Never mind the weather outside, you can dream about a tropical vacation and get your summer holiday packing list ready. It’s never too early to catch a tan and some vitamin D!
What I love about it is the freedom of packing. Clothes are much lighter, take up less space, you can pack bright colours (who designs all these dull winter clothes anyway?).
When temperatures are warmer, ocean breezes saltier and cocktails sweeter, life is good. And to help you a little bit to your hassle-free dream summer trip, here are my tips for your vacation travel list. Plus a free download below.
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Travel Packing Essentials
Carry On Items
Carry on – It goes without saying that your vacation packing essentials need to be packed in your hand luggage. This includes important documents, such as IDs, money/credit cards, international driver’s license and electronics. To protect your credit cards from skimming (such as happened to me in Bali), use an RFID wallet.
Travel information – Nowadays, we handily store everything on our phones. But just in case, have your flight numbers, addresses and directions scribbled down. This way, you can easily get through the airport and find your accommodation – which can be a bit difficult in countries like Japan.
Travel insurance – Regardles of how topfit or healthy you are, accidents happen. And yu wouldn’t wanna be stranded in a foreign country, unsure where to seek medical help or be left with a four figure bill. I never travel without medical/travel insurance. Check current rates for a combined deal here.)
Read this too: What to Pack for Bali – Female Vacation Edition
Depending on where your tropical vacations is taking you, you need to adjust your summer vacation luggage. For resort stays, for instance, a rolling suitcase is absolutely fine. If you want to rough it and stay by the beach in Costa Rica or on a tropical island in Thailand or Bali, a backpack is the way to go.
You don’t need to plan a backpacking holiday, but backpacks are rather handy. No need to drag anything behind you on uneven roads or up and down stairs.
For a short tropical vacation, you can use the NorthFace backpack as a carry on. It fits a lot. You can use a smaller bag, tote or daypack as your second carry on item and use it for a day trip.
To be on the safe side, pack a luggage lock and luggage cable. This comes in handy if you want to keep your bags locked even in your accommodation or you need to leave your bag for a while. A luggage tag helps spot your checked in luggage faster. Make it stand out!
Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash
Beachside Health Essentials
Also, keep at least a 1-2l refillable water bottle with you. One with a filter is great as you can use it on (drinkable) tap water around the world and odd tastes are mostly eliminated.
(For instance, when I travelled all over Australia, the water everywhere tasted chlorinated.) This way you can save money not having to buy new ones, you can refill at drinking fountains and you don’t need to waste plastic that might end up in our oceans. Let’s keep the beaches clean!
Particularly when you head into sunny climates for beach vacations, sun protection is non-negotiable. This includes 30+ sun lotion (use it regularly!), a sun hat, sunglasses and lip balm with UV protection.
Stock up on after sun lotion to rehydrate skin and do the same with moisturiser for your hair. Put all of this on your beach packing list unless you want to buy these items onsite and probably overpriced at your beach resort.
Female Clothing Packing List
Check the weather situation for your summer holiday destination. Is it gonna be hot always, what about humidity? Will there be rain or is it mostly dry? All of this has an impact on your tropical vacation packing must have.
When I visited Hong Kong in early summer, going outside felt nearly impossible. I wore light cotton clothes and they would just cling to me. Opt for light and thin fabrics that aren’ skin tight, so a light breeze can give you well needed refreshment.
In some countries it is acceptable to wear as little as possible. But just because other tourists do it, doesn’t mean that it is.
Do your research, ask fellow travellers to avoid looking offensive to locals, being unable to enter temples or even breaking laws. Typical hot topic areas for women’s dress codes are shoulders, decolletage, legs and hair.
If you wanted to visit the White Temple in Chiang Mai, for instance, you would need to pack a light shawl and wear knee length skirts or trousers to enter.
If you want to be extra clever and save packing space, get a Turkish towel. You can use it as a (beach) towel, as a scarf, head scarf, pillow or just for decoration.
