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The Only Tropical Holiday Packing List You’ll Ever Need

The Only Tropical Holiday Packing List You’ll Ever Need

It’s that time of year again. When you pack your bags and jet off on a summer holiday somewhere hot and sunny. Wondering what to pack for a tropical holiday? Don’t sweat the small stuff, I’ve put together the only tropical vacation packing list you’ll ever need.

Who doesn’t love jetting off to the tropics? That giddy feeling as you hop on the plane bound for a spell of sunshine – few things beat it.

I’ve now been a travel writer for over seven years and so, when it comes to packing for tropical holidays, I’ve got more than my fair share of experience.

From trips to the beautiful Caribbean island of Nevis to spending a month in Bali – tropical vacations are my favourite thing.

Why should you care though?

Well, because I’m going to dish the dirt on how to make sure that you get your tropical vacation checklist exactly right. Let’s go.

Your Tropical Holiday Packing List At A Glance

  • Camera / Go Pro
  • Suncream
  • Lip balm with SPF
  • Insect repellent
  • Waterproof phone case
  • Bikini / swimsuit
  • Sunglasses
  • Beach bag
  • Clutch bag
  • Wide brimmed hat
  • Cover up / sarong
  • Dresses
  • T shirts / tops
  • Shorts
  • Skirt
  • Light jacket/ wrap
  • Anti-Insect Sleepwear
  • Flip flops
  • Flat shoes
  • Documents

Tropical Holiday Packing List: The Essentials

Wondering what to bring on the tropical vacation?

Here’s your step by step guide to packing for a tropical vacation to make sure that you are all set up and good to go.

Summer vacation packing list.

OK, so I’m going to assume that you’ll remember to bring the absolute things to bring on a tropical vacation like your passport, visa and insurance docs (plus a photocopy of each). This is a tropical vacation packing list, not a beginner’s guide to going on holiday.

In all seriousness though, don’t forget those things, your life will be miserable if you do.


Make sure you pack a good-quality camera to make sure you capture those fabulous holiday memories.

You’ll be thankful when you are sat at your desk in deep, dark December and those photos bring a smile to your (sun-deprived) face.

I travel with the  Sony A65000 Mirrorless Camera thanks to its small size and excellent-quality pictures. 

Make sure that you bring an extra memory card – there’s nothing worse than running out halfway through a trip.

Read more: The Best Travel Cameras

Baros Maldives - The Ultimate Tropical Vacation Getaway
Just a casual getaway to Baros Maldives

GoPro + Accessories

GoPros go where most cameras can’t, which is why they’ve become a go-to summer holiday essential.

Take them underwater, film your water sport adventures or land-based adventures. The fact that they’re virtually indestructible is a huge plus too.

Just make sure you attach a floaty if you go into the sea – as someone who lost a GoPro in the sea, you don’t want to walk that path. It’s not fun.

Read more: Cool Action Camera Alternatives to GoPro

Portable Battery Charger

Bring a portable battery charger. They’re great for charging during a long day at the beach, or for when your room inevitably doesn’t have enough charging spots.


Sunburn is unpleasant. Highly unpleasant. Bring some reef-friendly sunscreen – a must for your sun holiday packing list.

Lip Balm with SPF

If sunburnt skin is unpleasant, burnt lips are even more so.

Insect Repellent

Decent insect repellent can be the difference between you having a nice time or driving yourself nuts trying not to itch those bites.

Anti-Insect Sleepwear

Getting bitten at night is no fun at all. Luckily, waking up to millions of bites is a thing of the past thanks to We Drifters’ Anti-Insect Sleepwear. It’s cosy and practical and I love it. Read my full review.

Waterproof Phone Case

Protect your phone from the sea and the sand and put it into a protective case while you are on the beach or by the pool.

Still looking for a tropical getaway? How about a break to one of these luxury Maldives island resorts?

What to Pack for a Tropical Holiday: Clothes & Accessories

It can be way too easy to pack your whole wardrobe when you’re going away for a week or two. Keep it stylish and simple with these must-brings from my tropical vacation packing list.

Bikinis & Swimsuits

Whether you’re planning on splashing in the sea or just lounging by the pool, you’ll need a killer bikini or swimsuit to do it in. Whatever you go for, make sure it’s one you feel comfortable in.


Protect your peepers with a decent pair of sunglasses. Make sure that you have a hard-cover case for them to stop any accidental breakages.

Heading away on a tropical vacation. Don't forget to check this packing list before you go.
That hammock has your name on it (c) Adobe Stock

Beach Bag

Don’t forget a beach bag for your trip. Fill it up with your summer holiday essentials – holiday reads, electronic kit, kaftan/ sarong and pretty much everything you’ll need on your tropical packing list for a day of relaxing by the water.

Clutch Bag

Bring a clutch bag – they don’t take up much space in your luggage and are perfect for evenings out.

Wide Brimmed Hat

Bring a wide-brimmed hat to protect your face from the sun and make out like you’re Audrey Hepburn at the same time.

There’s something about beaches and broad floppy hats that will never go out of fashion – simply add a wide-brimmed hat to your outfit and voila, stylish AF.

What could be better?

Cover Up/ Sarong

A cover-up or sarong is always useful to have with you.

Perfect for protecting yourself if the sun gets a bit too much and the perfect beach-to-bar wear for the evening.


Lightweight, natural materials should be your key focuses for all your clothing on a beach holiday packing list.

Opt for lighter colours as these will help to keep you cooler too. You don’t want to spend your holiday feeling hot and bothered under a heavy dress. Bring at least one for the daytime and another slightly smarter one for any evenings out.

T Shirts/ Tops

Pack a few t-shirts or tops that work well with any shorts and skirts you are packing.

Appealing as tank tops and tiny tees are, also bring a long-sleeved top in case you catch the sun.

Aim for a capsule wardrobe where you can mix and match your clothes easily, rather than one off outfits.



Light Jacket or Wrap

Evenings may not always be that warm. Don’t forget to pack a light jacket or wrap to keep you warm when the sun goes down.

Flip Flops

Bring some flip flops or beach shoes that can withstand getting wet but are comfortable enough to walk around in. Opt for classic Havaianas or go with something a little more colourful.

Flat Shoes

Don’t forget a pair of flat shoes or sandals to wear in the evenings.


I don’t think that I need to explain about underwear do I?


In addition to your normal toiletry haul, I’d add in some soothing after sun lotion and a refreshing face mask / sheet mask to help rehydrate your sun after being out in the sun and sea all day.

Tropical Vacation Packing List: Extras

Water Shoes

I’ll freely admit that I always bring water shoes with me on beach vacations as I’m a complete wimp about what’s under my feet in the sea. That and I’ve had a few sharp coral cuts from washed up coral on beaches near to reefs.

Snorkel Gear

You might want to consider buying and bringing your own snorkel – it can be much easier than hiring it while you are away and you’ll know the quality of what you’re bringing. If you don’t like using traditional snorkels, these snorkel masks are great too.

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Beach Vacation Packing List

Read more Travel Gear Reviews and Packing Lists

So there we are, the ultimate tropical vacation packing list. Bon voyage!

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