Tropical Holiday Packing List

February 18, 2017

Tropical Holiday Packing List

If you love to travel light and efficiently, you’ll find this tropical holiday packing list ideal. Personally I travel carry-on only which is a pretty minimalist way to travel and just makes life so much easier. No lugging heavy luggage through public transport, up and down stairs, shoving and pushing, it’s been decades since I made those mistakes! Read on to find out what to pack for a tropical holiday – you lucky thing!

I recently spent three weeks of November in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica and let me tell you, while the temperature was in the high 20’s (celsius), it was so. damn. humid. Icky, icky sticky hot. I felt like I was overheating multiple times a day and I was so glad that I packed more than one bikini and flowy dress.

Unfortunately I forgot to pack little cycling shorts to protect me from the horrible “chub rub” which you inevitably will battle if your thighs rub together and you’re hot and sticky! 🙁

I’ve linked to items that I either wore on my recent trip or would wear.


  • flowy dresses, I lived in this one which also comes in a different print
  • loose tank tops – you really don’t want anything that is close to your skin
  • 1x long sleeve top for rainy days or nights when you may feel a bit chilly
  • denim shorts (get longer ones if you suffer from the chub rub)
  • cycling type long shorts for the same reason to wear under dresses
  • other shorts
  • yoga pants – these are super comfy and have a tummy tucking wide elastic band 😉
  • full swimsuit – pack this if you’re taking surfing lessons or doing yoga. In the case of surfing lessons, you won’t be fishing your bottoms out of your, well, bottom or worse, lose them in the white wash while falling off for the 12th time in a row! For yoga, it stops you from dripping sweat all over your clothes and mat – you’ll be wearing clothes over the swimsuit if you’re like me and have unsightly belly rolls that show when you’re in downward dog and your top falls around your shoulders!
  • towel – ok, I took one of those travel towels that are meant to be super absorbent and quick drying and all I can say is I so, so wish I had brought a regular towel!
  • At least three bikinis – you will want different styles and you will have one drying at all times anyway.


  • flip flops – life is better in flip flops
  • smart flat shoes – for going into smart shops and out to dinner
  • running shoes (I live in these, they’re stylish and so lightweight) – there might be days when it rains and if you’re flying from a colder climate, it’s nice to have closed and comfortable shoes


  • a hat, I didn’t take one with me and the humidity messed with my hair so much I really wished I had brought one, they are perfect for taming your wild and salty hair when you’re too chilled out to bother with it
  • sunglasses
  • a cross body bag
  • a coin purse – big enough to carry a couple of cards and notes as well as your coins
  • a fold up backpack – perfect for fitting your towel, water, camera, purse and a book for a day on the beach

Tropical Holiday Packing List


  • face wipes – these were recommended by  and I am SO glad I bought a pack because they are amazing! They really clean your skin, refresh it and I don’t even need to put moisturiser on
  • sunblock – I bought this natural sunblock in a tin and it worked really well and didn’t wash off easily
  • aloe vera gel – so helpful if you get too much sun
  • conditioner – humidity and swimming every day can wreak havoc on your hair, either take a jar of coconut oil or as much conditioner as you can get away with! Here’s a great leave in conditioner that is carry-on friendly.
  • hair bands
  • deodorant – the stronger the better in weather that makes you hot and sticky!
  • body wash
  • insect repellent – I tried the hard stuff and the natural stuff and the hard stuff really worked while the natural stuff had such an overpowering smell of lemon I left it behind, however, I’ll probably test this one on my next trip.
  • vitamins – I highly recommend Vit C and B12
  • headache tables
  • bandaids
  • ear plugs

Tech Stuff

  • smart phone – if you’re not going to work while you’re away, just taking your smart phone should be enough, however taking an iPad mini was great for me to watch tv shows and movies and play my games – see my 8 essential travel apps I never leave home without post to make your travels easier
  • camera – these days smart phone cameras are really great, but if you would like even better photos, take a great point and shoot or your DSLR
  • mini tripod – traveling solo? a mini tripod means you can get great shots of you in the picture, enjoying where you are. I used this grippy one wrapped around the tidal pool rocks to shoot video of me swimming in a secluded tide pool
  • waterproof phone case, great for taking pics while swimming or jumping off waterfalls!
  • portable charger
  • SD cards, bring more than one, especially if you’re gonna be taking video and make sure they’re 10 class so they can handle the work 🙂
  • headphones, I always travel with two pairs as I often misplace one pair for a while, so I like having a back up until I can find them again. Get some cable tidies to keep them from getting tangled and make it easier to store them. I’ve been using these cheap Sony ones for years because they are very good and last forever.

Would you believe that I pack all of this into a carry on suitcase and an every day backpack? It is so much easier to travel when you’re not dragging around your entire wardrobe!

I hope this list becomes a great point of reference for you, if you click the Pinterest button to the left of the page you will find a Pinnable image to share to your travel boards! 🙂

Do you think I missed an essential? Are you going anywhere hot this year? Let us know in the comments!

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Want to know what to pack when you're traveling to a hot country where it will be humid? I've got you covered so you know exactly what to take to on your tropical beach holiday trip!

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  • GlobeTrove February 18, 2017 at 3:28 pm

    I had to smile. I grew up in Goa so hot tropical weather is where I feel the most comfortable. That being said I think you covered the basics of packing for a tropical climate really well.

    • TheDameIntl February 18, 2017 at 11:57 pm

      It’s weird cos I grew up on Durban, South Africa which is also super humid but I guess I’ve been living in the UK for too long now that I’m not accustomed to it anymore!

  • Bhushavali February 19, 2017 at 8:15 am

    Hahaha!!! Living in hot & humid part of India, where winter temperatures is in 20s and summers is in 40s (yup, celicuis), this is a good read for me from the opposite end of the spectrum! Yes, you’ve covered almost everything,

  • Jodie Bickhoff February 19, 2017 at 8:30 am

    I love this. Great post. So practical. Makes me want to get out of cold London and onto a tropical adventure!

  • Stacey Sandlin Veikalas February 19, 2017 at 8:34 am

    Very nice list, I always struggle with what to pack and how much will I need and then pack and unpack and pack again! LOL

  • Punita Malhotra February 19, 2017 at 9:22 am

    Been a while since we had a beach holiday and seeing your post, I’m pining for one now. All those summery, flowing outfits, the palms and the beach….calling out to me.

  • Suruchi Mittal February 19, 2017 at 1:49 pm

    This list is perfect. It includes everything for a beach holiday. I will bookmark this post for my future reference.

  • Adventurous Travels February 19, 2017 at 4:42 pm

    Great tips – I always have one thing in mind – pack in a light way! I can always avoid the luggage fees and it’s so uncomfortable to drag and carry many suitcases, especially when it’s hot outside.

  • Tatum Skipper February 20, 2017 at 3:12 am

    I desperately need a beach holiday! Loved reading this post because it’s always interesting to see how other people pack. I agree its way better to just take a carry on! Plus, summery clothes are usually a lot smaller so that makes it easier. I always pack too many bikinis and end up wearing only 2 haha.

  • Indrani February 20, 2017 at 3:20 am

    Good practical list. Evene I have discovered tropical destinations are the best to travel light. Some of the winter destinations are a lot of hassle especially if airlines allow limited baggage.

  • Alberto C - February 20, 2017 at 5:47 pm

    Good list! The good thing about travelling to tropical places is that normally you can bring more clothes and they don’t take that much space. I always just throw whatever in my bag last minute without really thinking too much, so maybe I should start creating my own lists as well! haha