no fairsies

So. Bad news. In exactly two months from today, I will be on a plane to Belize.

I haven’t told anybody about this, really. In fact, the entire thing is embarrassing to admit.

Because my in-laws are paying for the whole trip.

Except for the plane tickets. But then again, they sent us a check for Christmas to “help” with that. So. Yeah. Paying for the whole trip, essentially.

It sounds so chichi, huh? So pinky finger; silken goods. We’re terribly afraid we must decline your invitation to go yachting off the coast of Greece, darling, for we shall be in Belize during that time. This is how rich people talk, right? Pretty sure.

I have no idea where all this came from. One day out of the clear blue sky last summer, the beau’s father emailed him with a suggestion for a family trip. “Our current thinking is Belize,” he typed. “We would either do a kayak tour and jungle expedition with guides all inclusive or we would get rooms on an island on the reef (like Caye Caulter or Ambergris) and go on trips from there (snorkeling, fishing, diving, jungle, etc).”

He signed off with, “If this isn’t something you are interested in, please let us know.” Solemnly, your father.

Beau forwarded me this email without comment and I basically wrote an all caps reply along the lines of ARE YOU FUCKING SHITTING ME.

Internally, I worried that the beau’s parents had received bad news about their health and they wanted to take this trip with their adult children as a kind of last-ditch chance to spend quality time together. His dad has a record of being notoriously mum about medical stuff; once when we were visiting for Christmas the beau’s mother had to wait until he got up from lunch to use the restroom to sneakily tell us he’d been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. Uh, what?

He must have wondered why we were all chewing silently and staring at him when he came back to the table.

In short, this is weird, and this is awesome, and this is also weird. I’m still not quite sure how to feel about it, so I sat down and made a list of pros and cons.


Spending nine days with my parents-in-law, my near-mute brother-in-law, and his peculiar girlfriend might be trying at times.



So I think I got that sorted.

And don’t think for a second I’m taking this for granted. I’ve rarely gotten anything for free in my life, let alone a trip to a tropical oasis. During my childhood, “vacations” meant surreptitiously squirting Cheez Whiz in my mouth in the backseat of the car on some grueling drive across country and staying in discount motels along the way. I never dreamt I would just… get… to go to Belize. Just like that.

However. There is always a “however.”

I was standing in front of my closet the other day, gazing vacantly at its contents, when some thoughts occurred to me:

  • This closet is very small.
  • I hate all of my clothes and they should be set on fire.
  • I have nothing to take to Belize.

I don’t think my ratty Asics are gonna make the cut. Or my stretch leggings and long tunics and heavy cardigans and boots, which are my usual daily uniform of choice.

Two months. That’s what I have to prepare my suitcase. And so far, I’ve got nothin’ except a swimsuit to put in it.

So, consider this my plea for crowdsourcing. I need help, guys. Have you ever been to a tropical region? What did you bring? What gear or apparel did you find useful? My best guess is that I need a combination of loungewear and activewear. We will be spending time both on the beach and in the jungle. We will be hiking and doing other active-type things in addition to sipping booze-based fruit in the sand.

In my dreamiest of dreams, I would like to collect some clothes that are:

  • Cool-looking and unique.
  • Not made by a minor earning pennies in an overseas garment factory.
  • Inexpensive as possible.

In other words:

So basically, the best I can hope for is two out of these three things.

Tips? Advice? Recommendations? Gentle prodding? Links to where I can find this stuff on sale? Unabashed rage that I’m a lucky, lucky bastard?

26 Responses to “no fairsies”

  1. Two words, my friend:

    Floppy. Hat.

  2. When the butt of your shorts is sagging with sweat, you’re not going to give a poop what you’re wearing. Sun dresses are my tropical weather standard (see note about saggy ass from shorts, above). And, here is my unabashed rage at your lucky bastardness. RAGE.

  3. Suggestion: part of convertible shorts/pants in light material. You will kind of look like a dork, but they are popular for a reason. Decent walking/hiking shoes, depending on your activities. Light cotton tops breath well and dry fast. Loungewear is easier – summer dresses, the same cotton shirts, swim suits, cover ups.

    Also, BUG SPRAY. While I’ve not been to Belieze, I’ve been to Costa Rica a few times, and Mexico a lot, and always bring bug spray and afterbite and antihistamines. (The bugs adore my blood, what can I say.)

    Now, as to where to buy this stuff, for cool factor and not child labour? I can’t help you there – I live in the frozen North. Outdoor stores (you guys don’t have MEC, I think? REI maybe? Patagonia?) are a good place for the pants, and actually right now is a great time to buy summer clothing on sale if you can find it. I just went to Mexico and bought 2 swim suits and 4 summer weight shirts for $60 at a maternity store. Sales racks other places might be good too.

    And, finally, to end this long winded comment: BELIZE!! How totally awesome!

  4. I am a little seething jealous. Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth! Belize! Hopefully you guys don’t have side-by-side bedrooms. That would be awkward for sexy time.

    I seriously don’t think you need a lot of clothing. A nice dress for dinners, a pair or two of shorts, a few tank tops, a swimsuit, and a coverup. Throw in some sandals and athletic shoes and you are done.

