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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Posts
    56

    Default Compulsive Overpacker

    I will admit it, I am a compulsive overpacker. It's just me. If the kitchen sink fits, I pack it! LOL We are coming to CSA in August for 5 days. I see so many of you say you get away with a carry on. Just a few questions: 1) We fly out of Tulsa to Atlanta then to MJB. If we check a bag, do we have to collect it at Atlanta and then go thru customs? and Same way back? 2) For the carryon folks, can you send me you must have lists so I can unpack the sink! 94 days to go! Excitement is bubbling over. But it has been since I booked it 240 days ago!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    681

    Default

    On your way to Jamaica you won't have to claim your luggage until you get to Sangster in MoBay. On the way back, at your first stop in the US you will have to go through immigration, then claim your luggage, then go through customs, then recheck your luggage (be sure to add anything that won't pass through TSA to your checked luggage!), then go through TSA Security and on to your next gate for your connecting flight.
    Taking luggage is no real problem on the way to Jamaica, but if you have a connection on the way home it can become time consuming and annoying. We have missed a couple of connecting flights in the past because immigration lines were long, luggage took way to long to show up, etc.... SO we try to fly non-stop when we can and leave plenty of time between connecting flights on the way home if we have to have a connection.
    We used to go with just Carry-On all the time, but when fluids in carry on became a problem we started checking a small bag on the way to Jamaica that contained all the sunblock, lotions, etc... that we could not carry on easily. Then we use up those lotions of gift them to someone when we leave the resort and the bag we checked on the way to Jamaica becomes a carry-on for the trip home. That way at our connection after immigration we go straight to customs and on to our gate and avoid waiting for luggage, rechecking luggage, and we are at customs so quick that we go right through while others are waiting for their luggage. It works really well for us, but after 30 or so trips to Jamaica we realized that we just don't need that much stuff for a week at an A-I.
    Have a great trip!
    Roy
    CN in June!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    1,319

    Default

    On the way to Jamaica you check-your bag and don't see it again till you land in MBJ. On the way back to the States on your frist stop you go thru immigrations, get your bag, go thru customs, place anything liquids you bought in MBJ in checked bag, check bag go thru TSA, then find your gate. You don't have to pay for your bag again, but they do weigh them again.

    Not sure how people do it with just a carry-on, I need my sunscreen and the resort charges alot.

  4. #4

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    I tend to be an over packer, but I'm getting much better. It's hard when we go for two weeks. I don't like to wear things multiple times. Dresses for dinner maybe, but not much else. So for longer trips we do some hand washing. I also like my toiletrees, and have to take contact solution, and like my hair products post salt water... so we don't go just carry on. However, I have learned to pack lighter. For toiletrees we use only travel sizes, or put into travel bottles.
    I also pack for the type of trip (AI, dive, etc). For Couples I no longer pack so many shorts and t-shirts. During the day women tend to be in swimsuits and cover-ups around the resort. So I only pack shorts and tops for trips off resort, so per week, maybe 1 or 2 sets, and I pack as outfits, (but maybe accounting for wearing a pair of shorts twice, but the top only once, but making sure they go together, rather than randomly.. I like this top and those shorts, and oh I must bring that top...
    Count the days/nights and don't bring more outfits than number of days for sure, and better yet, half if you can wear things twice.
    Since dinner is more dressy, you will need dresses or capri pants. I find dresses of light, non wrinkle material the best, and those I do wear twice, where as cotton pants tend to wrinkle and I don't want to wear a second time. Besides, Couples is a good place to wear those summer dresses every night.
    I've also learned to pack less shoes, and smaller, lighter sandals for dinner. This is a tough one for me, as I want dress sandals and Keens and Crocs and water shoes and flip flops and walking shoes, but I try to make some do double duty, and some get left at home now. I pick colours that go with it all, like black or brown. If you can do it, it saves a ton of space.
    I don't skimp on swim suits. They are small to pack and it's nice not to have to put a damp one on. Three is probably good, but I will bring more. I also bring a few cover-ups, as I like the cotton dress type and they get full of sand and sunscreen. I also like yoga shorts as beach shorts. If you can get away with lighter cover ups, all the better as they can wash up easy too.
    For the men, my hubby has learned that he can usually wear nice button up shirts twice (being careful to hang back up after dinner), but he does need a lot of t-shirts for day time. After they've been to the beach with the sand and sun screen they're done. But he allows for buying a couple as well. Men's under wear tends to be bulky, so we've bought him some quick dry pairs and do wash them, especially for 2 weeks trips, rather than bringing 14 pairs! He brings 2 or 3 swim shorts max, as these get rinsed/washed and hung like my bathing suits, plus some for off resort, or casual dinner. For CB he will replace some of these with long pants. Less men's shoes is also a space saver. He tries to wear some for the flight that he can actually use while there, if possible, like top siders.
    When we get home we have noted things we don't wear/use, and they get left behind the next trip. Now we find we wear everything we take.
    Hope some of my tips help. I always like to hear other's tips too.

