Packing for a tropical vacation can be fun or a downright chore, depending on how much research you do on the location you’re going to, the resort’s dress code and general vibe, and how much you want to lug around with you through airports. With airlines charging hefty fees for checked bags and charter airlines limiting the size of your luggage, it’s always best to pack lighter and prepare ahead of time, rather than cramming your 10 favorite dresses, 14 swimsuits, and a cosmetic case fit for a makeup artist into a suitcase bigger than you are…been there done that.
In my former life, I was a flight attendant and if there is one thing I learned from that brief experience it was the art of rolling clothes to fit as much as possible into a carry-on bag. It really works and it prevents the items from wrinkling, so it’s a win-win. I also recommend saving your really expensive or special clothing items and jewelry for summer festivities at home, as travel and sand can wreak havoc on them and there is always the possibility of theft. Finally, be sure to bring regulation size toiletries only and leave the rest at home or purchase suntan lotion and other sundries at the resort gift shop or local grocery store. Pack all liquids, even if sealed, in plastic bags; and bring extra plastic bags in different sizes for jewelry, camera gear, and wet swimsuits (you know you’re going to take one last dip before heading to the airport when you return). Now on to the fun part… what to bring!
Lisa’s Packing List
2 swimsuits – a bikini and a one-piece (tip: if I want a more expensive bikini I will buy only the top if it is priced separately and pair it with a solid bottom I already own in a coordinating color, like white or black)
2 beach cover-ups in different colors (tip: buy inexpensive as they will take a beating from sand and suntan lotion. They can also double as a dress and spruce up a tank top and shorts)
3 dresses – a sporty one for travel days and 2 others – I love casual maxi dresses because they are breathable as well as chic without looking overdone.
1 strapless pantsuit
1 pair of denim cut-offs
1 nautical tank shirt
1 pair of flip flops
1 pair of flat sandals
1 workout outfit – tank and running shorts
1 pair of athletic shoes
1 straw hat
1 beachy purse or clutch
2 pairs of sunglasses in case one breaks or gets misplaced
A fun pair of earrings, statement necklace, and/or cuff
Travel size coconut oil to soothe my sun-scorched skin at the end of the day
All from Everything But Water – Dolce Vita California Dreaming One Piece Plunge $125, LSpace Batik So Chic Bandeau Top $110, LSpace Reversible Racerback Top $80
Everything from Lulu’s – Sweet Nothings White Sheer Lace Kimono, $49, Sand and Deliver Coral Pink Swim Cover-up, $38, Sun Daze Grey Print Cover-Up, $56.
First 3 all from Mura Boutique – Marina Cruise Dress, $85, Brianna Dress $65, Barcelona Holiday Set $69.95, (last 2 from Show Me Your Mumu) Millie Maxi Dress $184 and Meghan Wrap Dress $172 – little more expensive but so cute I had to include them.
Round Rattan Bag $69, from Boho Bags, Beachcomber Cuff $68 from Lilly Pulitzer, Alana Beaded Clutch $48 from Show Me Your Mumu, Turquoise Bib Necklace (my own and free on credit from Poshmark). Le Specs sunglasses $59 from Everything But Water, Puravida Palm Clutch $30.
Daytime Casual or “Let’s just sit at the bar and eat conch fritters” Outfits
And last but not least….
Above: Amazon Giant Inflatable Mermaid Tail Pool Float $23.99. (Not practical but you can roll it up teeny tiny in your carry-on bag!)