Disclosure: This article may contain affiliate/compensated links at no extra cost to you, for more information you can read my disclaimer

Tropical Vacation Packing List | 23 Items To Bring

Island vacations are some of the best, but I’m sure you already know that.

They allow you to completely relax and recharge and actually take some much-needed time away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. However, knowing what to pack for them can cause anxiety.

That is why we have put together a packing list for a tropical vacation. Rest assured you won’t forget any items behind if you follow this list.

Get ready to pack your bags and start enjoying a whole bunch of relaxing on the beach.

Your tropical vacation awaits you.

I’m sure you can already feel the warm sun on your face and the ice-cold frozen cocktail in your hand.

23 Items To Pack for a Tropical Vacation


1. Beach Bag

Since youll be leaving your suitcase back at your hotel or Airbnb, youll need an additional bag that you can walk around with that can hold all of your beach essentials. This beach bag is perfect because its mesh which will keep the sand out.

After all, thats something you definitely wont want to track back to your hotel. Its spacious and has additional pockets for separating your belongings. The best thing about this bag is it is easy to fold up and put in your suitcase. So it won’t take up a lot of room.


2. Travel Towel

I absolutely love my travel towel, I use it all the time, even when I’m not traveling. It is perfect for a hair towel when you are at home. When I am traveling I keep it on me all the time. It is small and easy to pack up.

Easily fits in my day backpack or beach bag. So much easier to carry around than bulky beach towels.  Be sure to pack a travel towel when heading out on your next vacation.


3. Waterproof bag 

A small waterproof bag is essential if youll be doing different water activities. Nothing is worse than going on a sunset cruise and falling in the water with all your belongings at the end, trust me I know.

This waterproof bag is perfect because it has a shoulder strap to make it easy to carry. Keeping your towel, clothing, but most importantly your phone dry.

A suitcase packed with packing cubes

4. Packing Cubes

I can’t express more how these things have changed the way I travel. It is a great way to ensure you will have a good tropical vacation by staying organized with your packing.

These packing cubes have been a life changer for me. Now when I go on vacation, everything I own is neat and organized before I even get there.

It makes living out of a suitcase that much easier. I highly recommend these packing cubes, especially if you don’t like chaos when it comes to packing.


5. Bug Bands

I am not always a fan of bug spray, however, I love bug bands. There are super easy to wear and you don’t have to think about applying bug spray. It does all the work for you and they usually last for a few days.
They are perfect for keeping those annoying mosquitoes away during those beautiful sunsets.


6. Underwater Camera

One of the best things about island life is the abundance of sea animals. Youll be amazed at the unique and colorful fish off the coast and the best way to document such a great memory is with an underwater camera.

An underwater camera can make vacation so much fun. Its a great way to document your trip and hold onto the memories for years to come.

Take selfies with fish, each other, and photos of the amazing marine life and enjoy! Its also a great camera to use in general during your vacation if youre worried about getting a nice one ruined.


7. Water Bottle with Built-in Filter

Fresh and clean drinking water is something many people take for granted that others dont have the luxury of enjoying.

Its a safe idea to bring a water bottle with a built-in filter on vacation with you so that you dont even have to worry about the water at all.

It will save you money from having to purchase water bottles on the go and it will keep you safe from anything harmful in the tap water. They are also great for the environment, helping to keep those beautiful beaches clean.


8. Reef Safe Sunscreen

Sunscreen is a must on a tropical vacation where you’ll be outside under the hot sun all day. The sun is not only bad for your skin, but a bad sunburn can lead to an uncomfortable rest of your trip. We all want to come back from holiday tanned, not lobster red.

Its not worth the pain and suffering. This reef-safe sunscreen is perfect for protecting your skin while also protecting the sea animals from harmful chemicals. Remember to reapply if you are going to be spending all day out in the hot sun.

9. Foldable Sun Hat

Nothing screams island vacation more than sitting on the beach and soaking up the rays. Of course, if you are going to be doing so, you not only want to protect your skin with sunscreen, but you also want to protect your face from damaging rays.

Wearing a sun hat is a must! Especially if you plan on spending a lot of time in the sun.

This sun hat will not only protect your face from sun damage and premature wrinkles. It also folds up nicely in your suitcase.

