What to Pack on a Tropical Vacation (+ Things You Don’t Need)


Right now, you’re probably not actively planning a holiday in the tropics (unless you’re blessed enough to live within driving distance of a sandy beach), but what’s that to stop us from planning for next year? We are always dreaming of our next tropical holiday, and since we have so much time before we can actually go on our trips, we’ve decided to outline our packing must-haves on holiday, and some things we can benefit from leaving at home. We’re notorious for over-packing for holidays, so this list is incredibly helpful for us to stay on track, and we hope it could help you as well! 


  1. Bathing Suit (obviously)


You can’t go on holiday to the tropics and not bring a couple of bathing suits. We love to bring at least two, so you can alternate between them while the other dries after a day in the water! Bathing suits are also not bulky, so you can fit as many as you want in your suitcase and show off the summer purchases you made in isolation (*wink, wink*). 


  1. Sandals + Sneakers + Dinner Shoes


I tend to overpack in the shoe department. I always think that I’m going to need 5 pairs of shoes on a 7 day long holiday… but we’re working on it. I have narrowed it down to two or three pairs: sandals or flip flops for the beach, a pair of sneakers if you’re planning on hiking or adventuring around the island or resort, and a pair of dressier shoes for dinner. Sometimes, you can even combine and condense these into only two pairs, or you can leave one out if you know you won’t need it! This is just based on my personal experience.


  1. Breezy Clothing Options


This is important, because depending on where you live, your outfit to travel might not fit the climate of your destination. The worst feeling is having to buy a whole new wardrobe in the middle of your vacation because the clothes you brought with you were too warm for the weather! P.S., you can’t go wrong with light, breathable materials such as linen or a lightweight cotton, and leggings for the flight over! 


  1. Camera + Cell phone + Chargers + Batteries


Depending on the quality of your cell phone camera, you might be able to get away with just bringing your phone— that is, unless you’re a photographer! Also, don’t forget chargers and extra camera batteries! 


  1. Backpack/ Tote Bag


I will usually end up bringing a backpack or oversized tote bag as my in-flight carry-on, and that way, I can fit my toiletry bag, socks for the flight, and my iPad and books, and have them with me on the flight! It also acts as extra storage space if I go on a hike or to bring my beach towel and sunscreen to the water! 


  1. Personal Hygiene Products


This is so important— a lot of beach towns and resort gift shops will have personal hygiene products, but usually at an elevated price. Here are our must-haves when travelling! We love keeping sample-sized bottles from makeup stores to store these in when travelling!


  • Sunscreen
  • Toothbrush + enough toothpaste to last the duration of my trip
  • Aloe/Post Sun Care
  • A gentle exfoliant
  • Moisturizer 
  • A deep conditioner for your hair if you struggle with dry hair in warm climates
  • Wipes for long flights and to refresh your face throughout the day


  1.  Advil + something for stomach troubles


This is something that’s easily forgotten, but so important to have in your bag when you travel! Pain relievers and anti-nausea medication are so expensive in airports and hotel gift shops, so to save money and the stress of looking for some when you really need it, we suggest keeping a travel-sized bottle of everything you’d possibly need in your carry-on! 


  1. A good book (or four!)


With our busy schedule, we often don’t prioritize leisurely reading in our everyday lives (although we really should). When we go on holiday, we like to make reading for pleasure a priority again. There’s also something about being on holiday and being beach-side that inspires us to reach books we wouldn’t normally read either (cue sappy romance novels). Some of our favorite beach reads include Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty, The Nest by Cynthia Sweeney, and if you’re into mysteries, The Woman in the Window, by A.J. Flynn. There’s something about reading a chapter under the sun and taking a midday beachside nap that screams holiday and self-care to us, and we love it. 


  1. A reusable water bottle


There’s nothing we’re more annoyed at than the inflated prices of drinks in airports. We have resorted to bringing our own reusable bottles, keeping them empty during security checks, and then refilling them at a water fountain before our flight! It saves tons of money, and also saves tons of plastic from entering landfills! Airports have also upgraded a lot of their amenities to include water-refill stations, and sometimes, you can even get hot water at some of them!


  1. Travel Wallet


I am a little bit obsessed with keeping my travel documents in one central location when I go on holiday. It’s probably one of my biggest fears to lose a boarding pass or even worse, my passport, while I’m on the other side of the world. Because of that, I’ve become a little bit hyper-organized when it comes to storing my travel docs. Keeping your travel documents in one place is so important, and most wallets don’t have the space to hold every ticket, itinerary, and passport for you and your family. Travel wallets are essentially just larger, tri-fold wallets with extra storage for passports, identification cards, cash, boarding passes, and everything else you’d need to get to your holiday destination! I was able to find mine on Amazon for less than $20, and it’s held up really well over the years! The last thing you need is added stress from losing an important piece of identification on the vacation of your dreams!

Things You Probably Don’t Need


  1. Electronic hair products


I have made this mistake so many times when traveling to the tropics. I always convince myself that I’m going to need a flat iron to tame my wildly curly hair, but every time, it ends up being wasted space. Embrace the coastal hair— you’re on holiday! Don’t make the mistake of realizing halfway through a sticky, sweaty hair-straightening session that you’d rather just rock your natural hair!


  1. Denim Jeans


No… just no. Denim is probably the least breathable material in fashion, and we don’t want you to be uncomfortable on holiday. Denim gets so bulky when folded, so you’d be taking up precious luggage space for jeans that you most likely won’t end up wearing in the tropics. Save the stress of losing packing space and leave them at home! 


  1. Laptop


Honey, you’re on holiday— leave the work at home! It’ll be there when you get back, we promise. Use this time for some much needed self-care and relaxation, because after the year we’ve all had, we know you could use it. Don’t feel guilty about it either! Delete your work email account from your phone, leave your laptop at home, and enjoy yourself on holiday!

If this list doesn’t inspire you to look into booking coastal vacations as soon as it’s safe to do so, we don’t know what will. We hope that this list will help you in the midst of your holiday planning and last-minute packing, because this is what we’ll have in mind when we pack! Let us know what your go-to travel essentials are! 

July 27, 2020 — Coastal Co