What to pack for a short break in the sun (to avoid checked baggage fees!)

I love planning holidays and can happily spend hours researching destinations to make sure I make the most of my time whilst away.  The one aspect of travelling I really don’t enjoy though is packing, (and unpacking argh don’t even get me started!)  Packing always takes longer than I think it’s going to and I although I always imagine myself strolling thorough the airport with just a light weight cabin bag in hand I always end up with a bulging suitcase full of clothes I won’t wear.

When I was recently packing for a few nights in Lanzarote I started off really well by checking the weather forecast and then laying out a weather appropriate outfit for each day and night.  I high-fived myself when it all fit into a small cabin bag and then begrudgingly transferred it all into a bigger bag when I failed miserably to fit in my last-minute toiletries.   Of course with more space available I added a few extra outfits ‘just in case’ which as you can guess returned home unworn.

For my next short break in the sun I am determined to avoid checked baggage fees by being a packing pro.  So what are the packing essentials for a short break in the sun?

what to pack for a short break in the sun

What to pack for a short break in the sun (to avoid checked baggage fees!)



* Clothes for travelling in – I like to wear comfortable clothes for the flight and always try to wear the heaviest shoes I am taking (usually trainers) to cut down on the weight of my bag.

* Swimwear – As I tend to spend the majority of my day wearing swimsuits whilst on holiday I like to buy swimwear that I feel really comfortable in to avoid the need to wear a cover up/sarong.

I tend to have a strapless swimsuit for sunbathing on the beach (and avoiding the dreaded tan lines) and a swimsuit with straps for when taking part in water sports (to give me some extra support when I inevitably land ungracefully into the water).

what to pack for a short break in the sun

Riding the slides a few weeks ago in Lanzarote wearing a swimsuit with straps to provide support.

I love these two swimsuits by Simply Beach which give soft cups for bust shape and extra tummy support avoiding the need to suck in the tummy whilst drinking cocktails on the beach.

what to pack for a short break in the sun

Images – Moontide Tribal Geo Twist One Piece with wide straps for great support whilst enjoying water sports and Gottex Hawaii Bandeau One Piece for strap line free tanning.


* Maxi dresses – I like to pack a couple of dresses which can be worn on the beach and in the bar with the change of shoes from sandals to wedges.  My favourite maxi dresses for the last few years have been FatFace ones as they don’t seem to crease and so are perfect for travelling with.

* Shorts & t-shorts – For casual days on the beach, or for taking part in active sports, I like to wear shorts paired with a good cotton fabric t-shirt. (Useful for keeping shoulders covered from the sun too).

* Sleepwear – I find a cotton short set is perfect for humid nights whilst on holiday and not too revealing for enjoying a brew on my hotel balcony in the morning!


* Sandals – I like to pack sandals that will go with several outfits, I find light brown or gold sandals are versatile and have picked up some gorgeous sandals in the past from Accessorize at the airport.

what to pack for a short break in the sun - stylish sandals* Trainers – I tend to wear my trainers for travelling and also wear for heavy sight-seeing days as they provide more support than sandals.

* Wedges – I gave up taking high heels on holiday with me years ago as I never wore them.  Instead I pack a pair of versatile wedges which can be worn to dress up a maxi dresses or worn with trousers and a nice top.


* Sunglasses – After losing my Prada sunglasses whilst body boarding (my husband never has forgiven me) I tend to throw a cheap pair (with still decent UV filters) in my hand luggage as I can easily replace them if I lose them or they get crushed.

what to pack for a short break in the sun - cheap sunglasses

* Sunhat – A woven straw hat is timeless although a baseball cap can work equally well and is easier to travel with. I usually buy a sunhat when I arrive at my holiday destination although I sometimes take it on the flight with me to avoid it getting squashed.

* Jewellery – I never travel with expensive jewellery instead I like to pop a few pairs of earrings and bracelets in my suitcase to jazz up my outfit for the evenings.