  5. #5

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    I believe when you check your bag in Tulsa, you will not see it again till MJB. However on return, you must pick your bag up in Atlanta, you ca then put your duty free alcohol if you bought any at the MBJ airport, in your checked bags, then pick them up again in Tulsa. It sounds hard, but itreally is quick.
    This is how I have always seen it done. Hope that helps.
    Oh, and I could NEVER go with just a carry on, I need options. I use space bags for all of our clothes, then as they are used I put them in disposable plastic bags, color sorting them for easier laudry upon return home. The plastic bags compact down just like space bags, and cushion all of the little things we buy that maybe fragile. Also then the space bags do not get dirty from the dirty clothes.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    708

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    You will check your bags all the way to Montego Bay when you check-in at Tulsa & will not see them again until you arrive in Jamaica .... At Atlanta, you will just change planes. On the way home, you will have to pick up your checked bags before going through customs in Atlanta & then put them back on the belt to have them put on your flight on to Tulsa ..... I've not flown home through Atlanta before but I'm sure there will be signs & people to guide you. There is no way that I could do just carry on so have no tips for you there.
    Julie

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    428

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by kelliobrn View Post
    1) We fly out of Tulsa to Atlanta then to MJB. If we check a bag, do we have to collect it at Atlanta and then go thru customs? and Same way back? 2) For the carryon folks, can you send me you must have lists so I can unpack the sink! 94 days to go! Excitement is bubbling over. But it has been since I booked it 240 days ago!
    We fly out of Tulsa too! Your bag will check through to MBJ if you check a bag. On the way back you claim it in Atlanta and go through customs and recheck.

    As for doing carry-on only, we have done this for a 10+ day trip, and it worked fine! I am one of those ladies who likes to dress up for dinner, and it was no problem getting in everything we needed into two carry-ons. (On our first trip to couples we packed a HUGE checked bag and two carry-ons. It was a short trip like yours and I took half my closet. I probably wore about 1/4 of what I took. )

    Shoes: The big trick for me was to pack only one pair of heels for the evenings to match all my dresses (gold or silver are great neutrals) and only one pair of flip flops. I wear a pair of sneakers on the flight so I can have them for my workouts. (Shoes take up SO much room.)

    Clothes: You will practically live in a swimsuit and cover-up (or just a cover-up if you are nude beach type people). Depending on what nights you're there, you probably won't need to dress up for dinner every night, so shorts and a dressy top will be good for at least 2 nights. For casual wear around the resort, tank tops or t-shirts and shorts are sufficient. Try to choose your outfits so that you need only one or two bras for the entire trip. This cuts down on a lot of space (at least for me). You can wear the same shorts more than once. Like I said, you'll spend most of your time in beach wear. Buy compression bags or roll your clothes and put them in ziplocks and squish the air out. Unpack and hang everything when you arrive. Humidity will get out any wrinkles.

    Personal items: For 5 days you can easily get by on travel size shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, hairspray, lotions, sunscreen, etc. Condense your makeup bag down to essentials only - neutral eye shadows, fewer make up brushes, etc. I highly recommend you buy a compact, but powerful travel blow dryer if you have any hair at all. The ones in the rooms are awfully wimpy. (this one is awesome: Travel Hair Dryers at Brookstone)

    Accessories: Minimize your accessories, and don't take any expensive jewelry. Accessories should take up very little space in your bag. You won't need a purse. I never take one to Jamaica. I keep lip balm or lipstick in my beach bag, or hubby's pocket.

    Other items: Take either an ipod or an iphone but not both. I am down to just taking my iphone and putting playlists on it for the trip. Books or Nooks or Kindles - only if you're an avid reader and find this relaxing. I end up socializing too much to read a book, except for late at night, I'll occasionally read. Sunglasses, sunscreen, hat or visor, koozies, camera and a couple memory cards. Small, lightweight bag to use as a beach bag - consider a backpack that you can use as carry-on and a beach bag. That's about all I can think of. Oh! I always pack earplugs! A lot of people don't like noise at night and these can be a trip saver!

    Have an awesome trip!!

