Travel: What To Pack For An All Inclusive Vacation

I absolutely love to travel! My husband & I have been fortunate enough to explore nine countries together since we got married. However, our Dominican Republic vacation this summer was our first All-Inclusive experience & it was certainly a little bit different... In the BEST way possible! I don't know that I'll ever go on another beach vacay without going that route! We stayed at the Excellence Punta Cana & it was complete perfection. The location, food, service, & rooms were all right on point. However, packing was a bit of a challenge because I wasn't sure what to expect. So I thought I would share with you my thoughts, tips & tricks for successfully {& lightly} packing for an All-Inclusive getaway!

TIP #1: Pack AT LEAST 1 full day's worth of clothes in your carry on. I have heard this many times but didn't follow through. My luggage was lost the first 2 days of our vacation and I had nothing- no swim suit, face wash, clothes, etc. It was a miserable time in a tropical location with nothing but what I wore on the plane. Save yourself the headache & take what you might need in case the worst happens! 

Swimsuits: I would recommend taking 3! You will probably be on the beach more than three days but you can easily dry them overnight.  Try mixing up the styles you take: A 1 piece with fun cut-outs, a simple bikini, and a printed 2 piece for example. 

Cover-Ups: 3-4 options would be best. There are so many different styles of cover ups that it would be great to bring along a few different options to choose from! I packed a fun dress, a printed romper [this one is cute too!], and a couple of kimonos. {How cute is the OTHERWORLD one in today's pictures?!!} Keep in mind that if you are going to run & grab food from a restaurant for lunch, they will probably have a dress code that requires more than a swimsuit. The majority of ours required just a simple cover-up & all of the options I brought along worked!

Hats: I am hat obsessed! I would recommend bringing at least 2 hats! I brought along a smaller fedora as well as a large floppy hat {under $20!}. These are perfect for lounging by the pool & covering up crazy hair! I wore my fedora on the plane & packed my large floppy hat in my suitcase. {Tip: Put the hat in the middle of your suitcase and pack clothes & shoes around it. I did this & had no problems with lost shape!}

Sunglasses: We all have our Ray Ban, Kate Spade, or Prada sunnies that we love. However, keep these away from the ocean!! Reserve them for the pool area where you won't be battling waves. Bring along a few cheap options {like these under $10} so that you won't be heartbroken if they get washed away. I actually lost a cheap pair when a huge wave took me out but luckily, I didn't sweat it too much since they were under $10. 

Shoes: This was my biggest packing battle! I would suggest bringing 1 pair of good 'ol flippy flops to walk to the beach or around the pool in. I failed to think this through & had to wear a pretty nice pair around which made me nervous! You should also bring 2 pairs of nicer sandals. These can be worn to restaurants & evening shows. My Tory Burch sandals & Jack Rogers were perfect for this! Lastly, a pair of wedges would be good for the fancier dinners! We got really dressed up one night & I was glad I had these wedges to wear :)

Dresses: I would bring 4-5 dresses! A definite beach resort staple. I wore dresses for 95% of our trip. Whether pool side or to dinner, I wore several styles of dresses during our trip. I would recommend looking for light sundresses, a maxi dress, and a fun & flirty dress for dinner! Lilly Pulitzer dresses are ideal options in my opinion!

Shorts: 2 pairs of shorts should be sufficient for your trip. {These were my favorite!!} If you are doing any excursions {horse back riding, zip lining, etc.} you will certainly want a pair of shorts! They can also be great to throw on over a {dry} swimsuit to grab a bite to eat during the day. 

Tops: I brought along way too many tops! 3-4 should be more than enough to pack for your vacation! I would suggest light, airy tanks & tees that will dry easily if they get wet.

Bug Spray & Sunscreen: I applied sunscreen every hour and still ended up with a pretty good burn. The Dominican sun was much harsher than what I am used to in Oklahoma. Make sure you bring PLENTY because you will way overpay if you have to buy it at your hotel. The cheapest at our resort? $50. So yes, pack lots. Also, the mosquitos are crazy! If you eat dinner outside at all, you will want to bring bug spray with you to frequently reapply. At one of our beach side dinners we got chased inside by large swarms! Yikes!

