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What to pack for a resort vacation

Lucky you, headed off to a lovely warm-weather holiday at a fabulous resort! We hope it’s everything you dream it will be: palm trees, swimming pools, white sand beaches, drinks in coconuts, rounds of golf in the sea breeze. . . we really do get it! We also understand the “what to wear” conundrum faced by many first-time resort goers. How casual is the daywear? How dressy is the dining room? How many bathing suits do you need?

Fortunately, we can help you figure out what you need to pack for your resort vacation in no time, so you can concentrate on the really important things, such as what beach book to bring and what SPF you need to avoid a vacation-ruining sunburn. Let us worry about how many swimsuits you need—you just need to select the most glamourous sunglasses possible to go with it all!

Packing swimwear for your resort vacation

Supposing a seven-day trip, we advise that you pack three bathing suits for this kind of vacation. You will likely visit the beach or pool every day, and you may wish to wear your swimsuit under your clothes depending on your schedule, so you not only need a dry suit available at all times, but you will want a selection of bathing suit styles.

Pack at least one practical, full-coverage, neutral-colored bathing suit. Go for quality with this suit, and make it a real workhorse. I personally experienced bathing suit mishap on vacation once, and suddenly my only suit had a broken strap. I was young and an inexperienced traveler; benefit from my mistake and make sure you have at least one swimsuit that can take anything you can dish out. You might want to swim with dolphins, try stand-up paddle boarding, or go cave diving. You’ll want a swimsuit for that kind of holiday activity.

The other two swimsuits should be all about what you love! Want a modest swimdress to guarantee that you feel completely unselfconscious? Want something sexy to thrill your spouse? Want something super colorful to celebrate your tropical locale? Any good-quality, well-fitting bathing suits of your choice will do, so have fun with this. You’ll also need a fabulous cover-up or two for walking around the resort, a terrific sun hat and water shoes if you plan to go adventuring.

Packing daywear for your resort vacation

Sticking with the idea of a seven-day trip, a good rule of thumb is one outfit per day, so seven daytime outfits with mix-and match potential should be the perfect number, assuming there is laundry service if you need it. If there is no laundry service, pack eight ensembles; it may feel like over packing but you’ll be grateful if you accidentally spill a bowl of gazpacho in your lap. If packing light is your priority, make absolutely sure there are laundry services available and pack four outfits, carefully planning for mixing and matching.

While your casual daytime attire at a resort depends a good deal on what you want to do on your trip, there are some helpful considerations to go over. Most resorts have a snappy-casual vibe, so leave your “bumming around” clothing at home. Faded band t-shirts are great for power-washing the garage, not eggs benedict on the east verandah! Sharp Bermuda shorts and crisp capri pants are excellent choices, with a t-shirt for shopping or a Polo shirt for catching a round of golf. Airy sundresses help you bear the heat elegantly, and short-shorts are a fun alternative when you’re lounging by the pool. Check the rules at your resort—do they require whites for tennis or croquet? Trust me, some places still do! Are you planning to visit local ruins? You’ll need hiking shoes. Think about your itinerary and your wishes as you pack, but also consider the conventions of the resort, the customs of the locals if you plan to venture out, and the potential weather variations.

What to wear for evenings at a resort

Pack four dresses or dressy pants outfits, and accessories to make different looks out of the pieces you have. The truth is, unless you are very energetic and committed to the nightlife, four evening outfits is plenty, especially if you have the proper accessories to re-wear something if you wish to. Why? Because you will hit the casual buffet or order room service out of fatigue some nights. A whole day swimming in turquoise water and lounging on powder-soft sand can really take it out of you! All you will want is a bath, the most luxurious robe known to man, and someone to bring you a tray in bed. So four eveningwear outfits should work.

A resort is the ideal venue for you to show off your collection of Little Black Dresses! The LBD is a standard because with a change of necklace or shoes, you can achieve a whole different look! One night, you might wear an updo, gold sandals, and lots of gold jewelry to channel a sexy disco look, and the next you can wear the same dress with elegant pearls and pumps for a completely different feel. That’s using accessories to your advantage. A cashmere wrap here or a sparkly evening bag there can give the impression of a completely new ensemble.

You can enjoy a resort vacation with minimal fuss if you let us help you plan your packing. Resort holidays are all about relaxing and enjoying yourself—these aren’t heavy sightseeing tours where you need to concentrate on your bucket list or gear-intensive adventure vacations, so think about what helps you look and feel your pampered best and lean into it. A resort vacation is your time, so take it!

Basic packing list for resort vacations:

  • 3 bathing suits
  • 1-2 cover-ups
  • Sun hat/sun glasses/watershoes
  • 4-8 daytime outfits depending on packing capacity and laundry availability
  • 4 dresses or evening wear ensembles with accessories to mix into 7 outfits if needed
  • shoes for the beach, day, evening, and any special activities (e.g. golfing or hiking)
  • underthings
  • sleepwear
  • medications, cosmetics, toiletries
  • tawdry gossip magazine

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