Honestly, packing is weirdly the hardest and most stressful part of going on vacation for me– but it doesn’t have to be for you.
Thanks to my many mistakes, I can now save you from experiencing some of the packing woes that I have in the past. For example, one time I only packed bathing suit bottoms (yes, that means no tops) when heading to a resort — I would advise you don’t do that.
So, when preparing for your next vacation, keep these tips and this expert packing list in mind.
6 Tips For Packing Like the Experts:
1. Make a list and stick with it.
Before you even start packing, sit down and make an intricately detailed clothing, accessories and toiletries checklist.
And then, make a vow to stick to it.
*see our expert packing list below.
2. Take a small suitcase.
No matter what size your bag, you’re going to fill it. So, if you have a smaller bag, you’ll be forced to pack lighter.
3. Take a few outfits and re-wear them.
It took me way too long to figure this one out, but when you’re on vacation and around a bunch of people you don’t know, you can wear the same outfit numerous times without anyone noticing.
I mean, you’re at the beach — all you really need is a bathing suit, right?
4. Consider your clothing’s packability.
When packing clothes, think about how they wrinkle, how thick they are and their versatility. You want to pack clothes that you won’t have to iron (who wants to iron on vacation?), don’t take up half your suitcase and will easily mix and match.
Basically, probably don’t pack your parka and that shirt that wrinkles with the gentlest touch.
5. Roll your clothes.
Rolled clothes take up less space and allow for more efficient packing. It’s as simple as that.
6. Pack ahead of time.
Hectic last minute packing often leads to over-packing. When you feel frantic and disorganized, it’s easy to rationalize taking those 10-inch heels to the beach.
You don’t need 10-inch heels at the beach.
Expert Packing List:
Obviously, these are optional, but I like to throw a couple of my favorites in just in case I want to add a little flair to my casual or dinnertime outfits.
2. Comfy Outfits
Make sure to pack a few outfits for lounging around or wearing in between dips in the water.
My suggestion: a couple pairs of shorts, a couple tank tops/t-shirts, a comfy dress and a romper. Obviously, this is up to your discretion.
3. Light Jacket
Sometimes, it can get a little chilly in the evening, so I like to pack a light jacket just in case.
4. Bathing Suit Coverup
This comes in handy when walking to and from the beach or pool. You’re also welcome to wear them at many of the beachside and buffet-style restaurants. I find a coverup much more comfy and convenient than getting fully dressed.
For men, a t-shirt or tank top will do.
5. Dinnertime Outfits
At night, I like to dress up just a little bit. My go-to resort dinner outfit is a flow-y, comfy maxi dress, but I also love a fun skirt and a tank top.
For the men, I suggest a pair of pants, close-toed shoes and a button-up– keep it nice and simple.
Your resort will offer the essentials like shampoo, conditioner, body wash and lotion, but make sure to bring everything you need for your nighttime and morning routines.
7. Cash, Passport and Credit Card
While it’s not expected, I do like to tip the butlers, maids and bellboys. They work hard and are always there to outfit me with anything I need or desire. So, I suggest bringing a little bit of spare cash for this reason.
You will also need your passport for check-in (and obviously flying), so make sure that’s a top priority when packing.
If you desire to purchase any souvenirs or request any upgrades, you’ll need to have your credit card on hand. I would also suggest you don’t use your debit card. While most resorts do accept this method, it’s not the most secure form of payment.
You will need these for obvious reasons.
You will also need these for obvious reasons.
10. Protection From the Sun
When I go to a resort, I am adamant about bringing many forms of protection from the sun. Not only do I bring approximately three bottles of sunscreen (that’s too many, don’t do that), but I also bring a couple of hats.
Let me put it this way — if you don’t get burned, you’ll be able to be in the sun, on the beach and in the pool more, therefore you’ll be able to have more fun.
That being said, you should also bring aloe — trust me.
Unless you want to be miserable and squinty-eyed throughout your entire trip, bring sunglasses.
12. Bathing Suits
You will need these for obvious reasons. I live in my bathing suit when I’m at a resort.
Please pack shoes.
My suggestion: pack a pair of sandals (close-toed shoes for men) and a pair of shoes you don’t mind getting wet. One pair is for the pool and beach, the other is for meals.
For a printable packing list, click here.