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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    20

    Default How do you do it?

    Hubby and I are flying to CTI in June (3-10) and are really wanting to just bring two carry-on hardcased suitcases with us vs checking our bags. It'll be no problem for him since he can pack light , I'm the over-packer (no shame!), yet I am determined to pack as light as *I* can to ensure we just bring our carry ons. Clothes, shoes, suits, shampoo, body wash are all no problems (travel size). However, what do we do about sunscreen?! We both are fair and need quite a bit to ensure we aren't burnt to a crisp.

    To those who only bring carry ons, how do you do it? Tips, advice is MUCH appreciated!

  2. #2

    Default

    carry ons won't save you since checked bags started costing money. Most people are trying to bring all carryons with them. Problem is, there is not enough room for them all. So, many carryons are getting gate checked. This happened to me on the way down. I figured, no problem...I was wrong. somehow my gate checked carry on did not make it to my final destination so all of those "cant live without" things? yeah....not so good. It Did eventually show up that night but consider that possibility that it might not show up . As far as toiletries, the gift shop has a large selection and there is even more sunscreen down in the logo shop on the beach. shampoo and body wash are in dispensers in the shower, bar soap on the sink, and lotion in a dispenser near the bathroom door.

    PS I discovered the best way to handle the checked carry on problem is to get a seat as close to the front of the plane as possible.

  3. #3

    Default

    It wasn't to Couples, but this summer my husband and I went to Indonesia for 3 weeks with just a carry-on backpack each. We're both very fair as well and didn't want to count on finding sunscreen. What we did is look for sunscreen brands that came in smaller sizes. For example Neutrogena dry touch sunscreen comes in 88ml tubes. We just packed a few of those and it was plenty. A second option, that friends of ours did, if you have a favourite sunscreen brand, is to buy travel bottles and fill them with sunscreen. They're typically available at dollar stores, walmart, etc.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    287

    Default

    This worked for me: since you can each bring a quart bag with 3 oz. bottles, I brought travel-size 50 SPF waterbabies for face and brought two 3oz bottles of my favorite suntan lotion SPF 15. Then, I bought a bottle of suntan lotion at the resort. Also, since they have shampoo and body lotion in the room, I didn't have to bring any of that in my quart bag. It worked for us for an 8 night stay. Hope this helps!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    916

    Default

    There is not a way to take anything over the 3-1-1 rule in your carry-on. You either have to fit all your sunscreen into a quart size bag in travel bottles, check your bags, or buy it at the resort and it is SUPER expensive there.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    2,432

    Default

    I just buy conditioner and sunscreen at the resort. It's spendthrift but you gotta have it. We use the shampoo and other stuff they provide. I have long hair and the shampoo /conditioner they provide doesn't work for me.
    I have way overpacked in the past and you never wear as much as you might think. Have fun!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    428

    Default

    You will be there the same time as us!!

    We have gone to CTI for 8 nights with just carry on. It's easy!

    First, find one pair of heels (if you wear heels) that will go with all of your dresses.

    Secondly keep in mind you will probably live in a swimsuit (or out of it, if you are going to the island) so daytime clothes usage will be minimal - cover ups, tank top & shorts, flip flops.

    Next, learn how to pack things tightly. For example I can fit 5-6 tank tops into a 1 gallon ziplock. Roll them tightly, place them in the bag and squeeze the air out. Saves a ton of room!

    Things like jewelry and meds can go inside hubby's dress shoes (he will need them for the nicer restaurants).

    Sunscreen can be purchased at the resort in the gift shop.

    See you there!!

