Last Updated on September 12, 2020 by Dani
Is there anyone who is not dreaming of sandy shores, palm trees, and fruity, umbrella adorned cocktails right now? Am I the only one who is craving a swim in turquoise blue waters, burying my toes in fine, powdery sand and just staring out into the ocean? If just reading these questions has you checking flights to tropical destinations, then you’re not alone.
Especially this year has been mentally challenging for a lot of people. Lockdowns, travel restrictions and financial worries have made it impossible for most people to go on their summer vacation, and now winter is upon us again. Destinations in the Caribbean, Asia, and other warm weather hotspots are havens for the winter weary population who has the bad luck of living in a northern climate. A little dose of vitamin D, ie. a few days in the sun, can do wonders for your mental health and well-being, and if you can afford to take a few days off, a quick trip to the Caribbean is easy and can be done on the cheap, if you choose Airbnb’s over luxury resorts. An added bonus is that you’re putting money straight into the pockets of a local who has been missing out on tourist dollars this year. Before planning a trip, make sure to read up on the latest COVID-19 related travel restrictions and where you can currently travel to. The Washington Post published an article where Americans can travel to in the Caribbean. Since government restrictions have been changing rapidly over the course of the pandemic, I recommend not booking your trip too far out, but book your flights and hotels close to your planned departure date, unless they can be canceled without any cancellation fees.
What to Pack for Your Tropical Getaway
After the flights are booked, the hotel rooms are reserved and activities are planned out, there comes the next step on your journey to tropical bliss: Packing. Packing for any trip can be difficult for those who – like me – don’t identify as minimalists and tend to overpack. How many pairs of sandals are too many? Will three bikinis be enough? Can I fit my giant inflatable unicorn pool float toy in my carry-on?
These are all valid questions and the following list is a great way to answer them.
Toiletries and Makeup
One of the best parts about vacationing in a tropical destination during the winter months is that the heat and humidity aren’t even close to summer levels so your makeup won’t slide off your face in a slick of sweat. So feel free to pack your makeup and actually use it if you wish. Packing your preferred professional skincare products is a must, by the way, since you won’t be able to find most of them on a small tropical island. If you’re traveling with carry-on only, get some small containers to fill them with just the amount you need. One great tip is to head to your favorite makeup counter and ask for samples. The tiny tubes of foundation and mini lip glosses come in handy and you won’t have to worry about lugging around your entire makeup kit. Also invest in some biodegradable sunscreen. Tropical reef systems are dying off at a rapid rate and even the smallest gesture helps.
What to wear on your tropical vacation
You’re going to the beach, which means, luckily you don’t need to pack much! Leave the jeans and sweaters at home, and break out those floaty maxi dresses and all your bikinis. Stuff sarongs in the corners of your suitcase, and pack your favorite pair of flip flops. You might want to pack an additional pair of nicer sandals for dining out at a nicer restaurant, and if you’re planning to explore the island beyond the beach, pack a pair of sneakers or trail running shoes. Sunglasses are a must, and if you want to check out the underwater life, pack your goggles. (If you’re planning to join an organized snorkeling trip, they will provide you with the essential gear for that). Forgo expensive jewelry – pack a sunhat instead.
Don’t forget to pack something warmer for the plane ride – a zipper jacket or a long-sleeve shirt.
What Not to Pack
Many people pack for a vacation with a worst case scenario mindset. Umbrellas, rain coats, portable water filters because you never know what might happen. While that may be true, the likelihood of using these things is slim and they take up precious space that could be filled with more cute beach dresses. And while that unicorn float looks awesome in photos, it’s actually quite heavy and bulky, so you might want to leave it at home.
Most hotels offer umbrellas to their guests, plastic ponchos are available in every corner of the globe, and even hotels in developing countries provide bottled water in abundance.
You’ll find a plethora of packing lists on the internet, all with varied advice on what to bring and what not to bring. However, at the end of the day it’s your vacation and you should bring what you want to bring and what you consider essential. You should wear the clothes that make you feel happy and change into new ones as often as you want. After all, it’s your escape from reality and you deserve to enjoy it, overpacked or not.