What to Pack for a Tropical Vacation Using Only Your Carry-on

What to Pack for a Tropical Vacation Using Only Your Carry-on

What to pack for a tropical vacation where you’ll encounter sun, humidity, bugs, moisture and wind? This question is top of mind for me right now. My husband, two boys and I are preparing for 5 weeks in the South Pacific. Eeep! We are SO excited! We scored a 3 island package from Costco Travel that includes time on Tahiti, Bora Bora, and Moorea.

My family and I have traveled quite a bit and we have this thing about not liking to check bags. In some ways it’s harder and in other ways it’s so much easier. You do have to carefully limit what you bring along. But there’s no schlepping huge suitcases through airports, hotels, tiny winding cobblestone streets, etc. We will be gone for 5 weeks this time and are only taking carry-ons.

Here are the 12-ish things in my carry-on for this trip and what to pack for a tropical vacation. You’ll notice a lot of black and a lot of linen. Linen is great for hot, humid climates because it breathes so well. Black is great for travel because it hides spills and stains until you get home and can take care of them properly. Before I pack up, I try everything on to make sure all the pieces work together. You don’t want any surprises when you get to your destination!

Here’s my list: 

  1. Linen Pants. I’m packing these Old Navy Mid Rise Linen Blend Pants in a tall 36″ inseam. For this trip, I’m taking black pants since we’ll be gone for 5 weeks and I’m hoping to minimize the amount of laundry I’ll need to do on vacation. Black is great for hiding spills, though it is a warmer color for a sunny location. When we went to Egypt, I chose a very light tan shade that was excellent for daytime sightseeing in 100′-plus temps. These are tall and say they have a 36″ inseam, but I measured the inseam and it’s closer to 33.5″. I normally need a 35″ inseam on a bootcut pant, but these are drapey and loose so the length needs to be shorter. Buy linen pants in the exact length you need at SearchByInseam.com. I’ll be reviewing these soon at blog.searchbyinseam.com.
    Old Navy Mid-Rise Linen-Blend Pants
    What to Pack for a Tropical Vacation Using Only Your Carry-on: Old Navy Mid-Rise Linen-Blend Pants

     

  2. A Big Soft Wrap. I chose a Glint Metallic Wrap in black similar to this Glint Metallic Lightweight Wrap . It’s so soft and cushy and will be a perfect pillow on the plane, protect me from germs, and keep me warm. (I read that you should cover your mouth with a wrap/scarf every time someone near you on the plane sneezes or coughs.) Once we’re on the islands, it’ll be an excellent swimsuit cover-up and extra layer once the sun goes down.
    Glint Pleated Metallic Wrap
    What to Pack for a Tropical Vacation Using Only Your Carry-on: Glint Pleated Metallic Wrap

     

  3. A Convertible Dress/Skirt. This Patagonia Kamala Convertible Jersey Skirt does double duty as a dress that can be worn two ways (straps can be worn as a halter or tied in front in a bow and worn as a strapless dress) as well as a midi skirt. 3 looks from the very same piece makes this a perfect space-saving item to take on vacation. I’m hoping to get some stunning Tahitian pearls to wear with this dress in strapless form! 🙂
    Patagonia Kamala Convertible Jersey Skirt
    What to Pack for a Tropical Vacation Using Only Your Carry-on: Patagonia Kamala Convertible Jersey Skirt

     

  4.  A Linen Dress. I chose this Old Navy Cinched Waist Linen Blend Dressto be a swimsuit cover-up or another dress for dinner. I only see the solid black available in plus sizes now, but I found it in a regular tall size this spring. This a great fit on my hourglass shape. It goes well with the black metallic wrap and is easy to dress up or keep casual.
    Cinched-Waist Linen-Blend Dress
    What to pack for a tropical vacation: Cinched-Waist Linen-Blend Dress

     

  5. A Linen Tank Top. This Paige Analia Linen Tank is super lightweight and shouldn’t stick to me in humid weather. I got the white color pictured below so I could wear it with my black pants, black skirt, or blue shorts. If I need to hand wash this on the trip, it’ll dry in a snap!
    PAIGE Analia Linen Tank
    What to Pack for a Tropical Vacation Using Only Your Carry-on: PAIGE Analia Linen Tank

     

