14 Days In A Carry On : Tropical Destination

14 Days In A Carry On : Tropical Destination

Are you headed somewhere warm this Spring Break or summer? I’ve come up with a packing list I plan to use on our 5 year anniversary trip in a few months.

Pack similar pieces to look chic for two weeks! If you’re headed on a shorter trip, this list gives you a few extra options:

  1. tank (I like mine to be a bright color)
  2. neutral lightweight tee
  3. chambray button up
  4. lightweight sweater
  5. pair of jeans (white just feels more tropical, but you can easily switch them out for a colored or blue pair)
  6. jean shorts
  7. maxi skirt
  8. maxi dress
  9. detailed skirt

These 9 pieces created 14 unique outfits:

How To Pack 14 Days In A Carry On: Tropical Edition

A few tips to make your pieces work harder:

  1. Packing a lightweight button front gives you an extra “cardigan.” Just leave it unbuttoned over your look.
  2. Tie or knot shirts to give them additional versatility, like the black tee over the maxi dress and sequin skirt, or the chambray top with the jean shorts.
  3. Pair the same-color top and bottom to create a new look. Here, I used the black tee and maxi skirt to create a “dress.” You could also use a pair of shorts or gaucho pants to create a romper or jumpsuit effect.
  4. When it comes to accessories, I like to pack a few more than I would for a cold weather trip, because tropical clothing takes up less space. I plan to take a lightweight scarf, several statement necklaces and belts, a hat, and a few pairs of shoes. I may also throw in a light jacket in case of rain.
  5. Wear the bulkiest items (jeans, sweater, and hat) on the plane, and carry a large purse to give yourself a little extra room. (Just be sure it’s flexible enough to fit under the seat in front of you!)
  6. Depending on your departure weather, you may want to wear a pair of boots and change into sandals when you arrive.
  7. If you have someone drop you off at the airport, leave your winter coat in the car; it’ll be there when you get back and you won’t have to lug it around with you.

Are you headed anywhere fun for spring break?

PS I used to be the worst packer ever, and have shared my tips on what not to pack before. Learn from my mistakes! It’ll save your back and a baggage fee. #winwin

Shop the Looks

tank (kohl’s- exact)
lightweight tee (forever 21- similar)
chambray button up (old navy- similar)
lightweight sweater (the clothes mentor- similar)
white jeans (kohl’s- exact)
jean shorts (j. crew factory- similar)
maxi skirt (made- similar)
maxi dress (target- similar)
detailed skirt (j. crew factory- exact)


About the Author


  • Selah March 5, 2014 at 8:09 AM

    We don’t take a spring break – instead, we finish up early and go on vacation in early May. It’s perfect, because it’s warm, not hot, and definitely less crowded. :)
    This packing list looks a lot like what I packed for the beach last year, and I had a really easy time getting dressed on that trip. The only catch is making sure you can launder your clothes while on vacation.
    We’re heading to Myrtle Beach, SC again this May, so I will definitely use this list as a guide. :D
    I hope you have a great time on you anniversary trip! I spent my 5th anniversary on the couch, eating Chili’s To Go, watching CSI. That sounds awful, but my son was only 6 days old, so our options were limited. ;P

    • Caitlin Author March 11, 2014 at 8:46 AM

      That’s a great way to do it. Especially if you’re going to the beach! It can be so hot in the dead of summer. Hope you have a fantastic trip as well!

  • Maricel @ My Closet Catalogue March 5, 2014 at 8:42 AM

    My kids’ spring break and mine never coincide and my husband never takes holidays, especially now that he’s started with a new company (construction, doncha know).

    That said, last summer, I hared off to Yale for a seven-week stint as a camp counselor. Had never been to the East Coast and new absolutely nothing about everything. I tried the same color palette trick but I was still woefully unprepared – had to make multiple runs to the not-so-local Target there at the sufferance of new friends just to pick up basic tees and shorts.

    Even with these mini shopping expeditions, by the end of my trip, I was SO sick of my clothes that when I got back, I promptly threw most of them in the cull pile.I think I’m addicted to variety. :(

    • Caitlin Author March 11, 2014 at 8:37 AM

      A new job always makes it hard to get away.

      How fun! You are such an adventurer- I love it! Will you do something similar this summer?

      That can be tricky. Do you get to a point again later where you enjoy the items again?

      • Maricel @ My Closet Catalogue March 11, 2014 at 8:49 AM

        I am not allowed to go back to Yale this summer (daughter’s orders) even though I was invited back. Sigh. The overachiever in me wants to go back to do it right this time – the first time, I was woefully unprepared – but the mommy in me tells me to stay home and enjoy my kids while they still want me. Guess what won out?

        I’m selling a handful of the items in my store, but I got over my loathing for the majority of the items, thank goodness.

        • Caitlin Author March 17, 2014 at 7:59 AM

          That’s so sweet, Maricel! I know you and your kids will have a great summer, and down the road you can go back!

          That is great! What type of store do you have?

  • RA March 5, 2014 at 12:11 PM

    I love this so much. I’m going on a cruise this summer, and I really want to pack minimally, so I will definitely refer to this post when I’m planning! Thanks!

    • Caitlin Author March 11, 2014 at 8:34 AM

      How fun! I’m glad it was helpful to you and hope you have a fantastic time!

  • sarah tucker March 5, 2014 at 12:50 PM

    Where did you get those brown sandals? I think you told me but I forgot!

    • Caitlin Author March 11, 2014 at 8:34 AM

      They’re Steve Madden and I found them at DSW last year. They’re so soft and comfy!

  • Amy G March 5, 2014 at 2:35 PM

    When I saw your list of items typed out. I couldn’t figure out how that was going to make 14 outfits, but wow, the options you came up with are great! I never pack quite this light, though, because I like to have a back-up for important items like shorts in case I accidentally ruin them. I grew up going on summer road trips that always involved camping, so we always filled the car in the name of being prepared. We really did use most of that stuff, though! I think with these items, though, there would still be plenty of room in a carry on to throw in an extra pair of shorts and a T just in case.
    I don’t think we’ll get to do much more than a weekend trip this year because my husband will be missing a lot of work already for National Guard training and we won’t be able to get away with the extra days off. I need to figure out somewhere close to go for a weekend. Enjoy the anniversary trip! I’m hoping we’ll be able to do something fun for our 5 year anniversary next year.

    • Caitlin Author March 11, 2014 at 8:33 AM

      Yes- I agree. There should be room to throw in an extra of a few key items. Just roll the items and you’ll have extra room. I hope you all come up with a great weekend trip! Those are always so fun.

  • Iris March 5, 2014 at 10:24 PM

    This is such a great list. We’re trying to go home this summer and with airfare and baggage expenses I hope to pack for all 4 of us using all the tips and tricks I’ve learned. I always overpack and we really can’t afford to do that this time.

    • Caitlin Author March 11, 2014 at 8:32 AM

      Good luck! You can do it, Iris! :)

  • Valerie March 6, 2014 at 7:52 AM

    What a great post! This is super helpful and all the outfits are so great! Now if I only had somewhere to go…hmmm!

  • Rachel Nordgren March 6, 2014 at 2:27 PM

    Caitlin, you sure do have a gift for creating outfits! This post is definitely helpful for my Spring Break trip to Galveston!

    • Caitlin Author March 11, 2014 at 8:30 AM

      Oo so fun! I’m glad it was helpful and hope you have a fantastic trip!

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