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Are you planning a trip to a tropical destination? Congratulations! You’re in for a treat. Sunny days, sandy beaches, and refreshing cocktails await you. But before you can enjoy all that your vacation has to offer, you’ll need to pack your bags. And if you’ve never been to a tropical climate before, packing can be a bit daunting. What should you bring? How much should you pack?
Whether you’re planning a beach vacation or are taking a tropical vacation elsewhere, our tropical packing list will help you plan what to bring to have a stress-free vacation.
Here’s the ultimate tropical vacation packing list for women planning a trip to the tropics:
What To Expect in Tropical Climates
If you’ve never been to a tropical vacation destination before, there are a few things that you should know before packing. The first is that the weather is going to be hot and humid. You can expect temperatures in the 80s and 90s (Fahrenheit) with high humidity. This can make for some very muggy conditions, especially in the rainforest.
You’ll also want to be prepared for rain showers. These can happen at any time of day, and outside of the rainy season, so it’s essential to have a light rain jacket or poncho that you can pack in your day bag. And while we’re on the subject of bags, make sure you bring one that is sturdy and can handle getting wet. A mesh bag is also a good option for the beach as it will dry quickly if it gets wet.
What to Pack for a Tropical Vacation
Now that you know what to expect in terms of weather, here’s a list of essential items that you’ll need to pack for your tropical vacation:
Let’s start with the type of luggage and additional bags you need to add to your tropical vacation packing list:
We are huge fans of packing light and recommend taking a carry-on-size suitcase when going on a tropical vacation. You won’t need as many clothes as you think, and it will save you from having to check a bag (and pay associated fees).
Traveling without checked luggage will save you money on baggage fees and make it easier to get around once you’re at your destination. If you’re planning to stay in several accommodations, travel with a wheeled carry-on suitcase or comfortable backpack.
The best way to pack for a tropical vacation is to pack clothing in packing cubes. Our favorite choice for a tropical trip is this set from TRIPPED, as it’s super lightweight and protects your clothes from humidity.
If you’ve never used packing cubes before, they are bags you can use to organize your clothing in your suitcase. They help keep everything neat and make it easy to find what you’re looking for without digging through your bag. Check out this article to learn more.
Take a travel purse as your personal item and use it to store your valuables, boarding pass, passport, travel documents, and other things you need to keep close while traveling.
You’ll also need a small backpack or day bag to carry your essentials when exploring. We recommend choosing one that is lightweight, comfortable to wear, and has several compartments to help you stay organized. We love packable backpacks for their versatility and compactness.
It’s up to your preference if you want to bring a beach bag or use your day bag, but we find that having a dedicated bag for beach days is helpful. A beach mesh bag is a good option as it will dry quickly if it gets wet, and sand will fall through the holes.
Travel Laundry Bag
Whether you want to do laundry while on your tropical vacation or wait until you get home, you’ll need a place to store your dirty clothes. A small travel laundry bag is perfect for this and can easily be packed in your suitcase.
Dry Bags and Wet Bags (optional)
If you’re planning to go kayaking, canoeing, or fishing while on your trip, you’ll need to bring a dry bag or two. A dry bag is a waterproof bag used to keep items dry when out on the water.
Wet bags are similar to dry bags but are designed for storing wet or damp items. These are perfect for bringing your swimsuit and towel to the beach or pool.
Clothing and Accessories
What you pack in terms of clothing will depend mainly on where you’re going and what activities you plan on doing while on a tropical vacation with warm weather. If you spend most of your time lounging on the beach or by the pool, pack lightweight clothing that can easily get wet, like swimsuits, coverups, shorts, and tank tops.
If you’re planning on doing some sightseeing or exploring, then you’ll want to pack clothes that are comfortable but also protect you from the sun, like light dresses, skirts, shorts, t-shirts, and hats. No matter what your plans are during your tropical vacation, breathable clothing is key to staying cool and comfortable in humid weather.
Here’s a list of what you need for your tropical vacation:
You’ll want to pack at least two swimsuits so that you have one to wear while the other is drying.
A beach coverup is a must for any trip to the beach or pool. Choose a lightweight, breathable fabric like cotton or linen.
Underwear takes up a lot of space in your suitcase, so pack only what you need. Choose lightweight, quick-drying and breathable fabrics to stay cool and comfortable. In our opinion, ExOfficio makes the best underwear for hot weather.
Comfortable shorts are essential for any tropical vacation. Denim shorts are not a good option as they are heavy and can take forever to dry if they get wet. Instead, choose lightweight shorts made from breathable fabrics like cotton, linen, or hemp.
Dresses and Skirts
Lightweight dresses and skirts are perfect for hot weather as they are airy and breathable. Choose natural fabrics like cotton, linen, or hemp.
Tank Tops and T-Shirts
Pack a few tank tops and t-shirts to wear during your trip. Again, choose lightweight, breathable fabrics.
