In March, Aaron and I got to spent 4 healing days in Tulum, celebrating my 33rd birthday. It was so serene and calming, I hardly even know how to put it into words for this post.
All I know is that Tulum is beautiful, and Habitas, where we stayed, was like nothing I’ve ever experienced before. (I’m going to be saying lots of good things about Habitas in this post, but this isn’t sponsored in any way, just so you know.)
Even though every corner seemed to be made for Instagram, the serene atmosphere folded me in and made me forget about the external world — and social media.
For me, this was pure bliss.
Vacation has become a sacred space for me. Lately, I’ve stopped posting to Instagram when we vacation, saving it for later, when I’m back in the office again. It may seem strange, especially as we are all encouraged to share our lives on social media, in the moment, all the time. But it’s one of the healthiest decisions I’ve ever made — it creates space for me to rest and unplug, and fosters an environment where I can be truly present.
That’s not to say we didn’t take photos! Oh, we did. :) But we took them for us, if that makes sense — you know, the whole internal motivation vs. external motivation thing. Makes all the difference.
So today, I’ll be sharing:
- Our photo journal
- My full packing list and outfits
- Plus! A free printable packing planner for you
Let’s jump in!
One of my favorite spots on the beach. (We snapped all the photos you’re about to see around Habitas.)
This was our lovely tent.
Paw prints on the beach at sunrise.
The third night we were there we had a full moon! We even sat on the beach and had our own mini full moon ritual, by verbally listing things we are currently releasing.
One of my favorite things about Habitas was that the clubhouse and common areas are all on the beach, and they encourage you to take off your shoes as soon as you step foot in the sand. It felt so special to eat most meals with my toes in the sand — nothing steadies me quite like the practice of grounding or earthing (the practice of connecting your physical body and skin to the earth to help balance and calm the nervous system).
WHAT I PACKED
Like I mentioned above, this trip was laid back. While there are plenty of amazing spots to visit in Tulum, we prioritized rest over anything else, and only left the Habitas property once, to bike around Tulum.
So since our itinerary consisted of relaxing on the beach every day, it was easy to pack! I knew I’d be in flip flops and a swimsuit 80% of the time, so I just went with it, and left any fancy outfits at home.
You can see it all below:
If you see something you like, you can shop it and support my blog by using the affiliate links throughout this post.
Linen Jacket (vintage / similar, similar, similar*) | Linen Tunic* (similar for less) | White Tees*
Woven Mules* | Flip Flops | Sneakers* (similar*)
Whisper Pink One-Piece | Camel One-Piece | Black One-Piece (similar for less)
Vintage Cut-Offs (similar) | Gingham Shorts* | Vintage Scarves (similar, similar, similar*)
Two-Piece Dress: Top and Skirt | Patterned Dress* (similar, similar) | Cotton Midi Dress*
*indicates item is made consciously
WHAT I WORE
• DAY 1 •
At The Beach
Swimsuit (similar for less) | Vintage Denim Shorts (similar) | Vintage Jacket (similar, similar, similar*) | Mules*
• DAY 2 •
Sunrise Breakfast + Pool Time
Linen tunic* (similar for less) | Vintage Scarf (similar, similar*) | Flip Flops
Since Habitas faces east, and we knew we wouldn’t really get to see the sunset over the ocean, we woke up early to catch the sunrise instead. Honestly, I think it was my favorite part of the trip. I could relive that morning again and again.
Swimsuit | Vintage Scarf (similar, similar*)
• DAY 3 •
At The Beach
Swimsuit | Vintage Denim Shorts (similar) | Vintage Scarf (similar)
Tee* | Shorts* | Flip Flops
• DAY 4 •
Bike Ride to the Tulum Ruins
Tee* | Vintage Denim Shorts (similar) | Sneakers* (similar*)| Sunglasses (similar)
Top and Skirt | Flip Flops
BONUS: PRINTABLE PACKING PLANNER
If you’re headed on a trip soon, and want a little help planning, then I’ve got a printable for you! You can download my packing planner right here and here’s an example to get you started.
• • •
And there you have it!
Before you go, if you live around Dallas, I’ve got some exciting news! On April 13th, I’ll be giving a chat on building a wardrobe you love at the Neiman Marcus at Northpark (level 2). You’ll also get a first look at Eileen Fisher’s new spring collection, and I’ll be giving mix-and-match styling ideas. The event is from 1:00-3:00pm, and I’ll be giving my chat at 1:30pm. I hope to see you there!
Now I want to hear from you! Got any fun trips coming up? Where are you headed? Have you been to Tulum? Got any other Tulum recommendations to add? I’d love to hear!
