16 Things to Pack for Tropical Vacations

I’ll be away in a few short months on my own tropical vacation, and for that, it’s best to keep in mind the things you need to pack for this kind of vacation and the best helpful things you might just need to bring instead of finding yourself running last minute to a convenience store at your travels to get it.

Recommended products to get (which include most of everything listed below):

1. Sunscreen

This is probably the most important thing to wear if you expect to be out in the sun a lot. There are so many good sunscreens on the market! For your body, you need to get one that is water-resistant, that way it stays on your body when you’re in the water.

You should also opt for one with broad-spectrum formulas; this will help with the different ultraviolet ranges of the light spectrum. Also, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, the required minimum level for an SPF is SPF 30. You can also consider getting sunscreen meant for the face if you prefer.

2. Sunglasses

It’s not fun when you’re in the sun and you’re constantly squinting or trying to focus on what’s in front of you, so that’s why you should never leave your home without these bad boys on a sunny day. There are lots of sunglasses you can choose to buy but if you’re having a hard time looking for one that suits your face, here is a guide that can suggest what styles to get for your face shape.

3. A summer hat or a fitted hat

Hats are the second best thing if you don’t want to wear your sunglasses. There are wide brim sun hats that can block the sun from your face yet make you look stylish. Fedora straw hats can also make you look stylish but in the summery vibe. Floppy hats can make you look chic while strolling around the city. And fitted hats are great to wear if you’re planning to hike or if you want to look a little sporty.

4. Bathing suits and/or bathing shorts

Of course, this is the most obvious thing you would never forget packing for a tropical vacation or any vacation where you plan to take a dip in the water. If you’re planning on shopping for bathing suits but unsure what you should look for, here is a guide that can help you with what type of bathing suit you should get for your body type.

You can also wear shorts that are meant to wear in the water, but I have mine to wear before and after I wear my actual bathing suit. They are good at soaking up water but still appropriate enough to walk around in.

5. Snorkeling goggles and fins

You’re planning to go snorkeling or exploring underwater right? Well if you are, these are really essential. You might not be able to find these wherever you’re going so it’s best to get these ahead of time for your vacation. You can find these in sporting stores or sometimes stores that cater to your pool needs.

6. Sarongs

I actually don’t have this, but this is something I will have to invest in soon. This is good if you don’t want to wear a dress or anything else on top of your bathing suit. This is light to wear around and it’s not only a cover-up but it can be made as a towel.

7. One light jacket and pair of pants

You can bring more if you would like but I don’t think it’s that necessary if you’re going on a tropical vacation where the weather is warm and humid. Plus, you don’t want to waste your space in your luggage with unnecessary things. This is good to wear while you’re on your airplane rides (let’s be real, it can get chilly being up in the air) or if there’s surprisingly chilly weather (maybe at night).

8. A beach bag

This is definitely recommended or you can use a backpack but a beach bag can pretty much hold anything you need especially if you’re just walking in and out from the beach. You can stuff your towel, sunscreen, water bottle (stay hydrated!!), and your wallet in.

You can also be creative like me and use a TJ Max recyclable shopping bag (like I did this past whole summer) to put so many things in or use a tote bag. Anything pretty much works.

9. Sneakers for hiking or exercising

These are super important if you plan to do some active activities. One pair of good sneakers are good enough, but an extra pair doesn’t hurt, just in case.

10. Fanny pack or light backpack for hiking or exercising

Just like what I suggested in my guide for going to a rave festival, fanny packs are like a holy grail. It stays on your waist, it’s very lightweight, and only needs to hold your necessities like your phone. Sometimes, they can hold water bottles. Light backpacks can be good too.

11. At least a cross-body/messenger bag

These are my all-time favorite purses to have because of how awesome they feel when you do a lot of walking around or just going in and out of a place. They are usually lightweight and can stay in one place (over your shoulder) all the time and you’re always positive it will never fall off.

Also, if you keep it in front of your body, it can avoid pocket pickers from trying to reach into your bag without your acknowledgment. You will never find me without wearing one.

12. Hair tyes

This is something that is probably most forgotten by people to pack. It’s a simple but convenient thing to have to keep your hair in place. You might need it for water activities, hiking, doing a different hairdo, or to keep your hair poofy from the humidity.

13. Flip flops and sandals

This is also a no brainer. You don’t want to wear sneakers all through your tropical vacation unless you plan your feet to sweat and itch. Bring these!! I find that Old Navy always has good quality flip flops for cheap and they also have cute summer sandals.

14. Shorts, tank tops, summery dresses

These are the type of wardrobe you should definitely include. You don’t want to be sweating, once again, so keep in mind having tank tops and shorts as a casual outfit to walk around in. Summery dresses or dress shirts (for the guys) are good to wear when you’re having dinner at night or even just walking around in too.

15. Insect repellent spray

Some tropical vacations won’t always have bugs trying to bite at you especially if you plan to just stay out on the beaches, but if you’re doing a hike or walking through lots of green, there’s a chance you might run into annoying mosquitoes and bugs. Don’t forget this item.

16. A good travel camera

And last but not least, don’t forget your cameras to take breathtaking pictures of your tropical vacation away to the Caribbean, to Asia, to the French Polynesian islands, etc. I hope this guide helped you refer to what you need to pack instead of taking a while looking through your closets!

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