Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Domincan Republic - Packing Whoops

I returned from my glorious six day five night trip to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic on Saturday. We stayed at the Club Med resort which was absolutely perfect. I highly recommend it. Besides the rooms being comfortable and spacious with a balcony and a view, the food being delicious and all inclusive, the activities provided were the best! We took sailing and windsurfing lessons, tried our hand at archery, and even endured the heat on the tennis courts. The night-time activities are fun too with live music nights and a DJ nightclub on the beach. We never had to think of anything to do, everything was already planned for us. We just chose the activities. No stress.

There were only two disappointments on my trip and neither one of them had to do with the actual trip, but mistakes I made myself.

The first, I completely and utterly over packed, which is usually not a problem for me. But this time, I failed. Want to know what I packed too much of? Clothes to wear during the day! Who wears clothes in the Caribbean during the day?! I wore a bathing suit with a cover up every day. I brought two bathing suits and two cover ups and alternated them between the days so I wore each one twice. Did I wear any of the three pairs of shorts I brought? No. Did I wear any of the tank tops I brought to go with them? No. Did I wear any of the three sweaters or two pairs of jeans I brought (apparently I forgot what 90 degree weather feels like)? No. I'll tell you what I DID wear (other than the bathing suits and cover ups). I wore each of my five dresses/skirts for night-time (dinners and dancing always call for dresses) and I wore half of the exercise clothes I brought (it was much too hot for me for most of the exercise classes). I only brought four pairs of shoes and wore all of them; night wedges, night sandals, flip flops, and tennis shoes. I even managed to wear all the jewelry/accessories I brought to go along with my night outfits. Bathing suits and night-time clothes only from now on. Lesson learned.

Of course, to go along with my over packing, I under packed a few things (or just plain forgot them). I have horribly uncomfortable reactions to bug bites. I remembered to bring my prescription anti-itch cream (good last minute toss in the suitcase) but completely FAILED to bring bug spray! Luckily, the gift shop had bottles for sale... for $17.00!!! I sucked it up and bought one, because I desperately needed it. Lesson learned.

I also thought that bringing the book I was currently reading (Haruki Murakimi's Norwegian Wood) and another book (Barbara Kingsolver's Pigs in Heaven) would be enough reading for the plane rides and the beach. I was wrong. I finished the Murakami on the plane before we even landed in the Dominican Republic and I finished the Kingsolver the day before we left. I really tried to put the book down, but I just couldn't. I was forced to buy a trade paperback that I didn't have much interest in reading at the Punta Cana airport for $10 when they usually cost just $8 in the US. Le sigh. Lesson learned.

If you're planning on sitting on the beach for the majority of your vacation, don't pack clothes to wear during the day and bring enough reading material. Oh, and hot and humid equals MOSQUITOES. Bring bug spray to spare your skin and your wallet.


  1. The Dominican has some of the most beautiful beaches I might add.

    Travel Tip: If you see someone at the airport walk away with a bag that looks like yours, chances are it is yours! Make sure your luggage is EXTREMELY distinguishable from others, even if it is bright blue to begin with.

  2. makes me want to travel to the D.R! and if i do i'll be prepared :)

  3. Your blog makes me crave sun and sand this very second!...looking into club med as i type this comment :)

  4. Haha I underpacked on bathing suits and coverups on our recent cruise...and overpacked on books! I am a total bookworm but I didn't have any time at all to pick up a book on our little 3-day trip.

    I'm happy to hear that the Club Med was great! I've heard really good things about Punta Cana but every resort I've heard about until now was deemed merely "average". Did you enjoy the nightlife aspect at the Club Med? That was my one complaint about Sandals in Jamaica...there WAS nightlife, but no one was ever out enjoying it! So you could go to a halfway decent piano bar...but it would be maybe you and one other couple there, and it got kind of boring in that aspect.

  5. Tara - The nightlife was actually fun! In the early evening there was dancing at the bar by the pool which everyone participated in (even the kiddos) which usually ended up being a lot of line dancing, but people were always participating, or if not they were hanging in the comfortable chairs or by the bar. For the light night clubbing part the entertainment moved to the beach bar where there was always a DJ and a special drink mixologist. It was super fun and people were dancing to the wee hours of the morning! I know I was. I think how Club Med keeps it looking busy is by not having 80,000 restaurants and bars to chose from. They only have a few but make sure they are good quality. In my opinon a few fun nightlife places is better than many empty nightlife places.

    Mike - Great travel tip! Hence why I have a bright green bag with a huge orange luggage tag on it.

    Ilona - I say we take a girl's trip to Ixtapa!