Andreea Isabela Ureche says
I have been to Malaga in Spain two weeks ago but the weather was a little cold and windy for March. So I only got to wear a skirt and naked legs only in the first day. But it was a nice place and we got to Tarifa where the ocean gets together with the Mediterranean sea and the view was amazing. Posting while on vacation it’s a great idea but I have to work on it. I would love to hear more about this in a future post. I am sure you got some personal tips amd tricks and also more to say about healing your soul. I love ypur pictures btw! Hugs!
Oh your trip sounds lovely! I’d love to visit Spain. :) I definitely could write a whole blog post on setting healthy boundaries with social media — it’s so important to me, and I feel much healthier/happier when I honor my own boundaries, instead of letting the pressure to constantly post run my life. I’ll try to write more about it in the future. Hugs right back! :)
Happy birthday! My 33rd was also last month, and we spent it ‘away’ in every sense. A great way to unplug in order to ground… so many unintentional puns there, but I mean it! :)
All the best from London xx
Happy birthday right back at ya! Love all your unintentional puns. :) :)
Love this type of post! Was there anything you’d do differently or wish you’d left at home?
Such a good question Kelly! I always love reflecting on this! One thing I packed but didn’t ever end up using was a hat — I know, shocking, especially for a beach trip! I’m not sure why I never reached for it — I think we just stayed in the shade a lot. :) And I did pack my steamer, but it’s so wonderfully humid there that I definitely didn’t need it — the wrinkles just fell out within an hour of hanging — so I’ll remember that for next time. I also brought an extra “cute” top that I never wore because the trip was just so casual. Other than that, this was a pretty successful pack! Definitely glad I left makeup, hair tools, and dressy clothes at home. Thanks for asking! :)
Oh my goodness, I feel so relaxed just looking at these photos. You look so lovely & happy (honestly those day 4 photos belong in a magazine!). Sounds like it was a wonderful time. My husband and I are in a stressful season of life (selling our home, packing, and moving to a new one), so I sooo look forward to taking a trip like this where the focus is on decompressing and just enjoying the moment together. Thanks for sharing, Caroline!
I’m so glad, Taryn! I hear ya — we just went through the whole selling / moving / packing process last year. Hope you get to take your relaxing trip soon! Sending love!
Oh, I love Kelly’s question! I love to review what I did right and what I’d do differently after trips.
Any idea what kind of critters left the paw prints in the sand….?
I love that you asked this Teresa! I got so excited when I saw them. :) We can’t be sure, but we did see a lot of coatis (related to raccoons) around — perhaps it was from them. :)
I was just in Tulum recently for my birthday and also noticed so many stray (and sweet!) pups everywhere. Maybe it was them! :)
Sarah Winton says
Wow. Everything about this post is so restful. You’ve really managed to let the vibe of your trip shine through!
Emma Tomei says
Another beautiful post! Caroline you are the master at packing minimal and versatile clothing while still looking put together and stylish! PS Habitas looks like the perfect place to unwind! I will definitely keep it in mind for a getaway destination!
Harolyn Munford says
I love your photos so much this is amazing. Please post more often.
I adore your decision to stay off social media while you’re traveling and share everything when you return. SUCH a good idea, this must have really helped recharge, and your post was clearly very thoughtful because you didn’t rush to get it done while you were there. I am so glad you had such a lovely time!
May I ask, how do you keep your white clothes super white without shrinking them?
Tammy Mcswain says
Do you have other options for the two piece dress?
Hi Tammy! I haven’t found anything quite like it yet, but I’ll definitely update if I find something similar. :)
I am very impressed with your decision to unplug. So many people I follow seem to blog about every aspect of their life. I often wonder if the need to always have a new outfit to post, etc, takes over their life and keeps them from living contentedly in the present. I’ve committed to a blog fast each day until after 7:00 because you can get so sucked into all this stuff! My husband and I spent a month on the gulf coast a few years ago and it was so amazing! Even a long weekend can feel like a long vacation though because you’re so removed from the day to day! Blessings to you and your husband!
Hi Kel! I love your idea of taking a blog fast during the daytime hours. If you have an iPhone, have you ever tried using ScreenTime Limits? It’s life changing. I have a time limit Instagram (even though it’s part of my work — still like to be mindful of time and stick to a limit) and my entire phone basically goes dark at 7pm in the evenings. Whatever it is can wait. It feels amazing. :) And I’m with you — my hope is that everyone can do whatever they need to be present, whether that includes sharing online or not. :)
These pictures are stunning! I am so jealous of your holiday!
