Even when you make a complete packing list, it's inevitable that there will be last-minute add-ons that will keep your suitcase from actually zipping shut. And even though vacation clothing tends to be small (shorts and bathing suits take up a lot less space than sweaters and pants), the need for options ends up undoing any mental editing and outfit-planning that happened while daydreaming in that last pre-vacation board meeting.
So, whether you're planning ahead for an upcoming trip or scrambling to get things together before you jet off tomorrow, we've broken down the spring traveling must-haves you simply cannot leave home without. The (major) key to packing smart and packing light is focusing on versatility; it's what makes packing a breeze. Click through to see exactly what we mean.
A sleek, one-piece swimsuit works in the water and beyond. Wear it solo on the beach, and let it double as a bodysuit come evening when paired with skirts, shorts, and flowy pants.
Aerie Super Scoop One-Piece Swimsuit, $40, available at American Eagle. More
Whether you're using it as a cover-up, dressing it up with a skirt, or wearing it on a daytime excursion, you'll be glad you packed a soft white shirt that goes with any look
and occasion. WILT Easy Crew Split Sleeve T, $108, available at WILT. More
dad hat " is a double-whammy: It protects your face from the sun and solves any bad-beach-hair woes. New York Yankees Adult Clean Up Adjustable Hat, $20, available at Modell's Sporting Goods. More
Sunscreen: check. Magazines: check. Towel and clean clothes: check. A bag that holds all your needs is a must, so might as well go for a version that's bold and colorful.
Antonello Fronte Shoulder Bag, $495, available at Shopbop. More
With walking tours, outdoor activities, and shopping-filled afternoons on your agenda, your feet will definitely thank you for opting for a comfortable pair of kicks over flip-flops.
Adidas Originals EQT Support Ultra PK, $180, available at KITH. More
A sporty pair of color-blocked shorts makes for an unconventional cover-up.
ME x Reebok Mesh Short, $70 $20, available at Melody Eshani. More
It's tempting to want to bring a handful of different sunglasses with you, but you're better off banking on one that's sure to go with everything.
RFLKT Eyewear Shadow Striped Mint Sunglasses, $65, available at Eye Buy Direct. More
A loose, breathable pair of jeans works for plane travel just as well as it does for a night on the town.
Sea NY Vintage Blue Cuff Jean, $395, available at Avenue32. More
Since it's not full-on spring just yet, chilly nights may be in store. An on-trend hoodie is ideal for hanging out.
FENTY Puma x Rihanna Oversize Graphic Hoodie, $190, available at Bloomingdale's. More
For those envy-inducing beach shots, you'll need a towel that's as Instagram-worthy as the scenery itself.
Drye Hunee Bath Towel, $68, available at Drye. More
A throw-on-and-go muscle tank can double as your headrest on the beach.
achel Comey Argento Top, $196, available at Need Supply. More
A low, thick-heeled sandal is the key to dressing up while still feeling casual.
Frances Valentine Dottie Bow Heels, $425, available at Frances Valentine. More
A beachy dress you can also wear out on the town? Two-in-one situations are the key to making packing a breeze.
Reformation Flynn Dress, $128, available at Reformation. More
Ditch your flip-flops completely (if you dare!) in exchange for a more put-together option, like slip-ons with a criss-cross detail
Brother Vellies Burkina Slide In Charcoal Rings, $285, available at Brother Vellies. More
A flattering wrap skirt doubles as a sarong — throw it in your beach bag to wear for those middle-of-the-day errands.
Mango Midi Wrap Skirt, $59.99, available at Mango. More
You probably don't want to lug your massive beach bag when it's not necessary. That's where a crossbody comes in: It's hands-free, but still a good enough size to fit all the essentials.
ban.do Amigo Circle Bag, $95, available at ban.do. More
A scarf doubles as a cute and functional accessory that can be worn in so many ways: Wrap it around your neck to finish off your shorts-and-a tank outfit, wear it as a headband, or tie it on the strap of your bag for an additional pop of color.
Lou & Grey Plaid Square Scarf, $58 $34.99, available at Lou & Grey. More
We love our over-ear headphones, but for travel, rad metallic earbuds just make so much more sense (it's all about precious carry-on real estate).
Happy Plugs In-Ear Headphones, $42, available at Selfridges. More
Keep your phone safe and sound in your bag with a water-resistant watch that matches the sea-and-sand color palette.
The Horse The Classic, $189, available at The Horse. More
Leave your expensive jewelry at home and just pack a cool choker that you can keep on from day to night without worrying that it'll get lost or ruined.
Claire's Two Piece Choker Necklaces, $9.99, available at Claire's. More
Let vacation serve as an excuse to ditch the boxer shorts/college T-shirt pairing for some fancy, matching pajamas. And by fancy, we don't necessarily mean super-silky and super-expensive — something that even so slightly coordinates will do the trick.
Lunya Pima Sleep Set, $136, available at Lunya. More Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here? The Best Panties For Tasteful VPL (Visible Panty Lines) The Ultimate Shopping Guide for Petite Girls 21 Fashion Brands You Should Know About This Earth Day