The Tropical Traveler: Our ultimate guide on what to pack on your next tropical holiday
Whether you are preparing for your first trip to Bali or consider yourself a seasoned traveler, packing for a trip to the tropics can feel like a pretty fun-sponge activity. From the "Say what, I'll be wearing a bikini in 48 hours?!" overwhelming realisation to the "I'm pretty sure I'll need 2 pairs of jeans" thoughts....we hear you. Every day leading up to your holiday should bring excitement and eager anticipation, not stress and 'WTF do I pack-do-I-even-own-an-appropriate-bikini thoughts!
Five years ago before I moved to the tropics for good (ish) I too was having one of those 'ARGH, 10 days in the tropics what the hell do I pack!?" kinda meltdowns. Living in a world where temperatures barely fall below 25 degrees and the sun shines 340 days a year can be a tricky one to navigate through the ol' 20kg limit of a suitcase when your everyday brain is still in four-seasons-a-day winter mode.
In this guide, we've put together our tropical traveling tips to make a good list to help you navigate what's getting into your suitcase straight away (hey, they may even fit in your hand luggage!) and what can stay at home and keep the dog company while you holiday. And because I am a supporter of anything and anyone heading off on an adventure, we've put together a Free downloadable packing list for you to help you on your way. Click here to download yours.
1) Travel Documents - Including but not limited to: Passport, Visa for the appropriate countries, Flight details, Hotel booking, Pick-up Taxi/Bus/Train information.
Believe it or not, many people (including myself - on numerous occasions!) can overlook this VERY important feature of their holiday. Keep in mind places like Indonesia, Vietnam and many other countries in Asia require you to have a minimum of 6 months left on your passport prior to landing in their country. Many Asian countries (As I recently found out the hard way in Vietnam!) also require pre-approval of Visa's prior to landing. Be sure to do your research to avoid missing your flight!
2) A well-packed Carry On.
Imagine if your luggage didn't arrive to your destination, would you be OK for 24 hours? I always pack my toothbrush, deodorant, a bikini, a book, a shirt and sarong (Perfect for plane naps) and a few snacks at the bare minimum. If my luggage didn't show up on the other side, at least I can hit the beach for the day and get the holiday started immediately!
We LOVE these super cute backpacks from STATE. Check them out here.
3) Lightweight Clothing
Leave that super cute demin jumpsuit at home and stick with your lightweight cotton maxi instead - you'll thank us for it on day 1 in your tropical destination I promise! It's hard to comprehend the humidity of the tropics when you're nicely perched at home with the heater on in your warm apartment. But its real ladies. And wearing natural fibres (Cotton, Silk, Rayon, Linen) can save you from overheating in the mid-day sunshine. Heavy fabrics and synthetics like Polyester just make you sweat more and aid to your uncomfort (Or bring that pool-side happy hour forward a few hours!) I always make sure I am packing a couple of oversized dresses and light cotton T-shirts.
4) Comfortable Shoes
ESSENTIAL. Ain't nobody going exploring if they have blisters all over their feet. Exploring not for you you say? How about walking to Dinner? That romantic beach walk? Shopping? Trust us, if you don't have your most comfortable shoes as your number one, then be prepared for the worst, the hot tropical climate can do nasty things to create blisters.
5) Hat and Sarong
Here is the tropics the sun shines 12-14 hours a day and there's nothing more important than living by a Slip Slop Slap & Wrap motto! A sarong is the perfect item to stash in your hand-luggage to keep warm on the plane, as a shawl to cover you from the sun while you're riding on the back of a scooter and at the beach for sunset to sip your coconut on! Most tropical countries sell these on or close to the beach so don;t stress if you can't find one in your local department store!
6) A couple of pairs of swimmers
Girl, if you're going to be oceanside 8 hours a day for a week, you're going to need options! It's your time to shine sister, flaunt it and get in that ocean...After-all, you have been saving up for this moment for the last few months!
Sunscreen and Bug Spray. Don't leave the house without them. These 2 items can often be hard to come across in some countries as the local people don't get affected by these 2 nasties. A night under the stars in the Caribbean would be impossible without a couple of dosings of bug spray so be sure to pack it as a number 1!
8) A spare day pack (Could also double as your carry on bag)
Essential for your daily adventures, make sure it's big enough for your wallet, sarong, sunscreen and a spare shirt. You'll most likely be wearing this bad boy everyday so splashing out on a cute bag might be worth it pre-holiday. I would recommend a backpack so you can be hands-free when you head up that mountain for sunrise.
As mentioned, currently obsessing over these bags from STATE!
9) Adapter for any electronics
While these can often be picked up pretty cheaply at the airport or your new destination, it's so handy to have one on arrival to your guest house / hotel so you can charge up your camera, ready to head out exploring!
10) Your local Currency Cash
At every airport there is always a money changer handy. While they probably don't offer you the best rate going around town, its a great idea to change $100 or so so you can pay for your taxi and pick up a couple of ARRIVAL BEERS!
So there you go ladies, a quick reference guide for your next adventure to the tropics. I know we're not all built for this sweaty, humid heat but as long as there's a pool in sight, you'll be away sweating and swimming in no time.
Happy Travels Chica's! Share your travel snaps with us on #ChicasWhoTravel
Download our free Packing list here and you'll be on your way in no time!
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