Whether you’re headed to Mallorca or Maui, one thing’s for certain: You’re going to want to dress your best. Resort dressing comes with its own set of rules, but we think they’re rules that are meant to be broken. After all, your resort getaway is all about breaking free from the confines of life, so why not push the boundaries of fashion while you’re at it? If you prefer to stick to classic resort wear vibes — bold prints and patterns and plenty of flowy fabrics — we support you every step of the way! No matter which route you take, these tips will help you pack like a pro so you look your best on the beach and beyond.
The Best Tips for Resort Packing
Resort packing is like any other kind of packing in that it requires some significant forethought and planning ahead of time. With that said, there are some special considerations you need to have in your back pocket, including how to pack swimwear, cover-ups, beach dinner attire, sightseeing attire and sun-protective toiletries and accessories. Here’s how to do it all in a way that makes sense:
- Go for versatility. That suitcase space is precious, so you want to optimize it wherever possible. Be sure to pack versatile bottoms and shoes that can be worn with colorful women’s blouses and accessories. Have at least one pair of cute women’s jeans in a dark wash or white to go with all your fun, patterned tops. Neutral colored wedges or espadrilles are a godsend on your tropical vacay because they capture the beach vibes yet go with everything!
- Try on as you pack. The most important tip for packing for any trip is to try on and plan out outfits as you pack. This will help ensure that you have all the components you need to complete the look when you get there. We know it’s time-consuming, but consider doing a real dress rehearsal at home, trying on each outfit complete with shoes and accessories.
- Get formulaic. The best packing formula to use is this: one daytime outfit, one beach outfit and one evening outfit for every day you’ll be at your destination. This sounds like a lot of items, but it really isn’t that much if you pack adaptable pieces that go with multiple outfits. Try to adhere to the rule of one bottom per every two tops, choosing neutral bottoms that go with all your boldest and brightest resort wear prints.
Don’t forget a formal outfit or two. When we said “evening outfit,” we didn’t necessarily mean formal. You’ll want a couple of dressy tops for nice dinners and then at least one formal look for that five-star resort dinner. Beach formal is different from regular formal, though, so feel free to take some liberties. A dressier floor-length dress will serve you well in this scenario, especially if it’s in a vibrant print that honors the classic resort wear aesthetic. Palm leaf print, anyone?
- Leave space for shopping. If you’ve done a lot of traveling in your life, you know that some of the best pieces in your wardrobe came from small, local boutiques and markets. Make sure to leave a bit of room (or bring an extra packable bag) so you can bring home some cute new pieces. You simply won’t find those cute, trendy boutique clothes or handmade hats elsewhere, so take the opportunity to stock up on special pieces that remind you of the places you’ve been.
- Watch the weather. The weather and the agenda are the two most important factors that will dictate what you pack. As your departure date gets closer, make sure to keep an eye on the weather report. Note that many tropical locales experience short bursts of rain throughout the day with great stretches of sun in between. You may not need to pack full-on rain gear, but it’s always smart to stick an umbrella and a jacket in your tote.
- Pack a sun hat. If there’s one accessory that’s basically a requirement in a tropical locale, it’s the straw sun hat. Make sure to pack one or plan to buy one on an outing when you arrive. If you are especially sensitive to sun or worry about sun damage on the face, consider investing in a sun hat with a UPF rating of 50 or higher, as this will block up to 98 percent of the sun’s rays.
- Don’t forget sun protective toiletries. Speaking of sun … you wouldn’t want to come home from your beach vacation with sunburn, skin damage or dried-out hair. Make sure you pack SPF for the face and body (the Skin Cancer Foundation recommends a broad-spectrum SPF of 30 or higher if you’re going outside). Be sure to pack hair products and lip balm with SPF as well.
- Bring “nice” sunglasses and beach sunglasses. Don’t bring your expensive designer sunglasses to the beach! Not only do you risk losing them when you go for a dip, but you’ll also get them dirty with sunscreen and sweat. Instead, choose affordable but stylish sunglasses you can toss in your beach bag during the day. The same goes for your shoes. Those five-dollar flip-flops will come in handy and prevent you from dirtying up your nicer sandals.
- Pack a beach bag. The beauty of going to a resort is that they’ve got everything you need right at the beach, including beach chairs, towels and refreshments. But you’re still going to need a bag to tote all of your beach essentials, including your phone, book, sunglasses and cover-up.
- Don’t forget the medicine. Constant overindulgence is one of the best parts about vacationing, but it’s one facet of resort life many people don’t see coming! If you have a sensitive stomach or don’t eat out often, make sure to pack antacids, analgesics and other over-the-counter medications. The resort will undoubtedly have a small shop, but items there tend to be costly.
The key to packing for any beach vacation is to make sure you prepare for sun, fun and a couple of nice dinners. Traditional resort style allows for some experimentation with bold prints and patterns, so make sure to incorporate color and fun into every look!