Top 5 Tips On What To Pack For A Tropical Country. View of the beach in Lombok, Indonesia

Top 5 Tips On What To Pack For Your Tropical Vacation

Packing your bags for a tropical destination is a task that everyone would like to have. I don’t know about you but only the idea of going somewhere hot and humid gets me super excited!

In this blog post, I will give you the top 5 tips on what to pack for a tropical vacation. So be ready to save this blog post’s link on your phone or get pen and paper because we are going to dive in right now!

#1 Make Sure to Pack These Clothes:

Think about which activities you are planning on doing. Is there going to be some hiking involved? Swimming? Note down everything and think about what you could wear in a way that is as light as possible and layering things whenever you can.┬áMake sure you try everything on because if you don’t feel the vibe or something doesn’t fit properly, is going to be the same when you’re away!

Here are a few tips on what to bring clothing-wise to a tropical country:

  • Bring a light rain jacket: This item will be your best friend. Don’t forget to always carry it with you because when it rains in tropical countries, it really goes down. Even if it’s hot weather, getting soaked is still unpleasant. So make sure to carry it every day at the bottom of your backpack.
  • Don’t bring laundry products, but go to your local laundry. Washing up your clothes is going to be a mission impossible because they will never get dry. You can wait for days and everything will still be dumped and start smelling!
  • Small travel-size iron: This is useful for helping you dry urgent clothes or iron your shirts on the go. This iron is super light and easy to fit in the carry-on. Alternatively, some laundry shops would also provide the ironing service.
  • SPF clothes: SPF clothes are perfect for an outdoor trip and want to be fully protected from the sun. Or maybe you got sunburnt the day before and want to limit your sun exposure. SPF clothes can really help to block the sun and protect you all day. I use a long-sleeved SPF top for surfing and it’s the smartest thing ever!
  • Yoga leggings are a winner: Yoga leggings (short or long) are super versatile. You can use them on the flight, hike, gym/yoga class or go to the beach. They are thin and easy to pack, they are also your life saviours when you have all your bottoms in the laundry. I also love them because they don’t need ironing!

#2 Get Ready for Those Mosquitos!

Top 5 Tips On What To Pack For Your Tropical Vacation - View of Kuta, Lombok

Let’s talk about mosquitos. You have to be prepared because there will be a lot of them! But your girl has got you covered. If you are staying in the proximity of water (such as rice fields) you will probably have them all day, but in some countries, the mosquitos would only show up in the evening. This also depends on the rainy or dry season, you would have less of them during the dry season but it’s still worth applying the repellent for sure.

Here are some tips on how to be geared up for mosquitos:

  • Bring only 1 mosquito spray from home: Get local mosquito repellents instead as they are very strong and high quality. At least you carry less weight with you and bring what really matters. “Jungle” is one of the strongest mosquito repellents I tried and would recommend.
  • Mosquito net: you can actually bring one from home if you want, but chances are you will find it in your accommodation already! The only problem is there might be a few holes in them, which is fine. My tip, in this case, is to spray the mosquito repellent on the net before going to bed.
  • Mosquito bites cream: guys let’s be honest, you will get bitten for sure. Sometimes you forget about the bites and other times they are super itchy! In this case, having mosquito bites cream in hand is super helpful.
  • Malaria tablets: I think it’s important to talk about this. Taking malaria tables it’s not a walk in the park, they actually make you feel sick and awful. Don’t take them unless you’ve been strictly told you have to!

#3 Carry These Medicines With You

Top 5 Tips On What To Pack For Your Tropical Vacation. Solo traveller on the train in Kuala Lumpur.

First things first. Remember that whilst you fly, travel and sometimes by your accommodation, you won’t have access to the fridge. Everything you bring needs to be ok with being stored outside the fridge and most of the time in hot temperatures so make sure to bring medicines that won’t melt!

You don’t actually need to bring much as you will be able to find everything locally. However, there are a few things you should consider bringing:

  • Always bring meds that require a prescription: this is self-explanatory, getting a new prescription is possible but it would take time and it might not be the same medication.
  • Bring enough paracetamol for the first few weeks: it’s good to have some handy paracetamol with you even if just enough for the first few weeks.
  • Probiotics: These are super useful to get your guts ready for a different climate, water and food. I normally start taking them about a week before going to a tropical country.
  • Food poisoning remedies: I hope nothing will ever happen to you but this option is on the table and you need to be ready. Anti-vomit and anti-diarrhoea medicines are super useful if you can bring them over. The same goes for antibiotics. However, if something happens the local clinic will be able to provide everything you need and be more specific about the issue too. (Check out my post on food poisoning in Bali if that’s where you are going)
  • Electrolytes: If you’ve lost a lot of liquids, electrolytes can really help you straight away to get some energy back!

#4 Pack Light Skincare for Your Tropical Vacation

solo travel blogger in bikini in Lombok, Indonesia. The Good Observer.

You don’t necessarily need to bring these from your country, you can get them locally too. It’s up to you, but surely, this is what works well in tropical countries:

  • Face oils: These bad boys would give you immediate moisture and get absorbed in no time. You should choose face oils over creams because the more you put on your face the sweatier you get!
  • SPF (lotions and lip balms): If you have skin allergies (like me) you might need to bring your own SPF lotions from home. Bring 50+ because you get tanned anyway but at least you would get an amazing golden skin rather than looking like a lobster! Ideally, you should have one for the body, one for the face and lip balm.
  • Coloured SPF if needed: if you want to wear some foundation, opt for some coloured SPF creams because they would be lighter and you get covered with SPF at the same time.
  • Eye masks: Waking up after a warm night means one thing to me. I’m going to have Ikea bags under my eyes! Eye masks can do the trick if you have them in hand or you could just get them locally if available.
  • Cooling face masks: This is another super pleasant treat especially in the evening before going to bed.
  • Body cream/oil: More often than not, it’s rare to find an accommodation that provides body lotion. Especially if you are staying in a budget-friendly place. The body lotion is super important to moisturise and fix the tan you get during the day. Make sure you bring a bit with you and possibly buy it locally.

#5 Your Travel Gear has to be Waterproof!

Finally, your travel gear! It needs to be practical, comfortable and WATERPROOF!

Let me tell you a thing about being comfortable. Unless you are literally doing the Camino De Santiago, there is no need to travel with a huge backpack, it will kill your back and vibes. A small carry-on goes on the front of the scooter, boats, tuk-tuk… everywhere!

Now that I got it out of my chest let’s go see what else you should keep in mind:

  • Choose a hardshell carry-on: The number one rule is to have everything waterproof. If you have a carry-on, make sure it’s waterproof, maybe one with a hard shell. Some countries would have really bad flooding and you will have to go through the mud carrying your suitcase. Or you might jump on a boat with your luggage. Water resistance is the absolute key. 
  • Pocket-size waterproof backpack: This is always handy for any activity you might do during the day, even if it’s just shopping. It might rain when you leave the shop and need a reliable waterproof bag to store everything safely. 
  • Small silicon containers: These are super useful to store your skincare or anything liquid/creamy. I then top them up at the hotel, adding extra shampoo for example. You can close these perfectly, however, ants always find their way in – whatever that is! So if you carry some honey with you (I always do), keep in mind that they will reach out to the honey no matter how secure the package is. You will just never win!


I hope this blog post has been useful for you and gave you a clear idea of what to pack for your tropical vacation. Remember to always pack light, if you are not sure where to start, check out this blog post to learn how to pack in a minimalist way! Finally, have fun on your trip, is going to be unforgettable!

Ciao for now, 

Silvia x