Hawaii, Christmas 2009
Lucky MBB reader Rachael is taking a potentially BIG tropical trip this January, and she’s shopping for packing ideas.
“My boyfriend and I are taking a trip to Hawaii the first week of January, and I’m at a loss for what to bring. I am possibly the palest person and still have scars from a bad sunburn in the Bahamas when I was a teenager, and I do not want that to happen again.
I also think that on this trip my boyfriend will propose because he’s terrible at keeping secrets and has slipped more than once. I need to know what will take me from hiking to the beach and an engagement but keep it all easy to travel.”
Congrats on your upcoming trip (and hopefully proposal)! Sounds like the makings of a marvelous month.
Whenever I travel to someplace tropical, I try to pack as many multitasking products and pieces of clothing as possible. Clothing-wise, for a one-week trip, that means a few lightweight, versatile dresses in stretchy fabrics that resist wrinkling, because I can easily dress them up or down.
When I head to the beach, I’ll slip a dress over my bikini, step into a pair of flip-flops, put on a wide-brimmed hat (great for extra sun protection to complement SPF), and drop a sarong or a wide, lightweight cotton scarf into my beach bag, just in case I end up in direct sunlight for a while and want some extra coverage for my shoulders.
I like Coolibar’s Silk Infinity Scarf ($39). Made from hand-dyed twisted silk, it’s lightweight, hardly takes up any space in a bag or luggage, and provides excellent UV protection. One caveat, though: it’s dry clean only.
How about a hat? Clockwise from the black hat on the lower left: Coolibar Shapeable Poolside Sun Hat ($45); Collection XIIX Bold Stripe Floppy Paper Straw Hat ($25); Kinda Shady Straw Sun Hat ($14); August Hat Bead Trim Paper Straw Kettle Hat ($19)
For nice dinners or nights out on the town, I’ll jazz up a dress with a bold necklace, bracelet or earrings and put on a pair of strappy sandals (dressier than flip-flops). I’ll also add a button-down sweater and/or another scarf if it gets chilly at night.
Which reminds me — I love bringing scarves when I travel, even to the tropics. They’re easy, affordable ways to switch up an outfit, and if they’re wide enough, you can even wear them as a wrap on a cool night.
As for hiking, dresses can still work, believe it or not. I’ve done it before. Granted, not on hard-core hikes, but for easy trails.
If you don’t mind looking a little silly in a dress and hiking boots, a dress should do you just fine. For more strenuous activities, though, don’t forget to pack a pair of shorts and a t-shirt in your beach bag or backpack (TIP: If you’re trying to make every cubic inch of packing space count, keep in mind that you can usually find super cheap t-shirts for sale at many tropical tourist destinations, including Hawaii).
With autumn here, this might be a good time to grab some great outgoing summer stuff on sale. Here’s a few ideas I found online…
Lulu.com dresses from the left: Alternative Apparel Racer Tank Grey Dress ($40) and Sidewalk Bistro Striped Dress ($38)
O’Neill dresses from the left: Ever ($44); Heat ($44); Tough Love ($40); and Long Distance ($40)
Clothing ideas for a one-week trip to the tropics in fall/winter
- A few lightweight dresses
- Shorts and tees (although keep in mind that you should be able to get some cheap tees at your destination)
- A wide-brimmed hat
- Bold jewelry (necklaces, earrings and/or bracelets)
- Flip-flops and sandals
- One or two button-down sweaters
- Your swimsuit (of course)
- Board shorts and a rash guard (if you plan to do any surfing)
I hope this helps! Have a blast on your trip, Rachael. I have a feeling you’ll love Hawaii. And don’t forget to let me know about the proposal, because I love a good proposal story.
Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,
P.S. For more packing tips and a few skincare and makeup packing ideas, check out How Do You Pack Your Makeup When You Travel?, Be a Good Student of Travel Makeup with a Clear Pencil Case, When It Comes to Travel Makeup…, Which Skin Care Products Go with You When You Travel?, 5 More Packing Tips for the Perennially Over-Packed.