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Beach Vacation: The Best 5-day Carry-on Guide for a Curvy Girl

I have spent a lot of the time on the beach (it’s my happy place) which means, I have tested every possible carry-on and suitcase combination you can imagine; taking too much, taking too little, taking too many shoes, not taking the comfortable shoes, not having any room left for souvenirs, and even attempting to put tequila in my checked bag (no, that didn’t end well).

I have failed and learned from my mistakes and now I get to share that with you!

This, Beach Vacation: The Ultimate 5-day Carry-on Guide for a Curvy Girl is the only guide you will ever need!

Plus, I’ve added a checklist to keep you organized!

Beach Vacation: The Best 5-day Carry-on Guide for a Curvy Girl
Beach Vacation: The Best 5-day Carry-on Guide for a Curvy Girl

First of all, you don’t need but a quarter of what you think you do for your beach vacation. You will spend your days in bathing suits and flowy dresses; don’t bring those jeans or stilettos. Most importantly, make sure you bring what you’re comfortable in, confident, and makes you feel like the queen that you are!

Second of all, bring all the bathing suits! After all, it is a beach vacation! Honestly, I bring five – seven suits with me when I go. If you’re anything like me, you will want to wear a suit based on your mood and what beach or pool you’ll be in. Currently, I am obsessed with high-waisted bikini sets in all the tropical patterns.

You will also want to bring a range of dresses, from casual to a little dressier in case you go out to eat at a nice restaurant or something along those lines. For the most part though, casual will be what you will need.

Cancun, Mexico
Cancun, Mexico

Let’s talk about shoes! No, you don’t need the stilettos or the boots. But what you will need are tennis shoes (wear these in transit), sandals, one pair of wedges (in case you wear that fancy dress), and flipflops.

Also, let’s not forget sarongs! I personally pick up sarongs from all tropical locations that I go to because they are so versatile. As well as, I bring at least 5-7 with me to wherever I am going. You can wear them as a cover up, a dress, a head covering, and use them as a blanket on the plane.

Let’s get down to specifics in this Beach Vacation: The Best 5-day Carry-on Guide for a Curvy Girl

What bathing suits work best for a curvy girl?

Pear shape

  • Play up your top half in plunging necklines, bold prints, or embellishments
  • Conceal your thighs (if you would like) with a skirted bottom in a darker color
  • Wrap up your beach or pool look with a sarong (which is my personal favorite)

Larger chest

  • Look for swimsuits with back clasps, underwire, boning, and molded cups
  • bra-sized swimsuits with a higher neckline, halter tops, and adjustable straps
  • Avoid plunging or embellished necklines

Smaller chest

  • Amp up the frill factor with ruffles, bows, and scalloped trim
  • A triangle top that gives the appearance of more curves
  • Push-up detailing

Apple shape

  • A one-piece swimsuit detailed with ruching, an empire waist or a wrap silhouette to camouflage and slim
  • If you do go for a two-piece, try a high-waist for that extra coverage
  • Get swimsuits with a built-in control panel that helps define your shape


  • Accentuate your curves in a color-blocked or asymmetrical styles that have a contoured effect with a high leg/waistband that hits just above your hip bone area
  • Swimsuits with embellished necklines keep eyes focused to a leaner area
  • Avoid monokinis and string bikinis which will draw attention to the places you may not want
Bathing Suits
Bathing Suits

Up next, what maxi dresses work best for a curvy girl

Petite and curvy

  1. Wear a skinny belt right to elongate your bottom half
  2. Choose a maxi dress with an A-line or empire waist for a flattering look
  3. Try vertical prints and stripes to move the eye downward

Large bust

  • Fitted or wrap style to define your waistline
  • Stay away from strapless and go for a higher neckline, like slight v’s and boat necks
  • Opt for thicker straps that will be reminiscent of wearing a bra

Small bust

  • Embrace your cup size and try silhouettes with deep-diving necklines and open backs
  • Look for a maxi dress that features molded cups with ruched details, which will create the illusion of a larger bust
  • Wear two-toned to distract the eye from the chest


