Tropical Vacation Packing List for Families
What to wear on a tropical vacation?
Ah, tropical destinations, the ideal excuse for strutting your favorite swimsuit. But you don’t really want to explore islands or jungles wearing just that. In tropical destinations, packing lightweight, breathable clothing items is a must. For simple sightseeing, cotton fabrics will do. But if there’s going to be some trekking or island hopping, pack clothes made of polyester, nylon, merino or a combination of these three fabrics. They wick sweats away from your body and also dry up pretty quickly. For girls, this vacation will be the time to bring out your floral dresses, short shorts and tank tops!
Ideal Clothing Items for a Tropical Vacation:
✓ Your favorite swimsuit or board shorts
✓ Cotton fabric cover ups for sightseeing / beach lounging
✓ Polyester, nylon, merino wool or a combination of these fabrics for trekking or island hopping
✓ Floral dresses, short shorts and tank tops for girls
Tropical vacation packing list for families
Let’s dive into the real tropical vacation checklist for packing. We divided this section into specific categories so you can divide your packing by similar items. Remember, you can also tweak this list depending on your family’s needs and preferences.
✓ Visas (If needed)
✓ Vaccination Details (If needed)
✓ Flight Tickets
✓ Boarding Pass
✓ Hotel or Airbnb Confirmation
EzPacking Tip: These are all the personal items that mom and dad can’t leave at home. For local destinations, items like passports, visas and vaccination details won’t be necessary. To stay organized, pack all these essentials in a small packing cube. Put the packing cube inside a designated person’s carry-on, usually mom, for easy access and safety purposes. During airport security, just take out this packing cube and all your documents can be easily found without any hassle.
Clothes & Shoes:
✓ Swimsuits / Board Shorts / Rash Guards
✓ Cover Ups / Sundresses
✓ Socks, Underwear & Bras
✓ Casual Tops (Tank Tops, Shirts & Blouses)
✓ Dressy Tops (Polo Shirt & Dress Shirt)
✓ Bottoms (Shorts, Leggings & Khakis)
✓ Lounge Wear & Pajamas
✓ Cap / Hat
✓ Waterproof, Lightweight Jacket / Hoodie
✓ Comfy Sandals or Flip Flops
✓ Rubber / Water Shoes
EzPacking Tip: Keep in mind how long your tropical vacation is. Bring at least two swimsuits for each member of the family. Kids are more prone to sunburn so you can opt for rash guards instead. As for shoes, flip flops are the best for lounging and the beach. But if you’re going hiking, trekking or just exploring a rough terrain, bring one pair of comfy walking shoes.
✓ Shampoo + Conditioner
✓ Toothbrush + Toothpaste
✓ Shower Gel or Soap
✓ Disposable Razors
✓ Facial Moisturizer
✓ Sunscreen / Sunblock
✓ Lip Balm With Sunscreen
✓ Nail Clippers / Nail File
✓ Hair Brush / Comb
✓ All-Around Wipes
✓ Makeup Remover
EzPacking Tip: Unless you’re traveling to a remote tropical island destination, keep your toiletries basic. You can survive for a week or less with travel-size toiletries for shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste and soap. If you do run out of these items, you can just purchase from local convenience stores or use what your hotel provides for you. Planning on using carry-on only for your beach vacation? Use our TSA Approved clear toiletry bag for packing your liquids and easing through security lines in the airport.
✓ Sunblock (Save space + buy a few bottles at the local grocery store upon arrival)
✓ Goggles + Floaties
✓ Microfiber Towels
✓ Change of Clothes
✓ Portable Water Bottles
EzPacking Tip: You can store all your beach essentials in a medium packing cube. It’s lightweight and splash resistant, ideal for beachside lounging. Also has an easy-grip handle so there’s no need to bring an additional bag. Don’t forget to pack microfiber towels for each member of the family and of course a change of clothes. Fill your portable water bottles with water at the hotel (and bring a few snacks) before heading to the beach.
✓ First Aid Kit
✓ Prescription Medications
✓ Analgesic / NSAIDs
✓ Antihistamine / Allergy
✓ Antacids / Stomach Medicines
✓ After Sun Lotion
✓ Aloe Vera Gel
✓ Birth Control
EzPacking Tip: Remember to pack your first aid kit along with some bandages, alcohol, antibiotic ointment and gauze pads. If you have prescription medications, pack them in a pill box. Other must-have medications include pain relievers, anti-allergy medications and stomach medications. In case of a sunburn, bring along an after sun lotion, like this one from Sun Bum, and some aloe vera gel.
✓ Waterproof Camera + Charger
✓ Regular Digital Camera + Charger
✓ Smartphones + Chargers
✓ Tablet + Charger
✓ Extension Cord
✓ Power Bank
✓ Headphones / Earphones
EzPacking Tip: Gadgets are now a part of every traveler’s trip. Invest in a good waterproof camera. You can also opt for a disposable waterproof camera. You can also bring your regular digital camera, smartphones and tablet. But if you’re planning on using them near the water, purchase waterproof pouches for them. An example is this one from Mpow which fits different types of smartphones.
✓ Cosmetics / Makeup
✓ Insect Repellent
✓ Snorkel Set (Except Fins)
✓ Hair Ties
✓ Feminine Hygiene Products
✓ Laundry Bag
✓ Small Purse or Handbag
✓ Water Shoes (Some tropical beaches can be a bit rocky)
EzPacking Tip: This last set of items depends on your tropical vacation itself. For example, you should only bring a snorkel set if you’re planning on driving to your destination. Lugging that stuff onto a plane will take up too much space. Check if there are rental places available nearby your hotel. If you have plans for trekking or hiking, insect repellent is a must-have item to avoid insect bites (especially from June - October). Hair ties are an absolute must for people with long hair especially since it’s very humid and hot in a tropical destination. Don’t forget to bring a small purse or handbag where you’ll keep your important items while sightseeing.
Some more packing tips for a beach or a Caribbean vacation
What does the family need on this tropical vacation? Do you want to stay away from the city life and relax? Most of the time, families choose beach destinations because they provide the best relaxation and adventure mix. Here are some more packing tips you can use when planning for your tropical vacation:
✓ Use packing cubes for organizing your luggage - The EzPacking Cubes help make packing for your tropical vacation a breeze. They come in different sizes, from extra small to large. You’re going to be packing mainly lightweight clothes, so you can place the majority of your outfits into a medium packing cube or a large packing cube. For other smaller items like undergarments, airplane essentials, or snacks, opt for either the extra small packing cube or small packing cube.
✓ Research & rent - Be sure to rent bulky items like snorkels, vests, surf boards, etc. If you’re planning on doing adventure activities, it’s best to rent gear at your tropical destination. For activities like snorkeling and diving, you can usually rent the necessary gears from by-the-beach rental stores. Research the nearby activities available and call the hotel to ask what they recommend!
✓ A good book & deck of cards - They can keep you entertained for a long time especially when you don’t have access to WiFi!
A tropical vacation is for relaxing and taking a little adventure with your family. Make sure to add add any special family fun items to our packing list that we may have missed!
Download this Free Tropical Vacation Packing List to easily check off everything you need!