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Tropical Vacation Suitcase Essentials

I love Aruba sign

During our last holiday, we often joked about our past experiences - the time when I got badly burnt in Australia, when I froze coming back from a night dive in Hawaii, when so many mosquitoes bit me that I managed to catch a Malaria-like illness in Polynesia. Soon after, someone told me "you gotta be an expert on packing, right? You travel SO much with so little planning". Bang. I suddenly realized how far we've come in terms of travel, suitcases and adventures of all sorts.

Here's my list of essentials for a Tropical Vacation Suitcase, so you can enjoy as much as we do. When you go on vacation it is key to, stay Connected, Healthy and Active. Here are our key items, grouped in these 3 sections, for you to have a quick checklist and make sure you got everything you need

1. Stay Connected

fiji water bottle

1.1. Plane: Pen, earplugs and water bottle. I usually buy 1l Evian, drink it before security check and refill it in the last restroom before boarding. I need to stay hydrated and those tiny glasses are simply NOT enough for me. Please note that in some airports (e.g. Schiphol) the security check for the long-haul flights is also inside the airport, so watch out or they will take your water bottle away. This is a serious thing (each bottle 3-5€, multiply x several flights and you may save 30€ in a trip like our Caribbean route last December). Make sure the water is drinkable in that country before refilling. Earplugs are compulsory to avoid killing babies on-board. Pen comes in handy for immigration and customs related paperwork.

truck in Bonaire Natural Reserve

1.2. Stay: Right Voltage / Current in your devices, plug adapter, car charger, OSMandNavi. Usually high power things (like hairdryer) are not multi-voltage so either get one that matches the destination voltage OR leave yours home. Plug adapters are kind of obvious, but a car charger for your smartphone if you plan to rent a car as well as a GPS that does not require data connection (like OSMAnd Navi) is the best idea to reach off-the-beaten track spots, on time.

2. Stay Healthy


2.1. Protect: Mosquito repellent "Goibi", Sunscreen. I hardly ever used sunscreen, until I started traveling closer to the Equator. Tropical sun bites like hell and even if you go for 50+, a nice tan is still guaranteed. As for the mosquito repellent, Goibi is the strongest (even recommended by our company recommends to the people travelling to Africa) and key to survive through sexy yet humid tropical nights.

2.2. Protect: Compeed. I have extremely delicate skin. Hours of hiking, sweat , sun, typically turn into blisters in my feet and cold sores in my face. Compeed is by far the fastest and most convenient way to heal anything, with the advantage that it fits in the smallest purse and it's there right when you need it.

girl with sumbrella

2.3. Protect: Foldable hat, cap or umbrella . May it rain or just be too sunny, they have saved us many times.

3. Stay Active

with tevas in the Caribbean

3.1. Walk: Tevas & hiking shoes or sneakers When on vacation, we always do what we cannot do home. Anything from running every morning, hiking volcanoes, 7000 year old forests, jungles or walking around old Polynesian villages. Comfortable shoes that you can comfortably walk in are the key to make the most of the days off. Enjoy the sunlight, you can dress nicely at dinnertime.

snorkelling in Curacao
snorkelling booties in Curacao
underwater drybag

3.2. Dive: Snorkel & googles, booties, underwater bag & lycra t-shirt. These are super cheap things that people never bring, to end up buying shitty stuff on arrival or even worse, cutting themselves on the coral and getting burnt while watching tropical fishes. A proper mask & tube will cost nothing, last forever and offer hours of snorkelling fun. We never take the fins, but the space of the mask & tube is well worth the magic of seeing amazing things like sea turtles in action. The underwater bag is the key to enjoy without worrying about leaving your belongings on the sand - specially when you travel as a couple, it is not fun or safe to go in the sea alone. Finally, the t-shirt will prevent getting burnt on your back after a long and enjoyable snorkelling session.

kitesurf girl in Bonaire

3.3. Ride: Neoprene suit, impact vest, booties (again). Lucky us, we got them for our birthdays. Your own neoprene is advisable if you want to try kitesurfing. Mine is a present from my BFFs - from Ripcurl's super cool line called the Bombshell, like the VS of surfing. It will keep you warm and protect your arms from scratches or cuts with the lines (aka threads of the kite).  You can see I am also wearing the booties. I broke my toe in Tarifa last year, wouldn't have happened if I had worn them to start with. As said, we learn from mistakes. The impact vest is a cool version of the safety vest, key to keep your head outside the water and really helpful to not drown when learning.

Fjäll Räven Kånken

3.4. Hang out: Fjäll Räven Kånken, small bag to keep valuables under control. I got the backpack in Sweden, years before I realized how popular it would become in Asia. I got the bag in Helsinki airport, on my way to Seoul back in 2010. These 2 are my must for any vacation. The backpack is uber light, I can carry anything, wash it when it gets dirty and fold it into a teeny weeny thing when empty. The bag is awesome to manage money, lipstick & keys, so I can go buy a drink or for a walk along the beach without having to take "the big one".

White wedding truck from Miami in Curacao

3.5. Dress: White cotton dresses & shirts - preferably long sleeved. Since our first trip to Asia (Thailand, 2010) where Enrique got burnt the first 30s on the motorbike, we learnt that sun is strong and sometimes, regardless of sunscreen, the only way is to be covered. Cotton apparel is fresh, comfortable and looks awesome on tanned skin. I have been buying these kind of dresses ever since. Some from ZARA, some from Asia, some from Formentera. While I wear other stuff when we go out for dinner, they are my vacation basic and main protection against burnt shoulders - really when you are walking the whole day, there is no cream that can avoid it.

pañuelo hippy

3.6. Cover: ZARA Men Linen Scarves. These huge linen scarves double as beach towel, are incredibly light and useful if you plan on a quick dip after a long hike - instead of a whole day by the beach resort. As you can see, tevas don't look so bad when worn with normal clothes during your vacation.

afternoon drinks in Australia

I hope you enjoyed this list of essentials for a Tropical Vacation Suitcase, here's a recap:

1. Stay Connected
1.1. Plane: Pen, earplugs & water bottle.
1.2. Stay: Right Voltage / Current in your devices, plug adapter, car charger, OSMandNavi.

2. Stay Healthy
2.1. Protect:Mosquito repellent "Goibi", Sunscreen.
2.2. Protect: Compeed.
2.3. Protect: Foldable hat, cap or umbrella .

3. Stay Active
3.1. Walk: Tevas & hiking shoes or sneakers
3.2. Dive: Snorkel & googles, booties, underwater bag & lycra t-shirt.
3.3. Ride: Neoprene suit, impact vest, booties (again).
3.4. Hang out: Fjäll Räven Kånken, small bag to keep valuables under control.
3.5. Dress: White cotton dresses & shirts - preferably long sleeved
3.6. Cover: ZARA Men Linen Scarves.

Si lees este blog normalmente, te ha gustado este post pero preferirías que escribiera en Español, por favor deja un comentario. Últimamente los visitantes son como 50% (EN) - 50% (ES),  me cuesta decidir qué idioma es más adecuado. Evidentemente, el hecho de que tu ordenador esté en español no implica que no entiendas inglés. De ahí, mi confusión...

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