Costa Rica In A Carry-On


Style Bee - Costa Rica - What I Packed

Remember when I promised you a recap of what I packed for my 6 day trip to Costa Rica? Well, today’s the day! I’ve pulled together the 12 outfits and 3 beach get-ups I was able to put together from just a carry-on. I don’t travel much but I’ve come to learn that packing light gets easier and easier the more you do it (here’s a look at my first successful attempt after years of overpacking). You figure out what pieces are the most versatile, what you feel best in when exploring and how to make each item work harder. Really, it’s just like planning a mini capsule closet. The biggest challenge for this trip was choosing fabrics and styles that would be the best for super hot and humid temperatures. This also meant less clothing in general so that was a space saver. I used my usual packing technique, which is a series of 3 questions:

1. What’s the weather supposed to be? This is an obvious one. Always check the weather the day before you leave and before you finalize any of your packing. Then at the very least you have some idea of what you’re in for. I knew it was going to be 30+ degrees without much change in the evening.

2. What activities are on the itinerary? Other than a wedding, daily brunches and dinners each night the activities were mostly low-key, beach or pool related so I knew I could keep the overall vibe pretty casual.

3. What items do I know I’ll want to wear for sure? There are always a few items that I love to bring on vacation with me, which are my boater straw hat, my Ace & Jig maxi dress, my linen tees and a pair of Cecilia pants from Elizabeth Suzann. I knew what I was going to wear for the wedding and had a few swimsuits at the ready, so the rest was just a matter of filling in the gaps with breathable, easy to wear pieces that I could mix and match.

In the end I brought a few additional items (a maxi skirt, boho blouse and silk dress) but didn’t wear them because I had so many options with just the following:

  • 5 TOPS
  • 3 SHOES
  • 3 BAGS

So let’s take a look at all 15 outfits that tucked neatly into a little carry-on!

Look 1

Style Bee - Costa Rica - Outfits

Look 2

Style Bee - Costa Rica - Outfits

Look 3 

Style Bee - Costa Rica - Outfits

Look 4 

Style Bee - Costa Rica - Outfits

Look 5 

Style Bee - Costa Rica - Outfits

Look 6

Style Bee - Costa Rica - Outfits

Look 7

Style Bee - Costa Rica - Outfits

Look 8

Style Bee - Costa Rica - Outfits

Look 9

Style Bee - Costa Rica - Outfits

Look 10 

Style Bee - Costa Rica - Outfits

Look 11

Style Bee - Costa Rica - Outfits

Look 12

Style Bee - Costa Rica - Outfits

Look 13 

Style Bee - Costa Rica - Outfits

Look 14

Style Bee - Costa Rica - Outfits

Look 15 

Style Bee - Costa Rica - Outfits


3 DRESSES – Maxi Dress (similar) Ace & Jig | Red Dress Miranda Bennett | Chambray Everlane

5 TOPS – Striped Linen n/a, White Linen, White Silk, White Crop (similar) by Elizabeth Suzann | Striped Crop n/a | Long Sleeve (similar) Everlane | Courier Button Down (similar) Madewell

3 BOTTOMS – Wide-Leg Linen, High Waist Black Elizabeth Suzann | Black Shorts n/a Formation Design

3 SHOES – Black Slides The Palatines | Clogs Custom No. 6 (similar) | Wedges (similar) Rachel Comey

3 BAGS – Black Clutch Clare Vivier | Black Tote Cuyana | Nude Clutch Harlex

3 SWIMSUITS – Green Top + High Waist Bottom HDH | Black Top + Black Bottoms HDH | One Piece n/a (similar) | Cover-up Handloom via Etsy

1 SWEATER – T Sweater Jamie + The Jones

ACCESSORIES – Celine Sunglasses (similar) | Madewell Sunglasses | Janessa Leone Hat | Scarf n/a (similar) | Statement Necklace (similar) Young Frankk | Tassel Necklace (DIY here) | Gris Collar, Carda Studs, Lida Cuff  EM Jewelry + Design | Wave Cuff n/a Young Frankk | Delos Necklace Another Feather


My skin always has a total shit fit when I go away. I don’t know if it’s the stress or the change in climate or both but I’ve given up the hope of clear skin when I travel. I try to keep things under control by bringing my usual products along (I was careful to keep liquids/gels under 100mL) and it turns out my daily routine packs itself nicely into a dopp kit. I found a natural sunscreen for my face which I loved and the Yes to Cucumbers face wipes (95% natural) were great to have handy for make up removal or a midday refresh.

Style Bee - Costa Rica - Outfits

MAKE-UP – Kjaer Weis Foundation | RMS Un-Powder | Eyelash Curler | W3LL PEOPLE Mascara | NARS Blush | NAKED Eye Palette | Lip Balm | Burt’s Bees Lip Crayon and Gloss | Brushes

SKINCARE  – Yes To Cucumbers Facial Wipes | Pai Cleanser + Moisturizer | Face Food | Suntegrity Sunscreen | Sunscreen | Deodorant

So there you have the rundown of what I brought and wore during my trip! Now tell me, how do you plan your outfits for travel? Do you stick to a carry-on or opt for bigger baggage? Do you feel like you have to sacrifice style to make up for limited space? I’d love to hear your thoughts on travelling light and any tips you have for successful packing!

Leave me a comment here!

  1. Jessica Miller says:

    I have to tell you that I love your style. I discovered your blog several months ago & have since become obsessed with Elizabeth Suzann. So amazing. I also *adore* that rust dress you’ve been wearing. So beautiful. Thanks for sharing your tips and style!

    • Lee the Bee says:

      Thanks so much for your sweet note Jessica! Isn’t Elizabeth Suzann just incredible? Dangerous for the wallet but her pieces are the kind of things you wear forever and ever. Miranda Bennett is one of my new favourites too! Her natural hand dyes are magic. Have a great weekend! xx

  2. Mary says:

    Hi Lee!

    Thanks for sharing your vacation outfits, great choices- comfort and classy 🙂
    I’ve also been thinking about getting the Georgia Midi in the crepe silk (Moss colour) or the Georgia Tee in the crepe silk and was wondering (from your above reply) why you’d go with the raw/washed silk if you were buying it again. With the relaunch of the signature collection it’s so much harder to pick pieces. Thanks!

    • Lee the Bee says:

      Thanks Mary! My pleasure. Oh isn’t the ES Signature collection just insanely good!? To answer your question, I LOVE my Georgia Midi in black crepe silk, it feel incredible and I’ve already washed it twice and it comes out looking brand new (I just steam any creases after air drying). So zero regrets. My only thought about the raw silk is that the fabric looks a little heavier weight and the black is really rich and dark. It’s got more texture than the crepe silk so if you prefer the smooth look I’d stick to your game plan. Really though, you can’t go wrong either way! Hope that helps xo

  3. Suzi says:

    Something that my mom always told me about packing (and which I am guessing is like, universal mom advice because I’ve heard other people do this too) was to gather everything together that I thought I would need, and then put half of it back in my closet. It’s never failed me 🙂

    Unrelated, how do you like the Elizabeth Suzann raw silk? I’ve been deliberating on buying the Georgia midi dress in black raw silk for a little while now and would love to hear about it from someone who already owns it!

    • Lee the Bee says:

      That’s such a good idea! I always pull out way too many things at first and then whittle it down to what will fit in the bag.

      So the tee I have is an old one from a couple summers back. It’s technically a silk and linen blend, which I love, but not the same raw silk. I adore my Georgia Midi in black crepe silk but would totally go for the raw silk if I was buying again. I think you’ll love it! xx