The holidays are a magical time of year, but it also means it’s somewhere between chilly to downright freezing out for many of us. And while this can make it feel extra cozy to curl up by a roaring fire or sip some hot cocoa while a holiday movie plays in the background, this can also mean that it’s the perfect time to plan for a warm getaway. If you’ve got a warm holiday getaway planned, you’re likely thinking about how best to prepare, which is why we’ve created this packing guide, even though we’re quite jealous of your upcoming trip.
Whether you've got a big trip planned at a tropical resort or you're simply taking a long weekend somewhere that gets a bit more sun, you’ll want to plan ahead to ensure you’re ready to be in a new (warmer) environment and that you’ve got everything you need to celebrate the holidays there.
Just as important as what you pack is what you wear to the airport, so the very first step in packing for your warm holiday getaway is picking a travel day outfit. It’s always the case that you want to wear something comfortable for a flight and something that’ll keep you warm enough during travel. And if you’re going from somewhere chilly to somewhere warm, this will take a little extra strategizing.
Rather than wearing your heavy-duty down winter coat or parka, opt for a lightweight yet warm packable jacket. This will keep you nice and cozy when you’re on your way to the airport and throughout your flight, and once you land and instantly feel the heat of that tropical air, you can simply pack it away. A packable coat can easily fit in a backpack or suitcase without taking up too much room.
Rock a t-shirt and a light women’s cardigan sweater layer under your packable coat and opt for joggers or leggings rather than jeans for the flight. You can plan to wear this same outfit on your return flight, so you don’t have to worry about packing an extra airport-ready ‘fit. Plus, having a lightweight cardigan on hand can be the perfect outfit if you have any nice, breezy beachside dinners planned during your warm holiday getaway.
Before choosing what to pack, you need to know what bag you’ll bring. If you’re going for a long trip, you’ll likely want a carry-on in addition to a larger checked bag. A hard shell checked bag can be great if you’re planning on bringing along your holiday gifts (more on this below!) since it’ll keep everything protected during your journey.
Once you get to your destination, you’ll want a daypack or a beach bag to use during your getaway. You can always use a canvas beach bag or a lightweight backpack as your carry-on, but if you have different luggage that you prefer to bring on board with you, simply pack your day bag or pack in your check luggage. As a pro tip, you can even use this to protect any fragile gifts you might be bringing along!
If you and your travel companions are planning on exchanging presents during your warm holiday getaway, you’ll likely want to check a suitcase, ideally a hard shell one as we mentioned above. If you’re traveling with any fragile gifts, opt for some bubble wrap, and then double wrap them in clothing.
You can then keep them organized in your suitcase by sticking your extra-wrapped gifts inside of a packed beach bag or backpack. Of course, things can still happen in transit, so it’s best to avoid gifts that are extra delicate or fragile if you need to travel with them.
In addition to bringing your gifts along, don’t forget to pack other items to imbue your hotel room or vacation rental with some extra holiday joy. Personalized Christmas stockings, for example, won’t take up too much space in your bag and can be effective in adding some holiday magic to your getaway.
Hopefully, you’ve saved some room in your bag for all of your sunshiny essentials, like a foldable sun hat, some sunscreen, a beach read, your swimwear, and sandals. After packing all of your warm-weather must-haves and your holiday goodies, you likely won’t have a ton of space to work with to pack your actual clothes.
There’s no reason to fret, though! Simply opt for space-saving clothing items and outfit ideas, like a few lightweight maxi dresses for women that you can wear poolside or at a restaurant on the boardwalk. Breezy linen T-shirts plus a pair or two of cotton shorts are also great warm-weather clothing options that won’t take up too much space in your bag and that you can repurpose throughout your trip to create various beachy looks.
By following these tips, you’ll be all set to enjoy a warm-weather holiday getaway with your loved ones! Think of us as you sip an umbrella drink poolside, completely relaxed and prepared for the vacation.