5 Must Pack Items for Vacationing

As our temperatures drop below zero (here in Canada), my desire to take a trip down South grows! The sand, the sun, the Virgin drinks call my name and I will be quick to answer. We recently headed South to spend a much needed 5 day vacation as a family in Cancun, Mexico. It was divine! The people, the culture, the food, the weather, all incredible!

At about the 3rd day my daughter looked and me and said "Mama, why are you the only hijabi here?". Good question! I just told her that was a good observation. But why was I the only hijabi in our resort? I actually saw no Hijabi sisters the entire trip! Can you believe it? How is that even possible? My husband joked about how I was probably the only one in all of Mexico. Why do we tend to shy away from places like this? Heat? Water? What is it? Is it because while others are slipping into a lovely sun dress, we are trying to develop a concoction of an outfit that will cover us, make us look good and at the same time not cause us to melt?

For those of you willing to head South for some rest, relaxation and a whole lot of fun, here are some must-have items I believe you need to pack for your trip:

1. Leggings: Whether it's under a long tunic, shorter dress or skirt leggings are a must! They are comfortable, and are ideal for playing around in the sand and sun with your family. I took two pairs with me; black and grey.

2. Neck Covers: The heat can make your usual way of wrapping your hijab uncomfortable. If you pack some neck covers in basic colors, you can slip them on under any top and instantly have your neck covered. Then you can play around with turban and Spanish or even just looser styles. These will prove to be a bit more heat friendly. As an added bonus, if you tie your hijab a little looser or in alternative styles, you can avoid the dreaded "hijabi tan".

3. Bolero Shrugs: When that Sun is bright, you do not want to be layering your tops. Bolero shrugs solve this problem. By covering your arms from your shoulders down, you can easily wear a short sleeve t-shirt. I recommend finding these in basic neutral colors as well. Additionally if you have a chiffon or light top with somewhat see-through sleeves, these can help with the coverage without adding too much extra fabric and bulk.

4. Modest Swimwear: Even if you are not overly excited about snorkelling or doing cannonballs in the pool, you must must take a modest swimsuit with you. First of all, sitting by the pool while the family splashes in the pool is not so fun. Secondly, the water is a great way to stay cool. Thirdly, they are beautiful and will get you into the beachy mood! There are so many great places to purchase a fabulous modest swimsuit. I bought my first one from Modanisa in Turkey.

5. Light Flowy Pieces: I highly suggest taking flowy dresses, tops and tunics with you. If you will be taking pants, opt for looser, light weight fabrics. the lighter the fabric, the more comfortable you will be. Jeans and more fitted tops maybe fine for evening but during the day you will be quite uncomfortable. Although packing light as a hijabi is almost impossible, choosing clothing items that are light and loose will help with reducing the bulk in your bag leaving more room for all the fun souvenirs you can find in the local markets!

What are some must-pack items you have on your list?