Check out the Best Sun Hats for Travel 

10. Portable Charger

You definitely dont want your phone to die in an exotic place that you arent familiar with. Its in your best interest to have a portable charger on you in case of emergencies. That way you will always have your camera handy for those incredible sunset shots.

Its also a great way to charge your phone if you dont have the right outlet adapters. This portable charger is slim and works quickly to recharge your battery. It is also super small, and easy to carry around with you when you are out and about.

11. Universal Adapter

If you dont have the same outlet sizes as the place youll be traveling to this is a must-have item.

Otherwise, you will have no way of charging your electronic devices if your adapter does not match the one on the wall.

universal adapter will convert your adapter to the one on the wall so that you dont need anything additional. They are a must for an international traveler.

12. Noise-Canceling Headphones

There is nothing like a pair of noise-canceling headphones for listening to music or a podcast on the plane. Or to block out the screaming baby, that is sitting near you.

I swear by the Apple AirPods pro. They work great and don’t take up a lot of room like other larger noise-canceling headphones.

They are great and will help pass the time until you arrive at your island vacation. It can also be nice to listen to music at the beach in the early morning or on a long walk. If this is up your alley, dont forget to pack a pair of wireless headphones that wont take up much space in your bag.

13. Day Backpack

Besides your beach bag, you may want a backpack that can fit all of your things and be easy to carry. If you plan on doing some outdoor activities or even just going on long walks, the ease of a backpack will come in handy because its a lot easier to carry than having a bag on one shoulder.

This backpack is the perfect bag to use as your personal bag on a plane and to carry your stuff during your island vacation. Its lightweight, comes in various colors, and its water-resistant. They are great for when you plan on being active and are also great for a carry-on for the plane.

14. Beach Cover Up

Tropical vacations are all about spending time by the beach, in the sun or even by the pool. Wearing clothes becomes a thing of the past. Days are spent in bikinis lounging around. However, sometimes you want something that is quick and easy to throw on so you can head to the bar.

15. Cash

Its so much easier to travel with cash in the currency of the country youll be visiting. You wont have to worry about your card declining or getting compromised and its a good alternative payment option.

If youre in a small town, its possible that some places wont even take cards and youll need cash. Its important to have some just in case. Like they say. Cash is King.

16. Documents

You cant have a packing list for a tropical vacation without mentioning the need for your passport, ID, and other travel-related documents like your boarding pass, itinerary, and hotel or Airbnb information.

It might be old school, but I always travel with printed copies of my travel documents, including my Passport.

You never know what is going to happen, and when you are going to need them. It is also a good idea to keep everything neat and organized. This travel wallet is perfect for holding all of your items and it has RFID protection.

17. Good Book or Magazine

Tropical Island vacations are all about sitting on the beach and finally getting to read or finish that book. Getting the time to open and start a new good read.

If you don’t have any books in mind that you want to read, check out these great books to inspire travel and self-discovery.

18. Waterproof Speaker

Having a great pair of noise-canceling headphones is a must, but also having a good waterproof speaker is also something you will want to add to your packing list. They are great for when you are hanging around the pool with friends, or on a nice beach and want to play some good reggae tunes.

This speaker is great because it is small and easy to carry.

19. Lip Sunscreen

Everyone usually remembers to wear sunscreen and keep their skin protected. However, not everyone remembers to look after their lips. Which can not end nicely, when you have fever blisters all over your lips because you forgot to use a sunscreen lip balm.

Remember to protect your lips as well as your skin.


20. Leave-In Conditioner

Spending time in the ocean is great therapy. However, it can not always be so friendly on your hair. Saltwater dries your hair out and makes it impossible to brush.

This leave-in conditioner is not only great for your hair, but it is also reef safe. That way you can rest assure you can go back in the water with this conditioner in your hair.



21. Eye Mask

These can be blessings. Especially when you are on a long-haul flight and trying to get some sleep. Nothing is worst than showing up to your tropical vacation unrested, because you couldn’t sleep on the plane because you didn’t have an eye mask.

This is an easy cheap thing to add to your list. You will always be happy you have one when you want one.




22. Travel Pillow

Again travel pillows are great for helping you sleep on the plane. Making those uncomfortable flights a little more comfortable. They are also nice to have on the beach while you are tanning.

