I went to Cancun and brought Prague, Hawaii, Brussels and Greece with me!!

I finally made it back home from Cancun and I’m already missing the warm sunshine, gorgeous aqua waters and bright green landscape. Here in Chicago the normal winter color palette consists of either white (snow), grey (old snow) or black (really dirty snow) so it was quite a fresh change to see all those beautiful colors for a week. As soon as I got off the plane I was hit with a wonderful “Welcome Home” from Chicago – negative degree weather! Thanks Chicago…

My trip started off at O’hare airport, looking out at all those typical winter colors and counting down the minutes until boarding began. Of course the inevitable happened when my coworker arrived at the gate and looked at me…and then my carry-on suitcase…and then back at me.

“That’s all you brought??”

“Yep! I always bring a carry-on. If I forget something, I can buy it there.  It’s the only way to travel!”

He obviously didn’t read #4 on my 14 travel tips for 2014 – There is only one size luggage for 2014 and it’s called Carry-On. No excuses. What he also didn’t know was that I managed to pack not only my Cancun necessities, but some items from Prague, Hawaii, Brussels AND Greece!! All in my not so fancy carry-on!! Let me explain a little more on why and how I was about to accomplish this amazing feat.

If you remember in my post “Pick one souvenir, and stick with it“, when I travel I don’t spend a lot of money on nonsense items and souvenirs. I stick to ornaments and then decorate my pretty Christmas tree during the holidays. However, there are always exceptions to rules and this is one of them. If you find something you LOVE and know you will USE it, then buy it. I don’t like “stuff” and I don’t like dragging a large amount of goodies with me when I’m traveling from city to city, so if I pick up something it has to be useful and special. When deciding what to pack for Cancun I came across some travel items, from all over the world, that I thought would be useful and not take up too much space! Here’s what I brought:

1. Prague – I’m obsessed with chapstick and always make sure I have some within my nearest reach. Since my sister and I did a Beer Tour in Prague, I thought it only made sense that I purchase beer chapstick from Czech Beer Cosmetics company! I came across this store randomly on the way back to the hotel and brought home lip balm for all of my friends. I normally don’t bring too many gifts home, but these were inexpensive and small so they hardly took up space in my carry-on. Since I purchased over 10 small items, they threw in Beer Shampoo too! My remaining showers in Eastern Europe improved instantly!

Czech Beer Lip Balm

Czech Beer Lip Balm

2. Hawaii – Any part of a beach trip, in my opinion, requires a sarong! They don’t take up too much space and are the perfect cover-up because you can wear them in all sorts of different ways. My favorite sarong was actually a gift from one of my close friends who used to live in Hawaii. Every time I see the bright pink and red flowers, I remember that moment that she gave this to me. It’s such a simple gift that will be used over and over again! On the trip to Cancun, I used it as a beach towel and it was perfect.

Sarong from Hawaii

Sarong from Hawaii

3. Brussels – This next item was also a gift, but this time from my sister. In 2013, my sister traveled to Brussels and had to make the obvious stop to see the little peeing man, otherwise known as the Brussels landmark – Manneken Pis. What she didn’t realize was that there was a whole museum dedicated to this little man’s clothes! There’s actually over 800 different outfits that have been dedicated from countries all around the world. I wouldn’t say that this was on her “to-do” list, but it definitely would have been on mine so that’s why she backtracked and went. She brought me back a deck of playing cards that I like to take on my trips in case I have some downtime. Easy to store so in the carry-on they went!

Manneken Pis playing cards from Brussels

Manneken Pis playing cards from Brussels

4. Greece – My close friend and I visited Greece in October 2013 and had the most relaxing week of stuffing our faces with seafood, watching the Santorini sunsets and laying on the beach. On our last day we took the ferry back to Athens in hopes of seeing the Acropolis. After what seemed like an episode from “The Amazing Race,” we arrive in Athens and found the Acropolis closed. We were so disappointed, but determined to get the only other thing on our Athens list crossed off – Visiting the Poet Sandal Maker. We raced to the shop and hesitantly went down a dark alley in hopes of the famous man who has designed sandals for celebrities such as John Lennon, Sarah Jessica Parker, Jackie Kennedy, and Sophia Loren. We quickly picked out a few pairs and on our way we went! Since i knew I was going to get some beach time in, I packed them in the carry-on!

Sandals from Greece

Sandals from Greece

What are some of your favorite items you like to pack for vacation?

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