There has been some questions asked about things to take. There are several of us that have been on the trip before and learned the hard way what we should take with us. What I am trying to do with this update is help out the ones that have never been before and maybe remind some of the ones that have about things they may have forgotten.
Money: This seems to be a big question. Many of the new people are asking how much to bring. This is solely up to you. It also depends on if you plan on doing any shopping. Many people only take $300-500 cash and use a card as backup. There are many pulse machines there and all the bars and shops take credit cards. Some of the smaller bars on the beaches only take cash though. Laura is a big fan of her small purse that goes over her shoulder that holds cash, cards, smokes, etc.. It is advisable that the ladies use a purse that has a long strap that can cross your body to protect your cash and belongings. There are things that you can do on some of the beaches that have a charge to them. Like Orient Beach, you can rent Jet Skis, go parasailing, jump on the ocean trampoline, etc. Most of these places do take credit cards. Cash is usually king and on a slow day you can sometimes bargain a deal out of them. This is usually done with cash over card.
Sun Block: I would suggest you get it here and take it with you. You can get it there but it will cost you more than here.
Clothes: There is really no need for fancy clothes. It is very rare that we go out to a nice dinner. This does not mean that you can't go if you want to. My suggestion is to bring swimsuits, shorts, cover-ups, and t-shirts. Shoes can be limited to flip flops and a pair of running shoes. There is not really a need for much more. I don't know how many times I have over packed and ended up not wearing half of what I took. We end up on a beach every day and then head back to the house. There is a pool there and another beach. I never end up changing out of the swim suit. Most everybody seems to do this. One thing that I would take is comfortable shorts (gym).
Floats: There are several people that like to bring a float with them. I would suggest a new one and leave it in the package until you get there. I will be bringing an air compressor that plugs into the car to inflate them with. If you have a compressor and it is small, I would suggest bringing it in case you choose to go somewhere other than the beach I am going to that day. Here is a link to the type that we will be taking: FLOAT. I like this one because it folds up small, takes very little time to inflate and weighs nothing. Oh, and it works great.
Cameras: Don't forget these and don't forget to use them! I end up being the one behind the camera on the times that we actually end up using the camera. It is very easy to forget about it when you are having fun.
Cups: I would suggest bringing an insulated cup with a lid for the beach. Many of you already have a Yeti and they work really well. There are other brands out there now that are a little cheaper.
Toys: Okay Ladies, calm down. I am talking about beach toys. I know some of the things that are currently being brought with us are: football, dominoes, cards, Lotteria, Cards Against Humanity, and dice. If there is something you like to do bring it along. Andrea has a really cool group game on her phone that will be very interesting to play after a few drinks as well.
Collapsible Cooler: This one is very important. We take our own beer and liquor to most of the beaches that we go to. It will save you a lot of money if you buy at the store rather than buying drinks from the bars. Here is one that is really good. COOLER It holds 40 cans, breaks down flat and only weighs 3 lbs.
Snorkel Gear: There are only a few beaches that have good snorkeling. The one that I like is Mullet Bay and there is no where to rent equipment there that I know of. If you have it and would like to use I would suggest bringing your own. They do have snorkel excursion for those that want to do something like that. There are a few beaches that do have equipment rental.
Toiletries: I would recommend that you bring your own. There is not always a good supply when you rent a house versus getting a hotel. Soap is almost always provided but I like to bring my own. Shampoo, conditioner, lotion, toothpaste, you get the point.
Bluetooth Speakers: I know that there will be a few people that will be bringing small Bluetooth speakers for use at the house and on the beach. If you have them and want to bring them it would be great. We always end up having some that didn't get charged the night before and end up dying while we are at the beach.
Spices: If there are certain things that you like, you may want to bring a small amount of it. There are some things that may be hard to find there. One example is Pink Salt. I have never found it there and I know people that will use nothing but that salt. Some like sugar in drinks or coffee but don't want to buy a whole pound of it there and end up leaving 90% of it. Some times the houses we rent provide a small amount of general spices. This is something that we will have to find out when we get there. If Laura and I get to end up staying in the house for the 3 days before everyone gets there I will update the site that Wednesday and let you know what is at the house.
Conversion APP for Money: All the places that you will go to take US Dollars. If you do any shopping a lot of the things will have both prices on them. It does help to have a conversion app for the ones that don't. This way you can make sure that the price they are telling you is really the correct conversion.
Cell Phone/Internet: Both AT&T and Verizon have a plan that includes international. I would recommend you call your provider to see what the options are for you using your phone while on the island. We will have high speed internet at the house for those that want to skype or face time back here. It sounds like the more important thing is people will be able to update their fantasy football lineup and check out results from the Sunday we are there. I am taking an access point with me to see if I can get us internet while we are on the beach at the house. I am not sure what the speed of the internet is yet, but when I asked her she said they had no problem getting pandora without buffering.
Power Conversion: The island runs on 220v where we are 110v here. Many of the houses have mostly these outlets but some have both. Some of the houses have conversion kits but the last one we were at only had 2 and one was plugged into the power strip that the TV was on. I am taking the kit that I have and a power strip. We can put it in a central location for charging phones, tablets, iPods, etc.. If you have one or want to get one of your own please do so. If you have any questions about it let me know and I will help where I can.
Towels: The house is supposed to have towels for going to the beach. I don't take one because it ends up being wet when we are ready to leave and weighs 4 times as much as normal. If you do any shopping while you are there you may run into a weight issue with your luggage when you head back. Some people prefer to have their own towel so if you want to bring one it is solely up to you.
Beaches: Most all of the beaches are okay to walk on both on the sand and in the water without the need for water shoes. There is the occasional beach that is rocky and they really help out. I usually take a pair with me but rarely need them. There are a couple of beaches that we go to to look for sea glass. There is the chance that you will find a piece that hasn't been sanded down yet and still has the sharp edges.
Food/Meeting: We will get together before the trip to go over the final details of the trip. We will be going to the store the Monday before we leave to get the items that we are taking with us. The only thing we will get last minute are the steaks so that they will be fresh later in the week on the island. We don't want to freeze these with the other items.
I am working on the rental car stuff right now and will have an update by then.
The first idea was that we get together on Friday August 26th. The plan is to go to Painting with a Twist - Cedar Park 7:30. The event ends at 9:30 and from there we would go to Pluckers Lakeline which is right down the street and discuss the trip. If anyone is interested in going to Painting with a Twist let me know. If you don't want to attend that but do want to go to the meeting you can just meet us at Pluckers at 9:45. The class really is a lot of fun and is only $35 per person. You can bring your own booze and have a good time. It doesn't really matter your talent level with painting. They give instruction and help out. Here is the link to Painting with a Twist and here is the EVENT we are looking at. I hope that everyone will join us.
The results are in for the meal choices. The most voted for were:
I was a little shocked at the results at first but who can argue with them. There are a lot of places on the island to get pizza but the ones we made a couple years ago at the La Josephine came out really well. Pete and I are saving one back this year so that we get to eat! We did break pretty even on the steaks as well which will make the cooking process go much smoother.