How To: Pack For Spring Break Like A Pro (and without checking a bag!)

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The winter season can be long and cold; luckily, there’s a beacon of light that promises sunshine and warmth to get you through: spring break. Whether your idea of a hot getaway involves undisturbed hours lounging seaside or spicy salsa dancing into the wee hours of the morning, there are a few essentials every spring breaker should bring along. Here, we’ve rounded up the must-haves for your next trip, and cover everything you’ll need both in the air and on the shore.

Take-Off

After picking a destination, perhaps the most important decision you’ll have to make when planning a vacation (assuming you’re flying) is whether or not to check a bag. Word to the wise: don’t! Airlines lose luggage all the time. Do yourself a favor and avoid a potential headache by opting for a carry-on that can hold all the essentials. A cosmetic case will also come in handy not only while traveling, but also once you arrive. Keep things organized in your home away from home with a hanging bag or store small toiletries and accessories like sunblock and sunglasses in a waterproof case while you’re down at the pool or beach. If you do choose to carry-on though, just be sure to remember the 3-1-1 Liquids Rule!

High Tide

Another reason you should skip the big suitcase? Everything you really need for a tropical vacation is compact. You’ll practically be living in your bathing suit anyway, and small accessories like sunglasses and hats can either be worn while traveling or packed in a large tote that can double as both your personal item and beach bag!

Tiki Time

Of course some real clothing will be worn occasionally while on vacation, so opt for pieces that can transition from day to night. A romper is the perfect choice for her – breathable and easy to wear, it’s easy to throw on over a bikini or dress up with your favorite jewelry for an evening out. Guys should look for lightweight materials as well and have some fun with island prints and colors!

A lot of prep goes into going away, and the last thing you want to be thinking about at 35,000 feet is if your luggage is going to make it. Whether you choose to carry-on instead or not, don’t procrastinate: make a list of the items you’ll really need – chances are, they’ll all be able to fit in the overhead compartment!

Are you packing for an entire family? Be sure to check out our tips in Resort Wear Must-Haves!

Resort Wear: A Guide to Packing Light

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Close your eyes and picture yourself on vacation: white sand, crashing waves, the sun on your shoulder. Now imagine yourself packing for this vacation: a little less blissful, wouldn’t you say? Preparing to go away shouldn’t be stressful, but especially when you’re planning for kids, maybe a significant other, and yourself, it’s hard not to freak out a little. What’s more, with so many airlines charging fees for additional baggage, taking only what’s absolutely necessary is key. To take some of the worry out of packing, we’ve compiled the ShoeBuy Guide to Packing Light – so sit back, don’t panic, and soon enough, you’ll be sipping piña coladas poolside.

Shoes can become the bane of any packing existence. Start down the path of “but what if the weather is XYZ” or “but what if I want to wear this top with those pants” and you might as well pull out your credit card now to pay for the overweight luggage charges. In reality, the average adult going on vacation only needs to bring three pairs of shoes, maximum: one for everyday wear (think: slip-on or thong sandals for walking about the resort and to and from the pool/beach), one for slightly fancier occasions (think: boat shoes or wedge sandals for dinner out at a restaurant), and one for activities (think: footbed sandals like Birkenstock for a long walk or city excursion).

Clothing can also be tricky since many vacation destinations – resorts, cruise ships, etc. – enforce dress codes. Opt for pieces you can re-wear over a statement look that you might only put on once. Every woman knows the power of a wrinkle-resistant dress on vacation, so be sure to pack at least one that can easily go from day to night. Beach pants can work double duty when paired with a bold printed one-piece, while an airy caftan will make any lady feel like island royalty. Pack a straw tote as your carry-on with all the essentials so you’ll be prepared both in the sky and by the sea. For guys, breathable materials like linen and cotton are always good choices, as you’ll stay cool even while abiding by the collared shirt rule at dinner. A light t-shirt, hat, and sunglasses will keep you from getting too much sun during the day, and of course, don’t forget your swim trunks

Believe it or not, kids need even less when it comes to footwear on vacation: just one pair of active sandals for day, and slightly dressier (but still practical) shoes for night. And the same rules as mom and dad apply for clothing – breathable, no frill pieces that provide some protection from the sun will put everyone’s minds at ease.

Vacation should be a time of relaxation, so don’t let preparing for it stress you out. A little strategic packing can go a long way, so think about what you and your family ­really need and plan accordingly – and just think, less stuff in your luggage now means more room for souvenirs later!