  8. #8

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    These carry-on only threads come up every now and then, and I donít know how people do it. My biggest challenge, even for short trips is the liquid restriction. I need my own hair products, other toiletries, contact lotion, bug spray, sunscreen etc. If you can manage with what the resort has and buying the rest, then it would be more manageable for sure.
    The other thing many people do is wear outfits more than once. On a 2 week trip I can do that with a few dresses, capri-pants or shorts (I usually only bring 1 pair for off resort, but of course hubby needs several pairs), but beyond that I draw the line. Bringing laundry soap (provided itís not liquid!) can help with this problem, if you donít mind doing laundry in the sink. I usually plan to wash out some items and re-wear - mostly things that dry quickly so they arenít hanging around for days. For example, T-shirts take forever to dry when hand washed, so my husband usually takes less and buys some new ones each trip. He even found quick dry underwear so he doesnít have to bring 14 of those bulky pairs.
    Youíll also have to limit your shoes. Wear something you can use on the resort and pack the lighter sandals and flip flops for the beach. Iím one to talk... this is something Iím not good at - I need my dressy sandals in black and brown, water shoes, Keens, flip flops, crocs... ok, I am really trying to reduce my shoes each trip, but itís so hard! LOL.
    Weíve usually had 2 EXTRA suitcases with dive just gear, but weíre just not traveling with all our own anymore and reduced it to one. Next trip Iím going to reduce even more down to just a mask and snorkel. Itís killing me, but it can be done. I have already cut out a lot of clothes that I used to bring and found I didnít need. Last trip I wore everything I brought though... hmm.
    If you find you absolutely canít do without the liquids, what weíve done for shorter trips is just check one bag between us with our toiletries/liquids, shoes and some clothes, but packed the majority in our carry-ons.
    Good luck to you I hope you get lots of good tips here.

  9. #9

    Default

    I check 2 bags, and believe me we used to check 4 before all the bag charges, but some packing tips are definately use the small space bags, I love them. You can shove things inside closed toe shoes/sneakers. Call CTI before you leave and see what they are leaving in the bathroom currently, unless you are product specific, you can omit bringing those items. For the sunscreen, that is a problem with the liquid restriction, I have read that others just buy sunscreen at the giftshop when they get there, it is more expensive there, and they may not have the type you like, but I bet you can get by with pretty much anything there, or take a ride into town.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    321

    Default Don't worry about it...

    I know some people don't like to hear this, but here goes

    I encourage my wife to bring whatever she wants
    It is our once a year vacation. No kids. No work. Its just for us.
    So I am happy to lug an extra checked bag for her.
    We go for 10-11 days so there are a lot of days

    She brings 6-7 pairs of shoes, but sandals don't take up much room.
    She brings a different sundress/resort dress for every night.
    I love seeing her get all dressed up each night for our date at Casanova (at CSS) or Bayside (at CTI) or at the Beach party or wherever we are eating.
    She brings a bunch of bikinis but again they don't take up much room.
    And she brings several coverups to wear to and from the beach.

    My clothes take up a lot more room.
    I need t-shirts because it is hot in July and they get sweaty when I work out
    Same for button up shirts for dinner.

    We bring some things that we leave at the resort. Like a puzzle to work during the week. And paper back books that we get at the used book store. And gifts for staff and friends from Couples.
    We use the spray on sunscreen during the day so we bring 3-4 bottles and leave the empties

    So when all is done we have two big (28 inch) bags plus a carryon for each of us.
    It is no big deal. It is easier than stressing about what to do to conserve space.
    I just have to get them from our bedroom to the car and then into the Delta counter at the airport. Pick them up for customs and then Couples takes care of the rest.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    988

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Jed View Post
    I know some people don't like to hear this, but here goes

    I encourage my wife to bring whatever she wants
    It is our once a year vacation. No kids. No work. Its just for us.
    So I am happy to lug an extra checked bag for her.
    We go for 10-11 days so there are a lot of days

    She brings 6-7 pairs of shoes, but sandals don't take up much room.
    She brings a different sundress/resort dress for every night.
    I love seeing her get all dressed up each night for our date at Casanova (at CSS) or Bayside (at CTI) or at the Beach party or wherever we are eating.
    She brings a bunch of bikinis but again they don't take up much room.
    And she brings several coverups to wear to and from the beach.

    My clothes take up a lot more room.
    I need t-shirts because it is hot in July and they get sweaty when I work out
    Same for button up shirts for dinner.

    We bring some things that we leave at the resort. Like a puzzle to work during the week. And paper back books that we get at the used book store. And gifts for staff and friends from Couples.
    We use the spray on sunscreen during the day so we bring 3-4 bottles and leave the empties

    So when all is done we have two big (28 inch) bags plus a carryon for each of us.
    It is no big deal. It is easier than stressing about what to do to conserve space.
    I just have to get them from our bedroom to the car and then into the Delta counter at the airport. Pick them up for customs and then Couples takes care of the rest.
    This is kind of the way we are. We pack what we want, it is our vacation, but with that said, we pack very lightly. This is the one trip that we don't try to get by with just a carry on. Why? Because in reality we are handling the bags very little, only the beginning and ending of the flights. I have no problem and do admire those who go to Couples for a long period of time with just carry on's, and we could too, we just choose not to.

