I tend to be a minimalist so I was hell-bent on only taking a carry-on for our trip to Aruba. I ended up purchasing this suitcase in the 20-inch size for our carry-ons and surprisingly, this tiny thing holds A LOT!
(Our go-to's for vacation bookings are booking.com, Kayak, Expedia, Priceline, or Travelocity. I'm a bargain shopper always so check them all and find the best deal for you. We booked this vacation package through CheapCaribbean.com )
The key for getting 10 different outfits, yes 10, was to roll my clothes, stand the roll upright, and secure them with a hairband.
What I actually packed -
2 pairs of flip flops
1 pair of dress sandals
6 pairs of shorts
So. Much. Sunscreen.
chargers, ipad, earbuds, laptop
digital camera with 2 lenses plus a travel size tripod
small purse backpack (this was a lifesaver!)
(Small yellow leather purse backpack purchased from Stitch Fix. I loved having this for sunscreen, car keys, wallet, sunglasses, chapstick...)
I wore yoga pants, tennis shoes, a t-shirt, and a lightweight zip-up on the plane. These were the bulkiest items that I may or may not need so I decided to wear them there. I actually did use the tennis shoes for our hikes around Arikok National Park so I recommend wearing a pair to have on hand for exploring.
I took my digital camera of course and decided to take my large camera bag because of my choice of lenses to carry. The camera bag doubled as my laptop/ipad/technology bag. The backpack was small enough to fit under the seat of the plane so it counted as my personal item. This is the bag I carried with me:
In order to fit my cosmetics in my carry-on as well, I separated face, eye, and lip cosmetics into different small ipsy cosmetic bags. I could then lay each of the bags flat on top of the items in my suitcase and take up much less room than a traditional cosmetic carrying case. I did the same for my sunscreen and hair oil-type products - sorted into multiple small ipsy cosmetic bags and laid them on top of clothing items.
What I didn't pack but wish I would have...
I read before we went that Aruba was very casual and dress clothes weren't needed so I took that advice. I packed two casual, but nice, dresses for the upscale restaurants, but the rest of my wardrobe was shorts and tanks. We stayed at the Renaissance Aruba Resort and all of the female guests were dressed to the nines! I wish I would have brought a few more dresses for dining and evenings at the lobby bar and pool deck. I didn't ever feel out of place while wearing shorts, but I like to take advantage of wearing nice flowing beach dresses when possible.
I also wish, and highly recommend, that I had brought a sun hat. The sun in Aruba is HOT. Like the surface of the sun hot in July when we were there. A nice sun hat is not only fashionable, but would have been useful in keeping the sun off my face and shoulders.
DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT, forget to bring sunscreen. I brought three bottles with me. We went to the local supermarket to buy more. I am a natural strawberry blonde with the pale skin tone of an Irish hermit, but still. It is seriously hot. The weather can be deceiving though. While we were lounging on the Renaissance Private Island with the flamingos, there was a constant nice breeze blowing. You tend to forget how strong the sun actually is. We got the worst sunburns that we've had in years on our second day there.
And that's it! We didn't overpack. We packed very practically for our 7 day/6 night trip to Aruba. I do wish I had a few additional items while there, but there is always an option to pick up what you need at one of the lovely shops throughout the island. Happy traveling!