How to Pack for a Tropical Vacation

Hey friends! Today’s post is a little different than usual, as I’m sharing some step-by-step pictures of how I pack for a tropical vacation. After my last trip, y’all had a ton of questions about my luggage and how I pack (hence, this post). So let’s get started with carry-on luggage. Your carry-on should contain any items that would be essential within 24 hours of travel – when traveling internationally, checked luggage can often be delayed for up to a day. Here are some lessons to live by when it comes to your carry-on:
*Always pack your most valuable items in your carry-on, including cameras, jewelry, purses, etc.
*Include a change of clothes (even underwear!) in case your checked luggage were to get lost
*For a tropical vacation, always pack a bathing suit and travel sunscreen in your carry-on
*Other items to think about: medicine, chargers, headphones and anything you will need to be comfortable on the plane!

Here’s a peek into my carry-on… on the right side (which is zipped!), I pack my most valuable items including jewelry and a few pairs of expensive shoes. I use this travel jewelry case – it has an anti-tarnish LusterLoc lining to make sure your jewelry doesn’t tarnish while traveling. Other items I pack in my carry-on include:
*My Sony alpha a5000 camera for vlogs and travel photos
*An extra bikini
*All of my sunglasses (including this new pair)
*A change of clothing (plus bra & underwear)
*Travel-sized Advil, Tums, hair vitamins & my favorite lip balm
*Portable chargers and wall chargers for technology
*My laptop or iPad

Now on to checked baggage! I always try to pack way too much into my checked luggage… lately I have been a lot better about keeping it under 50 pounds πŸ™‚ When planning outfits for a vacation, it really helps me to write them all down before I start packing. On a notepad, I separate clothing by categories (pants, dresses, shorts, skirts) and write down each item I’m bringing with me. Then I usually set everything out on my bed to help me outfit plan, so that I don’t forget anything!
Some tips for checked baggage:
*Lay out your outfits on your bed or bedroom floor before you pack them in your suitcase 
*If you’re packing beach bags or handbags, fill them! I packed a huge straw beach bag into my checked baggage by filling it with clothes inside of my suitcase
*Pack your toiletries & makeup in your checked luggage, because there is no liquid limit 
*Keep the packaging on your shoes to help them keep their shape
*Insect repellant is a must for tropical locations
*Pack multiple swimsuits – it’s harder for them to dry in humid locations!
*Don’t pack delicate straw hats inside your luggage – they WILL get ruined (trust me). I always carry mine onto the plane with me!

I also had a lot of questions concerning my Delsey luggage. I own the 28″ spinner trolley and the 21″ carry-on trolley in the “champagne” color. I was debating between a few different brands, but am so so happy I went with Delsey! The design is really functional and so easy to pack, and the wheels are incredibly high quality and roll 360 degrees for easy transportation through the airport. Each suitcase comes with TSA-approved combination locks to keep all the contents safe & locked away during travel. The interior also includes a hanger and removable pouches (which I use for laundry during trips). I also fell in love with the white & tan exterior – most of the emails I get about this luggage have to do with the white exterior staying clean. For the first three or four trips, the luggage stayed crisp and white. I did notice that it started to get a few scruffs after that (the airport is SO HARD on your luggage). Since it has a hard shell exterior, it’s pretty easy to clean. I use a magic eraser to clean up the scuffs. I am more worried about my luggage contents staying safe than I am about scuffs, but if you are worried, the luggage also comes in black!

If you have any questions about how I pack my luggage, let me know in the comments! πŸ™‚


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Leave a Comment


  1. Great tips – and my cat always tries to jump in my suitcase as well!

    Christina :: Simple and Delish

  2. Really good and great tips!!!
    Be Happy with Fashion

  3. Oh my gosh, what a great post! These tips are so helpful, especially to pack your clothes in a beach bag. I'll have to invest in that travel jewelry case-it's perfect! Thanks so much for sharing:)


  4. Very cute suitcase! I love tropical getaways!

    Her Heartland Soul

  5. Love your red top!


  6. I see you are definitely well prepared!
    xx from Bavaria/Germany, Rena

  7. Great tips! Thank you for sharing<3

    Shall We Sasa

  8. Loved this packing post!

  9. This is great!! All so true about the carry on stuff. I love that you showed how to pack your straw bag. I do the same thing and I lay out all my outfits then pack them in the order in which I think they will be worn. Great post!

