There’s a lot of planning that goes into packing for a tropical trip.
From picking the right resort to booking your flights, the last thing you want to do is forget to pack an important item.
Here’s the best tropical vacation packing list to make sure you never forget an item again.
P.S. ‘3 Packing Essentials’ recommendations from the world’s best tropical travel IG Influencers (at the end of the article).
Contents (Skip to each section)
If you’d like a FREE printable/editable version of this list, click here.
- Reef-Safe Sunscreen
- SPF Lip-Balm
- Credit/Debit Card
- Insurance Cards
- Copies of passport
- Beach Towel
- Bikinis / Swim Trunks
- Aloe Vera Gel
- Sun Hat
- Rain Jacket
- Suitcase Lock
- First-Aid Kit
- Light Sweatshirt
- Undershirts/ Bras
- Insect Repellent
- Baby Powder (Sand removal)
- Travel Pillow
- Reusable Water Bottle
- Dress Shirts
Toiletries are a must for any type of vacation. Always review this list to make sure you don’t forget the essentials.
- Razor/Shaving Cream
- Body Wash
- Contact Lenses/Solution
- Hair Products
- Hand Sanitizer
- Sanitizing Wipes
You want a healthy balance of tech for your tropical vacation – here are some recommendations.
- International Power Adapters
- Phone/Camera Chargers
- Waterproof Speaker
- Camera + Lenses
- ND Lens Filter
- SD Cards / Reader
- Portable Hard Drive
- Waterproof Phone Case
- Portable Power Charger
- GoPro Dome Waterhousing
It’s the worst feeling when you get to the beach only to find out that you forgot your snorkeling mask (etc.). Especially if you’re not within walking distance!
Here’s a good reference for a beach vacation packing list.
- Floating Dry Bag
- Snorkeling Mask
- Snorkeling Fins
- Lounge Floatie
- Water Shoes
- Beach Bag
- UV Rashguard
- Sand-proof Blanket
Quick tip: Make sure to check if any of your credit cards offer travel insurance as an added perk.
If you’re traveling within the USA, then you don’t really need to worry about travel insurance. However, if you’re going on a long, expensive international trip, then I’d highly recommend investing in travel insurance.
If you decide that it’s the right move, then make sure to buy it immediately after you make your first trip deposit.
Why is travel insurance important?
- Covers foreign medical bills
- Cancellations coverage (Hotels, etc)
- Insures lost items (Camera gear, passport, luggage)
Before I travel to a new tropical destination, I always order a few travel guide books to get familiar with the area.
Sometimes I’ll even jot down an outline of the top attractions I want to see.
Just something to think about.
Why Reef-Safe Sunscreen?
If you haven’t heard already, not all sunscreens are created equal!
It’s important to use sunscreen that’s not only safe for you but for the environment.
Most people don’t realize, but a lot of sunscreens contain chemicals that harm marine environments.
The two main chemicals responsible are oxybenzone and octinoxate, in fact, they’re proven to bleach coral reefs. Recently these chemicals were banned in Hawaii!
What to look for?
Most reef-safe sunscreen is mineral-based and replaces oxybenzone and octinoxate with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Just make sure to always check the ingredients label, regardless if it says ‘reef-safe’ or not.
3 Essentials, according to travel experts
I asked 16 tropical travel IG influencers to list their 3 most important items to pack.
If you’ve never heard of these influencers, check them out. They all have incredible Instagram feeds that will inspire you to travel!
Here are their responses…
Sunglasses, Swim shorts & my favorite book 😊
Sunscreen, bikini and a phone charger 🔌
Always sunscreen!! Reef friendly (make sure of it, as lots aren’t environmentally friendly & leech nasties into our oceans & reefs)
Bikini – because of course I’m 99% in the water – I always bring a full piece + a crop top for all the adventures!!
My Sony a7riii because I can’t help but capture everything when I’m out in the world
Of course my phone (it’s my job my social media I can shoot from it & record communication)
2nd item – I need to wear something as it’s tropical would have to be a bikini.
3rd item – A large silk scarf, I can make this into a kimono, a skirt and head piece. So many ways to wear.
I always pack: My kindle, Bikinis & Beach Bag
We never travel without our Camera Equipment, Freedive Fins, and a Swimshort/Bikini
Good camera phone, wallet and clothes
Our camera, reusable water and mosquito repellent
Camera, Hats & Swimsuits
Reef Safe sunscreen (Coola), Watermelon Floatie (Big Mouth Inc.) & Sun Hat (Lastelier)
A reef-safe sunblock for sure, polarizing lens for my camera, and a dive mask
1. My phone (which also serves as my camera)
3 things I always pack are:
1. Zero waste face bar
2. Coconut Oil
3. Dive mask/bikini
I’m always packing my underwater camera, my favorite bikinis and my sunnies 😍
Reef safe sunscreen, a good book & a sand free towel
And my hydro flask
And my drone hahaha
The camera gear, swimsuits and the flip flops.
When we go to tropical locations we have to take more photos than possible 😂 even when we are only for holidays and not for work.
The swimsuits because in tropical locations we live in the crystal water and flip flops because when we arrive in paradise, we leave our sneakers in the room for all the stay.