What to Pack for a Long Weekend in the Sun

I like a long sarong skirt, but this one is perfect for a beach vacation as a skirt, halter top or coverup

I’ll be heading off again soon to a four-day beach vacation.  Girls just wanna have fun!  Age doesn’t matter.  We all could probably get a little more organized, too!  (If you already are organized enough, please share with us in the comments section how you do it!)  Here are my tips on what to take when you go.

#1 – Wear What You Love

The first thing to remember when packing is to wear what you love the most, since you will be using key pieces over in different ways.

Choose a Color Palette

The second thing that I found to work well the last time I went on a trip is to create a color palette based on two colors and the rest in neutrals.  That way, everything went together quite easily.

Another way to limit your colors is to base everything on one color and neutrals. Then use pieces that take up no room as color accents:  scarves, shawls, thin silky jackets, blouses.

Consider the weather and the terrain:

Will you be walking on sand?  Will it be rocky?  Will you be hiking?

Plan for the range in temperatures from day to evening, rain, etc.

Plan From the Ground Up

Start with footwear and build your outfits with them in mind.  Just pack two well-chosen pairs of shoes—one that will work day to night (such as a pair of metallic sandals), one that can double as slippers (canvas slip-ons, flip-flops) — and then wear a third pair on your way to and from your destination.

gold sandals
Flat gold beach sandals

Make Lists

List all trip activities on one page:  swimming, tennis, lunches, dinners, parties, sailing, sightseeing, special events, etc.  Make sure you have what you need to wear to these.

On a second piece of paper, list how many days you will be away.  Then start listing what you plan to wear each day.  This is where you eventually must become brutal!  Cross out extras.  See how many combinations of looks you can make out of key pieces, etc.

tie dye maxi
Beach coverup?  Daytripping in a beach town?  Relaxed evening? 

A Sample Packing List

Here’s a wonderful guide for a long weekend in the sun from a book called “Hot Tips” by Frances Patiky Stein.  But I’d have to buy a whole travel wardrobe because I don’t have a lot of these items.  Maybe you do.

hot tips

Or maybe we could change the white to a different color, or substitute some of our favorite items.  For instance, a jean jacket could replace the white cardigan.  I usually wear jeans more than anything else, so I might pack blue jeans instead of the navy cotton pants.  An airy, comfortable maxi dress is a good versatile piece to take so that could replace the evening pajama.  The white kimono and nightgown could be your favorite packable nightgown and a matching thin robe or wrap top.

Also, be sure to throw in a sarong, one way or another.  It works as a skirt, a beach cover-up or a shawl wrap into if you get chilly.  And it can be any color or print you like.

Anyway, here’s the list: 

  • One duffle bag (carry-on plane size if flying)
  • Two bathing suits
  • Three white shirts (one silky, two cotton)
  • One cotton big-shirt — a man’s faded-blue or a well-washed blue-and-white-striped cotton to wear with pants, shorts, bathing suit
  • One loose, white thin cotton shirt-dress to wear daytime, over bathing suit, etc.
  • One white cardigan
  • White cotton pants
  • White cotton shorts
  • Navy cotton pants
  • One thin cotton full skirt — a color or a print — maxi or midi
  • A bare top to go with skirt above
  • One evening pajama (thin silky trouser and matching tunic or kimono top to wrap over) — in a flattering color
  • One white t-shirt, one navy t-shirt, one bare white t-shirt
  • Flat gold sandals
  • Espadrilles
  • One tiny gold evening bag — use for day, too!
  • Three belts:  white canvas, gold leather, hemp rope
  • White, thin cotton kimono plus thin nightgown

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