Vacation Packing

It sounds like so many of you are heading somewhere warm in the next few months. I made this packing guide to help make this dreaded task a little easier. From activities to daytime exploring to the pool and out to dinner, I have you covered!

Packing Categories

  • Athleisure/Activity Clothing
  • Pool/Beach Attire
  • Daytime/Casual Outfits
  • Dinner/Evening Outfits
  • Accessories
  • Cosmetics

Althleisure/Comfortable Pieces

Often, when traveling and staying at a hotel I’ll start my morning in some type of athleisure. Usually, I’ll throw this on to get a coffee or to take a walk and start my day. Don’t forget a great layering piece, even in a warm destination, the mornings can be cool.

  • Leggings
  • Shorts
  • Skort
  • T-shirts/Tops
  • Sweatshirt/Jacket
  • Sports Bra
  • Athletic Shoes
  • Flip Flops
  • Baseball Style Hat

I always travel with multiple pairs of my favorite leggings and usually wear them on the plane as well. They are thin, breathable, and lightweight. Plus, they take up minimal space. These leggings will take you from a workout to zip-lining, to reading a book on your balcony.

If shorts are more your speed (they aren’t mine), I really like these as an option (I size up) and I love a skort (probably because I’m a tennis player), this is a current favorite (I size up).

Althleisure Bottoms

Athleisure Tops

Don’t forget to pack a layer in case the mornings are a little chilly. I absolutely love this elevated sweatshirt. It’s as comfortable as a sweatshirt (perfect for a plane ride), but you could dress it up if you were in a pinch for a nicer look. This cropped tank is a favorite of mine for any activity; loose and comfortable and for a simple white tee that’s a little longer, this one is a great option. A couple of these plain ribbed $8 tanks are always in my suitcase

Pool/ Beach Wear

  • Swimsuit(s)
  • Coverups
  • Sandals
  • Hat


My absolute favorite swim bottoms for many years are these high waist, full coverage bottoms. They are comfortable, forgiving, and I can pair many styles of tops with them. For $58 they are a great value. This top has been another favorite for years. It’s reversible, comfortable (no underwire or clasps); basic yet stylish. It comes in a lot of fun colors and over the years I have heard of women with bust sizes of AA-DD who love this top. Looking for a great budget-friendly suit? I was very surprised at the quality and fit of this suit. And, on my recent trip, I splurged for this ruffle high waist number that I absolutely adore. It is sold out, but here is a ruffle top by the same brand. For a great ‘mom’ swimsuit, I love this Miraclesuit that holds everything in (size up in this brand).


A cover-up is just as necessary as a swimsuit! I love this white dress-like one that is really drapey and flowy (I’m wearing the s/m). Really affordable and easy is this wrap-style coverup. It’s offered in a pack of two (comes with black as well) and is such a cute way to cover up a little walking around the pool. For a short version, this crochet one with a little sparkle is great.

Daytime/Casual Wear

  • Shorts
  • Tanks/Tee’s
  • Casual Dress/Jumpsuit
  • Sneakers and or Flat Sandals

Daytime outfits for sightseeing, lunching, or shopping are sometimes overlooked or forgotten when packing. A few of my favorite items to throw in my suitcase regardless of my plans are my favorite jean shorts that are “mom-friendly”, and a couple of plain ribbed tank tops. This comfortable black knit jumpsuit is also easy to pack and can be dressed up or down. A cute dress made for hot weather is a must and this one is made of performance fabric with stretch for the ultimate comfort in a hot and humid climate. A black knit dress is always packed and this has been an all-time favorite for years.


  • Dresses
  • Pants/Tops
  • Light Sweater/Jacket
  • Dressier Shoes
  • Handbag

I love a maxi or midi dress as you can see. I also adore white while in a warm-weather climate. So, I apologize for the lack of variety (not really though!). On our last vacation to Hawaii, I was celebrating my 40th birthday and we went to a handful of nice dinners so these dresses are a little “fancier” than I’ll pack on our spring break with the kids. This dress is a special occasion favorite of mine. It comes in a lot of colors and feels so beautiful on; perfect for a bride-to-be! This off-the-shoulder dress is a great fit (it does need to be worn off-the-shoulder by its design); it also comes in solid colors. FYI, a wrap dress is very flattering on most women! I purchased this dress for the trip, but did not wear it as it wasn’t really warm enough at night as it’s silk – beautiful!


  • Athletic Shoe/Sneaker
  • Beach/Pool Sandal
  • Evening Sandal

Shoes are SO important when traveling. I always bring a pair of athletic shoes. I have been traveling and have done excursions when a pair of closed-toe shoes are needed. I always travel with my Nike shoes because they are perfect for any activity. The one-stop-shop flip flop that takes me from the beach to casual outfits is my Tkees (I have the nude color Cocobutter). They are so comfortable, go with everything, and take up minimal packing space. My go-to ‘dressier’ sandal is this nude heel; so comfortable and go with EVERYTHING! I also can’t leave home without my P448s. Usually, I’ll wear these on the plane. I also like them with shorts and some casual dresses. As you can see, I pack all neutral-colored shoes that go with everything!


  • Hats
  • Evening Purse
  • Day Purse
  • Beach/Pool Tote
  • Jewelry
  • Sunglasses

Just a friendly reminder to wear a hat for extra sun protection while at the pool or beach šŸ™‚ This affordable and packable hat allows you to lay your head against the chair (while lounging or reading) while still protecting your face from the sun. The most popular straw hat on the market is this one. It’s a classic style, great price point, and looks fabulous! I also have to throw in a baseball-style hat, and this is a performance, quick-drying material, great for the heat plus, I love how simple it is.

I love purses and bags and probably bring more than necessary. I’ll travel with a larger tote for the plane and often will put in my smaller, everyday purse, which also works for an evening bag. I LOVE a natural small clutch or purse for evenings like this (which is a much less expensive version of this bag). This little bag also made my last trip as I was looking for a lighter color and like this slouch style. For the beach or pool, this canvas bag works really well or for a splurge canvas style, this bag is fabulous!

Sunglasses are another favorite accessory! While I don’t have many expensive pairs of sunnies, I did find this designer style at a great price before our trip. I love inexpensive sunglasses to travel with as I have lost too many pairs! This shield style stays on so well and is really comfortable, and I love a good pair of aviators and these are my favorite.

For daily outfit inspiration and to follow my ‘shop’, Not Your Plain Sarah Jane, click here. Happy packing and shopping for your next warm-weather destination! Safe travels!

As always, thank you so much for reading! Make it a great day!

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