    Sara Kate Styling

  10. Super sweet photos and such a great and useful post!

  11. I need to get another smaller camera for traveling! Your Sony is on my list!

    Brooke du jour

  12. Can I be you? Everything is perfect! And yes – my cat likes to rummage around in my luggage as well!

  13. LOVE these travel tips and your luggage! Great post!

  14. Is your couch from Pottery Barn? If so, what color fabric did you choose?

  15. is your couch from pottery barn? if so, what color fabric did you choose?

  16. Really great post! Thank you for sharing! i especially love those white headphones, I need them for my next trip! My cat always try to pack himself in my luggage as well! hahah


  17. Such a great post and I love all of your tips! I need them — ha!

    Happy Wednesday //

  18. Wow, I have traveled internationally for 10 days with just a carry-on roller suitcase and a large purse.

  19. Noise cancelling headphones are the best!! Love your luggage!

  20. Love the jewelry organizer! That is KEY!

    xx, Elise

  21. Great tips! Loving that orange sweater and your suitcase, too!

    xo, Laura

  22. Great tips for my next vacation in April! Love this jewelery bag!
    β™‘ Kristina

  23. What a great post! Thanks for sharing that awesome jewelry case!

  24. Great tips and I love this outfit!

  25. Great tips! Had no idea there was a tarnish resistant jewelry bag, need it!
    An Unblurred Lady

  26. Loved this post! I need that jewelry holder! Do you not bring your usual DSLR at all when you travel? I always throw mine into my purse but it takes up so much room!

    xo, Nina
    Law of Fashion Blog

  27. Really love your Meli Melo bag!

    Kisses from ❀

  28. This was actually so helpful and if I'm going on an international trip soon this would be a lifesaver. I haven't been on a trip myself so I never had to pack for myself but now I think I can mange.

    Jackie | fashionxfairytale |

  29. Such a cute and useful post! I love your off the shoulder top and that darling darling bag! The cognac color is beautiful! xo


  30. I'm from a tropical country (born and bred in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; now living in London) so I really enjoyed this post (in a 'How the Other Half Do It' way)! The magic eraser tip is genius – my mint green SuitSuit cabin bag is seriously scuffed and now I've hope that it can be saved. x

    Jasiminne: Posh, Broke, & Bored

  31. Great tips! Glad to see someone as organized as I am when heading on vacation. β™₯ Ash
    The Yellow Petunia

  32. I am loving your new Revolve sunnies! Plus, your luggage is adorable! Such a great post πŸ™‚

    Jordan: The Teacup of Style
    IG: teacupofstyle

  33. You make packing look so fun and GLAM!

  34. Great tips! I'll be going on my next tropical vacation in April so I'll be sure to remember this πŸ™‚

    Kim .. Spring Fashion Wish List

  35. Great tips! It's always a good idea to have a change of (cute!) clothes in a carry-on. Love this luggage too!

    How Gorgeous

  36. Such good tips! I will totally keep these in mind for my next trip. πŸ™‚

    Simply Rachel Nicole

  37. Anonymous

    Great post! I'm just about to go on a tropical vacay myself so this is perfect timing!

  38. Great packing tips!

  39. Love your luggage, and those are great tips! I totally get super paranoid about leaving something behind so I make a list and check it like four times….inevitably I still always end up forgetting something. Oh well.

  40. Great tips! Thanks for sharing!
    Mademoiselle Coconath

  41. loved this post!

  42. I love this little jewelry bag.

  43. Love your packing tips and that luggage! You have probably answered this before, but is your kitty a ragdoll?

  44. Great tips!! Thanks for sharing!

    xx Kathryn

  45. I love this post, Caitlin! I will be heading to Hawaii this summer so I will definitely be using these tips!


  46. These are great tips. I'd never thought of stuffing clothes inside bags, that's a genious idea!

    This is the Life!.

  47. Such a great post.

    Blonde in Cashmere

  48. You are so organized when you travel! I'm usually flying around trying to get things gathered the night before and end up with a semi-composed, super heavy suitcase. Ha! I love how this sweater fits you. Did you size up to get an oversized fit or did you order your normal size?

    XO, Jaime |

  49. Where's your rug from?