Thursday 16 June 2011

Packing for Paradise

We recently had the luxury of going on holiday to the Cook Islands for our friends' wedding.  Seriously, that place is paradise!  Before the wedding on Rarotonga, we had a quiet escape on Aitutaki.  We were lucky enough to stay in these Overwater Bungalows - this place is heaven...
Yes - I took this photo myself.  It is not out of a travel brochure!

The resort that we stayed at was so amazing.  From the arrival at the airport, being lei'd with fragrant flowers and sipping on coconut drinks, to the gorgeous wooden ferry-ride across the channel to the resort where an island warrior blew into a conch shell to announce our arrival, to the scattering of flowers through our bungalow - it was just a once-in-a-lifetime experience.  I could write about it for pages, but I think you get the picture!

In order to prepare for our heavenly holiday, I will admit that I didn't too much research.  My hubby, Mick, on the other hand had googled 'Fishing Cook Islands' for hours, and thankfully he found an amazing privately owned charter service, which we hired for an afternoon of snorkelling and fishing.  Black Pearl Charters is a must-do for anyone going to Aitutaki, it is owned and operated by a husband and wife - these guys are so lovely and provide you with the ultimate private tour experience.  Just look at the pictures of the special places they took us and the fish we caught and fed - OMG!

So, I highly recommend doing some 'googling' prior to the trip.  This saved us asking around and rifling through advertisements when we got there - Mick knew what he wanted and after a quick phone call we were booked in.  Great work, honey!

As I have not really been overseas before (only a cruise with 6 fabulous girlfriends many years ago - which was all organised for us), I don't feel that I have much travel advice to give.  However, something that made the packing for paradise so much easier, were these Vacation Planning and Packing Checklist printables that I downloaded online for free (click the name for the links). 

I just printed them, clipped them onto my pink clipboard and away I went!  Now, the old 'perfectionist' Cass would have attempted to create my own 'better' checklists, customised to my needs... this would have taken hours and really, what would I have achieved??  Not much, I say.  So, I decided to save myself time and effort and simply crossed off the unnecessary items and wrote on some of my own items to these lists, and it was super effective.  I even scanned a copy of my completed Vacation Planning sheet and gave it to my mum so that she could track our trip and also have our contact details at each resort, just in case.  I loved using these checklists, and on my way to airport I didn't once get that awful 'I have forgotten something' feeling in my tummy :) 

I think that calls for a celebration...


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