Travel

By Susan Bodack

Here’s the scenario: Every single one of your friends and family members are jealous because you’re going on a tropical vacation to some beautiful island in the Caribbean with endless amounts of sunshine and frosty cocktails with little umbrella toppers. As anxious as you are to take a dip in that crystal clear Caribbean water, it takes a little prep work to make sure you’ll have everything you need because let’s be honest – nobody likes paying $20 dollars for a bottle of sunscreen in a resort gift shop.

Speaking of sunscreen, that’s obviously a necessity in any location closer to the equator than your midtown apartment. Pack lots of it, including lip balm with SPF, as well as a floppy beach hat, fedora or your hat of choice. Don’t forget your peepers either and take along some sunglasses. Bug spray is also a necessity if you’re planning on exploring a rainforest, hiking the mountains, etc. In addition to your basic toiletries, make sure to bring some aloe for the probable sunburn, a basic first-aid kit, and any medications you may need, including something to settle an upset stomach (watch out for the drinking water!)

Since you’re heading to a warmer climate, it’s much easier to pack lightly than if you were going on a ski-trip, for example. Pick out a couple pairs of casual flip-flops, maybe one or two pairs of dressier sandals that can be worn out for dinner and dancing, and a pair of sneakers if you plan on exercising, playing sports or exploring the city. Since you don’t have to worry too much about cold temps, you’ll only need one lightweight sweater or shawl in case you get chilly. Plan to bring versatile pieces that can easily be mixed and matched and work for day and night. Since you’re going to the Caribbean, pack tanks, dresses (sundresses and maxis), shorts, and skirts in fun, vibrant colors. Again, if you’re going to be active, don’t forget the activewear!

Of course you’ll be enjoying the beautiful beaches and resort pool, so you’ll need plenty of swimwear and cover-ups. Depending on your interests and what you plan to do, pack swimwear that will be best-suited for those types of activities. If you’re a beach volleyball girl, plan to ride around on some jet skis or spend the day snorkeling, make sure to bring some supportive sporty-chic swim styles that won’t result in a bikini blooper. If you’re all about lounging around and sipping cocktails, choose fashion-forward swim styles that will have all eyes on you. Think fringe bikinis, retro-inspired one-pieces, cheeky-cut Brazilian bikinis, and chic monokinis. Make sure to pack a number of different options that can easily be mixed and matched because let’s be honest–no one wants to slip on a cold, wet swimsuit in the morning. In terms of cover-ups, opt for styles that you feel comfortable walking around the resort in, such as sundresses, crochet shorts or pants and kaftans.

Finally, you know a girl’s got to have her accessories! Choose fun, costume jewelry that can work with your different day and nighttime outfits. Think hoop earrings, chunky beaded necklaces, bangles, and rings. Plus little clutches for the beach and your nighttime outings. Choose items that you don’t mind exposing to sand or saltwater, and items that wouldn’t devastate you if they happened to get lost or stolen.

All this planning might seem like a lot of work, but hey–you’re going on vacation! I’ll offer one last piece of advice. Pack a swimsuit in your purse–that way you can hit the beach right away, even if your room’s not quite ready for you. Happy travels!

Susan Bodack is the Director of Social Media Marketing at InStyleSwimwear.com–your one-stop online shop for stylish designer swimwear, resortwear, footwear and accessories. InStyleSwimwear.com is based in Philadelphia, PA but ships worldwide. For more information about the company, its products or to read more of Susan’s work, visit their swimwear blog, Beauty and the Beach.

Originally published October 2013
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