If you live north of 30° latitude, it’s often hard to understand how warm a tropical destination can be, especially in summer. The median December temperature of Mumbai is 22°C (72°F), with a high of 31°C (88°F). That of Bangkok is even higher. Both reach the high 30s (100°F) in summer.
If you are unprepared, the trip could be uncomfortable, to say the least. Warm weather has its own set of rules, and unless you pack appropriately, your vacation could be unpleasant.
Packing Tips for a Vacation in the Sun
A trip to the Caribbean sounds exciting. But if you are from Chicago, you are in for a shock as the plane door opens and a blast of warm air hits you.
Without more ado, let us share our list of essentials for your trip to Phuket, Kingston, or any other warm destination.
Proper clothing should take precedence over everything else on your list. It has to be light, and made of a moisture-wicking fabric. Warm places are usually also humid. Sweat does not dry swiftly enough if you dress incorrectly.
The clothing has to be able to keep your skin dry. The fit must be loose, and it is advisable you wear a size larger than you usually wear. There has to be sufficient space under the garment for your skin to breathe.
There is nothing worse than feeling sticky all afternoon. So, ditch the jeans and leggings. Instead, bring skirts and shorts. Tees and tops must be lightweight and allow you to move freely.
Check if your hotel offers affordably laundry service. Otherwise, carry or buy some detergent. In warm weather, a garment can be worn only once before washing.
A suit is optional and quite useless unless you plan to attend a formal dinner. The best option is to carry a linen jacket that can be paired up with pastel-colored chinos for semiformal occasions.
Of course, travel by cruise liner might mandate you to wear a suit during dinner at some restaurants.
The bright tropical sun is quite damaging to the eyes. The tropics are closer to the equator, and the sun is almost directly overhead most of the year.
The rays can cause your eyes to water, and even be painful. Carry quality sunglasses. If you wear eyeglasses, make sure they are photochromic.
UV-A and UV-B protection are must-haves for all glasses. Antiglare coating is optional, and you can skip it if you don’t plan on driving. Green-tinted lenses are the best. Grey and brown also work. Yellow is unsuitable for sunny destinations.
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Shoes take up a lot of space in your luggage, and if you make the wrong choice on what to bring, you’ll likely end up overpaying for flip-flops at your destination.
Sneakers, or casual canvas shoes are a good choice so long as they are lightweight. Another great option are clogs. The Crocs brand is particularly popular, as they are light, considered comfortable, and dry quickly. There’s no need to pack leather shoes unless you have a formal event to attend. They usually go unused and only serve to make your luggage heavier.
The right hat is essential to help keep the sun out of your eyes, and protect your head and neck from sunburn. If you want to look stylish, bring a Panama hat. Floppy “boonie” hats are actually more functional, but some do not like the way they look.
Baseball caps are typically not the best choice, as they don’t shield the back of your neck from the sun. If a baseball cap is all you choose to wear, consider supplementing it with a large cotton handkerchief underneath to help cover your neck. You can even soak it in cold water to help cool you down.
Tropical weather is unpredictable. A sudden downpour can come out of nowhere, even on a sunny day. A raincoat would be overkill, and an umbrella will do just fine. Umbrellas actually serve two purposes. When the sun comes back out, you can use it to help provide an extra bit of shade during a walk, or when you’re on the beach.
Warm, humid climates are a breeding ground for germs and pathogens. Therefore, it’s important to be prepared in case of minor medical maladies.
Whatever you usually carry, e.g., paracetamol, ibuprofen, ranitidine, is of course needed. Carry a suitable medication for allergies such as fexofenadine. It is non-drowsy, and your doctor will likely be glad to provide you a few. Don’t forget to carry a prescription. In case you run out, a prescription makes it easier to obtain a refill quickly.
Warm weather also means tropical diseases. Dengue, yellow fever, and malaria cause thousands to be hospitalized every year. It is indeed scary to seek medical care in a foreign country. Even evacuation is not out of the question for serious conditions.
It’s important to remember that your domestic health insurance may not provide sufficient coverage in a foreign country. If you do require medical treatment abroad, it’s important to have travel medical insurance or travel insurance to protect your budget from large medical bills.
A good backpack is tailor-made for a tropical vacation. Make sure that it is sturdy and can hold a bottle of water, towel, and a few other necessities. You also need to keep your travel documents close to you. A waterproof backpack is a safe refuge for your passport, visa, and hotel receipts.
Most of us would never dream of traveling without our phones. However, the sun, surf, and sand of warm-weather destinations is not exactly friendly to electronics. It is essential that you have a case for your phone that truly protects it. Leave the cute designer case at home, and instead buy one that is water-resistant, shockproof, and with a raised lip to protect the screen from scratches. The grip should be anti-slip with notches embossed on the side as well.
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You’re going to sweat more in a warm destination, and a daily shower or bath can only go so far. Talcum powder is a good idea to help keep you feeling fresh and dry. You can even buy scented powders if you prefer a fragrance.
Roll-on deodorants are best for armpits, and a strong body fragrance spray can smell pleasant. It’s a lot, but necessary if you want to feel and smell your best.
One of the quickest ways to ruin a beach vacation is by getting a bad sunburn. One day out in the sun without protection could leave you spending the rest of your trip writhing in pain at the hotel. A sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30-40 is required. If you have fair skin, get the strongest sunscreen you can find.
Apply it liberally, and keep applying more as it dries off. Take care not to be out in the sun for too long. Every quarter of an hour, rest and give the skin time to recover. Otherwise, a prolonged burn could be bad enough to start peeling. If you are at the beach, try to remember to utilize that umbrella to give yourself periodic shade.
You are going to require a lot of water to stay hydrated in a warm destination. Tap water is unsafe to drink in many countries, so it’s best to choose the bottled variety. If you don’t want to keep tossing disposable bottles, you could consider a refillable water bottle. Just be sure to sanitize the water you fill it with by first boiling it, or treating it with chlorine, iodine, or a portable water filtration device.
If you request, the hotel may even fill up the bottle with filtered water. Two to three bottles will be enough for a few hours.
Away You Go…
If you remember the above, you’ll be ready to get the most enjoyment from a warm weather vacation destination. Before you go, there are a few other items to consider. You may want to bring along a good mosquito repellant spray, as the insects can be thick in certain locations, but this should be readily available when you land.
Also, be sure that your hotel is equipped with good air conditioning. Do not assume that every hotel will have this; confirm it before booking. Otherwise, you may find it difficult to sleep at night.
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