Light Rain Jacket
It’s a good idea to pack a light jacket that protects you from the rain, both in the wet season or when it rains for a few hours.
What says “tropical vacation” more than a pair of flip-flops? You’ll want a comfortable pair to wear around the resort or to the beach. We recommend Havainas as they are durable and have a cushioned footbed.
Hiking Shoes or Sneakers
If you’re planning on hiking or exploring during your trip, you’ll need at least one pair of good shoes. Choose a comfortable pair with good traction.
Wearing sunglasses with UV protection is essential for sunny and cloudy days in tropical destinations. The UV rays can be just as harmful on overcast days.
Sun Hat or Visor
A hat or visor is another excellent way to protect your skin from the sun and keep you cool. We love hats and wide-brimmed options for their style and sun protection. There are some amazing packable sun hats on Amazon.
Toiletries and Beauty Products
Here are some essential items to consider packing:
Hair Brush or Comb
Even if you’re planning on keeping your hair up and out of your face, we think it’s a good idea to pack a hairbrush or comb. We love wooden combs as they are eco-friendly, durable, and don’t take up much space.
Sun protection is essential when spending time in the tropics. Make sure to pack (and wear) sunscreen and lip balm with SFP, hats, and sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful rays. We recommend packing reef-safe sunscreen (or buying it at your destination) because many sunscreens contain harmful chemicals to coral reefs, and many places (e.g., Hawaii) have already banned them.
After Sun Care
If you get sunburned (even with sunscreen), then make sure to pack after-sun care products like aloe vera gel or lotion to help soothe your skin.
Shampoo and Conditioner
We recommend packing travel-sized bottles of shampoo and conditioner that are TSA approves and fit in your carry-on.
Soap and Shower Gel
Again, travel-sized bottles are best for packing soap and shower gel. We love bar soap as it doesn’t take up much space, and it’s easy to find eco-friendly options.
Toothpaste and Toothbrush
Of course, you’ll need to pack your toothbrush and toothpaste. We recommend packing a small, travel-sized toothbrush and toothpaste tube to save space in your suitcase. Toothpaste pills are also a great option for travelers as they are TSA-approved and don’t take up much space.
With the hot weather, you’ll want to pack a good deodorant. We love natural deodorants made with ingredients like baking soda and coconut oil.
Feminine Hygiene Products
You’ll need to pack feminine hygiene products if you’re a woman. Instead of using pads or tampons, we recommend using a menstrual cup as they are eco-friendly and easy to use.
Tropical vacations are all about relaxing and being natural. So, we recommend packing only the essentials when it comes to makeup. Limit it to a few essential items like foundation, mascara, and lip balm.
We recommend packing lightweight, natural makeup that won’t melt in the heat. And if you’re planning on spending time in the water, waterproof makeup is a must.
Contacts and contact solution (if you wear contacts)
If you wear contacts, then be sure to pack your contacts and contact solution. We recommend packing extra contact lenses in case you lose one.
Eyeglasses (if you wear glasses)
If you wear glasses, then don’t forget to pack your eyeglasses. We think packing a case to protect them from getting scratched or broken is a good idea, and you should add this to your packing list.
Tropical Vacation First Aid Kit
You probably know it’s always a good idea to bring a first-aid kit when traveling. But when you go on a tropical vacation, there are a few extra items you should add to your kit. Here’s what we recommend packing:
Cuts and scrapes happen, even on vacation. Be sure to pack a few band-aids in your first-aid kit so you can cover up any minor wounds. It can take longer to heal cuts and scrapes in a tropical climate because of the humidity, so keeping them clean and covered is important.
It’s always a good idea to have alcohol wipes in your first-aid kit. You can use them to clean cuts, scrapes, and other wounds. They’re also great for
Another thing to be aware of in a tropical climate is bugs. If you’re spending time outdoors, we recommend packing bug spray to keep mosquitoes and other insects at bay.
Mosquitoes Repellent / Bug Spray
Mosquitoes can carry diseases like Zika virus and dengue fever, so protecting yourself from them is important. The tropics are home to many different types of mosquitoes, so it’s crucial to choose a mosquito repellent that is effective against them. Another thing to be aware of in a tropical climate is bugs. If you’re spending time outdoors, we recommend packing bug spray to keep mosquitoes and other insects at bay.
If you get any cuts or scrapes, you’ll want to have antibiotic ointment on hand to help prevent infection. This can happen faster on a tropical vacation because of the hot, humid weather.
Ointment for Insect Bites
Even with bug spray, you may still end up getting bitten by an insect. Be sure to pack an ointment to soothe the itch and pain of mosquito bites or other insect bites.
No one wants to be in pain on vacation, but sometimes you can’t avoid it. Whether you get a headache from too much sun or pull a muscle while exploring, it’s always good to have a pain reliever on hand.
