Follow our advice for a stress-free packing process that gives you an array of stylish outfits for every occasion while on a villa holiday in Thailand
It’s easy to over-pack for a holiday to Thailand. Avoid taking unnecessary items on holiday with our top tips
Despite the fact that it’s called a ‘holiday wardrobe’, you actually have to fit all of the clothes, shoes and accessories you’re taking on vacation into a suitcase. If you’re heading to a villa Thailand, it’s likely that you’ll need a choice of different outfits, from casual clothing for lounging by your villa’s private pool, to smarter attire for trips to upscale restaurants and beach clubs. With such a selection of activities and events promising to fill up your holiday itinerary, it’s easy to overpack your suitcase, so you have the perfect outfit for every occasion. However, this often results in a huge, heavy bag that you’ll struggle to carry through the airport.
We’ve rounded up a selection of versatile essentials to take on holiday to Thailand, from must-have clothing to shoes and accessories. If you want to avoid over-packing – and not even using half the clothes you’re lugging around – check out our top tips.
Outfits for all occasions
A kaftan is beautifully versatile and can be worn poolside or at a beach club
As you’re heading to Thailand, you can be pretty safe in the knowledge that the temperature is going to be high enough to pack your summer wardrobe, That means there’s no need to pack two pairs of jeans and three sweaters – even if it is ‘just in case’. Ladies and guys should also think about the fabrics to choose. Materials like cotton and linen will help you stay cool, rather then synthetic fabrics like polyester.
When it comes to packing outfits, think about the activities you have planned and try and choose transition outfits that can work for more than one occasion. For example, a chic kaftan will work just as well at the beach or pool as it will at the nearby Koh Samui beach club. Likewise, a simple white cotton dress will look fabulous with your glowing Thai tan, and can be accessorised up for smarter occasions. For shorts – and this goes for ladies and gents – back at least one smart pair and one casual pair, plus a pair of swim shorts for the guys. A mixture of plain and print t-shirts will help you cover shoulders up, in case they get burnt. Don’t forget sleepwear either. It’s also worth bearing in mind that Thailand is a favourite destination with shopaholics. If you’ve got nothing in your case to suit the occasion, then head to the local fashion mall to pick out something new.
Take a smart pair of sandals instead of heels for your special occasion needs
We’ve all been guilty of packing a selection of smart shoes for our holidays, with all the best intentions of wearing them for sunset cocktails at the local beach club, or even a dinner out. However, in many cases these shoes often end up becoming dead space in your suitcase. In Thailand, flip-flops or sliders are essential for all of those glorious days spent padding round the pool area at your private villa, or strolling down to the beach. If you’re planning on working out whilst in Thailand, a pair of trainers will also be essential – but these can be the shoes you travel in, so they don’t end up hogging lots of precious suitcase space. Active travellers planning to explore the jungles of Phuket and Koh Samui are likely to need heavier duty boots for trekking, although again, these can be worn on the plane to avoid taking up valuable suitcase space.
If you really feel that you’ll need a smart pair of shoes for your vacation, stylish sandals will often do the trick, for men and women. For ladies that simply must have heels, wedges offer a comfortable and elegant option that will provide the extra height boost.
Accessories are key
A straw-rimmed sunhat and a versatile pair of sunglasses are essential
When it comes to accessories, the key to packing light is to take stylish pieces that will transition well from your private villa to the local beach club, or an upscale restaurant. Likewise, no daytime holiday ensemble would be complete without the addition of a pair of sunglasses and a sunhat, and if you’re wearing these with multiple different outfits, it’s important to pick out a classic style that suits all ensembles.
For ladies, you can’t go wrong with sunglasses featuring a classic shape with black or tortoiseshell frames. For gentlemen, sleek aviators or wayfarers will always hit the right style notes. If you’re really struggling with just one pair at hand, then again, head out to your local designer mall or even the Thai beach stalls – you won’t have to look too far to find the right gear to protect your eyes from the sun.
When it comes to sunhats, it may actually be better to invest in one once you arrive in Thailand – unless you want to risk the hat getting crushed in your bag on the plane ride over. Straw hats are always a winner when it comes to classic beachy look, and for ladies, the wider the rim the better.
Take at least two bathing suits on holiday – that way you’ll always have a fresh one
If you’re going to be staying in a beachfront private villa with it’s own infinity pool, then you’ll want to pack a selection of swimwear – at least two pairs, so you can wear a new set when the other one is drying out from previous swim sessions. For guys, three pairs of swimming shorts will usually do the trick.
With such a plethora of bikini, tankini and swimming costume styles available for the ladies, the choices are slightly more complicated. Having a mix of necklines is always a good idea if you want to minimise the appearance of tan lines – taking halter neck and strapless varieties will help you out here. If you’re planning to indulge at the bottomless Sunday brunch at your local beach club, you might also want to pack an elegant one-piece design to help disguise the appearance of your foodie indulgences!
Our other top tip when it comes to swimwear – especially if you’re heading out and about for the day – is to wear your bathing suit underneath your clothes. If you’re a guy, put your swimming shorts on instead of regular shorts. You never know where you might end up, and when the ocean just off a blissfully secluded beach beckons while you’re out and about exploring, you’ll be ready to make the most of it.
The best accessory of all
A sarong is a handy addition to your sightseeing essentials
When you’re travelling in the tropics, a sarong is one of the most handy pieces of clothing to keep in your bag. It is a useful cover-up if you visit one of the local temples, and want to keep shoulders and legs out of sight. Your sarong can also be used as a breezy skirt on the beach. It doubles up as a comforting shawl once dusk draws in and can also act as a thin, mini blanket on cool, air-conditioned planes or even a picnic blanket to sit on at the beach.
These top tips will help you cut down on toiletries and keep your make-up bag light.
- It’s unlikely that you’ll be donning a full face of makeup in the tropics. Cut down your make-up bag to the minimum essentials – waterproof mascara, concealer and a highlighter
- If you simply cannot go without wearing foundation, why not pick up a tinted moisturiser instead? That will give your skin the glow you crave and might have a SPF, too
- If you’re keen to cut down on toiletries, buy an after sun that contains insect repellent