  12. #12

    Default

    All of these tips sound great, but I was hoping to hear from any scuba divers. I kinda figured on taking a smaller canvas bag with my scuba gear, despite the checked bag fees. Any ideas or tips from divers would be appreciated.

  13. #13

    Default packing for scuba

    My husband and I check one duffle bag that has our flippers, snorkels, masks and other diving paraphenalia. We put our regulators and cameras in our carry-ons. So far we haven't had any problems having luggage show up, so this system seems to work for us.

    Good luck!

    Gayle

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    174

    Default

    wldtrvlr87,
    Even though diving gear is provided, we still brought mask, fins, & snorkel with us since we planned to snorkel around the island at CTI. We understood that gear wasn't provided except for scheduled trips, so we decided to bring our own for this purpose. At the time, Delta allowed 2 checked bags per person so we didn't have to pay extra for the dive gear bag. Now it's 1 bag per person and the dive gear would cost extra. As it turned out, we never even used our gear (too lazy to get off the island to snorkel). For us now, it wouldn't be worth the cost to take our own gear - we'll just use the resort's.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    470

    Default

    I guess my question is WHY? Why is it even important to even try to just go with carry on? I mean really if you can afford to go to a place like Couples you can surely afford to pay the baggage fees. Or look for an airline that allows the first bag free. YES they do exist.

    If you think you are going to save time by just going carry on then you are mistaken. By the time you go through immigrations etc. the bags are usually on the baggage wheel already. The last time we were at MBJ we were through everything and in the Taxi within 15 minutes of deplaning and that was with 3 checked bags!

    I agree on the statement that the hair products at Couples are not the best....even for short hair. It left my hair dry and very hard to manage. Luckily on the last trip we had some left over from the resort we had come from which was from Bath & Body Works. Without that I would have had to go on a search for some decent conditioner. Hopefully Couples will take a survey or something and upgrade their shampoo/conditioner. Even my husband refused to use it after the second night.

  16. #16

    Default

    I don't know what airline anyone uses, but we used Delta this past February, and weren't charged for our checked bags since it was an international flight. That's where we put all of our sunscreen & other liquids. We will be flying American this coming February, and same thing. No charge for international flights. Sunscreen at the gift shop of CSS last time was $17.57 for 8 ounces!! (I still have the bottle with price tag!)
    Hope this helps!
    98 days till CSS!!

  17. #17

    Default

    Hi I'm a scuba diver and will try to answer your question. For the past 2 years we've flown a charter called Sunwing where we were each allowed a 44lb suitcase and then a 2nd dive or sports bag for another 44lbs. It was great.

    This past September we went to CN for the first time and were flying on Air Canada points. But we were only allowed one suitcase weighing 50lbs. OMG how is this going to work??? Our dive bags are 44 lbs each. Well it turned out we were under utilizing our carry-on. We use to call our carry-on our knapsacks that had our prescription masks, dive computer, camera, etc. and our one personal item was my purse and hubby's netbook. I was in a panic until I realized we could each have a 21" pully bag as our carry-on and our knapsacks as our personal item. Of course purse & netbook had to go into the bags but this was doable.

    I've always been surprised by people who can carry enough clothes in their carry-on. Well we did it. Only had to put our toiletries in the dive bags which were being checked.

    I know Couples supplies all the scuba gear but we like our own and now that we've got it worked out it's going to be our set-up for Cozumel in January and then CN in May and again in September. And believe it or not I did have 2 pairs of shorts that I never wore.

    Hope this helps
    Betty
    Couples Negril - September 2011, 2012, 2013 and have just booked 2014
    Scuba Club Cozumel - Jan, Apr & Nov 2012 and Jan & Nov 2013
    Cobalt Coast, Grand Cayman - May 2013
    Retiring & moving to Cozumel, Mexico in early 2014

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