Travel pillows make traveling a little more comfortable.




23. Polarized Sunglasses

We have talked about protecting your skin, face, and lips, but probably the most important thing you want to protect is your eyes. Having a good pair of polarized sunglasses is not only essential for your tropical vacation, but also in life.

You only have one pair of eyes, so you want to protect them with a good pair of polarized sunglasses.

Other Items To Pack For Your Tropical Vacation

Depending on what type of accommodations youll have on your tropical vacation you may or may not want to include some of the items below.

The items below are all linked on amazon to help make shopping easier. You focus on enjoying your trip and leave the research for the best products to us!

What Clothes Should You Pack On Tropical Vacation?

When youre on a tropical vacation, you can expect warm and sunny weather, assuming youre going in peak season.

Depending on how long youll be on your trip you can adjust the amount of clothing needed. For a week’s vacation, you can bring one swimsuit for every couple of days. Swimsuits are great because they are easy to clean and dry quickly.

Youll also want one or two good coverups to wear to the beach and to walk around in. If you dont have that many coverups you can even wear light dresses.

You will also want one or two nice outfits for going to restaurants, shops, or to walk around. If you want to save room in your suitcase, you can re-wear shorts and light pants.

Dont forget all of your underclothing for seven days as well as pajamas for the night. You may also want one light sweater or jacket in case it gets cold at night.

If youll be visiting during an island’s winter months” you may want to pack some additional light pants and light sweaters for the morning and night when it can be a bit cooler.

Youll also want to bring at least one pair of sneakers and one pair of sandals.

We suggest wearing your sneakers on the plane since its a bulkier item and weighs more.

List Of Clothing For 1 Week Tropical Vacation

  • Bathing Suit x 2
  • Bathing Suit Coverup x 2
  • Sun Dress x 2
  • Nighttime Outfit x 2
  • Tanktops x 3
  • Tshirts x 3
  • Light Shorts x 2
  • Jean Shorts x 1
  • Pajamas x 1
  • Jeans x 1
  • Leggins x 1
  • Lightweight sweater x1
  • Hoodie x 1
  • Sun hat x 1
  • Baseball hat x 1
  • Sunglasses x 2
  • Sneakers x 1
  • Dressy Sandals x 1

What Should You Not Pack for Clothes On A Tropical Vacation

  1. Dont pack heavy jackets or other bulky items. Unless you are traveling someplace cold afterward. If so pack a foldable jacket.
  2. Dont bring beloved valuable items. You should consider leaving your expensive purses, jewelry, and other electronics at home if you dont need them.
  3. Dont overpack! You should save room for any souvenirs you may want to purchase. Nobody enjoys spending a few hours at the end of their vacation trying to cram everything back into a suitcase.
  4. Always look at the items that will be provided with your accommodations so that you dont pack unnecessary items. For example, you may be given a towel, toiletries, and other essentials which would mean you dont need to pack those things in your luggage.

Expected Activities During A Tropical Vacation

I love doing impulsive things when I am on holiday, however, this could lead to not being prepared for them or being properly packed.  Here is a list of activities that you might want to do on your tropical vacation.

  • Swimming
  • Snorkeling
  • Relaxing at the beach
  • Hiking
  • Walking
  • Scuba diving
  • Boating
  • Shopping
  • Exploring
  • Wakeboarding
  • Surfing
  • Kitesurfing

How To Save Money On Your Island Vacation

  1. Pack everything instead of planning on buying things like toiletries or towels.
  2. Instead of buying mini shampoo and conditioner bottles, buy reusable travel-size tubes that you can pour your shampoo and conditioner into.
  3. Plan out your trip ahead of time. Coming up with an itinerary will help you budget and have a plan as to how much everything will costs.

Most importantly, have fun! The fact that youre reading this packing list for a tropical vacation means youre prepared and considering all of the things you may need for your stay.

The key is to bring the necessities without overpacking. However, with this list youll be ready for the vacation of a lifetime.

Less is more in the end because if you dont have to spend time trying to puzzle piece everything to fit in the luggage youll be happy.

Related Content

Best Tropical Vacations

Best Tropical Islands for Solo Female Travelers

Snorkeling in Cozumel

Scroll to Top