  • You want a dress that skims (not clings) to your form and generally an empire waist is best for this
  • Go for thick / wide straps so you don’t have anything that digs into your shoulders and a deep v to balance out your hips
  • Try bold prints like large scale florals which are a lot more flattering than tiny prints

Pear shape

  • Spaghetti straps and a v neck will emphasize the small waist
  • A cut-out will draw the eye upward
  • A loose flowy bottom half will balance out the pear shaped proportion


  • Go for a fitted maxi with a scoop neck
  • Tie waists will accentuate but stay away from baggy as they will drown out your curves
  • Off-the-shoulder will help you achieve balance but make sure it cinches at the waist so your figure doesn’t get drowned out

What to bring in your carry-on for your beach vacation

Bathing Suits and Cover-ups

  • 2x one-piece
  • 4x two-piece
  • 4x sarongs
  • Short cover-up for by the pool
  • Long and flower cover-up to walk around the resort
  • 1x room wear

Maxi dresses

  • 1x casual short dress
  • 1x dressy maxi
  • 1x short dress for around town
  • 1x acceptable to get wet
  • 1x casual maxi
  • 1x maxi to dress up or down


  • 2x sandals
  • 2x flip flops
  • 1x wedges
  • Tennis shoes
    • Wear these on the plane


  • Beach makeup necessities
  • Lotion
  • Sunscreen
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Wipes
  • Shampoo / conditioner
  • Dry shampoo
  • Toothbrush / toothpaste
  • Bobby pins
  • Hair ties
  • Nail file
  • Clipper
  • Razor
  • Hair spray


  • Sunglasses
  • Hat
  • Simple and minimal jewelry
  • 1x crossbody / fanny pack / clutch

Additional clothing

  • One gym / workout outfit
  • 6x underwear and 3x socks
    • You’ll probably want to wear sock while in your room as it is typically tile and can be cold on your feet
  • 1x bralette
  • 1x bra
  • 1x light weight sweater
  • 1x shorts or romper
  • 1x jumpsuit
  • Something to sleep in


  • Phone and charger
  • iPad / tablet and charger
  • Headphones and charger
  • Converters (you don’t actually need one for Mexico if you’re coming from the US but I bring one just incase)
    • This converter I personally love and also has 4-ports for USBs


  • Copies of important documents
    • Here is a great travel wallet with RFD blocking, crossbody capabilities and room for your phone
  • Local currency (I generally do about $500 before I go anywhere and that way you don’t have to deal with the locals in the airport)
  • A crossbody purse or fanny pack (since these are in again) for walking around the resort and town (one that isn’t easily accessible to others when wearing)
  • A waterproof phone case
    • I have this case which is incredible because it is finger friendly while the phone is in the case (and it works)
  • Plastic bags to put your shoes and bathing suits in for while in transit
  • Face masks
  • Refillable water bottle

Tips and Tricks for your amazing beach vacation

  • Register with the State Department before you leave
  • When packing, lay thicker items flat and roll tightly the other items
  • Travel in your gym outfit, tennis shoes, and lightweight sweater
    • Wear darker colors in case you spill something on you while in transit
    • Hand sanitizer will get the stain out, if you do spill
  • Change into your sandals or flip flops right before you land
  • Bring a pen for customs paperwork when landing at your destination
  • Hire a shuttle to take you from the airport to your resort / airbnb
    • The hotel could offer one so be sure to check
  • Once you get to where you’re staying and checked in, take your belongings to your room and check the safe in the room to see that it works
  • Unpack, settle in, change into a bathing suit and a maxi dress and head out to take a walk around where you are staying
    • You want to make sure you understand your surroundings before you do anything
      • I personally do this because it makes me feel more at ease knowing where my room is when I am at the pool, eating, drinking, at the spa, etc.
  • Finally, just like when you are anywhere, make sure to just stay aware of your surroundings and don’t do anything to put particular focus on you or put you in a vulnerable situation, especially if you’re traveling alone
Carry-on luggage
Carry-on luggage

Here’s to a fabulous beach vacation!

Now, save this guide, print out the checklist, and have the best relaxation vacation that you will ever had!

