Hi, my name is Claire and I’m an overpacker.
H and I spent seven days in the Maldives in December on our romantic, amazing honeymoon! I was so excited for the trip, and I wanted to pack my dream honeymoon wardrobe. I spent a lot of time brainstorming the best outfits to bring and I decided to take a maximalist packing approach, with a different swimsuit for every day, enough nice outfits to get dressed up for dinner every night, and plenty of accessories. I did limit myself on shoes, however, since they take up so much space. I probably could have fit everything into one big checked bag, but since I don’t have a huge suitcase on hand I checked two bags, a smallish suitcase and a duffel bag.
If you take this approach (and you should, because who brings just a carry-on for their honeymoon unless they are backpacking through Europe or something), make sure to pack your carry-on with essentials for the first day at your destination in case your bag is delayed. We originally had a tight connection in Qatar, and I wanted to be prepared in case our baggage took an extra day to arrive. Here’s what I had in the backpack that I carried on:
- A full change of clothes! I chose running shorts and a tank top.
- Everything I would need to hit the beach or the pool—I packed a cute swimsuit, a striped t-shirt dress I could wear to dinner or as a cover-up, and a lightweight pair of flip-flops.
- Toiletries, including sunscreen (I bought a three-ounce container so I could carry on the maximum amount).
Even though our luggage arrived with us, I ended up using my change of clothes when I showered in the Qatar Airways lounge (I know showering in an airport sounds a little gross, but it was super clean and probably nicer than my bathroom at home).
Even if you decide to pack a little lighter than I did, here are the most important items to bring for a tropical honeymoon:
- At least one special outfit for a night out—it’s your honeymoon! Pack that stunning dress/outfit that you’re really looking forward to wearing.
- A few swimsuits that make you feel good: pack swimsuits that make you feel confident and comfortable. If you don’t have any, pick up a few before your trip! You should bring at least two, to avoid that having to shimmy into a suit that’s still wet.
- Two words: sun. protection. You need multiple layers of sun protection, so bring sunscreen (I packed a ton, since I didn’t want to risk running out of our preferred variety), a hat, sunglasses, and a cover-up that will actually protect you from the sun. You can still bring a cute strappy or crocheted cover-up, but make sure that you have something you can wear that will keep the sun off your shoulders, chest, and back (bonus if it has UPF).
While I definitely packed more than the essentials, I was glad that I had stylish options for all of our honeymoon activities! Here’s everything I actually wore on our honeymoon to the Maldives:
My travel outfit: White cotton t-shirt/pink Fabletics muscle tank, gray joggers, strappy sports bra, pink sweatshirt, and black Nikes
These joggers are great for traveling—they’re comfortable enough to sleep in (I didn’t even wear the pajamas they gave us on the plane), lightweight in case the plane is too hot, and wrinkle-free even after two days of travel. I paired them with a t-shirt and my all-time most comfortable sports bra, which is also the one I wear for backpacking, and wore my running shoes to save space in my suitcase. During our layover in Qatar, I changed into a clean tank top for the final leg of our journey.
Day 1 in the Maldives: Hot pink bikini and Ray-Bans
Nothing screams “tropical vacation” like a brightly colored string bikini, and I love these classic sunglasses. I brought four different pairs of sunglasses with me, which is admittedly a little bit extra, but I actually did wear all of them.
Our first dinner at the sunset bar: Blue-and-white striped maxidress and brown leather sandals
This dress is casual but still felt special, and I haven’t worn it since our trip to Newport this summer. I didn’t pack any heels or wedges for the trip, since they would take up so much suitcase space and I would only want to wear sandals anyway! I made the right call—all the paths on the island were sand, so it would have been a pain to walk anywhere in heels.
Lounging in the room and making fresh squeezed orange juice: White cotton pajamas
I had to bring these pajamas that I got for our wedding weekend! I wanted to feel ~bridal~ and they’re also very comfortable. The hotel room was also equipped with super-plush robes and slippers, which I wore extensively.
Breakfast of champions: White bikini
My honeymoon wardrobe would never have been complete without a white swimsuit! I wore this bikini, one of my favorites, for a quick dip in the plunge pool before breakfast.