I wish I could keep such a condensed suitcase when travelling. I always freak out thinking “but what if want to wear this? or this? or THIS?” and end up with way more than I need.
I might need to make use of your packing list! <3
Your photos are so beautiful! I just want to be in Tulum right now! I am not much of a “hang-around-the-beach-all-vacation” kind of gal but it looks so relaxing I need to try it out!
Thanks for linking to most of your pieces and for linking cheaper, similar options!
You went to Tulum and did not visit the Maya city of Tulum????
To think that when I visited Mexico I went all the way to the Chiapas area just to see Palenque, Yaxchilan and Bonampak. The Maya were amazing city builders
I highly recommend that you visit a cenote and a Maya city the next time
It is great to read new posts from you!
Thank you for the recommendations Bella! Last time we were in Mexico we got to visit a cenote — it was magical! Next time, when we’re not so focused on rest, I’m excited to explore more. :)
I feel so calm after reading this.
Just an FYI, I’m getting a “this website isn’t secure” notification so you might wanna check your ssl certificate
Thanks Louise! :)
I loved this post! I have had mixed feelings about being on social while on vacation, especially a foreign country. While on our honeymoon I would post nightly recaps of our day, mostly because it’s amazing what we packed into a day and it’s always fun when they pop back on the timeline. And while in Cancún it was sporadic because the resort had wifi everywhere. However, when we went to Panama I didn’t post every day and took easily double the amount of pictures. We are getting ready to go to Israel and I want to absorb every bit of it. So I might take your approach on social with this upcoming trip. Thank you.
YES to being more intentional in our use of social media. It’s a tool we can use any way we please, right? These photos are beautiful, Caroline! I’m glad you decided to share them. I am so inspired to visit Tulum myself now.
Yes! We have been to Tulum! It was about 1980. It was awesome. We were staying in Cancun and we rode a tour bus from Cancun to Tulum with a stopover in Xelha (pronounced shell-ha). The snorkeling at Xelha is spectacular. It is at the end of a fresh underground river flowing into saltwater into the Gulf of Mexico. Several times we would swim through a cold crystal clear bubble of fresh water, come out into the hazy warmer salt water and swim behind a school of huge groupers (also known as sea cows). After this unique experience we traveled on through the jungle. It was so dense you couldn’t see daylight through the trees. Then it opened up into the complex of Chitchen Itza where the ruins are located. The ruins were truly amazing. We spent several hours climbing the pyramid and exploring the smaller ruins, all the while feeling the impending threat of the jungle closing in. Then back in the bus for the return trip to Cancun where we stayed at our friends’ timeshare condo.
Another day we took the ferry and spent a day visiting the Mayan ruins at the tip of Isla Mujeres. The snorkeling around the island was amazing, watching all the sea life when we swam out past the coral reef. Then at the end of the island the iguanas scurried all around us we watched the barricudas from high up on the Island of Isla Mujheras (Spanish for Island of Mothers). This was called the Island of Sleeping Sharks by Jacques Cousteau. As we made our way down from the precipice we went through a window rock onto a limestone deck that was riddled with holes. We watched in amazement from our vantage point which seemed lower than the water line as the breakers rolled in from the sea with the schools of tarpon surfing the breakers. As the waves hit the porous limestone it sent geysers rocketing into the air all around us. Then we noticed the tide was coming in and we scurried back up to the high point of the island. With the wind blowing and the waves crashing in as we stood high above, it was the wildest place I have ever been.
The trip of a lifetime!
What size did you get in the camel one-price? Their sizing is so confusing ?
Hi Ashley! I got a size small. :)
Hi Caroline! I have a question about your Lou & Grey outfit. I’ve got a similar style in my cart but am not sure what size to get in the skirt. I feel like their (and Loft’s) sizing varies and unfortunately the skirt is final sale. I’ve bought L&G tops in XS, but I’m thinking I might need an S for the skirt. How did you think the sizing was in comparison to other L&G bottoms? For reference I have a pair of XS Loft leggings that are a bit tight these days (wearing a pair of Loft jeans in 25 right now). Thanks for the advice!
Hi Adriana! I don’t have a ton of experience with Lou and Grey sizing (I’m a 24 or 25 in Madewell jeans if that helps), but I will say that I needed to size up to a M, to accommodate my hips, and and then I had the waist taken in. Since it’s stretchy and a little clingy, I’d suggest erring on the larger size and then having the waistband taken in — it’s such an easy, inexpensive fix. I hope that helps!
Abigail Stark says
The quality of your content is just unparalleled. Your photos (shoots and editing) are absolutely stunning and you can really see how much care you take when putting posts like this together. I would love to know more about your photo-taking and editing process for future post ideas!