Packing for Turks and Caicos
As most of you know by now, I LOVE Turks and Caicos. I mean, after all…I started a blog named “Dream Turks and Caicos.” WHY?! Well…because my husband and I are always “dreaming of Turks and Caicos.” It is our happy place. It is the place we think about when we have had a bad day or the place we have soo many wonderful memories…I could go on and on.
Despite having been to Turks and Caicos many times…despite knowing exactly what to expect…despite knowing that I am packing too much time after time…I have finally decided to travel with a carry on only on my upcoming trip. In this post I am going to discuss how to pack for Turks and Caicos in a carry on. I will be the first to admit that the idea scares me. Well…not like “boo” kind of scare but I guess more like an anxiety kind of scare because that means I cannot pack my entire life in my luggage.
If I am being real…I NEVER use half of what I take, but it is like a security blanket of some sorts. I like having options even though I know when I get there I will not wear half of what I take. Let us be for real..who really needs like 5 pairs of shoes on a beach vacation. I mean…I usually think I do.
My husband and I went to Turks and Caicos several months back. For the first time in all of our travels, our luggage got lost. We did not have it until our second day there. You can imagine had badly I freaked out…I mean…my entire life was in that suitcase. For the first night of our vacation, I had to wear a thick sweater to dinner because it was either a t-shirt that I typically sleep in or a sweater.
Can you say hot?! I also had on like a dressy style sneaker with that sweater. So..not only did I wear a sweater to dinner our first night, but I wore a sweater and sneakers because it was all I had. I did not even have flip flops. Luckily, I did pack a swimsuit in my shoulder back. Otherwise, I would not have even been able to swim the first day and second day.
Because of this issue, my husband and I decided that on our upcoming trip we would each pack in a carry on and see how that goes. So, I am going to list the things you REALLY need for Turks and Caicos and not just the things you WANT and probably not going to use anyway once you are there.
How to Pack for Turks and Caicos in a Carry On
First of all…you do not need a different swimsuit cover up for everyday and 10 pairs of shoes and 3 pairs of sunglasses and 10 outfits for a 7 day vacation. Oh, and you also do not need every swimsuit you own. Yes, those are all things I typically take. Let me be real for a minute…no one really cares if you wear the same swimsuit cover everyday. No one there cares if you wear two swimsuits in a day or fancy clothes every night for dinner. You are not competing with anyone on how you are dressed.
Everyone in your hotel and in Turks and Caicos are there for one thing – GRACE BAY BEACH. Therefore, take this time to just relax and not worry what anyone thinks and just have a laid back kind of vacation. After all, a laid back kind of vacation is exactly what I look for EVERY SINGLE TIME.
Now, to the luggage…
This is based on a seven night stay. This can also be modified in terms of the type of outfits for dinner…depending on where you are eating. Although..I’ve gone into the fanciest of restaurants in denim cutoff shorts and a cute top and sandals and never gotten “in trouble” or frowned upon.
Clothing & Shoes
- 7 days = 7 outfits
- Casual sundresses
- Shorts + Tops (I will even wear the same shorts and mix up the tops)
- Lightweight pants + tops
- A pair of flip flops for beach
- 2 other pairs of shoes to go with the outfits you are taking – for me this is one pair of black sandals and one pair of tan sandals
- A couple sleep shirts and shorts (depending on what you sleep in)
- 3-4 swimsuits
Please note…you do not need a “day” outfit and a “night” outfit. The best thing to do…which is what I do when I am there…wake up…shower…put on my swimsuit and cover up…eat breakfast…head to beach. I stay in the swimsuit from the time I get up until the time we go back into the room to shower for dinner. You can go anywhere you want to go in a swimsuit, cover up, and flip flops. Pretty much any beach activity or excursion will require this exact same dress code as well. I mean..how easy is this. So…no “two outfits per day.” The swimsuit and cover up is your day by day outfit. After all…you are at the beach.
For dinner at night, I typically wear something cute and comfy. In November, I will carry mostly light weight pants and cute tops, shorts with cute tops, and a couple cozy dresses. I like to be comfortable at dinner. This will actually be my first trip to Turks and Caicos in November. So, I’m not sure what the weather will be like. I am always cold, so I am always prepared with a lightweight sweater if needed. Most people (including my husband) laugh at me because anything under 80 and I’m covering up.