  6. A Linen Tee. I have a linen tee from The LOFT that I’m taking this time, but this Old Navy Relaxed Linen Blend Curved Hem Tee is similar. Mine is white with black polka dots. It works with my black linen pants, my black skirt, and the linen shorts. I like to take tops that work with all the bottoms so I can make a bunch of different outfits.
    Old Navy Relaxed Linen-Blend Curved-Hem Tee
    What to Pack for a Tropical Vacation Using Only Your Carry-on: Old Navy Relaxed Linen-Blend Curved-Hem Tee

     

  7. A Linen Long Sleeved Tee. It should be about 80′ every day, but there may be some wind at night. I also need something long sleeved for the plane. So I found this Old Navy linen blend long sleeved boyfriend tee. It’s looser than I like, but if I wind up with a sunburn I’ll be thankful to have something on the looser end than on the clingy end. 🙂
    Old Navy Linen Blend Boyfriend Long Sleeved Tee
    What to Pack for a Tropical Vacation Using Only Your Carry-on: Old Navy Linen Blend Boyfriend Long Sleeved Tee

     

  8. Linen Shorts. Linen, linen, and more linen! This is the last linen item on my list, I promise. 🙂 These Old Navy Relaxed Linen Blend Shorts are fitted enough to be stylish, but loose enough to be comfortable on a hot muggy day. They have a 7″ inseam which is not too short and not too long, in my opinion. The blue in the shorts is the perfect match to the blue stripe in my linen tank!
    Old Navy Relaxed Linen-Blend Shorts
    What to Pack for a Tropical Vacation Using Only Your Carry-on: Old Navy Relaxed Linen-Blend Shorts

     

  9. Birkenstock Sandals. I’m packing these metallic silver Birkenstock Gizeh Birko-Flor Thongs because they work with my linen pants, shorts, and dresses and they have arch support. They take up very little room in my carry-on as well.
    Birkenstock Gizeh Birko-Flor Thong
    What to Pack for a Tropical Vacation Using Only Your Carry-on: Birkenstock Gizeh Birko-Flor Thong

     

  10. Chaco Sport Sandals. I do feel a little clunky when I wear these, but I just haven’t found a better pair of sandals for arch support than Chaco Z/1 Classic Sandals. They do get stinky after awhile, but wash up well in the washing machine with a load of laundry and air dried outside in the sun. I just washed mine before packing them, so they wouldn’t stink up my carry-on! 🙂
  11. Bug Repellent. I read the Consumer Reports Insect Repellent Buying Guide and lined that up with the CDC’s recommendation for 30% DEET. Then I bought a few different brands and types (spray, lotion and wipes) on  Amazon.com to see what works best for me and my family. The wipes are nice because they aren’t liquid like the other types that need to fit in a quart-size bag. I hate that rule. 😐
    30% DEET Wipes: What to Pack for a Tropical Vacation
    30% DEET Wipes: What to Pack for a Tropical Vacation

     

  12. Sunscreen, swimsuits, and rash guards, of course! I have several 3 oz. bottles of sunscreen packed, because I’ve heard it’s very expensive to buy more in French Polynesia. For swimsuits, I’m going with a bikini top and short skirted bottom. I’ve found this style is great for coverage. I can play with my kids and not worry about the perfect bikini line shave every morning, either. I’m also taking a short sleeved rash guard and a long sleeved rash guard from Lands’ End to keep my back from getting scorched while snorkeling.

    My Lands' End Long Sleeved Rash Guard
    My Lands’ End Long Sleeved Rash Guard

I’ll buy a cute straw hat from a street vendor once we get there. And there you have it: what to pack for a tropical vacation using only your carry-on! Bon voyage!

What to Pack for a Tropical Vacation Using Only Your Carry-on

Up to $100 off Lands’ End

Get $30 off $100, $60 off $150, or $100 off $250 or more at Lands’ End right now Use promo code SUPER and PIN 1067. Offer ends June 21, 2017. Wondering what to buy? How about some new slimming black high rise straight leg jeans that come in inseam lengths of 26″, 28″, 30″, 32″, 34″ and 36″. They also come in plus inseam lengths of 28″, 30″ and 32″. Find these and other great jeans in lots of inseam lengths at SearchByInseam.com.