* Beach bag – I have a huge sun bag which fits in my towel, book, suncream and water.  I have been known to use a beach bag for travelling with too to avoid having to take a hand bag.  (Just make sure it has a zip if you ditch your hand bag to keep valuables separate).

* Clutch bag – for use in the evenings.

TOILETRIES (which can always be bought at the airport if you wish to save on check in baggage weight). 

* Holiday toiletries – Suncream and lip balm with SPF and after-sun (ideally with insect repellent).  Small first aid kit with plasters, imodium and dioralyte for when you’ve had a few too many cocktails!

* Travel sized regular daily toiletries – Shower gel, shampoo and conditioner (although most hotels will supply these if you really want to cut back on baggage), deodorant, cleanser, moisturiser, razors, toothbrush and toothpaste, hair brush and hair bands.  If taking in hand luggage make sure they are not in containers bigger than 50ml (or buy at the airport).


* I never travel with my full make up bag but instead go through and pick out my daily essentials including waterproof mascara, concealer, blusher and highlighter.


* A camera, phone charger plus a travel adaptor are a must when travelling. (I also find a mobile charger is essential for days when you know you will be taking lots of photos).


* Passport (and visa details if needed).

* Travel insurance documents 

* Currency and cash cards (make sure you let your bank know you are travelling to avoid problems whilst abroad).

Do you have any more packing essentials for a short break in the sun?  Let me know your packing hacks in the comments below. 


Disclaimer – This is a collaborative post with Simply Beach.  All thoughts and opinions are, as always, my own.  Copyright – Images of swimsuits – Simply Beach.  Images of sandals – Accessorize.  

Pin for later

What to pack for a short break in the sun



  1. Kath Mendez
    28th November 2017 / 2:18 am

    I think this will be everything one would need on a trip. I would just like to ask what do you use to protect your self from the sun. Anyways, thank you for sharing!

    • 29th November 2017 / 9:00 am

      To be honest Kath I don’t stick with one brand, I tend to go with what is on offer but always look for a high SPF and at least four star UVA protection. I buy a high factor for my face (and a SPF 50 for my kids) and about a SPF 30 to protect my body.

  2. 26th November 2017 / 11:12 pm

    I think you’ve got it pretty much nailed. And I’m with you on the light brown or gold sandals to team with outfits. They’re my staple shoes for the sun!

    • 11th January 2018 / 6:44 pm

      Mine too Cath!

  3. 26th November 2017 / 9:32 am

    I am terrible at packing light for holiday, even checking in (years ago) I ended up paying over the baggage allowance – one of my tips would be a kindle too as I do love to read on holiday. Great tips!

    • 27th November 2017 / 9:25 am

      Ooh yes me too Laura! I’ll add above;)

  4. 25th November 2017 / 10:03 pm

    I tend to avoid hot places and beach holidays. I don’t think I’ve ever owned a pair of sunglasses! But some of your tips are quite relevant for winter holidays too.

    • 27th November 2017 / 9:26 am

      Yes absolutely, many of the essentials are the same for winter hols too. P.S I can’t believe you’ve never owned a pair of sunglasses! I have to wear them in the winter too with the low sun

  5. 25th November 2017 / 3:52 pm

    With the weather as cold as it is today I could definitely do with a trip in the sun! This is such a handy little post that I’m going to bookmark for next year.

    • 27th November 2017 / 9:27 am

      Lanzarote feels like forever ago already Cathryn and it was only two weeks ago! I’m in need of some sunshine again now too

  6. 25th November 2017 / 11:11 am

    I am on the hunt for a new swim costume as I need some new ones, thanks for the recommendation. Great packing tips, I always take far too much with me when we travel x

    • 27th November 2017 / 9:27 am

      Glad to hear I’m not the only one!

    • 27th November 2017 / 9:28 am

      I tend to wear my fav’s again and again anyway! Regardless of what I pack;)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

CommentLuv badge