or the computer of a willing family member. If you need to get on the internet while in the Virgin Islands you can check out a local internet cafe (in St. Thomas | in Tortola).
Next. On future trips to the Virgin Islands I’m not packing …
Like zero makeup. Like none. No. None. No.
Ok, I “may” take mascara, but even as I type this, Your Honor I present to you Exhibit A:
This is the tiny bag of makeup I traveled with. It contained eyeliner, mascara, a brow kit, concealer, a mattifier & brushes. I thought I’d definitely use something in this paired down selection for the two weeks I was there (and vaguely remember using makeup kinda sorta on previous jaunts to the VI) but y’all … I did. not. use. any. of. these. products. not. once. 😕
I never even opened the bag.
Well apparently from the time I moved away in 1993 to the current year the Virgin Islands has gone from hot-but-doable to Hades-where-is-Jesus-ah-bettah-sweatin-more-dan-you-hot … as hell. All my recent previous trips were in winter so I guess I got mild hot but this last trip smack dab in the middle of summer gave me hella hot.
It was too dang hot .
I arrived and started sweating like I stole something & didn’t even want makeup on my eyelashes I was so hot. 😂 I saw people with makeup and wigs & weaves and all I could think was clearly their pores are set up differently than mine are. The only makeup product I managed to apply was lip balm & gloss. Next trip to the VI I may toss in mascara … may … but that’s it.
You know what else I’m not taking?
Too much underwear
Note: Although I did use a clothesline while traveling that is not my underwear lol.
Growing up I had a system for packing. I perfected it during my frequent, last minute, trips to spend the night at my grandmother’s house. Part of that system was quickly packing underskivvies. The math was simple: I bathed twice a day so 2 panties (and eventually 1 bra as I aged) per day. Imagine that word problem in your math class! LOL!
Anyhoo … I employed that tried-and-true equation, then divided the resulting number by half, and was left with an abundance of underwear that I did not wear. Why?
I stayed in 2 different houses, both of which had washing machines. Beyond that, one had a dryer and the other a clothesline (with family members nearby with a dryer). I only needed 4-5 panties and 3-4 bras max because I washed frequently. I know most of you reading this do not have dryer-owning family members available on your trips so you can either visit a local laundromat (click here for a list in the BVI: page 125/150 and have quarters handy), purchase affordable undies while you’re there (In USVI try Kmart or Walgreens, In BVI try Fatima’s or Tortola Department store in downtown Road Town, Tortola), or you can pack paper underwear (which I’ve never used but cost less then laundry detergent and beach time wasted by sitting in a laundromat). If you’re the commando type go panty free, the weather supports this behavior.
Thank me later.
Ok, enough talk about your drawls. Next time I’m not taking
More than one book
I packed two books with me: this one and this one:
I don’t know who told me to pack hard cover books! What was I thinking?
First off a Kindle would probably be your best bet if you’re a reading traveler like myself but, until I go that route (I still love flipping pages), paperback is definitely the way to go for all future travel.
Second off (is that even a thing? “second off” lol) I never touched the book pictured above, it just sat in my luggage taking up valuable space and adding to my anxiety when trying to beat the 50lb limit on my checked back (my entire family traveled with 1 checked bag + carryons btw #kaboom).
Third off (hee hee) I was too busy living and enjoying my trip so there was no need for 2 pieces or reading material. There are beaches in the Virgin Island … and family … and beaches.
Ok point made.
You know what else I’m not packing?
Too many clothes or shoes
I purposely packed super duper light for this trip and planned to rely heavily on my intent toward simplicity, my mix & match skills, the availability of washing machines & the occasional loaner from “Mama Boutique”. 😂 Here’s a shot of everything I packed (including what I wore on the flight).
In total it was 6-ish outfits for 17+ days and would you believe that I didn’t even wear everything! As I mentioned in the underwear section, I washed ever 3-4 days and was entirely over any concern of being seen in the same thing thrice (they were clean so whatever). I never wore the white button down shirt (because sweat, but I packed it in lieu of a jacket just in case), and only wore the black tank and blue maxi dress once and yellow dress twice, but really didn’t have to. I also never wore the flats but I packed them in case it rained or I went to church.