Bags: I used this large weekender as my carry on and was able to fit a large amount of things in it for travel. I also brought along a crossbody that I used most nights. It was small enough to just stash a few necessities in {lip gloss, money, phone, room key} & it wasn't a pain to tote around. I also brought along this fun clutch for a night out ! Lastly, bring a pool bag. This should be something that is okay if it gets wet, sandy and potentially ruined. I was constantly throwing water bottles, sunscreen, shoes, coverups, books, etc. in it all day!

Random Extras:
>> Aloe Vera- For the inevitable burn
>> Light Jacket- If you are cold natured like I am, you might want this at night walking along the beach or catching a late show
>> First Aid- You never know when you might need a bandaid for a blister {my husband got one running on the beach}, Tylenol for a sun headache, etc.
>> Large Plastic Cup- I can't recommend this enough! At All-Inclusive resorts, your drinks will all be free! However, they have small cups and in the hot sun, the ice melts quickly. Have your drinks made in your cup so that you get more {fewer trips to the bar / tracking down the pool guys} and it will stay cold much longer! LOVE this Lilly one for $15!
>> Minimal Makeup- Show off your newly acquired glow! Wear small amounts of makeup to dinner because 1) you should have a new tan & 2) the incredibly high humidity can make your face of makeup feel like it's melting! If you bring mascara, make sure it is water proof.
>> Nail Polish: I got my fingers & toes done before we left. However, the sand & concrete can do a number on your fresh polish & I wish that I had brought along a bottle for a few touch ups!

The Obvious:
Sleep Clothes, Undergarments, Toiletries, Phone/Computer Chargers, Books

Overall, you should be able to pack everything in a small-ish suitcase & not have to worry about what you are missing from your closet at home. We will definitely be heading back to the Excellence Punta Cana in the future & I can't recommend it enough to anyone looking for an All-Inclusive getaway. Let me know if you can think of any other vacay necessities that I might have missed :)

Outfit 1: Nordstrom Bikini Top  |  Otherworld Kimono  |  identical Floppy Bow Hat  |  Sunglasses

Well friends, today is my birthday so I am off to enjoy the day with my husband! Have a great Tuesday! xox


  1. What a great and helpful list!! And yes on the Lilly! No brainer there! All your photos look amazing...what a gorgeous spot to vacation! xx, Karen // Glam Karen

  2. Love this!! My post for tomorrow is very similar, with a different twist. Great minds think alike:) Love your packing list and your LillyxTarget shift! I wasn't lucky enough to grab one of the dresses. Happy Birthday!
    Southern Elle Style

  3. Great list! I am totally going to save it for the next trip!


    Nav K Brar Blog

  4. So many great tips! And I love all of your adorable vacation looks! XO


  5. Thanks for the tips! Happy Birthday! :)


    Amanda || www.fortheloveofglitter.com

  6. When it comes to packing for a tropical vacation I always end up bringing way more bikinis then I actually needed! haha Love the tips :)

  7. Great packing list. I always overpack. I'm always afraid I'm going to need something and not have it. Your list would help me to reel it in :)

  8. This is such a great packing guide!!! I always over-pack! A checklist is so helpful!!!

  9. Thanks for sharing all of your tips! I travel often, but sadly it's never for vacation but rather business. I'm thinking maybe if I start packing "fun" things then I'll be more inclined to have fun on these business trips! xx

  10. you definitely also need a koozie... wow that was redneck!
    xoxo Amanda

  11. love the tips, the checklist, and an all-inclusive resort!! take me with youuuuu

  12. Great packing tips! Good point about taking at least one cheap pair of sandals so that the sand doesn't ruin your nice ones!! I often forget to do that!

    xo, Christina

    Fitness & Frills

  13. Thanks for such a helpful guide! That kimono is amazing :)

    xo, Jessica || The Petite Diaries

  14. Thanks, this is great because I always over pack!

  15. This was uber helpful! my husband and I are going to this exact resort in January to celebrate or 20th anniversary. Thank you soo much!

  16. This was uber helpful! My husband and I are going to this exact resort in January to celebrate our 20th anniversary. Thank you so much!

    1. Oh good! You will seriously love it there! It's GORGEOUS!!


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