Sunday, December 21, 2014

Back from Vacation!!

Just before my last final last week, K surprised me with plans to spend a week in Mexico before Christmas! While the thought of spending time on the beach and relaxing was awesome, the short time for preparation was in itself a bit stressful. I had a busy few days, packed with one last final (HALFWAY DONE WITH LAW SCHOOL!!!), my Christmas party, the Army-Navy game, cleaning and packing on Sunday, then we were off on Monday morning! 

We stayed at the Sandos Playacar near Playa del Carmen, a little bit south of Cancun. After a four hour plane ride, picking up a rental car, and a bumpy ride as K re-learned how to drive manual, we arrived, and it was heaven! We spent the days lounging on the beach with frosty drinks, reading and tanning, and a lot of time eating. The water was absolutely beautiful, a perfect blue, and the weather was a perfect 75 every day. While I managed to mostly get rid of my "library tan," my "library muffin top" was more prevalent than ever after a long semester of no racing. 

We walked in to Playa del Carmen one evening, and tried out the Cherry Mocha frappucino at the starbucks, and had dinner at Alux, which is a very fancy little restaurant in a natural cave. 

On the last day, we drove to Chichen Itza, because it's not a real vacation unless you visit a UNESCO heritage site. Every time I visit a site like this, it blows my mind to think that I am walking on the same path as ancient peoples I've read about in books. It's just as amazing to think they were able to build such amazing structures that have lasted this long.

K tried to ruin my selfie
As usual, I overpacked, since I left it until the last few hours before we left. If you're going to an all-inclusive and planning on just staying there for a week, here's what I recommend packing:
- I had three dresses, two maxi dresses and one shorter one (my favorite lulu dress) and they were perfect for the weather in the evenings. I brought a sweater, but I never needed to wear it. I wore these to dinner in the fancier restaurants on the resort, with some fancy flat sandals. 
- I also brought two t shirts and two tank tops. The t's I wore as cover ups with my towel, when I was walking to the beach or pool, and the tanks were great with shorts when I was just heading to a buffet (again) or walking to PDC. I brought two pairs of shorts, one pair of Lulus with a wide elastic waist band and deep pockets, and a pair of running shorts, which I never actually used. Pockets are always clutch, and, when I have the option, I always pick breathable, wicking fabrics. 
- For the beach, I brought three different bikinis. I wish they were the ones in the collage up there, but, again due to last minute packing, I ended up just grabbing three clean ones I could find and that fit. My favorite suits, though (and the ones I showed), are by Kovey. The swell top is great for any activity, and I've even worn it for doing laps. I hate having to wear a wet swimsuit, so I usually wore one in the morning, then changed around lunch to a clean one.  I had a flowy coverup to wear over top on my walk to beach, or just wrapped my beach towel around my waist (see Kovey for her awesome pareo towel). 
- My beach bag was a stuffable REI backpack I've had since college; it stuffs into itself, so it's very easy to pack, but still has padded straps, so it was comfy enough to bring to Chichen Itza all day. I always brought a water bottle, SPF 55 sunblock spray, and my nook. I read Mrs. Lincoln's Rival on the beach, which probably isn't the best beach read, but I loved it! I also picked up some aloe lotion, and used it every night even though I was lucky enough to avoid any burns. 
- K brought a coffee mug for all his delicious drinks, which was great for keeping them cold out on the beach. If I had ever let them sit around long enough to start melting, this might have been a good idea. Oh well. I don't mess around with beachside-delivered pina coladas. 
Oh, and a vacation isn't a vacation without K forgetting something. This time it was just his socks, though, which means he got to squeeze into my socks (remember that time he forgot his shoes when we went to WDW for the Princess Half? Hilarious).  

And now that I'm back home, I'm doing lots of laundry, and packing two more bags for more travelling! We're off to Ohio for Christmas, and then the weekend in Atlanta for a wedding and the Panthers-Falcons game! Since we're leaving tomorrow, I plan on packing both of my bags at the same time, so hopefully I don't forget anything and can just move my toiletries bag. 

Does anyone else have any holiday travel packing tips? 

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