The Ultimate Tropical Vacation Packing List

Virgin Voyages Beach Club

The weather is warming up, and it’s time to start prepping for your upcoming trips! There’s nothing better than an escape to the tropics – warm weather, sunshine, great food, and glorious views. But you want to make sure that you plan well for your upcoming tropical vacation, and that all starts with the proper packing. If you’re looking for the perfect packing list tropical vacation essentials, you’ve come to the right place – I’ve got you covered with all the best ideas!

Tropical vacations aren’t hard to pack for, but you do have to be strategic. With having limited space due to packing for a flight, you want to make sure that you only bring the essentials while still bringing everything that you actually need. Prepping in advance means that you aren’t left wishing you’d remembered something important or having to pay tourist prices to snag something from a local drugstore or shop. Keep reading for all of my best packing list tropical vacation tips!

Romantic Beach


I’ll let you in on a little secret – I love putting together a good vacation packing list.

There’s nothing I love more than traveling the world, and prepping my packing list for an adventure to a tropical destination (or even just a regular beach vacation!) helps to really build the anticipation and excitement. Not only do I feel more prepared and ready to go worry-free, but I get to look forward to the trip ahead.

Tropical vacations are some of my favorite trips to pack for because they’re really not super difficult. The weather is warm, so you bring smaller pieces of clothing, which really helps when you’re trying to lighten the packing load. You don’t need a huge quantity of things for a trip to the tropics – just enough to keep you comfortable (and stylish!) while enjoying the beach and all of the amenities of the area.


The key to making sure that your tropical vacation packing experience is easy and stress free is to have the right luggage. With the right luggage, you can take on the world! (That’s what Marilyn Monroe said, right? Or was that shoes…I think it still applies.)

A trip to the tropics means you’re probably going to have to fly, so plan to bring a carry-on and a personal item. I generally bring a suitcase and a backpack or weekender bag when I’m flying, and that makes my life super smooth.



Ready to start putting together your tropical beach vacation packing list? Here’s everything you need to make sure that your trip goes perfectly.

Note: Almost everything in the lists below is clickable with links to my top recommendations! If you’re looking to fill your packing list quickly, I’ve made it easy for you to do just so by just clicking on the titles of each of the items!

Beach Club Floriday Keys


I know these things may seem basic, but let’s be honest – sometimes the things we forget are the ones that are the most obvious of all. Don’t let that be you – go ahead and grab these now!

Passport and ID: First things first – you aren’t getting anywhere without the proper identification. Make sure that you have your passport and ID somewhere they can easily be accessed and won’t get lost. I like to bring a passport holder so I know that everything is safe and secure!

Necessary documentation: If you need any forms or visas to get into your country of choice, make sure that they are in a safe and easily accessible spot. I also recommend bringing photocopies of your important documents so that you have a backup plan in case something goes terribly wrong and you lose something you need.

Cash: Your parents always reminded you to keep cash on you for a reason – the world may be rapidly becoming more digital by the day, but you never know when you might need to have cash on you. It’s always wise to be prepared (and don’t forget to make sure you have the proper currency for your destination!)

Portable charger: The last thing you want is to get lost in an unfamiliar place with no way to map and no way to get in contact with anyone you know. Bring a portable charger so you always have access to power – and don’t forget to keep it charged!

Medication: Don’t just keep your phone charged – keep yourself charged, too! Be sure to pack any prescription medication, and bring any over the counter medications or pain relievers that you might need so that you can feel your best while traveling.

First aid kit: Trust me – it just never hurts to be prepared.

Sunscreen: I could put this later in the list, but let’s be honest – sunscreen is absolutely an essential for the tropics. You need to make sure you have proper sun protection for your skin – UV rays are so dangerous!

Secrets Riviera Cancun Cenotes Tour
Secrets Riviera Cancun Resort Beach
Puerto Vallarta Resort


Wondering what to wear for your tropical vacation? Here’s what I always put on my packing list.

Tops: You’ll want to pack a range of tops for your trip. Think a few nicer tops for dinner or afternoons out, tank tops for everyday wear, and t shirts when you’re keeping things casual and just need something to throw on.

Bottoms: Pack a few shorts and skirts that you can easily mix and match with your tops – think neutral colors that can be paired with any of the other items you bring.

Swim suits: When you’re in the tropics, most of your time will probably be spent in a bathing suit. Bring several options so that you always have a dry one to throw on! Suits don’t take up much space in your suitcase, so you can feel free to bring multiple.

Beach cover-up: Perfect for going to or from the beach or the pool, a good cover up is super stylish and always a must in the tropics if you want to go on a quick smoothie run.

Pajamas: I like to splurge on vacation and pack extra-cute pajamas. After all, you’re living your best life!

Sweater or light jacket: Even in the tropics, it can get cool in the evening. Having something light to throw over your clothes is a must.

Sundresses: Nothing says easy breezy tropics quite like a sundress. I always bring a few for evenings out – plus, they’re cute and stylish for pictures while still being low maintenance.

Nice dresses: You never know when you’ll have an opportunity for a nice night out on the town!

Sports bras: Whether you want to work out while on vacation or just want an option besides a bikini, bringing a few sports bras is always a good idea.

Underwear: Be sure to pack the right number of bras + undies for your time away!

Flip flops: What’s a tropical vacation without a pair of flip flops? Plus, they hardly take up any space in your bag.

Sandals: For when you want a slightly nicer look than your standard flip flops but still want to enjoy the casual island vibe.

Sneakers: Plan to adventure in the tropics? Be sure to bring a comfortable pair of sneakers so you can do all of the things on your list!



When traveling, you can’t forget basic toiletries. Be sure to plan well as you pack – remember, bottles of liquid have to be under 3.4 ounces if you aren’t checking your bag!

Toothbrush + toothpaste: They’re always the first things that I throw in my bag when traveling.

Deodorant: You’re going to be outside all day. The tropics are hot. You do the math.

Dry shampoo: If your hair tends to get greasy in the heat, dry shampoo is a lifesaver.

Makeup: Honestly, I don’t bring much makeup for trips that are super beachy – unless you use really high-quality products, they tend to melt in the heat. I like to just stick to the basics.

Makeup remover: In that same vein, if you do bring makeup, also bring makeup remover so that you can quickly take it off and give your face a breather (and cleanse it from sweat and grime) at the end of a long day.

Lip balm: We think about the sun burning our skin, but your lips need protection, too! Try a balm with SPF for optimum protection.

Hairbrush + hair ties: I like to pull my hair up in the heat or when swimming.

Aloe: Hopefully you won’t get a sunburn, but if you do, treat it quickly with aloe vera.

Skincare: Vacation is no reason to get out of your skincare routine!

Shampoo + conditioner: The beach can be hard on your hair, so make sure you have your go-to products.



Sunglasses: A good pair of sunglasses is always the #1 item in my beach bag. Protect your eyes and keep from squinting all day!

Beach bag: Speaking of – be sure to bring a good beach bag or tote to carry everything that you need for the perfect beach day. I like to choose something small and lightweight that can easily fold up in my luggage and will shake out easily after a sandy day.

Sun hat: Whether you have incredibly fair skin or just want to keep the rays off a little extra, a sun hat, bucket hats, or even a baseball cap is always great to have with you.

Reusable water bottle: Don’t let yourself get hydrated – refill regularly!

Beach towels: So you always have somewhere to lay out and soak up the sun!

Dry bag: I always have camera equipment with me while traveling, so having a dry bag gives me peace of mind that my expensive equipment will stay safe.



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Packing List Tropical Vacation


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