  5. Thanks for the tips, guys. I’ve never been anywhere like this and I have so much confusion. Also, I’m terrified of shorts. Looks I’m going to have to stick to the dresses end of the spectrum.

    • Just make sure to take a pair for hiking. I love running shorts for hikes because it wicks away the sweat. Hiking in a dress = potentially mooning anyone behind you. 😉

  6. I’m in a similar situation, right down to the trip with the in-laws and nothing to wear.
    So, share your infinite wisdom when you figure things out!
    PS- Obviously you just outed the trip on the inter-web, but are you actually going to explain to your friends that you’re going on an all-expenses-paid vacation to a tropical location? I’m feeling very red in the face about it.

  7. You should bring at least 2 pairs of [terrifying] shorts. The best kind for outdoorsy things would be the type of shorts that Carrie Brownstein’s Kath wears. Lightweight, quick dry, lots of pockets, loose fitting legs (read: MOM shorts). Also, tanks you don’t mind sweating in and a lightweight windbreaker type item. And good hiking sneakers.
    As for casual, cocktail-drinking wear, all sorts of summer dresses, both short and long. Whenever I go warm places I generally throw 17 dresses and a pair of flip flops in a bag and call it a day.

    Also. My mom just mentioned my parents taking us all to Belize next summer. I’m never above/embarrassed by family-sponsored vacations. I love them.

  8. Vacation only exists to justify the continued existence of shorts.

  9. BELIZE.

    i lived in maxi dresses in mexico. i brought them for “fancy times” but found them to be perfect for just throwing on before we tromp through mayan ruins or rent a scooter to jet around town. comfy, easy to put on, mostly insusceptible to wrinkling.

    maxi dress + flip flops + floppy hat = hanging out on the beach. maxi dress + sandals +earrings = out to dinner. maxi dress + backpack + sunglasses = souvenir shopping. etc.

  10. Here’s my $.02 (as someone who lives in the tropics).

    – some sort of slip on/off sandal or flip flop (sandals play double duty as going out shoes)
    – shorts or skirts, whichever you’re most comfortable with (I basically live in shorts).
    – sleeveless tops (unless you’re a freak who doesn’t sweat)
    – dresses (choose material that is light and that won’t stick to you)
    – bathing suit cover up
    – hat

  11. SUNSCREEN. For the love of all that is skin cancer, SUNSCREEN. Also, Belize was the only stop I really enjoyed on he Cruise From Hell that I went on with my ex-in-laws in 2006. I wanted to just stay there and fly back to LA, but alas, I had to get back on that rocky boat. Harumph.

  12. Frick yeah I am excited for you!

  13. I agree with everyone. Bring a few dresses that you can wear over a bathing suit/out to dinner/out strolling/etc. They don’t take up much room and are versatile. If you’re going to be in the jungle, I’d suggest long pants. I know, HOT. But not necessarily. Get some in a lightweight fabric, and you’ll be happy that you don’t have to worry about fireants crawling all over your legs and ruining your swankass vacay. If you’re going to the jungle on like, a light day tour or a walk or something (as opposed to serious trekking), then shorts should be fine. Although if you hate le shorts, then don’t wear them. It’s not worth it. Hat is a must. Even if you do have sunscreen, a hat is key.
    I’m too lazy to post links, so you’re outta luck there. Heh.

    • Ooh, good tip about the pants in the jungle. We’re going to be spending about three days in it so I need to make sure I have coverup stuff too…

  14. Unless you guys are gonna be doing a lot of evening dinners and nights out, then all you really need is your bathing suit, hat, and sunscreen.

    I hope you’ll get over the worry about the trip being paid for by your in-laws. I’ll tell you that starting in ’08, my parents decided they wanted all of us kids (and our families) to start getting together for annual family vacays. They usually cover the accommodations and we cover everything else. We started out sorta chi chi (Jamaica twice, Mexico) and last year just hoofed it up the road to Port A here in Texas.

    It’s always great fun – UNTIL and UNLESS you’ve got anyone in the family with substance abuse issues, and then it usually just turns into a shouting match one night over dinner with your dad yelling SHUT UP at you at the top of your lungs because you’re tired of placating your brother and are giving him an earful, which he can’t even understand because he’s loaded out of his mind.

    And then you go and cry the rest of the trip and try to figure out if you can afford to the catch the next plane outta dodge.

    But don’t worry…I’m sure that’s not gonna happen to you guys. Um…least I hope not! 😉

    • Oh, dear. OH FRICKIN’ DEAR. Thankfully no one has substance abuse issues in Beau’s immediate family, but I’ve seen family reunion fights in action in my own family. No bueno, lady.

  15. Chacos! They are the best thing ever for anywhere warm. Make sure you get them in advance so you can wear them around a little and break them in, though.

    Otherwise? Sundresses. Some things for hiking. Light layers (a cardigan, for instance) in case it’s chillier at night. Something nice to wear to dinner if you need to.

    Have fun!

  16. I’m hopeless with clothes. So I’m just saying:

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