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Last year, I planned a two-week vacation as a gift for my mother’s 74th birthday, buying us both tickets to Barbados for a little relaxation and to our family, as they are all from the island! However, our trip was indefinitely postponed due to COVID-19, and we were unable to make it out this spring. At the time, my hope was to use my trip to highlight key packing essentials, but since our vacation never happened, I still want to share this with you. I feel like my tips will be useful for your next spring/summer getaway, whenever & wherever your adventure awaits!
Not only can you check out my TWO videos below where I show you what I packed for my trip, but you if you read further, you'll see my curated recommendations that you can use for your getaways as well!
Okay, now that you've checked out both videos, I’d love to the nitty-gritty details of my packing guide for a spring (or summer) vacation:
- Beach Bag: You want to find one that is big enough to hold all of your beach needs, while fitting effortlessly into your luggage. Keeping that in mind, I used a canvas tote for its foldability, and the ease of fitting my beach hat, sunscreen, towel, and book in for a full day at the beach.
- Hats: I love this time of year so that I can wear my wide brim straw hats! They add such a chic layer to an outfit while keeping the sun out of my face. I recommend neutral shades so that you can wear them with an array of outfits while you're on vacation.
- Sunscreen: As you already know, it’s important to take care of the skin you’re in! I personally like to use Neutrogrena’s Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch SPF 100+ sunscreen. (Yes, SPF 100!! I’m serious about my skin care!). Protect your skin and eyes even more with some snazzy shades and that wide-brim hat to add some glamor to your look!
- Denim Jacket: If you're going to the tropics, the days are warm, but the evenings can be a little cool! A denim jacket is essential to have because you can pretty much throw it over anything on the go without the worry of ever clashing. The denim is also durable and foldable, so you can take it anywhere you need. STYLE TIP: Drape the jacket over your shoulders for a casual, unbothered look!
- Swimsuits: I like having a combination of one-pieces and two-pieces! Ladies – One pieces are NOT old school or drabby. They can be super chic and stylish! Pair one of your swimsuits with a wide brim hat for a pinch of glamour.
- Cover-Ups (AKA Kaftans): These come in handy for quick runs to the bar for a nice tropical drink! They can be such a great way to add flare to your outfit by popping over your swimsuit or shorts, especially if you’re like me and tend to stay closer to neutral colors.
- Travel-Size Containers: Not only do smaller travel-size containers prevent anyone from getting angry at the TSA agent throwing away a full-size bottle of your favorite conditioner, BUT, they also are great for stashing in your beach bag or vacation purse wherever you go. I suggest getting the clear bottles so that you can see the product (and how much is left), and there are also options that include labels you can write on as well!
- Scarves: These are another great option to throw around your neck or shoulders for added layering when it starts to get a little cooler.
- Books/Podcasts/Journaling: Grab your favorite book, download your favorite podcast, or your favorite writing journal and get to it! Nothing quite says R & R like getting reacquainted with yourself and things you enjoy. This is a great opportunity to set goals, to get inspired, jot down dreams, and to catch up on reading you’ve been meaning to do!
- Shoes: Plan accordingly for your activities! I suggest a great pair of comfortable rubber flip flops that makes washing sand off your feet easier. Another pair I recommend are flat sandals for everyday casual looks, water shoes for wading and swimming in the water, and any brand of slip-ons that make exploring around simple – and they’re easy to clean, too.
- Pasties/Nipple Covers: Pasties are very helpful when you want the freedom to go braless or backless in dresses/tops while maintaining a more discreet look.
- Tide To- Go Stick: Tide’s Stain Removal Stick is a great tool to hold you over until you get your garment washed! Just dab a little onto the stain, wait, and it’s looking better already.
- Luggage Scale: You need to check the weight before it's too late! Portable, digital luggage scales come in handy especially when you know you're going to purchase souvenirs or shop around. It allows you to distribute the weight evenly between bags before you get to the airport. It doesn't take much space and can save you from hefty overage fees!
- Travel First Aid Kit: These mini first aid kits are handy for the random times you’ll need a Band-Aid or Neosporin, so that you don't derail a planned afternoon just to find the nearest tourist convenience shop (that always upcharges).
- Denim Shorts: Always great for walking around the island and are still comfortable and easy to slip on. The length is up to you, but I prefer them shorter, as it's generally more flattering on women than Bermuda shorts (ugh!).
- Hand Steamer: Portable hand steamers are a travel must-have that I highly recommend. You will never be in a position where you are at a loss as to how to remove wrinkles from a packed outfit. While some hotels have irons, a lot of them are not in the greatest shape and can't be reliable to protect your garment as well as using your own steamer would!
HACK: If you don't have space for a steamer or don't want to take one, use the spritzer bottle in the travel size container kit and fill it up with water. With the garment on, spray the water on the wrinkled area and gently tug the garment downward with one hand, while you use the other hand to softly smooth out any lines. Typically, after an hour or so in the tropical heat, that wrinkle will begin to shrink.
- Packing Cubes: Can we say Holy Grail?? Travel packing cubes not only keep your suitcase very organized but it keeps your clothes and toiletries from mixing. The cubes come in different sizes and are usually a combination of vinyl and mesh so they're breathable.
- Elegant Casual Outfit: Make sure you check the dress code for wherever you travel! At the resort my mother and I were going to stay at in Barbados, the dress code for the evening was Elegant Casual, so here are some tips on how to pack accordingly:
- Rompers: Fun, comfortable, easy to get into. Wear these with gladiator sandals or a pump. dress with a simple structure but intriguing design- and maybe include something with a long sleeve for cooler nights
- A dress with a simple structure but intriguing design- and maybe include something with a long sleeve for cooler nights.
- Neutral colors are great to pair with a lot, especially as you're packing and being mindful of weight. It makes sense to have a statement piece in your wardrobe for your vacation.
- Little Black Dress (aka The LBD): Regardless of wherever I travel, I always pack one of these in case we have a night out on the town or get invited to a soirée.
- Jumpsuit: Very chic and comfortable for a dinner. A long-sleeve jumpsuit may be better for a cooler evening, too!
There you have it! Those are my top packing tips for your next spring or summer vacation! Please comment below with ways YOU pack for your island or beach getaway.
I hope everyone is staying healthy, practicing social distancing where necessary, and being mindful of those around them so that we can ALL find ourselves at a tropical island soon. 🏝
Yours in Style,
Roxanne Carne is a recognized Personal Stylist & Personal Shopper styling women in Dallas / Fort Worth (DFW), TX and virtually! Visit www.roxannecarne.com to discover how she can help transform your wardrobe and transform your life!
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