Must Pack Items for Your Tropical Vacation

Swimsuit and sunscreen…that’s all you need for a tropical vacation, right? While you are likely going to spend a lot of time on the beach, you might want to pack a few more essentials. You may be able to buy many items at your resort, but it will be much less expensive to bring them from home. Also, some islands have laws or regulations about clothing. Here are some important tips on what to pack and what not to pack for your tropical getaway.


  • The tropics means heat and humidity so lightweight, light colored clothing is a must.
  • Humidity also means swimsuits may not dry overnight so bringing multiple suits is a good idea.
  • Shorts, tanks and swimsuits work fine for the beach and the pool but keep in mind many resorts have dress codes for restaurants so be sure to pack appropriate clothing even for your children. Many countries require more conservative dress for shopping and sightseeing areas as well. Avoid clothing that is too revealing. Check with your travel consultant for any dress codes for your destination.
  • DO NOT pack any camouflage clothing. It is illegal in many Caribbean countries. To be safe, just don’t bring it.
  • Pack comfortable shoes particularly if you plan on doing a lot of sightseeing or sport activities. Flip flops and water shoes are also a good idea for the beach.

Sunscreen and bug repellant

  • Sunscreen is a must and bringing it from home will save you some money. Given the sun and proximity to the equator, use an SPF higher than you normally would. Reapply liberally. Nothing ruins a vacation like a nasty sunburn. But just in case you overindulge in the sun, bring aloe vera gel to soothe the burn. Sun hats and beach cover-ups are also a good idea.
  • Mosquitoes are rampant in the tropics so insect repellant is also a necessity. Like sunscreen, it should also be brought from the U.S. Many countries use chemicals in their bug sprays that have been banned in the U.S.


  • Sometimes luggage on international flights can be delayed for up to 24 hours. Avoid the stress and hassle by packing enough essentials in your carry-on bag for at least 24 hours. That includes medications, sunscreen, insect repellant, toiletries, swimsuits and at least one change of clothes.


  • If you like to read on the beach, stock your e-reader with your favorite reading material.
  • Bring a camera, charger and memory card other than the one on your phone. You’ll get better pictures.
  • Don’t forget chargers for all your devices.


  • Be sure you have all your necessary travel documents: passports, tickets, boarding passes, maps, credit cards, IDs. Keep all these in an easily accessible but safe place.

Extra Must Haves

  • Sports equipment: While many resorts will rent equipment, it’s always cheaper, cleaner and more convenient to bring your own. Consider bringing snorkel mask, fins, wetsuit and your scuba diving license.
  • Beach towels: Many hotels and resorts do not allow you to take their towels to the beach or they will charge you a rental fee so it’s always a good idea to bring them with you.
  • Lightweight jacket for cool evenings or air conditioning.
  • Umbrella – it is the tropics after all. Pop up rain showers can happen at any time.

Following these tips can make your vacation smoother and much more memorable. For more tips and help in planning your vacation contact us as The Tropical Travelers. We have been there and can help you navigate the ins and outs of the journey as well as the destination. Contact us at 1-800-479-0949 or visit our website to start planning your vacation of a lifetime.