How to Pack for a Beach Vacation

Posted on September 22 2016

At Vacay, we spend a lot of time thinking about vacation. A tough job but somebody has to do it, right? Actually it is because what we mainly ponder is how to pack strategically and insure awesomeness is ready-to-go on arrival! How can we put the most style and versatility in a small carry-on bag? Most of us at Vacay are so passionate about it because we used to be so bad at it.

Don't let this be you the night before your vacation!

Should have packed better with VacayStyle

Don't let this be you the night before your next vacation.



Vacations used to mean we'd pack everything and the kitchen sink into our overstrained suitcases. We'd even pack things we hadn't worn in years ... just in case. Yes, we were the people helping the airlines stay in business because we always paid excess baggage fees. We'd over-pack, over-stress and over-think everything. Worse of all, we'd get to our destination and struggle to find the perfect thing to wear. 

We knew there had to be a better way and about two years ago our founder Elizabeth Hynes hit the nail on the head. It all boils down to thinking strategically about a vacation wardrobe because all you really need is a handful of carefully selected, versatile items that can create multiple looks. And voila, you have the perfect vacation wardrobe!

Easier said than done, right? That is where Vacay can help. We design our 5-piece collections to easily mix and match to create about 15 different looks. We do the strategic thinking for you so all you have to do is pick your favorite collection and go! We even send a handy-dandy “wardrobe card” with each collection showing you all the possible looks.

 VacayStyle's Martinique Collection wardrobe card

How to create multiple outfits with a strategically planned vacation wardrobe.


So how do we do it? And yes, you can do it to!

Start with an inspiration. Picture yourself at your vacation destination. What is the feel and style of the place? Do you picture warm tones or cool tones, bold prints or subtle textures? What will you be wearing when you hit the resort of your dreams?

 Gorgeous tropical beach setting

Imagine yourself here.


Fine-tune your inspiration by taking your personal style and preferences in mind. What colors bring out your eyes, what are the silhouettes that always get you the most compliments and make you feel your best? And don't forget about being comfortable! Being on vacation is about enjoying yourself.

Next decide a basic color to run across your wardrobe. We typically ground our collections in black, navy or white. Which appeals to you for this trip? Once you have that starting point, you will use this color throughout the solids, stripes and prints in your vacation wardrobe and all of a sudden, multiple outfit creation is possible across pieces. And if you are really good, you can get away with only one pair of shoes!


Versatile Silhouettes

Next, think about the silhouettes you want to bring keeping versatility top of mind. Are you a dress girl? We are! That is why we invented the Vacay 2 Piece MAXi Dress. With a normal maxi dress, you get one look but with a 2pc dress, you get 3-4 unique looks in one item! We offer at least one in each of our collections. Making a 2 piece dress the cornerstone of your travel wardrobe will really increase your outfit capacity without pushing the limits of space constraint!

 VacayStyle's St. Barts dress

The versatility of Vacay's 2-piece St. Bart's dress.


Another very versatile type of item to bring is a convertible dress. Having the option to wear this item as either a strapless dress or a maxi skirt instantly doubles the versatility.  Wear it as a strapless dress for a big night out or pair it back to a casual top for a cute day look.

In addition, many times a strapless dress can play double duty as a swimsuit cover-up so suddenly; you get three outfits out of this one item. We would recommend having one solid and one print across your 2pc dress and convertible dress, both grounded in your collection color. This way, you will be able to mix and match across both of these two items to create even more looks!

Convertible dresses can double or triple your outfit possibilities

Convertible dresses can double or triple your outfit options.


Next think about the kinds of cover-ups you like for the beach. One of the most versatile is a caftan. These over sized silhouettes can be worn as a cover-up, a tunic top with jeans and often as a dress when worn with a slip. So right there, that item can offer 2-3 more looks.

Vacay Cabo Caftan worn three ways

Elizabeth from "A Keene Sense of Style" demonstrates three great ways to style a caftan.


Another great option for covering up your swimsuit could be a textured lace dress. It will show just a bit of the suit coming through. We design our lace dresses to come with a removable slip so you can wear it as a cover-up by day and add the slip to wear it as a dress by night.

Vacay Newport Lace Dress worn three ways

Vacay lace dresses play double duty as a cover-up or dress.


The fifth item is a bit of a wild card depending on your style and taste. I like to add a second 2-piece item, like a 2 piece jumpsuit (romper or play-suit) as it adds in another 3 or more looks to your wardrobe. When worn together, a jumpsuit can be dressed up for a dinner out. However, the top and pant can be dressed up or down depending what you need.

VacayStyle Cabo Jumpsuit

The Belle Abroad proves that our 2-piece jumpsuit is versatile, comfortable and right on trend.


From here, all you really need is a few wardrobe essentials. Think white jeans, a tank top and a pair of comfy shorts. These basic items will help round out all your outfits. With each Vacay collection, we offer recommendations of the best essentials to bring.


Outfit Check

Now just scan through the various outfits you can create and validate that you have 3-4 evening outfits, 4-5 casual looks and 3 options for over the swimsuit. And quickly validate that each outfit can work with the shoes you are bringing. With a Vacay collection, your outfit check is done for you!

Vacay St. Barts Collection creates 15 outfits from 5 items

Our St. Bart's collection creates 15 resort ready outfits.


Just a Few More Items

Lastly, add in your toiletries, pajamas, jewelry and undergarments and you are ready to go. All of this should easily fit in a carry-on case if you can juggle the 3 ounce liquid rule! And arriving at your destination stress free, priceless!

Vacay beach relaxing

Insert yourself here ... ahhhhh.









1 comment

  • Leeza: September 23, 2016

    I’m going on a Disney cruise this Thanksgiving and I was wondering if I was going to be my usual packing disaster. When I go away I always throw a ton of stuff in my suitcase “just in case”. Then I end up with a heavy suitcase and clutter that I never end up needing or using.

    These tips are super on target for someone like me. I need help. I will buy one of the collections and be done with it. Vacay is the best vacation packing hack I’ve heard of.

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