Your long-awaited spring break trip is almost here, and you have no idea what to pack. You only have a carry-on, but you’re expected to be prepared for every occasion while also embracing the spontaneity of collegiate spring break. Packing multipurpose items and ones that take up little space in your suitcase can maximize your wardrobe and ensure you will have an outfit for every crazy night on the town or day of shopping with your girlfriends. Read on for the 13 wardrobe essentials you won’t want to forget when you pack for your spring break trip!
1. A Swimsuit
If you’re lucky enough to be heading to the warm weather this spring break, pack a few bathing suits to show off the beach body you’ve been slaving over all winter. Packing more than one suit will give you variety and will ensure that you won’t be stuck throwing on a cold, damp bikini for your second beach trip of the day. Bathing suits take up virtually no room in your suitcase, so this is one clothing item you can definitely load up on!
Victoria’s Secret Bandeau Top and Bottoms, $43 - $57
Bandeau tops are a great way to avoid those pesky tan lines, and with the variety of affordable options provided by Victoria’s Secret, you can easily mix and match your bikini colors and patterns for a unique swimsuit.
If traditional triangle bikinis are more your style, try a fun, patterned one like this swimsuit from Billabong. The color-blocked print will be sure to turn heads at the beach, and the neon colors will perfectly accent your tan.
2. Rubber Flip-Flops
The salt and sand at the beach can weather your favorite shoes quickly, so for a more resilient option, pack some rubber sandals. Rubber flip-flops will protect the soles of your feet from the hot sand, but they can be easily rinsed with water and restored like new.
Havaianas offers hundreds of rubber flip-flops in a range of colors and styles to suit your tastes. These flip-flops are both durable and comfortable, and with their slim fit, they lack the bulkiness of a lot of other flip-flops, so they’ll be easy to pack.
Yes, you read the price correctly! Old Navy is famous for offering amazing deals on their Classic Flip-Flops, so buy a few of these essential items!
3. A Beach Cover-Up
You’ll be probably be running back and forth to the hotel, the beach and the pool during your trip, and while it might not always be appropriate to only wear a bikini in public, throwing a cover-up over your suit can make it perfectly acceptable. These dress cover-ups are cute and practical, transforming your swimsuit into an outfit instantly.
This tie-waist cover-up from Victoria’s Secret is the perfect dress to wear over your swimsuit while you run out to lunch. It’s great to throw over your suit on a chilly day and save you from having to put together an entire outfit that you have to change in and out of.
This cute Free People dress doubles as a cover-up but can be worn on its own or with leggings. The versatile piece comes in a variety of colors, so choose one you love in order to show off your personal style.
4. A Hat
Prevent sun damage while you’re lying in the sand with high-SPF sunscreen and a hat to shield your face. While baseball caps are cute and practical, try one of these hats for a more stylish option. Your skin will thank you, and your new UV protection doubles as the perfect accessory.
J.Crew Summer Straw Hat, $34.50
A large straw hat goes above and beyond the call of duty as both a stylish and practical summer accessory. No need to limit its use just to the beach, because it can dress up an outfit instantly and shade your face during an outdoor lunch.
If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, try one of the colorful, floppy summer hats from American Apparel. This accessory can be matched to your outfit and will surely turn heads as you strut around the beach.
Shield your eyes from the sun’s harsh glare with some stylish shades. Pack a few pairs in case you lose one. With a couple of styles to choose from, you’ll be able to customize your look completely.
This rounded pair of sunglasses is a new twist on the classic aviator style. Few things feel as glamorous as wearing some big shades and a large hat while you lay in the sun. Indulge your inner celebrity status with this pair from American Apparel.
Shorts are a staple in any spring or summer wardrobe. Pack some denim shorts for everyday wear and a chino or linen pair that you can dress up or down.
These classic dark-wash jean shorts can be thrown over some bathing suit bottoms or worn for a day out on the town.
A pair of colored chino shorts will add variety to your wardrobe and can be dressed up or down for a day or night look.
7. Tank Tops
“Suns out, guns out” isn’t just for the boys! Show some shoulder this spring break with fun and flirty tank tops. Tank tops will take up very little room in your suitcase and can easily be thrown on over a bathing suit or worn with some shorts.
