Packing List: 10+ Things To Bring On A Tropical Vacay

Though I don’t travel as much as I’d like to (technically, I’d like to travel full-time, but you know what I mean), I consider myself an expert packer. I do not believe in checking baggage (lost luggage has happened to me too many times to risk it again) so that means that mo matter where I’m going and for how long, I have to find a way to squeeze it all into one suitcase that can fit in the overhead compartment. Luckily, I like traveling to beachy locales, which means lots of light fabrics which don’t take up much room. Even still, I have been known to waste valuable suitcase space on ridiculous items that I will never get any use out of. But for my trip to Tulum, Mexico last week, I packed (almost) all the right stuff AND still had plenty of room left in my suitcase so I could haul back a massive dreamcatcher. After the jump, get details on the 10 essentials (outside of, like, toothpaste and my birth control pills) I packed for my trip, plus seven things I can assure you from prior experience are absolutely not necessary.

1. Sunglasses: $14, Urban Outfitters
2. Beach Bag: $59.95, Gap
3. SPF 50 Sunscreen: $10.99, Coppertone,
4. Tank: $50, Superdry
5. Maxi Dress: $29.99, American Eagle Outfitters
6. T-Shirts: $19.50, American Eagle Outfitters
7. Bikini: $14.94 per piece, Old Navy
8. Shorts: $59.50, Madewell
9. Flip-Flops: $49.50, J. Crew
10. Books: The Newlyweds by Nell Freudenberger, $17.13
The Secret Life Of A Schoolgirl by Rosemary Kingsland, $14.62
A Clash Of Kings by George R. R. Martin. $8.99

Plus! A gel manicure (get one in advance of your trip — no chips!); nail polish and topcoat to fix chips on your pedicure; ziplock bags to put your electronics in when you’re on the beach so they don’t get sandy; bug spray; an iPod with plenty of music on it beyond Bon Iver and Beyonce; plenty of hair bands and bobbypins; even more sunscreen (because it’s majorly expensive elsewhere, seriously); a flashlight; and a pen so you have something to fill out the customs forms with since the damn airline never has any.

…And 7 Things Not To Bring (Take It From Me)

1. Silk anything
2. Flatiron
3. High-heels
4. That super deep spiritual book that you’re sure you would read before yoga and meditation. (You won’t.)
5. Yoga clothes. (See above.)
6. Whatever hair doohickey you use to make a sock bun. (Your sandy, frizzy, sticky hair will want no part of a sock bun, trust.)
7. Anything of immense value to you, like your diamond studs or your $350 vibrator.