I understand that some people have bath and beauty items that they cannot live with out..even when they travel. For me, I keep it pretty simple. I of course carry my makeup…(I’m a makeup and skincare junkie). For my makeup, I just pick out my favorite things in my makeup bag and carry those. I do not carry everything I own. As for perfume…my little secret is to take samples. When I buy beauty products from Sephora, Ulta, or Nordstrom….I always choose perfume, or face wash or something that I can take with me when I travel. Doing this eliminates the need for carrying full sized bottles of perfume.
So, right now, I have at least 4 samples of perfume, mascara samples, and face wash samples. Those items will take up practically no space which will leave me room for other items. An easy way to save room on your face creams is to get a contact lenses container and fill each side with different products and label them. I always do this because it prevents me from carrying my large bottles of serums and creams. One time I left my entire bathroom bag at a hotel room and then freaked out. It costed me $50 to get it shipped back…but it literally had skin care, perfume…everything…which was all pretty pricey.
I always carry travel sized shampoo and conditioner. I do not normally like the shampoo and conditioner that most hotels provide. However, depending on where you stay…you may get nicer items. I mean…some hotels provide salon brand products. In addition to shampoo and conditioner…I always need mousse, hairspray, and dry shampoo. Typically I take my full sized bottles of these products, but for this trip…I will obviously have to do carry on sizes since we are doing carry on only bags. I found a travel size of CHI hairspray at TJ MAXX a couple of weeks ago for like $4…which I considered a steal. PSSST brand is my favorite dry shampoo and I have already picked up a travel bottle of this.
Other than makeup and hair…you just need some good lotion. If you are like me, the sand and saltwater dries your skin out. So…a good lotion and moisturizer is a must. Oh, and of course a toothbrush and travel sized toothpaste.
Sunscreen, Sunglasses, and Hats
Sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat are 3 really important items to have. I am that person who has way too many sunglasses. So, for this trip…I will stick to my favorite pair only. I use Think Sport sunscreen which is actually the right size to carry in a carry on. The Think Sport is what I use on my face. For my body, I like Hawaiian Tropic. I have some of this left from this summer…so I will just fill a travel sized container up with this. As for hats, I prefer a ball cap and a wide brim fedora. I will carry the fedora and put the ball cap in the bag.
Stick to the Necessities
When traveling with a carry on, you must stick to the necessities. There are other things we like to carry with us like..beach towels..but why? All the resorts provide beach towels so this is just being excessive. The hotel rooms have hair dryers…so leave yours at home. Again, I always take my own…but it is staying at home this year. Floats…we like to have our own floats…but again, most resorts have complimentary floats. We do have our own snorkel gear which we are going to take a backpack for. Again, there are many things you can cut out when traveling with a carry on only. Obviously, if you are taking full size luggage then you can pack whatever you want because you have plenty of room.
When I pack for my trip in the next month, I will take pictures and include everything I packed and let you know how it goes for me. I will also let you know if I recommend a carry on or checked luggage for Turks and Caicos. I hope my “How to Pack for Turks and Caicos in a Carry On” has helped you. Packing in a carry on is a learning experience for me just like anyone else.
To sum it all up…..
What to Pack in Carry On
- 7 outfits for 7 nights (and even this may be overkill)
- No more than 3 pairs of shoes
- 3-4 swimsuits (or less)
- One pair of sunglasses
- A hat and/or ball cap
- Bug Spray (I’ve never needed it but carry it just in case)
- Your favorite beauty/skincare products…you do not need your entire bathroom
- Use travel sized/sample products
What to Leave at Home
- Hairdryer (your room has one)
- Beach Towel (complimentary at pool and beach)
- Full sized hair products
- Excessive amounts of clothing that you will not wear
- Excessive amounts of shoes…stick to flats… I take heals and never wear
How to Pack for Turks and Caicos in a carry on is easy…or it seems 🙂
I will let you know how my first trip in a carry on goes!