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Tropical Vacation Packing List (2023): What to Pack for a Beach Trip

Posted by Jelinne Navarro on
 Tropical vacation packing list

If there’s one destination every family loves, it’s easily a tropical destination. The sun, the sand and the sea… It’s just the best combination for both relaxation and adventure. A tropical destination is that one place where it’s perfectly okay to just lounge around or be as adventurous as you’d like. Plus, packing for a tropical vacation is pretty easy compared to other destinations. To make things easier for you, we have curated a basic tropical vacation packing list that the entire family can use!

Tropical Vacation Checklist for Families

Tropical Vacation Packing List
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.

Oh and one more thing, before you get to packing, make sure the beach you're going to visit is open during this pandemic. Here's a COVID-19 update on California / US beaches. You're welcome!


✅ For Her:

✔️ 2-3 Swimsuits - So you have an extra while the other one's drying

✔️ 2 Beach Cover Ups - Just pack a sarong or an oversized scarf and you can thank us later

✔️2 Tank Tops - Easy to roll and pack inside clear cubes

✔️ 1 Long Beach Skirt - Perfect for taking #OOTD photos on the beach

✔️ 2 Sundresses - Choose light colored ones, darker colors absorb more heat

✔️ 1 Casual Shorts - Good for indoors; tropical places usually have pesky mosquitoes and other insects

✔️2 Casual Shirts - Make sure they're wrinkle-free and loose-fitting washable blouses. These are great for the humidity.

✔️ 1 Pair of Jeans / Pants / Joggers - Pack your most comfortable one

✔️ 1 Pair of Capri Pants - For hiking or casual wear

✔️ 1 Cocktail Dress - For going out at night

✔️ 1 Light Jacket / Cardigan - When you want to stroll at night

✔️ 1 Set of Pajamas - Throw in a comfortable shirt and a pair of comfy pants

Pajamas for travel in packing cubes

**Thanks to Stylishly Stella for this photo!

✔️ 3 Bras - Pack your comfortable and quick-drying favorites

✔️ 4 Pairs of Underwear - Wash and dry after use to keep you from packing too much

✔️2 Pairs of Socks - Can be worn at night to protect feet from insect bites

✅ For Him:

✔️ 2 Beach Shorts + Rash Guard - Keep your skin protected from too much sun

Father and son on a beach trip
**Thanks to Kaycee Sogard for this photo!

✔️ 3 Sleeveless Shirts - Light colored and cotton shirts are the best for tropical weather

✔️ 2 Casual Shirts - V-neck ones are more comfortable

✔️ 2 Button Down Shirts - Opt for those Hawaiian shirts with floral and breathable design. Come on, it's a tropical paradise, look the part!

✔️ 2 Pairs of Pants / Jeans - We recommend comfortable pants like harem and joggers. 

✔️ 2 Pairs of Casual Shorts - Great for lounging at the beach or going on a casual stroll

✔️ 1 Light Jacket / Sweater - For cold nights

✔️ 3 Pairs of Brief / Boxers - Pack comfortable and quick-drying ones to wash and dry after use.

✔️ 3 Pairs of Socks - Wear a pair when sleeping to avoid mosquito bites

✅ For Kids:

✔️ 2 Bathing Suits / Board Shorts / Rash Guard - You can pack matching swimsuits with mom and dad. It'll look super cute on the 'gram!

Toddler wearing swimsuit splashing on the beach

✔️ 3 Tanks Tops - Choose light or neon colored ones so you can easily spot your little one when it gets too crowded

✔️ 1 Casual Shirt - Or you can buy souvenir shirts at the location for them to wear during the trip

✔️ 2 Sundresses for Girls - Opt for one that matches mum's

✔️ 1 Cocktail Dress for Girls - For a special night out with the fam

✔️ 1 Button Down for Boys - Opt for one that matches dad's

✔️ 4 Casual Shorts - Something with cute little pineapples or with a beach theme

✔️ 2 Pairs of Pants - For great mobility when running and playing around the beach

✔️ 1 Light Jacket / Cardigan - For when it gets cold at night

Baby diapers for travel

**Thanks to Ashley from Taylor-Made Mama for this cute photo!

✔️ 4 Pairs of Underwear - Pack a few extras if they're not fully potty trained

✔️ 4-5 Pairs of Socks - Kids' socks are so small that they can easily get lost. It's okay to pack an extra pair.

