I always get a little stressed when I have to pack for a vacation, or even when I have to pack a bag for an overnight stay, because of how many things I rely on at home to make myself feel better when I am symptomatic. I’m going on a real vacation (first one since Covid hit) this coming weekend and I’ve already started a packing list on my phone so I don’t forget any of the important items.
On Saturday I’ll be flying to Kauai for a week-long beach trip with my fiancé and his family. I’m so excited to have a change in environment and to have my feet in the sand. While I’m not normally a big beach person (because I don’t feel great in the sun due to Lupus and POTS) I do love the salt air and seeing the ocean. I thought I’d share what I’m packing for my Hawaiian trip i.e. what items I can’t do without!
1. Pill Case
First things I wrote on my packing list for my vacation to Hawaii were MEDS – they’re always the first on any packing list! I could forget everything else and manage, but I couldn’t function without my medications. I alway pack my medicines in my backpack – it’s the bag I keep with me while traveling and isn’t checked with the rest of my luggage. The last thing I would want would be for my checked bag to get lost and for my medications to be with that. I recently got this cute rainbow pill case that I’ll link below. I love that it has different compartments for AM /PM and that the days are separate though they stay together in the master box.
2. Compression Socks / Leggings
I always wear compression leggings or socks when I fly. It’s good for your circulation, it helps tremendously with swelling (which is something I struggle with) and helps with blood pooling (thanks POTS). Em and I both have blood clotting disorders (Factor V Liden) so it’s even more important that we wear compressions when flying to prevent clotting. We also make sure to walk around the plane every couple of hours to keep our legs moving and the blood flowing. We love the brand Rejuva and own a bunch of different items from them.
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It wouldn’t be a beach vacation without ample sun protection. Too much sun exposure can make my autoimmune issues flare up and my POTS symptoms go haywire so I try to be as covered as I can be. I also burn easily – I’m pretty pale and my skin doesn’t love the sun, so, on all fronts it’s beneficial to be protected . I’m packing a baseball hat – something easy to put on for walks or outside activities and also a wide brimmed hat for the beach that I can shield my face with.
(I couldn’t link the straw hat – but I got it at Costco last year for $10! They have it this season in a slightly darker tan with the same black detailing.)
4. Cover Ups / Button Down Shirts
For the same reasons I mentioned above, having a few different cover ups for when I’m hitting the pool or beach is crucial. While I do gravitate towards the shade, a good coverup always comes in handy. I love to wear a big button down shirt that I can leave open if I choose, but still covers my shoulders. They’re easy to throw in a bag, don’t take up much space and, in my opinion, pair perfectly with a hat and some sunglasses. I’m definitely packing a few for my vacation to Hawaii.
Target makes an amazing Madewell Dupe of a their classic boyfriend long sleeve button up (pictured above) for only $20! It’s so so great I bought two in case I ever spill or mess it up!
While I’m on a sun protection gear roll, I can’t forget sunglasses. I suffer from chronic migraines so a dark pair of shades is completely necessary. I hate to take expensive sunglasses with me to the beach or pool in case they get scuffed or lost, so I always make sure to buy a couple of cheaper pairs that still have full protection and are dark enough for my liking. I picked up a pair each from Aerie and Target that I’ll link below.
I recently go these from Aeire while i was shopping for swim suites. I love that they have a slight pink tinge and they’re under $16 bucks!
I got a super similar pair of these sunglasses last summer from Target (they’re no longer sold, but these are almost an exact dupe). I love the larger more dramatic frame.
And of course sunscreen. I wear sunscreen everyday, vacation or no vacation, but I make sure to pack extra when I’m traveling to a tropical or sunny location. I have extremely sensitive skin – especially on my face. I’ve tried a bunch of different brands over the years. These are my two favorite face sunscreens that I love and don’t irritate my skin.
I’ve used this brand for years – it’s pricier, but when my skin was really broken out it was the only sunscreen I could use.
This is an amazing option – especially for the price point (under $12). it’s not oily and feels super light when on. One of my favorites.
I’ve shared most of my sun protection items but for me what is equally as important is also keeping my hydration game strong. It’s key for my health to stay hydrated so I always pack Ultima and Nuun tablets when I travel. I drink Ultima all day long (as we’ve mentioned many times before) and I go for Nuun if I’m needing a little extra sodium kick or when I’m doing a physical activity. Both packed full of electrolytes, are sugar free (so I don’t feel sick from a sugar crash) and they’re easy to pack in my backpack or purse. I also make sure to stay extra hydrated when I’m flying which helps keep my symptoms at bay.
8. Water Bottle
Because of the reason listed above (HYDRATION) I always pack my own water bottle with me and carry it in my backpack while I travel. I love that airports now offer water refilling stations and, considering how much I drink, that ends up saving a lot of money at the airport. I also find it super handy to have my own water bottle that I can take with me while on vacation as well. I love to travel with my hydro flask because I can pop ice in it and my drink will stay cold alllll day long. It’s great for at the beach or pool when I want to cool down.
I have a dark green 32 oz Hydro Flask, but they come in so many great colors like this light blue/teal.
9. B12 (or Fully Activate B Complex)
I run tired (fatigued) on a regular basis so adding in traveling as well a full 3 hour time difference is definitely going to throw me. I notice a major difference to my energy level when I take B12 (or a B complex) vs the days when I don’t or I forget (whoops). I’m currently out of my B complex and only have B 12 at hand so that is what I’m packing – but it still helps so so much. I notice the biggest difference in the mornings and feel less groggy/have an easier time cognitively getting it together. Our favorite brand is Doctor’s Best vitamins. We’ve talked about Doctor’s Best before, but for those who are new, we love this brand and the fact that these B’s are fully active (because they’re more easily absorbed!).
This is the brand we’ve been using for years and love.
10. Vitassium bySaltStick
Last but certainly not least are Vitassium by SaltStick salt capsules and fast chews. These are the items I put in my backpack with my meds because I also rely on them SO much to get me through my day. I take 2 salt capsules every morning and take more throughout the day if I’m slumping. I also pop 2 fast chews anytime I do any physical activity (they’re magic) and they taste like shock tarts which I love. They help my POTS tremendously and I know that I will be relying on them even more while on vacation as my fiancé’s family is very active. This combination with my Nuun or Ultima has been the biggest help to my daily routine (besides medications).
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