  8. #8

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    I'm a carry on person. I used to be a kitchen sink/shoe person (I love shoes) until two trips ago to Couples. This is how I work it. We stay for ten days. All of my hair products go into those three ounce bottles you can buy at drugstores etc. You can get away with using the liquid soap supplied in the room, but I doubt most women can get by with the shampoo/conditioner supplied. I make sure I pack at least three, 3 0z bottles of each. Also a three oz tube of face sunblock. I take a small bottle of Moroccan oil and a good leave in conditioner also in a 3 oz bottle. Same with face moisturizer. Lip gloss, liquid eyeliner and mascara. I don't use liquid foundation so no need for that. Toothpaste, in a small travel size, and mouthwash and a small travel size liquid laundry detergent go into the Hubs quart bag. You will be surprised how much you can jam into one of them! He doesn't need as much room in his quart bag so I kind of take it over. When I learned that moist towelettes do not count as liquids, that was where the makeup remover/bug repellant/wipes came into play! We buy sunscreen at the resort, I know it's a little on the expensive side, but we get a resort credit and any other type toiletries we need, we use the credit. It's worth the peace of mind for me to have my bag with me and not have to worry about it being lost or having to drag all that baggage everywhere. I am also a fan of the gigantic handbag. I have a few really big ones and I usually shove all my swimsuits, dry makeup, medicines, sunglasses, ipod, kindle, costume jewelry, and pens into it, (don't forget pens because other passengers on the plane will act like you are asking them for their first born if you forgot a pen and need to borrow one to fill the out the forms they hand you). I usually bring pens for the masses now because I know what it felt like not to have one! But I digress...back to packing. Remember, what won't fit in your carry on, will fit in your handbag if you make sure it is a large one! I usually carry a tote and it also serves as a beach bag for the rest of the week! Because of weight restrictions (usually 30 lbs) I put everything in the carry on and it goes on the scale, if it's over the weight limit, it goes in the tote. Since I wear a uniform most of the week, I like to wear dresses while on vacation, I make sure that they are light weight and do not wrinkle easily (really, who wants to iron on vacation?) I bring 7 or 8, and a skirt and a few tops. I bring a few tanks and shorts to work out in and make use of the laundry service. I roll my clothes, they fit better in the carry on. Shoes. I pack black heels and brown wedges, or whatever will look good with the dresses I am bringing, but I limit it to two pairs. I have never remembered the shoes anyone else wore to CSA so I doubt they remember mine either. Then I pack a few pairs of dressy sandals, and flip flops for the beach. They take up barely any room. The only handbag I bring is the tote I will use on the beach. I'm sure if you wanted to bring a handbag, it would fit in the carryon, but I just don't feel the need to. Lingerie and socks takes up barely any room. I do bring a flat iron. Also a shower puff. Honestly, most people are in a bathing suit and cover up all day. At least we are, and then a nice dress or skirt for dinner/going out. I think pants and jeans are too uncomfortable while there, so I don't pack them. Some folks pack a sweater. I never get cold there so I don't. Even though it is a PITA at the airport, I wear my sneakers on the flight, they take up too much room. I do a trial run through in August for my trip during Halloween! 160 days and only two months until the trial run! Woot Woot!
    There is no unhappiness like the misery of sighting land (and work) again after a cheerful, careless voyage ~Mark Twain

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Posts
    21

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by kelliobrn View Post
    I will admit it, I am a compulsive overpacker. It's just me. If the kitchen sink fits, I pack it! LOL We are coming to CSA in August for 5 days. I see so many of you say you get away with a carry on. Just a few questions: 1) We fly out of Tulsa to Atlanta then to MJB. If we check a bag, do we have to collect it at Atlanta and then go thru customs? and Same way back? 2) For the carryon folks, can you send me you must have lists so I can unpack the sink! 94 days to go! Excitement is bubbling over. But it has been since I booked it 240 days ago!
    After my first visit, This is what I packed: one pair of pants, a light jacket, a few t shirts, bathing suit, and two pair of shorts. All that is needed.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by ron3637 View Post
    After my first visit, This is what I packed: one pair of pants, a light jacket, a few t shirts, bathing suit, and two pair of shorts. All that is needed.
    My husband brings three pairs of shorts, two bathing suits, a pair of lightweight pants (we like to dine at Feathers), 1 pair closed toe shoes, a few t-shirts and some collared/ polo shirts, a pair of sandals and flip flops. And a random surprise t shirt or hat for Ulti! Bless you and your ability to travel with a small lunch bag!
    There is no unhappiness like the misery of sighting land (and work) again after a cheerful, careless voyage ~Mark Twain

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    72

    Default

    Great timing as my wife and I started packing for our trip today. So here is a question for all you divers. How much of your own gear do you bring? 3 weeks and counting....