The perfect daytime top, this detailed white tank goes perfectly with denim shorts for a shopping trip or lunch with friends.
Tobi Eyes On Me Top, $36
This floral top is feminine, fun and perfect for your spring break trip. Pair it with shorts or dress it up with a cute miniskirt for a going-out look.
8. A Sundress
Show some leg with a short, summery sundress. Sundresses provide a whole outfit in just one simple clothing item, fitting into your suitcase perfectly and leaving room for fun accessories like a large hat and wedges.
Pacsun LA Hearts Babydoll Dress, $34.95
A fit-and-flare floral dress is girly without being too dressy. The cotton material makes this dress a little more casual; it’s great for a daytime look for brunch with the girls.
9. A Going-Out Dress
While on break, you’ll be spending your days at the beach your nights out on the town. It can be difficult to pack for both, but with nicer dresses, you can pack a variety of options without weighing down your suitcase.
This low-back option comes in bright, summery colors to show off the glow you’ve been baking in the sun for. Paired with some wedges or heels, it’s a great option for a bar night or dinner with friends. The ruffled edging along the front and back give the dress and especially girly look.
The lace detailing on the top of the dress shows a more feminine side, while the dark color and form-fitting shape adds edge.
10. A Cross-body Bag
Especially while traveling somewhere unfamiliar, it’s important to keep the essentials on you at all times: your cell phone, money, credit cards, ID, gum, lip gloss and room key, to name a few. Bring a cross-body bag with you to hold all of your essentials when you go out. If you wear it all night, you won’t have to worry about putting your bag down and forgetting it while you’re out.
The light coloring of this Urban Outfitters cross-body bag is perfect for the summer, while the tassel gives it a little extra personality and fun. This small bag is compact and light but has enough room to hold your phone and other essentials when you go out.
While flip-flops are practical footwear options for the beach, you’ll want to wear other shoes for dressier occasions. Wedges are a summery option that are often much more comfortable than standard heels. They provide stability and comfort while giving you height. Elongate your legs and show off your bikini body with a pair of cute wedges that can be worn day or night.
Steve Madden Roperr Wedges, $79.95
Steve Madden has a variety of options for strappy wedges, but these Roperr sandals come in a beige and camel design that makes them versatile. Pair these with a sundress during the day or your going-out dress at night.
Taupe wedges are a great neutral option, which means you can pack just one pair of shoes for virtually any outfit. The heel is high enough to be very flattering but low enough to be comfortable and easy to walk in.
12. A Beach Bag
We always bring our bulkiest items to the beach. Whether it’s our towel or our book that’s taking up the most space, it’s annoying to have all of our beach essentials in one arm and a beach chair in the other. A large canvas bag will be able to withstand the sand while holding the five magazines that you just had to bring.
A large tote bag like this one by Billabong is both a cute accessory and a practical way to carry all of your spring break essentials. The material will hold up against the sun and sand at the beach. The bag can double as a carry-on as you travel to and from your spring break destination. Just swap out your computer and sweater for a towel and your favorite book, and you’ll be ready to hit the beach!
13. A Light Jacket
The whole point of your spring break trip may be to escape the cold, but don’t expect your destination to be warm all the time. Even in Florida, the nights can still get pretty chilly, so pack a sweater or light jacket for the cooler days of your vacation.
Gap 1969 denim jacket, $69.95
A denim jacket is a light and stylish option to throw over your sundress or tank tops. This is a timeless choice that is great for transitioning between seasons, so keep it on hand for every occasion!
Open-knit sweaters like the Open Stitch Cardigan from Urban Outfitters can be thrown over an outfit as a stylish accessory. Pack this light sweater in your beach bag for windier days by the water.
So pull your shorts and tank tops out from storage and dust off your flip-flops, because spring break will be here before you know it. If you’re lucky enough to be heading to the beach, be sure to pack more than just a swimsuit with our list of spring break wardrobe essentials. Stay cool, enjoy the sun and be sure to wear plenty of sunscreen!