6 Tips for Packing for an Island Getaway

by Geneva Vanderzeil

It's that time of year when we all start dreaming about a summer getaway. But not just any getaway -- one that includes ample sun, sand, sea and palm trees. An island escape. But what to pack on this vacation of all vacations? The wardrobe you choose to take on a trip like this is everything, but you're going to want to be careful about the weight of your luggage -- no one likes to haul a huge suitcase onto a boat! So here are a few of my tips to help you pack smart for your next island escape. Let's hope it's sooner rather than later...

1. Smaller Is Better...

As I mentioned, there are so many benefits to packing light when you're heading to an island, namely the ease of actually getting onto the island itself, and also the fact that you're going to want a streamlined and pre-planned set of clothing options when you get there. Go small or go home is my motto when packing for any trip, but particularly when I'm island bound.

2. Choose Your Capsule Colors

Creating the ultimate suitcase wardrobe is much like creating an amazing minimalist wardrobe -- you need to pick the right colors and stick to them so your outfits seamlessly go together. It might sound harsh, but it really works! Choose your neutrals -- these could be black, white, camel, grey -- whatever works for you. Then choose your highlight colors. This will make it super easy to put all your outfits together. When packing, I usually opt for black and white neutrals and then go with with blues and prints as highlight colors. Stores like Topshop, Asos and J Crew are great for simple basics that will get you (affordably) through your vacation in style.

3. Understand Your Destination

Do a little research and be aware of the cultural nuances of your destination -- in some places you may need more coverage, and in others you will have the freedom to wear whatever you want. It's always a good idea to take a few versatile items like scarves, long-sleeved linen shirts or maxi skirts, so that you have the option of more coverage if you feel like it. You might need it after a few days in the sun!

4. Go for Versatility

When trying to minimize the amount of clothing you take with you, you should reach for the pieces in your closet that have the most outfit potential, meaning you can wear them in many different ways. The best way to achieve this is to pack separates (meaning tops and bottoms), rather than lots of dresses and one pieces. If you do reach for one pieces (who doesn't love a romper on the beach?) make sure they are versatile and can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion. A simple black jumpsuit or silk dress is a great option -- Shopbop and Revolve have some great pieces, just make sure they're made from natural fabrics so you don't get too hot.

5. Pack for the Climate

Make sure you understand the weather of the place you're going. In humidity, you'll want to focus on packing natural, breathable fabrics, ones that allow breezes to flow through them and feel nice against your skin. These types of fabrics include cotton, silk and linen. As you heat up, you’ll want heat and sweat to escape from your body, too, which is what these fabrics allow for.

6. Match Your Accessories

You're going to want your accessories to work together regardless of what you're wearing, so choose one or two accessory colors and stick to them -- this will make it really easy to put your outfits together. I'm all about black and tan accessories -- you know they'll always work together! And it's a good idea to take one small bag and one larger one, along with a couple of pairs of shoes that work with both options. J Crew has a fantastic selection of tan and black handbags, with sandals in matching shades so you never have to worry about clashing accessories. Here's to a perfectly tropical (and well dressed) getaway!

About the Author

Geneva Vanderzeil is an author and the founder of a pair & a spare. Geneva’s passion for writing, photography and craft started with an early love of making her own clothes and documenting the process, and has grown to encompass DIYs in all areas of life, whether it be recreating the perfect outfit off the runway, interior projects, developing your wardrobe or travelling the globe.