But, if you need a reason why you should plan that trip, check out my post ‘8 Reasons Why Traveling is Good for Your Mental Health‘ and head to to get that insane Mexico beach travel deal!


20 responses to “Beach Vacation: The Best 5-day Carry-on Guide for a Curvy Girl”

  1. This is such a great guide! I have an hourglass shape but I’m useless when it comes to dressing my shape properly! I’m going to keep your suggestions in mind! Thanks!

    1. Thank you and you’re welcome! I hope this helps you, endlessly!

  2. I love this guide! I like that you focused on a specific shape rather than just general clothing to bring.

    1. Thank you! My thought was to share what styles work on which body types and you can decide what you like from there! I did include a checklist at the end to help with packing, as well!

  3. This is an extensive list. I love your suggestions on what to look for in clothing for different body types. It’s impressive. One suggestion I have concerns dry bags. They’re useful for damp or dirty stuff and help wean us off disposable single-use plastic. Great post.

    1. Thank you! Yes, I definitely agree on not using the single-use plastic bags! My suggestion was purely based on if you didn’t have any of the reusable bags that you can at least use these; and, recycling after use is the way to go!

  4. shafinah.jaafar Avatar

    I swear, I can pack till my suitcase is bursting at the seams and STILL forget something – thanks for the guide! ❤️😅

    1. I definitely know what you mean…that was me for the longest time! You’re welcome!

  5. I once packed for a 10-day trip using just a carry-on. I was sooo proud of myself. Of course it was a warm weather trip. Thanks for the guide.

    1. That’s awesome! Yeah, definitely easier for a warm weather trip as opposed to a cold weather trip!

  6. I’ve always been a bit more of a minimalist packer but enjoy seeing how other people pack. (And then proceed to pack like 2 swimsuits and 2 pairs of shoes lol.) I also love the body type descriptions for what to wear. It’s super helpful, particularly since swimsuits are unfriendly to many body types – Including being super tall where 2 pieces show soooo much skin but 1 pieces are cut too short to typically fit well. Now just need to plan a beach trip!

    1. Ha, love it! Yes, swimsuits can definitely be unfriendly for a lot of people so knowing what works, is key! Definitely plan that beach trip…it’s ok to take more than 2 suits and 2 pair of shoes..LOL!

  7. This is an excellent guide. Hard to believe it all fits in a carry-one but then it’s light fabrics. Good advice about what to wear for every shape. Thanks for supporting lots of shapes. BTW, I love your blog name.

    1. Ahhh, thank you! Yes, I am definitely an inclusive blogger! Sometimes I can’t believe I fight it all in a carry-on either, but that is what years of practice gets you (trials, tribulations, and all)!

  8. I love the suggestions for different body shapes!! I’m not as much of a beach person as you, so I tend to plan other things even when I visit a beach, lol. But my mom loves beach vacations (she just got back from two weeks of pure rest on a beach), so I know she will utilize this list well.

    1. It sounds like your mother and I are the same! I love to explore and all that, but I am more than happy just sitting on the beach and relaxing! I hope she will get some use out of it!

  9. I saw another comment above about being an hour glass shape, and I am in exactly the same situation. I really enjoyed reading about dressing right for your shape. You want clothes that will leave you feeling confident about yourself, especially on the beach! – Aireona

    1. Exactly! You want to feel confident and happy while on the beach, well, anywhere really, so knowing what works is definitely important!

  10. […] Ladies, now that you know where to stay, make sure you know what to take for your luxury beach vacation; check out my post “The Best 5-day Carry-on Guide for a Curvy Girl” HERE […]

  11. […] you know how to get there and where you’re staying, make sure you check out my post, ‘The Best 5-day Carry-on Checklist for a Curvy Girl‘ to know what you need to […]

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About Me

Jaclyn is a travel blogger, UGC creator, and digital story teller. She is a solo luxury traveler, experience lover with a wanderlust soul, who is passionate about sharing her love of life with her global audience across her platforms. She loves to inspire others to see the opulent road traveled solo while empowering them to live their best lives.

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