TRAVEL TIPS: What to Pack for Every Type of Vacation

Maybe you’re headed somewhere special for a getaway with your significant other. Or perhaps you’re already mentally prepping for a family trip someplace warm over the holidays. Whatever you have going on in that suitcase (and closet) of yours, Cupshe’s got ideas on how to maximize your space and still look cute as can be. Think of us as a one-stop vacation shop, with everything you’ll want to pack all in one place.

We’ve simplified it for you with a few types of packing lists for different types of trips, complete with must-have items. Keep this post on hand to save time when you’re rummaging through your closet before the next flight out and you'll never need to stare blankly at the inside of an empty suitcase again!


What To Bring On A Tropical Vacation

While it may seem like the only thing you need to bring for a warm-weather getaway is a swimsuit and a smile, in reality, you’re going to want a few more options than a single bikini (even if it’s like, the platonic ideal of a bikini) can provide. Besides swimwear, essentials for this type of trip include coverups that do double-duty as dresses. Think of effortless throw-on-and-go styles that can be worn over swimsuits during the daytime…and that also look bangin’ when paired with your strappy sandals at night. A belt or sash is also crucial here, as it gives a loose coverup an instant hourglass-silhouette upgrade. A romper is another clever piece to pack, because it transitions from the beach to the boardwalk, then on to a bistro without missing a step—and who knows what the evening will bring? Lastly, you simply must bring a beach bag with pockets. Read our guide here to find out what every properly stocked beach bag needs to have inside.

For a four-day tropical vacation, plan on bringing:

What To Bring On A Family Beach Vacation

Family vacations involve both heaps of patience and heaps more clothing than you would normally pack. Don’t even bother fumbling with the carry-ons in your basement; simply head straight to the largest suitcase and accept your fate. Actually, there are plenty of reasons to be glad about checking a big bag. For one thing, you need room for the duds you’ll wear in family photos—and a family vacation is a perfect time to take pictures you’ll use for a holiday card, FYI. For another, it’s good to have backup clothes If your little person smears grape jelly all over her—or your—outfit. Start building an arsenal of vacation looks for yourself with breezy dresses, shorts, peasant tops, pull-on skirts, and tank tops. While we wouldn’t deign to tell you how to pack for your kids, there is one exception: save some room for Mommy-and-Mini matching swimsuits. It’s as adorable as it sounds, and it doesn’t take up that much space in the suitcase. Hey, you’re probably already bringing along half the house anyway, and you’ll be glad you schlepped them when you’re taking the aforementioned pictures. 

For a seven-day family beach vacation, plan on bringing: 

What To Bring on A Road Trip 

If you’re going to be spending a fair number of hours in a car—even if it’s a spacious vintage camper—you’re still going to want to pack things that are ultra-comfortable. We challenge you to spot people casually cruising down Route 66 in their sharply tailored pantsuits; it’s just not gonna happen. Think about packing separates that can be reworked in different combinations and that won’t feel tight or restrictive if you’re sitting shotgun for hours. Another option? Create even more outfits by bringing along a pair of menswear-inspired pajamas. Master the art of mix-and-match by repurposing the top as a blouse and wearing it with jeans or styling the pants with a tank top (or better yet, a feminine camisole). Don’t forget to leave room in the suitcase or trunk of the car for wearable souvenirs and trinkets you’ll want to pick up along the way like jewelry, hats, or scarves.

For a five-day road trip, plan on bringing:

  • 4 Tops
  • 2 Pairs of Shorts
  • 1 Pair of Jeans
  • 1 Pair of Pajamas
  • 1 Hoodie 
  • 1 Casual Dress
  • 1 Pair of Sunglasses
  • 1 Pair of Sneakers
  • 1 Pair of Flats, Mules, or Sandals

What To Bring On A Romantic Weekend Getaway

We want our significant others to think we #wokeuplikethis, which means the prep effort for an romantic trip is front-loaded before we even get to the airport. Mani-pedi, waxing, hair coloring, lash extensions...need we go on? Packing for this sort of vacation is a delicate balance, too. Bring too little and you won’t be looking (or feeling) your best. Bring too much and you risk looking seriously high maintenance. What’s a girl to do? Sidestep a free-for-all by avoiding the mix-and-match shenanigans. Instead, carefully plan out one sunlight, one twilight, and one moonlight look for each day that you’re away. For example, during the morning and afternoon, sport a feminine camisole with cute cutoffs and comfy sandals that let you adventure freely without blisters. For dinner and after, wear a flirty wrap dress with your sexiest, strappiest heels. For bedtime, pull out the ooh-la-la lingerie—say perhaps, a lacy nightie. Is this packing strategy an overkill for a mere weekend? Maybe, but it definitely saves more precious time together when it counts. 

For a three-day romantic weekend, plan on bringing:


What To Bring For A City Break 

Not every great vacation takes place on a beach. Well, okay, most do. However, sometimes a taste of city living complete with culture, restaurants, nightlife, and shopping is energizing and inspiring too! A long weekend in a new city means you’ll be spending most of your time out and about on your feet whilst exploring. For this, you’ll need multi-purpose pieces that look pulled-together in a flash. Believe us when we tell you that your friends do not want to waste one second of their precious vacation time inside the hotel room waiting for you to get dressed! So, pack for practicality during the day with hoodies, tees, and sweaters that you can layer if it cools down or take off if it warms up outside. Add to your quick-change strategy by sticking with two colors. That way you can style any of your items together for different outfits without worrying about what will match.  

For a four-day city break, plan on bringing:

  • 3 T-Shirts
  • 2 Sweaters or Sweatshirts
  • 1 Pair of Jeans
  • 1 Pair of Pants
  • 1 Dress
  • 1 Pair of Sneakers
  • 1 Pair of Flats 
  • 1 Pair of Boots or Heels (for nighttime)

What To Bring For A Bachelorette Weekend

Assuming you’re the bachelorette in question, the first thing to remember is that this weekend is all about celebrating you. Go ahead and revel in the attention! The second thing to remember: your besties have probably planned lots of fun experiences for the whole group, so run through the dress code with them before you put anything in the suitcase. Chances are you’re going somewhere with a beach, so feel free to pack some white swimsuits and cover-ups that play up the bachelorette party theme. In need of some swimspiration? Read this post that features adorbs bathing suit ideas for the bride-to-be. For each evening, remind everyone that you’re the star of the show with an extra-special white dress. There are very, very, very few times in life when wearing all-white everything is appropriate, so go for it, girl! 

For a three-day bachelorette weekend, plan on bringing:

What are your favorite packing tips? Let us know in the comments below and share with us on Instagram: @cupshe

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