 

Lands End Jeans
Lands End Womens Jeans
What to Pack for a Tropical Vacation Using Only Your Carry-on

Tall Joggers with a 35″ Inseam Length

These tall joggers have a 35″ inseam! Normally joggers (i.e. jogging pants) stop at about ankle-length, so these would actually pool on me. While I need a 35″ inseam for full-length pants, I only need a 31″ inseam for skinny leg or ankle-length pants. These Tall Cuffed Jersey Pants come in both grey and navy colors and have a cute and classy tipped drawstring. These sweatpants would be great for working out, running errands, or lounging around home. Which reminds me… Is anyone else reading The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living? Because these pants are very hygge. While I’m only about halfway through the book so am not yet an expert, I think the Danish would approve of these cozy pants! 🙂 And as I’m reading, we can all use some more comfy-cozy in our crazy lives.

Anyway, it’s often hard for tall people to find lounge pants that are long enough, but these should fit the bill for most of us. Who can be cozy when their ankles are exposed? I guess you could add some warm woolly socks if you’re lounging at home, but that’s not ideal if you want to wear these out and about with some cute slip-on sneakers. If you need something longer than a 35″ inseam, consider these 39″ inseam yoga pants I posted about recently. Guys looking for tall lounge pants can check out these 34″ inseam sleep pants, but I’m struggling to find anything longer right now for men. I’ll keep looking and post men’s workout and lounge pants here. In the meantime, you can find more tall women’s workout and lounge pants in every length and style at SearchByInseam.com.

Tall Joggers with 35" inseam
Tall Joggers with 35″ inseam
What to Pack for a Tropical Vacation Using Only Your Carry-on

40% off Banana Republic

Get 40% off your purchase at Banana Republic right now, exclusions apply. Wondering what to buy? How about these Women’s Stay White Slim Straight Jeans that resist water, oil and other stains so the jeans actually stay white? Pretty cool! The 40% off offer is applied automatically at checkout; no code needed. Offer ends June 19, 2017. Free shipping on any order over $50.

Banana Republic Women's Stay White Slim Straight Jeans
Banana Republic Women’s Stay White Slim Straight Jeans
What to Pack for a Tropical Vacation Using Only Your Carry-on

Men’s 38″ Inseam Pants

These men’s 38″ inseam pants come in 3 colors and 4 different lengths.  Men’s Big & Tall Cutter & Buck Beckett Straight Leg Washed Cotton Pants come in black, tan, and navy. They are available in 32″, 34″, 36″ and 38″ inseam lengths. These pants have a flat front as opposed to pleated (pleated pants aren’t IN right now, guys!). You can wash these in your washing machine and dry them on low heat. On sale now for 35% off, they are only $69.99 (normally $108). These pants are only available online and fit true to size. Find more men’s 38″ inseam pants at SearchByInseam.com.

Men's 38" Inseam Pants
Men’s 38″ Inseam Pants
What to Pack for a Tropical Vacation Using Only Your Carry-on

39″ Inseam Yoga Pants

39″ inseam yoga pants exist! Yes, they actually do! I couldn’t believe it when I saw these yesterday. I added them to SearchByInseam.com right away. They are the longest pair of yoga pants I’ve ever seen.

These Victoria’s Challenge Tummy Slimmer Compression Flare Boot Cut Black Pants come in inseam lengths of 39″, 37″, 35″, 33″, 31″, and 29″. They range in length from super long to quite petite. After you select the length, you can choose mid-rise or high-rise. I’ve never seen that option before! There’s a 30 day money back guarantee and the description says the compression fabric supports your muscles. I think my muscles need all the support they can get. 🙂

39 Inseam Yoga Pants
Yoga pants in inseam lengths of 39″, 37″, 35″, 33″, 31″ and 29″.

These multi-length yoga pants are available on SearchByInseam.com, where you can search for workout pants,  jeans, pants, and shorts quickly and easily for the exact length you need. We have plus sizes, maternity sizes, and men’s sizes as well. SearchByInseam.com is for anyone having trouble finding the right length of jeans, pants, or shorts. Start your search now!

