In need of a winter escape? We all get to a point in the winter where we just need to get away from the cold, the snow and the shorter, cloudy days in favour of a little sunshine and vitamin D. Here’s how you can pack just a carry-on for your next vacation to a sunny beach or hot city.
Start with toiletries…
I always say with a tropical destination this is when you can actually cut back on toiletries. Let your hair and skin breathe a bit and soak up that lovely warm air!
- A lot of people think you need to keep your razor in a checked bag, when actually, as long as it’s not a straight razor or single blade razor, you can bring it on board with you.
- Find your hair faves in mini or trial versions at drug stores, or ask your salon for sample sizes, or hit up Sephora, the mecca of mini- and trial-sized products for skin care, hair, accessories and everything else.
- Look for face masks in sheet or packet form. I usually take a few sheet masks with me for an extra skin boost (and they don’t count towards your limited liquid allowance). But I also take packets of deep conditioning hair masks instead of regular bottled conditioner. This gives your hair and added treatment especially when you’re not sure what the water is like at your destination, and you can usually get two to three uses out of one packet.
- A great beach spray can be so much more than just a one-use product. I use it as a styler as it can provide a bit of hold, texturizer and sometimes even instead of dry shampoo (if it provides a good amount of volume).
- Sunscreen is obviously a must, BUT, look for ways to save on space by using a stick version for your face (which doesn’t count as a liquid or gel), and then bring a smaller travel version of your next fave.
- Bring mini versions of hair styling tools (think flat irons, curing irons, blow dryers if needed).
Move on to clothing…
Thankfully with tropical and beach vacations, less is more! But here are some ways to keep it minimal.
- Every clothing item needs more than one purpose. Whether that’s a jumpsuit that takes place of pants and a top in one, or items that can be worn in more than one way (casual or dressed up with the right accessories). Think of every item you pack as a 2-for-1 item and it will greatly help you edit down your wardrobe.
- Dresses are your saviour! They take the place of two items with just one. And look for items that you can wear in different ways — a flowy dress that can be paired over little shorts during the day or kept casual, but amped up with accessories for an evening look.
- Packing cube are a must! They seriously changed the way I pack. You can fit more in if packed correctly, and it keeps things neat and tidy in your suitcase. The more organized and compact you are with packing, the more you can fit in.
- Roll your clothing. Place your items on a flat, hard surface and roll your clothes Marie Kondo-style as tightly as possible and squeeze them into your packing cubes.
Then come the shoes…
- Shoes! The one thing everyone tells me they have trouble with. Remember that more often than not, tropical destinations are fairly casual, so unless you’re attending a wedding, fancy, formal event, you likely don’t need to go over the top with shoes.
- Think about flats that can work for evening (they take up far less space and you can look for details like embellishments, metallics, thins straps can help make it more elegant.
- If you are going to do heels, opt for 1-2 pairs that can go with everything in your nighttime wardrobe. Think about neutral colours that will easily fit with any dress, and focus the bold hits of colour and detail on other accessories.
- Pack sandals and shoes that are soft enough to bend and manipulate in your suitcase. This will help you get not only more shoes in, but also other packing essentials too.
- Wear your bigger shoes (i.e. workout shoes, boots, etc.) on the plane and keep them out of your suitcase.
When it comes to packing…
- Start by putting your shoes and heavier items on the bottom of your suitcase. I fit in heels and things like my curling iron, flat iron, etc in the bottom. Flats and flip flops can be tucked into a front pocket of your carry-on.
- Fill in any gaps around your shoes at the bottom of your suitcase with accessories, socks, scarves, charging chords, odds and ends to maximize the space.
- Put in any toiletry bags that you don’t need to access for security next on top of the shoes and odds and ends (a bag with razors, sheet masks, deodorant, etc).
- Top it with your packing cubes of clothing.
- Keep the toiletries bag for security in your main handbag for easy access.
What to wear on the plane…
- Wear your biggest, bulkiest items on the plane. You’ll likely want a light sweater and/or a light jacket for your trip in case of chilly nights, so wear both of those on the plane.
- Wear any pants/denim on the plane as well since they tend to be bulky when rolled up.
- If you’re taking a hat, be sure to either wear it on the plane or carry it on in your hand and keep it safe in an overhead compartment.
- Wear your biggest shoes on the plane (usually workout sneakers, or boots).
- Wear as many accessories as you can (i.e. wear a scarf on board with you, it can double as a blanket for your flight!).