Packing for a QUICK Airport to Resort Transition

what to wear for a tropical vacation in transit

[trip style = sun + steal + luxe]

Wouldn’t it be nice if we all could travel in roomy jets, sip Champagne on Cloud 9, and strut STRAIGHT from the plane to the pool at touchdown? 

If there's one thing I've learned from quick trips to tropical locals is not to waste time between the airport and resort. You're there for sun and relaxation, right? So, start ASAP. Read: Forget unpacking {you can do that later} and browsing the hotel, and get an umbrella drink in your hand on the double!   

After years of editing and re-editing my travel routine down to an art, I’ve settled on the following packing techniques for an easy-breezy airport-to-resort transition. Because, let’s be honest, if you’re traveling somewhere hot, you’ve got one thing on your mind: Sitting at the water’s edge. Stat.

plane-to-pool tote

1. Bring a plane-to-pool travel tote

The key to your jet-set success is selecting a tote {read: “personal item” in plane-speak} that’s chic and sturdy enough for the plane and casual enough for the pool. I have a few bags that I take based on where I’m going. If I’m headed to an upscale resort I pack my large leather purse, which I embellish with tassels for a tropical feel. If my destination is a sand-in-your-toes stay, I bring a hand-woven bucket purse with leather straps. In either case: Save time and packing space combining your travel and pool tote into one, meaning there’s no need to pack an extra bag for the beach.

2.  Wear part of your pool garb in transit

Don't worry, this does NOT involve wearing your bathing suit under your clothes, but the next step in arriving poolside arriba is wearing your pool cover-up on the airplane.
Ladies: Select a large scarf, an upscale poncho, an oversized button-down shirt, or a kimono that can go from home > hotel > plane > pool. This way, you don’t need to open your suitcase and select a pool outfit—you’re already wearing it!
Guys: This one is easy for you, a white t-shirt looks chic in the sky and over your trunks at the swimming pool.

plane to pool packing tips

3. The essentials

The reason you need a personal item the size of a laptop bag {ladies: Think oversized purse} is to set you up for the pool, p-r-o-n-t-o! Basics I always pack include a high-SPF face and body sunscreen {three ounces or fewer, duh}, a hat, a book, flat sandals (if I haven’t worn them on the plane), and my bathing suit. This way, all my essentials are ready and I can change into my bathing suit anywhere. 

4. Get there, FASTER 

Waiting at the carousel for checked luggage, waiting in line for a taxi with everyone else from your flight, and waiting {again!} to check-in at your hotel can take at least two hours of relaxation time away from your getaway. So, avoid it! You’re there for the palm trees and the pool, right? In addition to packing a carry-on with your plane-to-pool tote, prearrange a ride so you don’t have to wait for one, and instead of bee-lining for the front desk upon arrival, drop your bags at the bell desk and check-in at sundown once you’re glowing with sun-kissed serenity.  

For the full article + more tips, see my latest in the Expedia Viewfinder Travel Blog: How to get from plane to pool, pronto.

[Photos sourced from a video I did with Air Transat, see it here.]