Are you planning a family tropical getaway?
Use these packing tips inspired by our last family vacation to the Caribbean island of Roatán, Honduras.
Bug repellent. Wherever there is humidity, there are insects. They are annoying and can carry extremely harmful diseases. You can find many different types of bug repellent; sprays, essential oils, etc. Do some research and determine which type of bug repellent is best for your destination. Be sure to follow the recommendations for application.
A hat that provides a lot of protection from the sun and that can be secured on your child is another must have item in my opinion. It’s hard to protect scalps with sunscreen especially when outside for extended periods of time.
Sunscreen – I feel like this is a no-brainer since we all should know about the dangers of skin cancer these days. But as a reminder, lather on the SPF repeatedly. Don’t forget to apply it to those areas you may not typically think of (tops of ears, back of neck, waistline, feet). The spray is probably the easiest form of sunscreen to apply to kids (be sure to do so in a well-ventilated area). I make it a habit to keep a small stick of sunscreen in my purse so it’s always handy (especially on those occasions when I forget the other stuff). Be sure to check the expiration date on your sunscreen before packing it. And keep it out of the sun while traveling in order to keep it effective.
Aloe Vera or other sunburn soothing ointment – Let’s face it, there’s a really good chance someone will be dealing with sunburn on your tropical family getaway. Be sure you have something on hand to soothe those sunburns if they appear.
Clothes – Choose light-colored, loose-fitting, comfortable clothing in breathable fibers such cotton and linen. Or make use of clothing with moisture-wicking properties. If you’re going to be hiking through dense vegetation in the tropics (such as the jungle botanical garden we toured), wear long sleeve shirts and pants in an attempt to cover as much skin as possible (as an added precaution against the bugs). My favorite are convertible pants that can be rolled or tied up into shorts or capris.
Shoes – be sure to pack Crocs, water socks, or some sort of shoe that allows the kiddos (and adults) to explore the shallow part of the water without the worry of stepping on sharp stones and such. I don’t recommend regular flip-flops as those can easily get washed away.
Swim suits – Choose a style based on the activities you’re planning. If you’re going snorkeling, consider choosing suits with more coverage to prevent sensitive areas such as the back from burning. Also, avoid suits with lots of strings and embellishments for this type of activity. Consider board shorts to avoid both of these problems. Swim suits with an SPF rating are a great option for kids. Whatever you bring, be sure to pack multiples. There’s a good chance you’ll be going into the water (ocean and/or pool) multiple times a day. Be sure to have a spare suit ready to use while the other one is drying out. And don’t forget the swim diapers for the really young travelers.
Sunglasses – even for those little ones. The bright sunlight reflecting off the water can be painful and damaging to the eyes. If the sun is too bright for you, it’s too bright for the kiddos too.
Water bottle – Get a bottle for each member of the family. I recommend investing in ones that are leakproof (you’ll be glad you did). Keep those bottles filled up and stay hydrated.
Backpack – Whether you’re hiking through the jungle or hanging out on the beach, an easy to carry and water resistant bag is highly recommended. You need a place to store sunscreen, water bottles, bug repellent, etc… I like to keep my hands free when I travel with kids, so I prefer backpack style bags.
I also recommend keeping some sort of mild cleansing wipes on hand for wiping sunscreen out of eyes and sand out from between your toes (among other uses).
And now that you know what to pack, what are you waiting for? Because, really, don’t you want to just get away to a tropical island like this?