In this feature, InStyle’s Market Editor Ali Pew documents what she packed and what she wore for her trip to Tulum, Mexico.

I grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah, and my whole family still lives there. When I go to visit them, it’s for either a winter ski trip or a summer hike. I don’t have regular access to a beach so I love to use my leftover vacation time for seaside locales. My latest excursion was to Mexico’s Tulum and Nizuc, Cancun, with my husband.

Ali PewOliver Clark

Between my last job as an editor at Condé Nast Traveler and flying frequently for styling work, I’ve become an expert packer. If you open my suitcase you’ll find everything divided by category and packed into Chanel men’s shirt cases that I’ve hoarded. I plan it out so that everything loosely works together color-wise. I make sure to take one plain black bikini so that I can mix and match with my others. This time I brought five suits since that’s what I wear most of the time.

Ali PewOliver Clark

I also packed two pairs of flats, five pairs of sunglasses (hey, a girl can never have too many, plus they change your look without taking up much room), a clutch, a tote, a good read, plus a few choice beauty products, and I was ready to hit the beach.

Click through the gallery to shop Ali’s travel essentials and see her make a splash in her Flagpole swimsuit ($208; in the clip below.

—Ali Pew; coordinated by InStyle’s Senior Market Editor/Digital Correspondent Dana Avidan-Cohn