I will definitely pack the same on future trips. If I want to get quantitative I guess 1 outfit for every 2.8 days of travel worked for me (yes I went there but like I said, this post is also for future reference ).
Moving right along and in the same vein, during my next trip to the Virgin Islands I will not be taking
Lots of jewelry
Note: This is not my jewelry either lol.
This one’s simple: a pared down wardrobe means a pared down selection of jewels. I packed 4 pairs of earrings but only wore 2.
Oh I almost forgot to mention this in the clothing section! For future trips to the Virgin Islands I doubt I’m going to pack many
Note: This is my dress but I did not take it with me.
I love a maxi dress but did I mention it was hot as the devil’s kitchen while I was in the Virgin Islands? I packed a turquoise racerback maxi dress and only wore it once because my underparts were baking like they were in the personal sauna tent that no one wants up under them.
Too. much. playing.
I ended up tying the corner of the dress up (for ventilation) and only wore it once. I had the same issue with the white maxidress I packed BUT I would pack it again because it didn’t have to be ironed and served perfectly as a house (read: air -conditioning) or beach (read: worn for 2 seconds) dress.
In the future I’m keeping all my clothes short unless I’m traveling during the winter (during which I’ve worn maxi dresses in the VI with success to my recollection).
Also next time I’m not packing
A bunch of toiletries
I totally don’t need to. Pack the basics and loan or purchase anything else that you need.
I thoroughly enjoy the challenge of not using all my lotions and potions and making things work. One product I packed that I loved was the All Purpose Healing Salve from Camp Wander. I used it for everything (hence the name “All Purpose” huh?) from a diaper cream, on pealing skin, on my son’s huge gash when he fell off the bed onto a concrete floor, on his eczema, and to stop the itch when the mosquitoes bit me (which they did all the time because apparently I’m delicious).
Beyond that I swiped soap and lotion from mom but could easily have bought some from a store. I suggest that you make a list of what you’ll need from the store before you travel then go directly there first thing when you arrive (which I do on every trip, not just those to the VI).
My son traveled with me (and my husband, like I said, whole family, one checked bag #beimpressed). We went back and forth a great deal before the trip but ultimately decided not to travel with
A car seat, a stroller and a high chair
We did take his potty seat but did not need to. We found the exact same potty seat in the Walmart there (which we purchased and left so we’d never need to buy it again). I borrowed other items from a family member while in the BVI (like this stroller below)
but had to figure things out while in the USVI. For a car seat I purchased a used one from the Red Cross in the BVI, washed the cover, hosed off & scrubbed the plastic base and, for $15 had a perfectly functional car seat which we left in the USVI for future use. I could have done the same with the stroller and high chair but if the Red Cross didn’t come through (or if you’re skeeved out by buying used items) there’s always Walmart which sells the priciest to the cheapest (think umbrella strollers). As a point of reference expect things to cost 2-4 dollars more in the VI than you would pay in the states. Also you can check a Facebook group like Tots on the Rock to purchase an item from local parents on St. Thomas, USVI.
Either way you don’t have to pay to check a stroller or carseat when flying so if lugging them along doesn’t bother you then bring them with.
The last thing I won’t be taking with me on another trip, to the Virgin Islands or elsewhere is
Worries about traveling with a child with special needs
On my trip to Florida for the Garden of Life Blogger Summit I was having literal panic attacks during the flights thinking about what it would be like to travel with my son on our upcoming trip to the Virgin Islands. During one of those panic attacks I noticed the Homeland Security desk while exiting the TSA check point so I stopped by. The agent calmed me down and handed me this card for the TSA Cares program:
This program consists of a help line set up to assist travelers with disabilities and medical conditions. You can call toll free 1-855-787-2227 prior to traveling to ask questions about the TSA screening and even get an agent assigned to you to help get through the screening process seamlessly.
I was on the verge of tears from anxiety then was on the verge of tears from sheer relief. I cannot express the weight that was lifted. I have detailed our full experience in a separate post which you can read here >> my experience with the tsa cares program << but the long short is it was above and beyond what we expected.
So there you have it, my do not pack list for future trips especially those to the Virgin Islands.