Packing Strategy for a Week in Costa Rica

We leave tomorrow for a week on the beach (And in a fishing boat. And a scuba boat. Basically, we can’t or won’t sit still.)

Nevertheless! Vacation looms. Which means so does my favorite part of vacation – packing!

I’ve already referred to my obsession with packing.

And, I’ve come up with a tentative packing list for Costa Rica, thanks to the ladies of RHoOC. However, as I mentioned in that post, my closet and drawers are oddly bereft of hot pink and bedazzled items.

Which of course necessitated a quick(ish) trip to H&M.

To summarize, my packing strategy for a week in Costa Rica (in less than 30 steps)

1. Run to H&M on a Friday at lunch.

2. Dodge mobs of sweaty tourists.

3. Head directly to the swimsuit section since that’s all you really need or in the market for and grab every available size of swimsuit separates.

4. Go to ridiculously packed dressing room line and wait. And wait. And wait.

5. Finally get into a cramped dressing room with no air conditioning and fluorescent lighting.

6. Begin the torture of trying on bathing suits pieces.

7. Cry.

8. Throw bathing suits around cramped dressing room, hitting yourself in the eye with the plastic-yet-oddly-sharp hanger.

9. Leave the dressing room empty-handed and depressed.

10. Grab armfuls of anything tropically-themed or sequined and priced $10-$15. This includes items that may be dresses but are more likely just swimsuit cover ups. Including a leopard print, spaghetti-strapped romper that you most definitely cannot wear a bra with.

11. Avoid the now even more packed 7-item-limit dressing rooms. You have too many items.

12. Go back through the store and drop off anything that might be fitted and might need to be tried on.

13. Replace fitted items with elastic waist items or flowy items with belts.

14. Swoop through accessories and snap up electric blue feather earrings ala Gretchen that you will never in your life wear outside of a tropical locale or bachelorette party.

I know, Gretchen! I’m excited too!

15. Stand in stupidly long line, debating every item you’ve dragged to the register but not tried on, eventually justifying each item as “eh, it’s only $10.”

16. Hand over $100 bucks for like, 22 items. Vacation shopping: complete.

17. Head towards the exit, checking watch to see if you have time to swing by Pret A Manger for a sandwich on the way back to work.

18. See a rack with a cute silky black $10 top that’s (a) tropically themed with an adorable red/orange/pink orchid-y print running down one side of it, and (b) has cute little short sleeves so your arms won’t look like sausages (which they surely will in that other sleeveless sequined top you just bought. Eh, it was $10. Two silky shirts won’t kill anyone)

19. Run around the store playing a very grown up version of the Memory Match game, trying to remember where you saw the hot pink (finally! RHoOC here I come!) pleated shorts that would just perfectly match the cute tropical top you just found.

20. Find the shorts after 13 laps around the entire store.

21. Fret over what size might fit. “Let’s see, normally I wear a size 8 or 10, but this is H&M, which skews much younger than me, so what’s the juvenile equivalent of a size 8 or 10?? And, H&M is a European brand, which always runs smaller. If I remember correctly, in European sizing I wear like a 12 or 14, so what I really need here is a juvenile size 20?? Is that right? Wait, what time is it? Crap!”


22. Do the old “hold this up to my hip bones” sizing method.

23. Grab a size 10 in the shorts and go back to the stupidly long line, which is now at a COMPLETE standstill as cashiers go on break / to restock / to break up fights in the dressing room lines / to administer first aid to a woman with an injured eye who was trying on swimsuits she shouldn’t have been trying on in the first place.

24. Reach the cashier who is taking her sweet ass time about everything.

This guy actually has paper. My girl did not.

25. Listen patiently as she explains that she’s running out of printer paper so she seriously hopes you’re not paying with a credit card.

26. Shove $24 cash at the cashier, who then informs you that she’s out of printer paper and cannot print you a receipt. For items you have not tried on. And might need to return.

27. Snatch bag and glare.

28. Dash back to work. Close office door and try on shorts under your work skirt.

29. Do happy dance in office half-dressed because by some miracle, they fit perfectly. And they’re hot pink.

The final step will be to shove my bag of H&M-ware into a suitcase along with previous years’ bathing suits, floppy hat, a couple of pairs of strappy sandals and some flip flops. Done and done.


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