For mosques, for example, you need to cover your hair and entire body. Often, there are robes at the entrance but you cannot count on this, especially in very non-touristy areas.
If you love hiking and want to pack for outdoor adventures as well, don’t forget light hiking shoes or closed, comfortable sandals.
You can even take water shoes with you if you know you might end up on rough ocean shores and potentially have to climb over sharp rocks. You don’t want to stub your toe!
On top of that, I recommend having at least a pair of comfortable sandals for city trips and flip flops for hotel showers or beach walks. (I loved my comfy reef sandals for that – not suited for showers though because of the leather.)
In case you want to go out at night or don’t plan on walking too much, you can pack sexy heels or wedges.
Photo by Zunnoon Ahmed on Unsplash
Even if you prefer sunbathing or heading outside with dry sands underneath your feet (I do), you still want to put swimwear on your beach vacation checklist.
You never know when you feel the urge to take off your beach vacation clothes and slip into something lighter to dip into the refreshing wet waters on a hot day or see an empty beach.
I certainly wished I had worn a bikini when I saw a deserted beach straight out of paradise on Australia’s West coast.
It was pretty close to the famous kangaroo beach. Always have a spare bikini/swimsuit or outfit in your bag in case you need to change into a dry set.
Photo by Ryan Wilson on Unsplash
The key to tropical summer fashion as opposed to regular summer clothes is to keep materials extra light and loose. Cotton and linen are good but make sure they are super thing and don’t cling tight. You want to catch any breeze there is and not have garments stick to your skin.
Try wearing as little as possible while being decent according to local customs. Try croptops, loose blouses, poncho-style tops, off-shoulder carmen tops and simple tops.
If you are the type that easily gets sunburn (and/or hates sunscreen), opt for longer clothes. Yes, you can wear long sleeve shirts even in tropical fashion if you opt wisely. Also, you can always roll them up.
For any tropical vacation, a woman needs to have that “Freakum dress”, as Beyoncé put it. Be it to shine as bright as the sun during the day or sparkle at night, you want at last one stunning dress.
Because you deserve it! Having simple and comfortable dresses to wear during sightseeing helps, too. (Unless you are more of a pants girl, then by all means wear fancy pants, romper or jumpsuits. You do you!)
Shorts, bermuda shorts and cargo pants are a true blessing for hot weather. While dresses are amazing, too, sometimes you want to go on hiking tours in tropical heat (such as to Atherton Tablelands in Australia).
It really gets annoying when the sweaty skin of your tights rubs against each other. Here, shorts come to the rescue. You can opt for fancier shorts for extended sightseeing city trips or jeans shorts for more outdoorsy trips.
Alternatively, you can opt for sport leggings to keep you comfortable during more leisurely outdoor walks.
Just because it is hot, you don’t need to skip on jewellery. You might want to hold back on cheap and fake silver and gold coated pieces because you will simply sweat off the colour. (Speaking from experience.)
Include light pieces on your travel checklist, maybe think slim metal, cooling rocks and lightweight wooden pieces. Skip feathers and anything that might stick to sweaty skin when writing your vacation checklist.
Photo by David Lezcano on Unsplash
Fun in the Sun
Besides clothes, you might have space in your suitcase to bring a few items to increase the fun level, such as with tropical totes, mandala beach towels and pool floats (for yourself or your drinks).
To entertain yourself, take along some books (maybe inspirational travelbooks?) or a kindle so you can read in the sun.
Alternatively, take along beach balls, buckets and shovels for sandcastles (or use your hands) or other beach related games. Maybe even a card game.