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    268

    Default

    I must have repacked my bag 8 times before I left and i actually found myself wanting a few more t shirts then I packed.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Posts
    56

    Default

    Thank you all so much! I have to laugh at myself. I love the idea of a run through packing. Being from Oklahoma, my husband is a boot and jeans fella. Will have to convert him for this trip. This all gives me so many great ideas! My hair is thick, curly and unruly. So I imagine I am going to have to check our bag for the mousse. (Will start looking now for baby mousse.) Would love to not check a bag. Will see how it goes. 89 days, 16 hours, 37min and 58 seconds. But who is counting!! Allans_angel, I am assuming you are a Okie too! What parts?

  14. #14

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    The first time, to CSA, we brought ALL our own gear. Our BCDs were large cold water ones. So we had 2 dive gear bags plus our suitcases. Crazy. Plus with your own gear it all needs to be rinsed and stored. Now we have invested in travel BCDs but are hoping to get other travel dive gear for dive trips, rather than rent gear. It was still too much for CTI and CSS, and honestly their gear seemed ok. So for CB we are just taking masks & snorkels,and maybe shortie wetsuits, especially since we only do two dives there. (I am putting my fin down on this or hubby will bring it all!) If you want to night dive you may want to take your own light(s).

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    72

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jamaicamecrazy View Post
    The first time, to CSA, we brought ALL our own gear. Our BCDs were large cold water ones. So we had 2 dive gear bags plus our suitcases. Crazy. Plus with your own gear it all needs to be rinsed and stored. Now we have invested in travel BCDs but are hoping to get other travel dive gear for dive trips, rather than rent gear. It was still too much for CTI and CSS, and honestly their gear seemed ok. So for CB we are just taking masks & snorkels,and maybe shortie wetsuits, especially since we only do two dives there. (I am putting my fin down on this or hubby will bring it all!) If you want to night dive you may want to take your own light(s).
    Thanks! I have heard from others as well that their gear is ok. I will prob bring my regulator (cause its new and I want to) and of course computer and fins etc. We are gong to CSS and I plan on diving at least 4 times so I hope it will be worth it. (thanks for the tip on the light btw)

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    428

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    Quote Originally Posted by kelliobrn View Post
    Thank you all so much! I have to laugh at myself. I love the idea of a run through packing. Being from Oklahoma, my husband is a boot and jeans fella. Will have to convert him for this trip. This all gives me so many great ideas! My hair is thick, curly and unruly. So I imagine I am going to have to check our bag for the mousse. (Will start looking now for baby mousse.) Would love to not check a bag. Will see how it goes. 89 days, 16 hours, 37min and 58 seconds. But who is counting!! Allans_angel, I am assuming you are a Okie too! What parts?
    We live in Jenks, just outside of Tulsa. How about you?

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    197

    Default

    The first time, we brought real suitcases. After that, we bring only carry ons (getting ready for visit #9). First, remember that you can have laundry done at the resort at a reasonable price so don't panic about running out of clothes. Second, you can wear things more than once because, other than swimsuits, you only wear them a few hours a day.

    If you want to do a carry on, here's what I recommend for women for up to 10 days:

    2-3 swimsuits
    1 cover up (or use shorts and T-shirt)
    1 sundress or dressy skirt/slacks (for "formal" restaurant)
    2 casual pants/skirts (for dinners)
    2-3 pairs shorts
    3 T-shirts/casual tops
    2 dressy tops
    1 pair shoes that work as beach shoes/casual shoes (i.e., sandals, boat shoes, etc.)
    1 pair dressy sandals
    1 pair athletic shoes (if you plan to work out)

    My husband brings:

    2 swimsuits
    2 pair shorts
    1 pair long pants (worn on plane)
    3 T-shirts
    2-3 collared shirts (including polos)
    athletic shoes
    beach shoes
    boat shoes

    You can wear one outfit on the plane. Skip the jeans -- too hot for Jamaica. You WILL need to buy sunscreen. Couples has decent shampoo and skin lotion. Bring a bar of soap if you don't want to use body wash.

    If you want to wear something new every day, bring a large suitcase. Trust me, unless the weather is terrible (which is unlikely), you'll wear a LOT LESS than you think you will. No one (other than the two of you) will notice if you wear the same outfit twice . . . or three times. And, as noted, you can have things laundered or dry cleaned if you get in a pinch.

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