TAKE ME TO: Tulum w/ Kevin Ipalari
It was my first time traveling to Tulum, Mexico for a long weekend. It was beautiful, humid, and exciting. Use this guide to help you get through your Tulum cherry popping (if you’ve never been before also).
Though I made a list, I managed to forget chargers for my camera batteries, so I had to conserve energy. I also forgot my bluetooth speaker, which was much-needed at the AirBnb we stayed at. Something that was a little unexpected was a brownout/blackout during our last full day in Tulum. The reason I packed a flashlight wasn’t even for this reason but for a potential photo concept that I wanted to try and execute.
CALPAK has literally made it a dream to travel. They’re my go-to whenever I’m “revolving around the world” with REVOLVE. I’m a firm believer of the rolling method when packing. I’ve utilized the packing cubes for the following categories: tops, bottoms, underwear, and swim. This will obviously vary pending the type of trip/destination you choose.
The separate laptop compartment is also extremely helpful when going through TSA.
When it comes to actual luggage, my favourite design is the Ambeur. The “OCD” kicks in too, so I like to throw on the little slipcover that comes with the large luggage, so it can maintain its beauty.
I’ve become an overpacker for the sole reason of content. I can scout locations online, try to moodboard/find inspo as much as I want, and stalk various Instagrams, but sometimes, whatever I plan just doesn't necessarily get executed how I anticipate. I like to put my social obligations (if I plan on working with brands during a trip), any inspo imagery, and anticipated shot list in a note on my iPhone. This helps with seeing everything in one place, and the checkbubble helps mark off what’s already been photographed.
1. Make reservations (everywhere or where you plan on going to eat). Just when we thought we were quite prepared by having an itinerary, we only made one reservation to a restaurant, and we didn’t even make it to the reservation. I made a reservation for Hartwood a little over a month in advance. We missed that and ended up at Mur Mur. The dining as well as the cocktails were divine. I don’t remember how much we ended up spending, but that leads me to my next tip.
2. Carry cash. Most of the places in Tulum are cash only—even a lot of the restaurants you’ll be dining at. Also, if you’re getting around via taxi, this also helps.
3. We’ve been told that renting a car is kinda tricky. Because of the corrupt police situation, they pull over rental cars to haggle for money. Brush up on your Spanish and befriend a taxi driver like we did and/or download Google Translate along with the Spanish translations to be used offline. You’ll thank me later. We bought our driver a Coke and a bag of chips as a small thank you for taking care of us the whole weekend. He hooked us up with the local deals instead of the inflated tourist rates; they don’t use taxi meters.
4. Repel the bugs. If you’re like me, mosquitos get me, and they get me hard. Bring some eco-friendly insect repellent, and you’ll be fine. I haven’t fully tested this out myself, but I also heard that if you drink tonic water, the mosquitos won’t be into that and will stay away.
5. Bring multiple external chargers for your phone (if you plan on being glued to it—not that I was). When you’re traveling and your phone is trying to find signal, that can drain your battery. Make sure those external chargers are charged and can give several charges during your stay… just in case the power decides to go out. When you’re at the airport though, put that luggage tag on your carry-on to use.
6. Have an amazing time, and don’t sweat the small stuff. There are so many scenic areas, restaurants, and little bars to explore. If you miss your reservation to somewhere, you may stumble across something more amazing that you didn’t even know of.
Follow Kevin and his beautiful photography on Instagram: @hislaboratory!