Poolside lunch: Hot pink bikini, gingham cover-up, leather flip-flops, and big floppy hat
This gingham cover-up is so cute—I love the print and the breezy silhouette! I got the flip-flops for this trip as an upscale alternative to my Old Navy shower shoes from college (not to hate on those—I brought them too!). I also wore my huge sun hat with this look in an unsuccessful attempt to not get sunburned.
Dinner at the main restaurant: White scoop-neck midi dress
I brought an embarrassing number of white dresses with me—I figured what better time to break them out? I love how sweet and easy this one is.
Tuesday beach hang: Black bikini
This one is a classic! I’ve had this swimsuit for years and it still looks great. I packed it as another potential active swimsuit in case we wanted to kayak, paddleboard, or go for a dip in the ocean.
Our island adventure: Floral-patterned strapless swimsuit and tortoiseshell-patterned sunglasses
I love the structure of this swimsuit, and the patterned top is so sweet. I paired it with these oversized sunglasses, and for sun protection I added H’s white fishing shirt, a pair of loose chambray shorts, the aforementioned Old Navy flip-flops, and my big floppy hat. (Unfortunately there are no photos to document this very chic look.)
Wednesday morning tennis: Pink tank top and light blue Nike shorts
For our tennis clinic, I wore a breathable top with pastel running shorts. This is one of my go-to vacation workout outfits—I wore the same thing for tennis on our anniversary weekend in Williamsburg.
Lounging by the pool: Floral ruffly bikini and tortoiseshell sunglasses
Yes, I did bring a LOT of swimsuits with me, but I have no regrets. I like that this one is fashion-forward but still has normal straps (read: doesn’t leave weird tan lines).
Snorkeling: Pink sporty swimsuit and rash guard
The rash guard matches the bright pink bikini I wore earlier in the trip, but for snorkeling I wore it with this high-neck Outdoor Voices swimsuit instead. This is my go-to swimsuit for watersports—I also wore it in the Azores!
Afternoon photoshoot and sunset dinner: White eyelet dress, brown leather sandals, and rattan bag
This was definitely my special honeymoon dress! The ruffly shoulders are almost over the top, even for me, but the simple design of the skirt balances them out, and I love the way they look from the back.
Honorable mention: During dinner I ran back to the room to change since I had ordered quesadillas and just knew I would get salsa on my white dress. It was raining super hard, so I came back wearing a navy-and-white striped t-shirt dress that I had used as a cover-up, plastic flip-flops, and my raincoat. Glamorous, I know.
Tennis clinic redux: Black t-shirt, blue shorts, pink sports bra
For our second tennis clinic, I chose a shirt and shorts that were performance fabric since I knew I would get super sweaty in the tropical heat. Believe it or not, I still had one more workout outfit in reserve after this!
Thursday afternoon hanging out by our plunge pool: gingham bikini and tortoiseshell sunglasses
As you can see, I’m a big fan of gingham! I love the simple design of this swimsuit, and these sunglasses are my favorites—they’re fashionable without being too trendy.
Private beach dinner: White eyelet minidress, gold sandals
I had to pack this LWD (little white dress) that I originally got for one of my bridal showers! This one is short and fitted, with a cute back detail, in contrast to the other white dresses I brought that were long and flowy. I paired it with gold sandals for a dressier look.
Floating breakfast: Blue and white striped strapless swimsuit
I saved this adorable swimsuit for the last morning of our trip, since I knew there was nothing else I wanted to wear for breakfast in the plunge pool. The blue and white stripes are so flattering, and I love the way the suit is cut.
Travel outfit home: white t-shirt, pink sweatpants, matching sweatshirt, black Nikes
For the trip home I wore this matching pink J Crew sweatsuit. The sweatpants have great pockets, which I like for travel, and the whole outfit was cotton so it was nice and breathable. I had worn the sweatshirt on the way to the Maldives as well—it was the only warm layer I brought besides my raincoat.
Although I’ll be the first to admit that I packed way more clothes than I needed, I’m so glad that I included a lot of swimsuits, since I was basically living in them, my practical flip-flops, which I ended up wearing way more than I thought I would, and my sun hat for the beach—those items were key! My workout gear was essential as well, since I would have hated to miss the tennis clinic with H. Do you have any packing tips for honeymooners? Share them in the comments!
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