So you’re going away (woohoo)! There’s no need to stress about what to pack for a beach resort vacation, because the beauty is, you’re travelling to an all-inclusive resort. All the conveniences will be there for you and if you do forget something, chances are you’ll be able to buy it or will realize you don’t really need it anyway. As long as you have one swim suit and some clothes for dinner, you’ll be okay – though that’s not the ideal way to pack for your trip. We have some tips for how to pack for a beach vacation so you won’t be forgetting anything important or lugging around way more than you need.
How to pack for a beach vacation
1. Start off with a small or medium size suitcase and see what fits. Since you’re not going on a multi-week adventure, doing varied activities, or dressing for the runway, you won’t need too many options. Pack your shoes (filled with socks) and other heavier items at the wheels of the suitcase. Place larger items in first before filling the holes, and store jewellery, chargers, and other small items in the pockets of your luggage.
2. The rolling versus folding debate: I still fold my clothes for the most part, but rolling seems to be the new way to pack. Whatever your preference, there is a time and a place for each. Folding is preferred for structured clothing like blazers and trousers – and is more effective at keeping wrinkles away when you fold along the item’s natural crease. Rolling is better to save space and stuff as much as you can in unstructured bags like a duffle or carry-on, and for light clothing like t-shirts, jeans, casual dresses, and sweaters. The latter items are probably what you’ll be packing most of, so rolling can be used to save space.
3. Golden Rule: Bring carry-on luggage and load it with travel essentials – a swim suit, flip flops, sunscreen, underwear, one a la carte dinner-appropriate outfit, and any important medications you may need – in case your luggage is lost or delayed. These items will at least hold you over until you decide how to move forward. Which leads us to…
4. Cross pack your belongings with your travel companion, aka “don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” If you’re bringing two pieces of luggage between you and your travel partner, put half of your items in one bag, and half in the other, to protect you against the impact of losing your luggage and all your belongings along with it.
5. Print clearly or type your luggage tag with your home address and your home/cell numbers as well as your hotel name, phone number, and the dates you are staying. You want to make it as easy as possible to locate your bag if your luggage goes missing.
6. Put a unique identifier on your bag – some people tie a bright and unique scarf to the bag. The more unique, the better. This will avoid people grabbing your luggage by mistake. You may also want to consider colours other than black or other popular shades.
What to pack for a beach resort vacation
Since you will be hitting the beach most of the time, you probably don’t need a large suitcase. You really only need a couple of outfits and some toiletries. Here’s our minimalist guide for how to pack for a beach vacation.
• 2-3 swimsuits and 2-3 cover-ups: The bottom line is, you will be living in these. The less swim suits, the less conflicting the tan lines. But it’s also fun to switch it up once and a while and showoff your different styles, especially since you’ll be around the same people all week. The good thing is, you can wash them and have them dry in a couple of hours. Happy medium: 2 or 3. The same goes with cover ups. A couple of light dresses, comfy rompers, or sheer wraps will do.
• 1 pair of comfortable flip flops you don’t mind getting wet for hanging out by the beach or pool
• 1 pair of dressier sandals for a la carte restaurants and enjoying the on-site disco at night
• 1 pair of walking/running shoes: These are important if you plan on taking an excursion or venturing off the resort to discover the city (we recommend you do both!). You can wear these on the plane since they are the heaviest and will keep you warm from that cold airplane air.
• 1 backpack: This is also important for excursions. You may be able to use your carry-on as your backpack if it’s not too big.
• 1 hat and 1 pair of sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun and look cool while you do!
• 1 tote bag: Choose a waterproof beach bag with a zipper and compartments, so you can store your belongings like iPod and sunglasses safely and without sand!
• 5-6 dresses: I live in dresses because they’re airy and are suitable for day or night. They’re perfect for beach days, going to dinner, or hitting the town.
• 1 light sweater for cooler evenings: Nights in the Caribbean can get a little breezy. This sweater can also double as your sweater for the flight.
• 3 shorts and 3 tops: If dresses aren’t your thing, you may want to add more here. A pair of comfortable shorts and t-shirt are important if you’ll be active on an excursion. If you’d like, you may add a skirt or pair of pants for the evenings.
Leave heavy makeup, jewellery, and valuable items at home. You can bring a statement piece of costume jewellery to add colour and accessorize your outfit, like a chunky necklace or coloured watch (which is practical too!). And if you absolutely can’t do without, one pair of wedges is acceptable. So too is a straightener or curling iron – but only one! You won’t be using it much (a beach vacation calls for au natural beach waves!)
Other items to bring with you
- Travel documents, passport, travel insurance, spending money for excursions and tipping
- Book or kindle, iPad/headphones/iPod
- First aid kit: topical antibiotic cream like Polysporin, bandages, bug spray with DEET, after bite, ibuprofen, and aloe vera for burns
- Hand sanitizer
- Toiletries like moisturizer, mascara, lipgloss, toothbrush/toothpaste, shampoo/conditioner, hair brush, razor, deodorant, body spray, hair ties and bobby pins
Have anything to add? Share your tips on what to pack for a beach resort vacation in the comments.