✔️ 2 Sets of Pajamas - Pack the ones they usually sleep in so they can comfortably rest even in an unfamiliar place 

Baby's Essentials:

✔️ Diapers - Pack as much as you need for the trip. Buy more at your destination when you run out.

✔️ Swim Diapers - Special diapers that are worn specifically when you're baby's playing in the water. Be sure to pack some!

✔️ Hats and Swimsuits - Keep your baby protected and shaded from too much sun exposure

Baby's Beach Essentials

**Thanks to Clarissa for this super cute photo!

✔️ Floaties & Balloon Pump - When they're just not ready yet to walk or swim on their own. Make sure to bring a balloon pump to easily blow air into the floaties.

✔️ Water and Snacks - To keep them energized and hydrated under the sun.

✔️ Towels and a Blanket - To keep your essentials from getting sand or when your baby wants to take a nap, it'll be nice to cover with a comfy blanket

✔️ Beach Toys - Beach balls, pail and shovel for building sand castles!

Shoes (For the Whole Fam) 

✔️ 1 Pair of Sneakers - Wear at the airport or when in transit 

✔️ 1 Pair of Sandals - For a stylish stroll along the beach or for going out at night

✔️ 1 Pair of Flip Flops - Easy to slip on and wear for the beach or communal showers

✔️ 1 Pair of Water Shoes - For any water sports / adventures you're planning on doing

Shoes in travel shoe bag
**Thanks to Megan from The Homes I Have Made for this photo!

Pro Tip: Keep shoes in a separate travel shoe bag to keep clothes from getting soiled. 


✔️ Shampoo + Conditioner

✔️ Toothbrush + Toothpaste

✔️ Shower Gel / Soap

✔️ Mouthwash / Floss

✔️ Deodorant - You're going to sweat a lot so you better bring a strong deodorant (or antiperspirant) to keep you smelling fresh and clean even under the sun.

✔️ Cotton Swabs

✔️ Facial Moisturizer - Too much exposure to the sun's rays can cause your face to dry, so be sure to hydrate with a moisturizer!

Hygiene kit in a half moon pouch
**Thanks to Anna Saol for this photo!

✔️ Makeup Remover

✔️ Disposable Razor + Shaving Cream

✔️ Sunscreen / Sunblock - To keep you from looking like a toast, and of course, for protecting your skin from too much sun exposure! Bring one with at least SPF 50.

✔️ Lip Balm with Sunscreen

✔️ Lotion

✔️ Nail Clippers / Nail File

✔️ All-Around Wipes - Clean and sanitize whenever you touch any surface or handles.

✔️ Hand Sanitizer - Keep a hand sanitizer with you at all times. It will be handy especially in times and places where washing your hands is not an option.

Toiletries for tropical vacation packing list

Pro Tip: Use our TSA Approved clear toiletry bag for packing your liquids and passing through security lines like a pro in the airport.

Beach Essentials:

✔️ Sunblock - Save space and buy a few bottles at the local grocery store upon arrival

✔️ Goggles + Floaties

✔️ Microfiber Towels - Dries faster than regular ones

Beach essentials and clear cubes

✔️ Change of Clothes

✔️ Sunglasses - Pack a pair for the kids as well!

✔️ Sun Hat - Very important to protect you from too much sun.

✔️ Reusable Water Bottles - Keep one with you at all times to stay hydrated

Pro Tip: You can store all your beach essentials in a medium packing cube. It’s lightweight and splash resistant, ideal for beach side lounging. Also has an easy-grip handle so there’s no need to bring an additional bag. 