Photo by Ishan @seefromthesky on Unsplash
Overview Summer Packing List
[su_column size=”1/4″]Sun hat[/su_column]
[su_column size=”1/4″]After Sun[/su_column][/su_row]
[su_row][su_column size=”1/4″]Lip balm[/su_column]
[su_column size=”1/4″]Body lotion[/su_column]
[su_column size=”1/4″]Tanning lotion[/su_column]
[su_column size=”1/4″]1-3 Swimwear[/su_column][/su_row]
[su_row][su_column size=”1/4″]1-2 (Beach) towels[/su_column]
[su_column size=”1/4″]Water bottle[/su_column]
[su_row][su_column size=”1/4″]Moisturising spray[/su_column]
[su_column size=”1/4″]1-2 Sandals[/su_column]
[su_column size=”1/4″]Breathable walking shoes[/su_column]
[su_column size=”1/4″]1-2 Flip flops[/su_column][/su_row]
[su_row][su_column size=”1/4″]1-2 Shorts[/su_column]
[su_column size=”1/4″]5 Shirts/tops[/su_column]
[su_column size=”1/4″]1 Light blouse[/su_column]
[su_row][su_column size=”1/4″]3 Dresses[/su_column]
[su_column size=”1/4″]10 panties[/su_column]
[su_column size=”1/4″]2 bras[/su_column]
[su_column size=”1/4″]1 pair of tights[/su_column][/su_row]
[su_column size=”1/4″]Female hygiene products[/su_column]
[su_column size=”1/4″]First aid kit[/su_column][/su_row]
[su_column size=”1/4″]Sport outfit[/su_column]
[su_column size=”1/4″]Beach bag[/su_column][/su_row]
[su_column size=”1/4″]Snorkelling gear[/su_column]
[su_column size=”1/4″]Day bag[/su_column]
[su_column size=”1/4″]Light jacket[/su_column][/su_row]
Photo by Lisa H on Unsplash
Grab the Free Download and Pin this Post
If you need to get back to this summer holiday packing list, feel free to pin it or download the printable beach trip packing list. Going to the beach shouldn’t fill you with packing anxiety. Let’s maximise the fun!
Tell me: Where are you going for summer vacation and what are your musts for your vacation list?
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Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash
Heather S says
Good call on the closed-toe shoes as well as flip flops! I’ve been on the beach and my husband sliced his toe open pretty good thanks to a broken conch shell. :(
After that we wore aqua shoes, but word of caution – they got full of water and sand, and got SUPER uncomfortable fast. I recommend crocs instead (not fashionable I know, but totally functional). The water and sand drains out and they can be easily rinsed off.
Annemarie Strehl says
close toed shoes are so vital for outdoorsy activities and walks. Good idea with the crocs, too!
Doodyfart McShine says
Sunscreen protection is good. Get one that is suitable for women with beautiful dark skin.(One that does not appear chalky on your beautiful skin.) BLACK GIRL MAGIC.
So true! Thanks for mentioning that.
William Tang says
Great list that I’ll have to share with my wife! Can’t wait for summer to start :)
Annemarie Strehl says
Hi William, I hope she’ll love it! Wishing you a great summer ahead. :)
Omg those swim wear are so cute!! And I’ve been wanting a pool floaty for awhile. Great suggestions on this list! I’m going to the Philippines soon so I will be saving this :P
Annemarie Strehl says
Hi Viola, I am hapy you agree. I just had to post those as I really liked them myself. And pool floaties seem impractical (and they are) but they are so much fun! You can even have small ones for drinks if you’d rather not lug around a big one.
I enjoyed reading your article and looking through many cute and pretty summer accessories. I especially liked the sunglasses, the beach bag with a flamingo, and the Firetti pearl neclace. Your have great ideas and suggestions for the perfect vacation. You inspired me to plan our beach retreat.
Annemarie Strehl says
Hi Natalia, the beach bag is just so cute, isn’t it? A friend just got a pink flamingo tattoo and I am so loving it right now. Give me all the flamingoes! ;)
Anyway, I wish you lots of fun on your beach retreat!
Lorraine fraser says
Thanks for your tips even though we live in nsw Australia we haven’t been to Northern Territory before so looking forward to it
Hello! Australia is so big tho! I hop you can make it up North, it really is worth it. Greetings to Down Under!