Packing list tips for a tropical island vacation

by | Sep 1, 2017 | Travel Tips


Most of our recent travels have been to tropical, or sub-tropical, island destinations, therefore we decided to put together a list of 10 basic packing list tips for a tropical island vacation.

If you have additional suggestions do let us know in the comments below.

1 – Take a backpack, not a suitcase!

Depending on which island or archipelago you are going to, you will probably be boarding boats or ferries and the last thing you want is to be dealing with a suitcase. Backpacks are easy to pack, carry and handle. We have totally adopted the backpack trend, that’s why it is our first packing list tip for a tropical island vacation.    

For her

For him

Click images for details and purchase.

2 – Pack Light

A couple of years ago, on my first trip to Asia, I didn’t know what to expect in terms of climate, so I made sure I packed a bit of everything, especially not to feel cold in an air-conditioned environment (always my main concert anywhere I go). Big mistake! I literally did not touch 80% of what I took in a big unnecessary suitcase. Never again! Keep in mind that in most places you will be able to find clothes in case of emergency.

Check out below some suggestions to make your packing easy and compact.

Click images for details and purchase.

“A man of ordinary talent will always be ordinary, whether he travels or not; but a man of superior talent will go to pieces if he remains forever in the same place.”

Wolfgang Amdeus Mozart

Austrian composer of the Classical era..

3 – The obvious, yet worth mentioning: sunscreen and after sun lotion

Gone are the days when we would roast under the sun. Nowadays with all the available information about the dangers of excessive sun exposure, we never use any sun protection below SPF30 for the body and SPF50 on the face.

We are also particularly careful with the hours of the day when we are exposed to the sun. Peek times vary according to the destination, so find out when you should be hiding from the stinging sun on your island of choice.

We also suggest that you check the hourly UV level index:

Click images for more details.

4 - Take a hat

Sunblock will protect your skin, but not your head and if exposed for long periods you can end up with excruciating headaches. In order to add extra protection and spare yourself from a headache, we highly recommend you to take a hat and while you are at it pick a cool one and have fun.

For her

For him

Click images for details and purchase.

5 - Don't forget the mosquito repelant

Regarding mosquito repellent, there is a vast choice out there, from natural to synthetic, more or less ecological, effective and harmful to your health. Do your research to choose what fits your needs and if you have children confirm what is the safest option for them.

Here are some of our favorite choices.

Click images for more details.

6 - Take appropriate shoes

Flip-flops are not the most appropriate footweare if you want to walk for hours exploring. Trust me, I know what I am saying! It is fundamental to have comfortable footwear. I have learned it the hard way and now I look for comfort before appearance.

For her

For him

Click images for details and purchase.

7 - Take an eco-friendly water bottle.

I normally drink two to three litres of water a day, but while in the tropical humid weather, some days I can drink close to 5 litres! Now, multiply that by the required number of plastic water bottles a day, even if only for a coule of weeks. No good for the environment!

The best solution is to take an eco-friendly water bottle, like the ones we suggest below. Whether you just want to carry water or prepare a fruit flavoured water drink, it's always more recommendable to go eco.

If you want to find out more about eco-friendly travelling, check out our post 10 Ways To Be An Ecologically Conscious Traveller.

Click images for more details.

8 - Wet wipes for a quick clean-up

It can get very hot and sticky when walking, trekking or hiking around an island, therefore we always find it useful to carry wet wipes  in order to be able to freshen up whenever necessary, especially if there are no toilets or running water in the vicinity.

Click image for details and purchase.

9 - Ear plugs

Ear plugs are useful for snorkelling and to cut down any surrounding noise when you need to sleep but have noisy neighbours, a snoring partner or just wild animals outside.

Click images for details and purchase.

10 - Travel Guide

Last, but not least of our packing list tips for a tropical island vacation is a travel guide.

Travel guides are time-savers in the process of organising a trip. They are written by industry professionals who will give you all kinds of tips on where to go, what to see and where to eat. Although travel blogs are great for planning a trip, a physical guide is always good to carry for immediate consultation, especially when technology fails!

Now that you have our packing list for a tropical island vacation you just need to pack.

May the bliss be with you.

Happy travels!
Luciana and James

P.S. - Have you booked your next trip yet?  Check out our travel resources page for the best deals on flights, accommodation, travel insurance, car rentals, tours and anything you need for a memorable vacation.

Did you enjoy this post?

If you did, please, share it on your social media, forward it to your friends and leave your comments below. Your feedback is very important for us.

Follow us on


By purchasing any product or services through the links in this page you may be contributing to the survival of this blog, as we may earn a small commission from your purchases, but you will also be contributing to the sustainability of Mother Earth,  as we will donate a percentage of our earnings from these links to TRASH HERO.

"The Trash Hero mission is to create sustainable, community-based projects that remove existing waste, and reduce future waste by inspiring long-term behaviour change. We do this through."

- Mission statement of TASH HERO World

Thank you for caring.