Take your go-to pain to relieve that works for you, such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or acetaminophen.
If you’re allergic to insect bites or you have hay fever, then you’ll want to pack some antihistamines. These can help relieve the symptoms of allergies such as itchiness, swelling, and sneezing.
If you’re worried about getting food poisoning on your trip, we recommend packing charcoal tablets. These can help absorb toxins in the gut and may help prevent or lessen the symptoms of food poisoning.
If you get diarrhea on your trip, rehydration salts can help replace the fluids and electrolytes you’ve lost. They can also help prevent dehydration, which can happen quickly in a tropical climate.
Other Useful Items
We also recommend some other items to add to your tropical vacation checklist:
If you’re going to a tropical destination, you will most likely visit a beach or a pool. Most hotels in tropical locations offer beach towels for their guest, but we highly recommend bringing your own. It can double as a picnic blanket, beach blanket, or airplane blanket.
Reusable Water Bottle
Staying hydrated is essential in tropical vacation destinations. Because tap water isn’t always safe to drink, we recommend packing a reusable water bottle that can be filled with filtered or bottled water.
Water bottles with integrated filters are a good option as they allow you to fill up from any water source without worrying about the quality. Check out our expert reviews for the best travel water bottles.
Afternoon thunderstorms are common in tropical climates, so it’s a good idea to pack an umbrella. This small travel umbrella is our top pick because it’s lightweight and compact, making it easy to carry with you on your trip.
It’s 2022, which means most of us can’t leave home without our cell phones and laptops. But when packing electronics for a trip, it’s important not to overdo it. Sure, it’s nice to have access to all of our devices while we’re on vacation, but do we really need our laptops, tablet, and e-reader? Probably not.
When deciding which electronics to bring on your trip, ask yourself how often you will use each device. There are plenty of things to explore on a tropical vacation, so we don’t recommend spending all your time glued to a screen. But if you can’t imagine being without your devices for more than a few hours, then here are a few packing essentials:
Phone & Charger
If you’re bringing your phone on vacation, then you’ll obviously need a charger. We recommend packing a portable charger so you can keep your phone charged even when there’s no outlet available. A waterproof phone case is also a good idea if you drop your phone in the pool or get caught in a rainstorm.
Laptop & Charger
Again, if you’re planning to use your laptop on vacation, you’ll need to pack the charger. If you have a laptop with a detachable screen, consider leaving the screen at home to save space and weight.
If you don’t want to use your phone to take photos on your tropical vacation, then consider packing a small point-and-shoot camera. If you are on an island vacation and spend time doing watersports, you might want to bring an underwater camera. Don’t forget to pack extra SD cards so you can store all the photos and videos you take on your trip.
Whether you want to watch movies on the plane or take video calls from the beach, headphones are a travel essential. If you don’t want to carry a pair of headphones, consider getting wireless earbuds like the Apple AirPods.
Travel Gadgets For Your Tropical Vacation
In addition to the electronics we’ve already mentioned, there are a few other gadgets that can be useful on a tropical vacation:
Universal Travel Adapter
If you’re traveling to a country with a different electrical outlet than what you’re used to, you’ll need a universal travel adapter. This handy gadget has multiple plugs that can be used in over 150 countries, no matter if you’re going to Mexico, Indonesia, or Costa Rica.
Mulberry Silk Pillow Cover
A mulberry silk pillow cover is great for any trip, but it’s especially important when traveling in a tropical climate. Silk is naturally cooling and breathable, making it ideal for hot weather. It’s also hypoallergenic and can help prevent wrinkles, so your skin will look good even after a long flight.
Solar Power Bank
A solar power bank is a great way to keep your devices charged when you’re on the go. A solar power bank can come in handy if you’re hiking, biking, or doing any other outdoor activities.
Travel Tips For Your Tropical Vacation
Now that you know what to pack for your tropical vacation, here are a few tips to make your trip even better:
- Get travel insurance: No matter where you’re going or doing, it’s always a good idea to have travel insurance. It will help protect you in case of a medical emergency, lost luggage, or canceled flights.
- Expect warm temperatures and protect yourself from the hot sun.
- Wear sunscreen, drink plenty of water, and take breaks in the shade to stay cool.
- Pack light: You don’t need to bring everything on your trip. Add the essentials to your tropical vacation packing list and leave the rest home.
- Be prepared for rain showers: Tropical climates often have afternoon rain showers. Pack a raincoat or umbrella so you’re prepared.
- Bring cash: Many places in tropical countries only accept cash, so it’s essential to have some on hand.
Packing for a tropical holiday can be daunting, but with this handy guide by your side, it doesn’t have to be!
We hope this tropical packing list and tips help you plan the perfect trip to tropical destinations.
Check out our printable packing list and start counting down for your island vacation, Caribbean vacation, or any other tropical vacation with our free Vacation Countdown App.
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