As we adjust to a new way of living and working in the era of health concerns, many people want to rest, unwind, and recharge after prolonged periods of staying at home. For some, a stay at the beach would provide just the respite needed, as long as they made sure to have the tropical vacation packing essentials.
But for most of us, the luxury of travel has either been benched for the foreseeable future, or for the luckier ones, at least given a serious makeover. Planning a vacation has never required so much forethought.
Standard precautions like always wearing a face covering when out in public, practicing good hand hygiene, and maintaining adequate personal space while traveling and at your destination need to be followed.
If you have your heart set on a tropical getaway, here’s a guide on tropical vacation packing so that you only carry what you need to enjoy your trip and look the part as you hang out by the pool or at the beach.
Tropical Vacation Packing: Clothes, Shoes, and Beach Essentials
The “just in case” mantra phrase can easily make you overpack as you try to anticipate every single need that might arise while you’re on holiday.
Those four pairs of shoes, including your “comfortable heels,” might not all be necessary for a 5-day trip. And do you really need ten bikinis for your weekend-long break?
Here’s a handy guide that will assist you in your tropical vacation packing by focusing on the essentials and helping you to create your very own travel capsule wardrobe.
Tropical Vacation Packing List: Clothes
Because you’ll be in warm weather, you’ll need to wear breathable fabrics. Pick versatile separates that can be matched with more than one other piece of clothing so that you have at least two outfit options.
Pack one or two casual dresses that can work for both day and night. Blue Bungalow’s flowy, high-low cotton dress from their Cotton Village line is the perfect example of a stylish yet comfortable look that can be easily dressed up or down.
Carry three to four comfortable tops that you can mix and match with skirts, shorts, or pants.
Bring a mix of two to three pairs of pants or shorts that can be paired with your tops to create cute outfits for taking a stroll around town or hanging out by the beach.
Pack two swimsuits so that you have a bathing suit to wear while the other one dries. If you like bikinis, choose pieces that you can mix and match for versatility. Wear your bikini as a crop top, or your one-piece swimwear or a bodysuit with a pair of culottes or a maxi skirt for a quick outfit.
When you wear your swimsuit, you’re going to want something to cover it up as you stroll to the pool or the beach. Whether you prefer a kaftan or a sarong, pick a cover-up that is lightweight, easy to put on and pull off, and dries quickly.
Just in case it gets cool or windy at night, bring a light jacket or a lightweight sweater that is not bulky.
Tropical Vacation Packing List: Shoes
Shoes can take up space in your luggage, so it’s important to stick to what you’ll really need.
Given you’ll be spending plenty of time by the pool or at the beach, a pair of flip-flops is a tropical vacation must-have.
Pack a pair of sandals for trips around town, shopping sprees, or when going out for dinner. Pick a neutral color like tan or black that will work with all of your outfits.
Water shoes come in handy to protect your feet if your tropical destination has lots of coral or rocks on the beaches.
Tropical Vacation Packing List: Beach Essentials
Anytime you go to the beach, there are a few must-haves to keep you safe, healthy, and comfortable.
Sunscreen is a crucial item to pack for a tropical vacation. Get a product that is water-resistant and offers broad-spectrum protection against both UVA and UVB rays. Reapply at least every two hours.
A wide-brimmed sun hat helps to protect your face, ears, and neck from sunburn and harmful UV rays. If you can get one made with UV blocking fabrics, all the better. Choose a design that can easily be bent or squished to fit into your luggage and beach bag.
Apart from protecting your eyes from UV light, a pair of sunglasses, especially the polarized kind, reduces glare from the sun as it reflects off of the water.
Don’t carry your thick, terry towels. Instead, get a microfiber beach towel that doesn’t hold sand, is lightweight, and dries quickly. If you have the luggage space, pack two so that you have a dry option if the other doesn’t dry as fast as it should.
Reusable water bottle
Being out in the hot sun can quickly leave you dehydrated. Instead of using single-use plastic bottles that carry a costly environmental price, get a reusable bottle.
Even better, get a collapsible one that squashes down when not in use and takes up minimal space in your bag. If where you’re staying doesn’t have a ready supply of drinking water, consider buying a reusable bottle that comes with a water filter.
A swim bag is a water-resistant sack used to keep water in or out. That means it can keep the rest of your beach bag dry from your damp swimsuit. It can also protect your phone, camera, and other valuables from sand and water while on the beach and store toiletries that might leak during the trip.
All your beach essentials go into your beach bag. It can also double as a tote bag for a day around the town.
Dos and Don’ts for Your Tropical Holiday
Do book as soon as possible
Booking flights and accommodation at the last minute can be very expensive. Decide where you want to go, research your travel and accommodation options, and lock them down ASAP.
Don’t travel during busy days and major holidays
Booking flights on weekends and the holidays can be expensive. Opt to fly during the week — preferably Tuesdays and Wednesdays — for cheap flight deals and shorter queues at security and check-in desks.
Do consider vacation rentals
Short-term rental companies like Airbnb and VRBO have changed how people travel. Instead of traditional hotel options, more travelers seek out home rentals to experience authentic local tourism. Plus, the rates are comparable — or even more affordable than — booking a hotel room.
Don’t expect cheap rates during the peak travel season
Planning a tropical getaway during the winter is an excellent idea. Still, it can be expensive because many people want to get away from the cold weather as well. If possible, travel during the off-season and you could end up saving thousands of dollars.
Do make sure your carry-on bag works for you
The perfect carry-on bag should allow you to grab your passport whenever you need it quickly. It should also keep your liquids separate, with the ability to remove them as fast as possible at security, and pull out your phone charger without an avalanche of your stuff hitting the floor.
Don’t overdo it
Yes, you’re on holiday, and you just want to let loose. But do you really want to be hungover and dehydrated the following morning after a night of partying? Or feel bloated on the beach after leaving no prisoners at the breakfast buffet?
It’s good to enjoy yourself while on vacation, but try to do everything in moderation, especially sunbathing.
Do pack travel-size toiletries
Instead of lugging around 13-ounce bottles of your products, put your toiletries in travel size bottles that are leakproof.
If you’re fortunate enough to secure a getaway to an ocean-side destination, be sure you’ve got what you need to have a relaxing, stress-free stay by referring to this tropical vacation packing list and suggestions of what to do and not to do.
Author Bio: Leanne Lee loves fashion to no end so she writes about it for Blue Bungalow, reads about it, and basically lives and breathes it every day. She’s an avid collector of oversized handbags, indoor cacti, and loves a good G&T to cap off the week.