Packing for Your Tropical Vacation: Your Ultimate How-To Prepare Guide

If you're getting ready for a tropical vacation this fall/winter season, be sure to pack appropriately. Learn how to stay protected from the sun as well as exactly what to pack in our ultimate tropical destination packing guide.
woman on vacation wearing a foldable UPF sun hat

Tropical destinations really are the best. However, peak times like summer can make it a little overwhelming to travel to popular tourist destinations, which is why many people and families prefer to travel during the offseason. In fact, over 20% of Americans prefer to go on a tropical vacation during fall or winter! Often it's less crowded during this time and more enjoyable. 

In the event you're gearing up for a tropical offseason getaway, you're probably wondering what to pack. And, if you're a last minute packer, you may have some anxiety settling in. Fortunately for you, we've compiled the ultimate how-to prepare for a tropical vacation packing list. Continue reading to get started!

What to Know Before Packing for a Tropical Vacation

There are a few factors to consider before packing for your tropical getaway. Before you get started, keep these tips in mind:

Keep an Eye on the Weather

Before you start packing, check the weather where you're headed and make sure to turn weather alerts on in case of emergencies. You can also reach out to your tour guide, hotel, Airbnb host, etc. to get more information on what the weather is like where you're going. 

Make a List of the Activities You'd Like to Do

Determine what activities you will be doing once you get to your tropical destination. If you're going to do a bunch of water activities, you want to make sure you bring sunscreen, UPF 50+ swimwear, beach cover-ups, and sandals. If you're going to hike a lot, be sure to pack a hiking backpack, reusable water bottle, sunscreen, comfortable hiking shoes and UPF 50+ clothing. You get it. 

Also, if you're planning on going out and dressing up for a nice dinner, you will want to pack some dressier attire that can hold up against being folded in a suitcase. 

Determine if You Should Bring Certain Medications/First Aid Kit

While we recommend getting traveler's health insurance when traveling just in case, you can also best prepare yourself by having a basic first aid kit. While most tropical locations will have pharmacies, sometimes it can take some time to get to them, depending on where you're staying. If you're staying somewhere remote, we recommend packing a basic first aid kid and bringing it with you. 

If there's anyone in your family that has an allergy, be sure to pack their EpiPen and Benadryl. Some additional medication you may want to consider packing includes:

  • Ibuprofen
  • Motion sickness medicine, like Dramamine
  • Imodium or Pepto-Bismol

What to Pack for a Tropical Getaway

Beach Bag

Sunday Beach Bag

You will want a beach bag to hold all of your beach wear, towels, sunscreen, and snacks. Try and find a beach bag that's sturdy enough to hold all of your accessories while stylish enough to match your beach outfit. We love the Marloru's Sunday beach bag just for these very reasons. It's a very spacious, fashionable beach bag that can carry all of your beach stuff while still holding up. 

Foldable Sun Hat

A sun hat is going to be one of your must-have tropical vacation items. It's going to keep your face sunburn free while also shading you on those really hot and humid days. 

Opt for a sun hat with a UPF 50+ rating, which protects you from over 98% of the sun's UV rays as well as one that will hold up when you pack it. 

If you're looking for kids' foldable sun hats or baby foldable sun hats, we've also got you covered!

Men's Foldable Bucket Hat

Men's foldable sun hat

Women's Foldable Wide-Brim Hat 

women's foldable sun hat 

UPF 50+ Swimwear

You can't go to a tropical location without swimwear! And to ensure you and your loved ones are protected from the sun, be sure to pack UPF 50+ swimwear. We have a collection here for the entire family, so consider us your one-stop shop for all UPF swimwear!

UPF 50+ Clothing and Beach Cover-Ups

You can still get sunburned even when you're not on the beach, so be mindful to wear sun protective clothing even when you're not lounging on the shore. We love UPF dresses, t-shirts, capris, and skirts for this exact reason. 

Broad-Spectrum SPF 30+ Sunscreen and Lip Balm

There are still areas of your body UPF swimwear and clothing can't protect, so be sure to put sunscreen on those spots. This includes your face, ears, neck, chest, hands, and feet. 

Whenever possible try and purchase UPF swimwear/clothing that covers more rather than less of your skin. However, if you aren't going to do this, wear sunscreen and reapply it every 2 hours. 

Hot tip: If you want to protect your face while swimming and are worried you won't be able to reapply sunscreen every 2 hours, check out our swim hats. These are waterproof and float in the water as well!


Beach Towel

Be sure to pack some towels for your vacation. We recommend 1 towel per person. 

Portable Charger

Navigating another country can be tough if your phone dies. You might need it to call your hotel, order an Uber, or navigate around town. Buy a portable charger just in case this happens and always charge your phone to 100% before heading to the airport. 

Travel Documents

Don't forget your passports! Also, be sure that they don't expire when you're on vacation. 

Polarized Sunglasses

Keep your eyes protected from UV rays by purchasing a pair of polarized sunglasses. There are plenty of styles to choose from, which makes shopping for sunglasses easy and convenient. 

Waterproof Phone Case

Cali Case Waterproof Phone Case

The last thing you want to deal with is a phone with water damage while on vacation. Put your phone in a waterproof phone case anytime you're around water, just in case. 

Keep in mind that your phone might not be able to handle intense temperature changes as well. In the event you're staying somewhere very hot and humid, turn your phone off when you're not using it. 

Water Shoes

Kids water shoes

In the event you want to take your kids snorkeling or explore the local tide pools, be sure they have water shoes. It's easy to slip and fall on a rock, so protect their cute feet by getting them a pair of water shoes you can trust to keep them safe. 

Universal Adapter

If you are traveling to a country where the adapters are different than they are in your home country, you will need a universal adapter to charge your devices. Be sure to read the adapter's manual as well as some devices should be used with caution, like a hair dryer. 

You can find universal adapters online on Amazon or at your local Apple store as well. 

Carry-On/Purse Items to Pack for Your Tropical Vacation

Here are some additional carry-on/purse items to consider packing as well: 

  • Hand sanitizer
  • Tissues
  • Eye mask and travel pillow
  • Books/magazines
  • Snacks
  • Reusable water bottle 
  • Gum or mints
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste 
  • Ear plugs
  • Packable sun protective scarf

Make sure to pack sun protective swimwear and clothing as well as sunscreen before heading off on your tropical vacation. If you'd like to browse any of our UPF collections for the entire family, feel free to do so.