Guest post by Dan Pigat
Packing, like travel, should be determined by your immigration form. Are you going for work or for pleasure? Are family members with you? Will you go over the shopping limit? I’ve got a buddy who’s about to embark on his first ever all-inclusive experience. In a very hush-hush way, he asked me to review his packing list. My first thought was, what dude makes a packing list? The second was, why would anyone take five pairs of swimming trunks and five pairs of jeans to the Caribbean? We men only like to take advice from other guys (and Men’s Health magazine), so I realized I had a duty here to set him (and others) straight.
Vacation packing list for men
- Two pants, not jeans
- Two shorts, preferably quick dry material
- Two bathing suits
- Two dress shirts (yes, for vacation)
- Two business casual shirts
- Two t-shirts, short or long sleeve
- Seven pairs of underwear
- Five pairs of socks
- One hat, your choice of style, although ball caps are the least versatile
- Toiletries, small sizes of everything
- One pair of sandals
- One pair of casual shoes that could pass both in a restaurant and in the gym
Pack running shoes only if you plan on actually running or playing tennis. Even if you pack them, they shouldn’t be worn to dinner anywhere for that matter, unless you’re under 16 or over 66.
All of the above will fit into a carry on. The secret is to do double duty for most items. Take shorts that can be worn on the street and then in the pool. Wear your (untucked) dress shirts to dinner and then to the beach the next day. Yes, the beach! They’re light, loose and great for sun protection (and are great cover-ups for women, too).
If you’re travelling on business, use the same list, just amp up the number of pants vs. shorts, dress shirts vs. t-shirts, and you’re set to go.
If you’re travelling with family members, swap some essential items (e.g. clean underwear) between suitcases, so if one gets lost, everyone still has a little something for the first few days.
If you’re shopping for clothes at your destination, pack old clothes you won’t mind leaving behind, then fill your suitcase with new ones bought abroad. They’re also great souvenirs, reminding you of the trip when you get dressed in the morning. I bought a motorcycle helmet in Italy and a leather jacket in France a decade ago, and still smile whenever I wear them.
When tipping, go by the custom of the place you’ll be, not the country it’s in. If you’re at an all-inclusive in Cuba, tip properly even if it’s not a Cuban custom. They expect it, and it means a lot more to them than it does to you (and be sure to tip well early in your trip, especially the maid).
Speaking of places like Cuba, over-pack and leave behind items they’ll appreciate. A teenage boy was really excited when I gave him the Eminem t-shirt off my back. The dancers in the nightly show asked me to translate their request for feminine hygiene products to the women we were sitting with. Our group gathered what they could from their rooms for these brave and appreciative women.
What items to do you always pack with you on your travels?