“I packed three swimming suits and not a single raincoat. Do not ever make such an imprudent mistake when packing for a trip to the West Coast!"
If there would be only one piece of advice I would be allowed to share from a ten days trip to Vancouver Island, I would not hesitate to suggest you take a yellow raincoat. I mean, it could be a red one. Could be any other colour, but as I walked on the shore, shaking, wrapping myself into a beach towel, and drowning in my husband’s hoodie, I thought of my utterly useful, waterproof and charming Helly Hansen yellow coat. Oh, what a pity! Oh, how well it would fit into the realities of the dismal day by the ocean! I also missed my rubber boots. Yet, the raincoat would be something I would start with if I would pack that suitcase again.
As our trip included many site seeing, active moving from one place to another, and that not speaking of unexpected hikes or days of rain, I found my choice of clothes suitable for such vacation only partially. There were certain items left home that I could use, and some contrarily were hanging in our Airbnb closet unworn throughout the whole week. Therefore, as I found the weather on the island quite unpredictable, the precise list of things to have in your suitcase might be rather helpful.
I would start with, again, the raincoat. But also, with a variety of outerwear, you want to have. In the end, I was not a complete amateur, and my black wool blazer looked very organic, very fitting with the ocean on the background, on the day the wind was strong, but the sun was shining all afternoon long. So, returning to the actual list. I found it useful to have a blazer that worked well with jeans, skirts, even with shorts or on the top of a dress. The highest temperature on the island was around +23C, so that item was quite necessary. Another outerwear I would suggest to have is an oversized denim jacket. The garment is more casual than a blazer, yet has the same ability to be incorporated into most outfits.
Another item that I highly recommend to have is a cotton/linen white button-up. It is crucial to have it in a slightly oversized style as it can serve many purposes. I found myself living in a linen shirt from chilly nights on the dock to days on the beach when I wanted something light to cover over my swimming suit. Other than that, an outfit with blue denim and white button-up is a perfect classic combination for exploring parks and cities.
I am sure I do not need to speak of such items as t-shirts, as it is utterly banal, and no person would travel without a few. Therefore, the last top I want to mention is a dress. I had with me a floral dress and a black dress. Yet, if there is no special occasion planned, I do not see a reason to have more of those. I wore a floral dress for my husband’s birthday and a black casual dress to Victoria city day trip, but that was only because I feel as comfortable in dresses as in jeans, and I do not force myself to wear them, on the contrary I truly enjoy that.
I also will not wander around the point of bottoms for too long. As we spent fourteen hours in the car each way, I had sweat pants and shorts with me, but other than that, I only found jeans useful on days when wearing shorts or a dress was too chilly. And right from there, I want to focus on footwear suggestions. I was slightly confused by expecting the ocean side of Canada to be quite similar to European resorts. The weather, even though mystic, fascinating was much colder, and that chill was even stronger by the ocean. Although I did wear the flaps I had with me, many times I was missing good leather boots, and once I missed rubber boots. Hence, I would suggest having a pair of fancier shoes for dining out if that is planned, a pair of runners or even boots for exploring/hiking, a pair of rubber boots if you plan to wander around the shore on a rainy day, and a pair to wear on the beach in case the days would be hotter than expected. That is all for shoes.
Speaking of accessories, in that case, I did not misjudge my packing abilities as it happened with the raincoat. A little crossbody bag that could be both dressy and casual was my daily companion. Besides, all you need is a beach bag, and a backpack if hiking is included in your itinerary.
As for our routes, I will share all places we visited in next week's post. And for now, happy packing and travelling if you have a chance to do so.