Monday, August 31, 2015

Packing for PEI - I May Have a Stripe Problem

 

Sometimes - okay, 90% of the time - I get so into packing for a trip that I either sketch out the outfits I'm planning to bring, or make a set on Polyvore. This being my fourth summer traveling to Prince Edward Island, I had a pretty good idea of what I needed to bring, but decided to record my choices for posterity anyway.

Prince Edward Island Packing


Of course, every piece of clothing I own is not on Polyvore, so I substituted some with a similar vibe. I went to the extreme with mix and match clothes, sticking mostly to a palette of red, white, and blue. (How American.) Having the advantage of a laundry machine, I ended up wearing the same clothes a lot.


1) Pants: Two pairs of jeans (one plain old blue, one red) and two pairs of shorts (navy and white) ended up being perfect for a two week stay.


2) Tops: I packed eight tops, rather than the seven this set shows, but never wore my short-sleeved, red and white striped shirt. I wore the floral top once and never took my hoodie off that day. My two long-sleeved shirts (both white, one with grey stripes and one with red) and my short-sleeved shirt that's navy and white striped got the most mileage.


3) Jackets/Sweaters: The island had an exceptionally warm summer this year, and I know I can always borrow something heavier from my mom's closet if needed, so I only packed one (fairly light) hoodie. The white cardigan has been way more useful than I'd ever imagined when a friend gave it to me - I wore it to tea and a couple other times as well.


4) Dress: PEI is incredibly casual - like, wearing jeans to church casual - but I wanted to bring along a sundress for tea at Dalvay by the Sea.



5) Swimwear: The island is surrounded by beaches and the gulf stream makes the water warmer than, say, Massachusetts or Maine. Two swimsuits ended up being a good number, especially since they were of the mix-and-match variety. My Havaianas enjoyed a dip in the Atlantic, much farther north than where they were purchased



6) Activewear: I'd packed a lightweight tank and shorts for canoeing, which we never ended up doing. (The water shoes pictured in the Polyvore set stay in Canada, so luckily they didn't take up any room in my suitcase.) However, I used the shorts and top several times as swimsuit cover-ups on beach days.  Not pictured in the set is my Real Madrid jersey, which I also used on beach days. It's fitted and pink and I love it.


One thing that I hadn't predicted would be so useful - the headband I grabbed at the last minute ended up being a lifesaver. Between the beach, sun, and wind, my hair was a mess. It would have been even more so without something to gently keep all my flyaways back.

Tricorn hats work too.

The other thing that ended up being the best thing ever was my brand new phone. Upon arriving in PEI at the beginning of the summer, my parents discovered that their cell service (Verizon) no longer worked in Canada. I'd read about T-Mobile's awesome deals on international plans on several travel blogs, including Nomadic Matt. Between my parents' dilemma and me being fed up with not being able to receive group texts (or any data) on my $10, pay-as-you-go flip phone, I decided to sign up for a family plan. In July, T-Mobile expanded their service to Mexico and Canada, allowing you to call and text as you would in the states and use at least some of your data. (I signed up for a limit time offer of 10 GB per month, but the T-Mobile salesperson at my store was unsure if I'd be able to use over 1 GB while out of the country.)

Family plan - meant to encourage my brother to call his mother, in reality lets him post memes on Facebook.

I had some concerns, first over whether or not customs would let me bring four brand new phones into the country duty-free, and secondly, what the service would be like on PEI. I didn't mention the phones at customs on my layover in Toronto, and neither did the agent who greeted me. Once on PEI, I was happy to discover that T-Mobile's service in Canada was as good as, if not better than, many places in the states. I got 4G service in Charlottetown, and 3G service almost everywhere else - definitely good enough to check e-mail and even stream videos at our cottage, where we've never had internet access before. My phone showed signals coming through Bell and Rogers (T-Mobile's Canadian partners), sometimes alternating between the two at the same location, which makes me think your phone grabs whatever will give you the best signal at any given moment. Driving around, there were a few dead spots in hilly areas, but it turns out PEI has the best coverage of any Canadian province - not too surprising, given the population density. Overall, I'd highly recommend T-Mobile to any traveler, and hope to test it out in Mexico next spring!

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