What to Pack for a Tropical Vacation Using Only Your Carry-on

Wearing a Shift as a Top Works Well for Tall Frame

Yes, I’m wearing a shift as a top instead of a dress – and it actually works! I’d normally nix the idea of wearing such a short dress because I’m so tall it would be super short. But I’ve been following Tanasha of Pretty Tall Style for a few weeks now and she pulls it off so well! She’s 6’4″ (which is 4″ taller than me) and I love how she wears this blue mini dress as a top. I’ve never thought of wearing a short dress as a top before, but it works so well with skinny jeans! I decided to try the trick of wearing a shift as a top for myself and ordered this Corey Red Kendra Shift from Rent the Runway as part of my Unlimited subscription.

This shift is the best, brightest color of orange. I love it how pops! It has a perforated pattern that is really fun and has handy side pockets. There is lining from the shoulder to the hemline. The three-quarter-length sleeves aren’t lined, so your skin is visible through the holes on the arms. I received a lot of compliments on the shift and I liked how it looked with my Hudson Nico Elysian Mid Rise Skinny Jeans that I reviewed here (available on SearchByInseam.com in a 30″ inseam) and my Earthies nude flats that have amazing arch support (and are available in sizes 5-12).

Other Rent the Runway reviewers wore this as a short dress. I think I’m the first one to wear it as a top with jeans! I’m going to have to try this again! No more ruling out short dresses; I’ll just re-purpose them! Thanks to Tanasha of Pretty Tall Style  for letting me in on this fashion secret for tall women. 🙂 Photo by Jason Henderson.

wearing a shift as a top
Wearing a shift as a top
What to Pack for a Tropical Vacation Using Only Your Carry-on

Athleta Promo Code + Tall Pants

It’s a new Athleta promo code, everyone! If you like shopping at Athleta like I do, you know the sales and special offers are few and far between. Well here’s a great offer for $25 off $150 or $50 off $250! Just use the Athleta promo code ADVENTURE at checkout. Wondering what to buy? I love my Athleta Stripe Linen Pants pictured below and wrote a review on them here. They have a mid rise, relaxed leg, and come in 3 different inseam lengths: 30″ inseam for petite women, 32″ inseam for regular length-legged ladies, and 35″ inseam for tall women.

I also have the 35″ inseam Athleta Snow Cruiser Pants that I actually got to use several times this year because we had multiple snow days in Seattle! Crazy. And I also have the Athleta Polartec Power Stretch Pant in a 35″ inseam that keeps me warm all fall, winter, and spring. (I’m a cold body.) I’ve also got a couple other Athleta workout pants, so you can see how much I love this brand. 🙂 It’s so hard to find workout, ski, and lounge pants in a 35″ inseam, so I will be forever loyal as long as they keep that as their default tall inseam length!

Anyway, this Athleta promo code offer for $25 off $150 or $50 off $250 ends May 22, 2017. Restrictions apply. Get free shipping on orders of $50 or more and free returns on every order. Search for Athleta pants in your exact inseam length by going to SearchByInseam.com and searching by brand and inseam length. Happy shopping!

Athleta Stripe Linen Pants
Athleta Stripe Linen Pants in 30″, 32″ and 35″ inseam lengths
What to Pack for a Tropical Vacation Using Only Your Carry-on

Review of Vince White Geo Lace Overlay Top

I rented this Vince White Geo Lace Overlay Top from Rent the Runway as part of the Unlimited program. It was a fun rental that I wore a couple of times while I had it. The top is structured, albeit a little boxy on my hourglass frame. (Tops with cinched/fitted waists look best on an hourglass figure.) But I like that this top is more dressed up than just a simple t-shirt. It has a white cotton weave on top with a really cool geometric design. It’s partially lined and was perfect for my son’s spring birthday party. I was baking up a storm for his birthday brunch party and this kept me cool and comfortable while also still festive. It was long enough in the torso for my 6′ frame and I received several complements. I did have to be careful not to snag the lace overlay, especially when hanging it up. I paired this Vince top with my Paige Transcend Manhattan Boot Cut Jeans that I reviewed here and continue to keep getting compliments on! They are my favorite pair of jeans right now, although I’m venturing in to my cropped jeans on warm sunny days. Sun, please stay! These tall Paige jeans are available in a 34.75″ inseam and you can find them at SearchByInseam.com.

Vince Top and Paige Jeans
Vince White Geo Lace Overlay Top and Paige Transcend Manhattan Boot Cut Jeans