Mini First Aid Kit:

✔️ Prescription Medications

✔️ Analgesic / NSAIDs - To relieve pain

✔️ Antihistamine - For when the tropics trigger your allergies

✔️ Antacids - For when your stomach gets upset

✔️ Contraceptives / Birth Control

✔️ Aspirin - For sudden fever

✔️ Band-aids - Pack ones with cute designs for kids

First aid kit for tropical vacation packing list

✔️ Motion Sickness Medication

✔️ Tampons / Pads - Best to be prepared!

✔️ Antibacterial Wipes - Wipe tables and handles before touching them

✔️ After Sun Lotion

✔️ Aloe Vera Gel - Helps moisturize and soothe skin


✔️ Smartphones 

✔️ Powerbank - Must have if you love taking photos (who doesn't?)

✔️ Waterproof digital Camera - Perfect for taking underwater photos!

✔️ Chargers (for all tech gadgets)

✔️ Portable Speaker - Listen to some cool and relaxing music while listening to the waves crashing on the shore

✔️ Headphones

Entertainment needs in a small cube
**Thanks to Laurie from The Glam Farmhouse for this photo!

✔️ Multi-Outlet Power Strip - So you can charge multiple gadgets at the same time 


✔️ Passports - Check expiration dates and make sure it's valid for at least 6 months if you're traveling in other countries. Learn more about the 6-month passport validity rule here.

Carry-on items and documents for tropical vacation packing list

✔️ Visas (If needed)

✔️ Vaccination Details (If needed)

✔️ Flight Tickets

✔️ Itinerary

✔️ Boarding Pass - Make sure to check in 24 hrs before

✔️ Hotel or Airbnb Confirmation - Can be a screenshot on your phone but it doesn't hurt to keep a printed document for when you run out of battery or lose your phone.

✔️ Driver's License / REAL ID - Note that TSA's enforcement of REAL ID has been moved next year, October 1, 2021. Learn more about REAL ID here.

✔️ Laundry Bag - Separate your dirty clothes from the clean ones with this travel laundry bag.

Travel Laundry Bag and Clear Cubes

**Thanks to Wendi from H2O Bungalow for this photo!

✔️ Health Insurance Card - A smart move just in case you need it.

✔️ Cash / Credit Card - Check with your bank regarding fees you'll get for using your card abroad.

✔️ Cosmetics / Makeup - Look your best for family night outs

✔️ Travel Clotheslines / Clothespins

✔️ Lanyards - Keep your room keys around your neck to avoid losing it

✔️ Snorkel Mask - Kids will love wearing these so they can see the beauty underwater!

✔️ EzPacking Cubes - Organize your clothes and other travel essentials like a pro with these clear cubes

Complete bundle

**Thanks to Wendi for this awesome photo!

✔️ Bathroom Door Organizer

✔️ Deck of Cards - For a family-friendly game of poker and other card games

✔️ Luggage Tags

✔️ Waterproof Smartphone Case - Very important especially if you like taking pictures near the water all the time

✔️ Insect Repellent Lotion

✔️ Small Purse or Handbag - Keep your personal essentials and hygiene kit in it at all times

Handbag and clear cubes for personal items

**Thanks to Ashley for this awesome photo!

Pro 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. 

4 Packing Tips for a Fun Beach Trip

Family in tropical beach destination

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:

✓ Pack a Hygiene Kit and Follow Safety Measures - Pack a travel size hand sanitizer, alcohol, and antibacterial wipes on a clear hygiene kit and put it in your personal belongings bag. Observe proper social distancing, wipe surfaces or handles first with antibacterial wipes before touching them, avoid touching your face, and wash your hands frequently. Have fun! But don't forget that safety comes first. 

✓ Stay Organized with Packing Cubes - 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!  

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