My All-Important Packing Musts for a Tropical Vacay

Sometimes you're given the glorious opportunity to play harder than you work—such is the case as I was invited on a press trip to the British Virgin Islands. Obviously, I squealed, "Yes!" and was beside myself, especially since it had been years since my last vacation and, I've never been to the Caribbean. I immediately started thinking, “What am I going to pack?" because, yes, I'm a planner, but more so, a shopper, so here are my 10 things I'm bringing to the BVI.

  1. The Dress

    kaftan dress
    Photo by L'Atitude

    One thing you'll learn about me is that I love a good bag, dress that is. A caftan is a packing essential—it goes from cover-up on the beach to elegant (and comfy!) dinner dress in no time. Simply let your hair down, throw on a bold necklace and you're good to go.

    SHOP NOW: Sophia Black Moroccan Caftan, $176, Nude Is Rude,

  2. The Accessory

    j.crew panama hat
    Photo by J.Crew

    Sometimes SPF isn't enough so I throw on a Panama hat. Not only will it give your skin more sun protection, it'll keep your out-of-control beach hair under wraps.

    SHOP NOW: Panama Hat, $58,

  3. The Skin Saver

    alba botanica after-sun lotion
    Photo by Alba Botanica

    During the summer months when I'm getting a ton of sun exposure, I swap out my daily moisturizer for this after-sun lotion. It contains caffeine and shea butter, so it really does the trick of healing skin. Not to mention, it smells delicious!

    SHOP NOW: Hawaiian After-Sun Lotion, $12,

  4. The Sandal

    birkenstock arizona silver sandal
    Photo by Need Supply Co.

    I have a soft spot for the grungy era of the '90s, so I couldn't be happier that Birkenstocks have made their comeback. The only difference between then and now? I've traded in my suede olive green ones for a slicked-up silver version.

    SHOP NOW: Arizona Silver, $100, Birkenstock,

  5. The Bag

    clare vivier kenya tote
    Photo by Clare Vivier

    When I'm in the city, I love my oversized black leather bag however, the beach calls for something more laid-back. This woven tote is not only super-chic, it's also fair trade and made by artisans in Kenya.

    SHOP NOW: Kenya Bag, $189,

  6. The Beauty Product

    heritage rosewater spray
    Photo by Heritage Store

    Airplanes can do some serious damage to your skin so I always carry a little spray bottle of rosewater. It keeps my face moisturized and fresh.

    SHOP NOW: Rosewater Spray, $9,

  7. The Reading Material

    ipad mini
    Photo by Apple

    Personally, I love a good old-fashioned book but I've become obsessed with the Kindle app for iPad. Not only does it make reading easier on the screen, you can store multiple books, which lightens the load.

    SHOP NOW: iPad Mini, from $399,

  8. The Sunglasses

    sunpocket folding sunglasses
    Photo by Sunpocket

    You don't want to be the “I wear my sunglasses at night" person, but it's super important to keep your peepers protected, especially as you get closer to the equator. I love these lightweight retro shades that actually fold, so they take up less space in your carry-on.

    SHOP NOW: Samoa Tortoise Limited Edition, $107,

  9. The Swimsuit

    asos cut out swimsuit
    Photo by ASOS

    Look, I love a bikini just like the next gal because, who really loves dealing with tan lines? That said, sometimes I like to mix it up with a one-piece that leaves a little more to be desired. This little black swimsuit is not your mother's version with its deep plunging neckline and cheeky backside. Besides, it'll cover up a tummy if I end up eating too many tropical snacks.

    SHOP NOW: Deep Plunge Swimsuit, $42,

  10. The Luggage

    brics trunk luggage carry-on
    Photo by Bric's

    As tough as it can be to par down on my packing list, it's all about traveling light (at least that's what they say…). I want to guarantee my luggage doesn't get lost or crushed, so I'm bringing it on board and this carry-on is the chicest route since it looks like a tiny steamer trunk from the days when flying was actually stylish.

    SHOP NOW: Bellagio 21" Carry-On Spinner Trunk, $525,