Packing Guide For A Tropical Vacation By Shae Burns

You just arrived in a tropical paradise and are unzipping your suitcase with two goals: relax and to explore a new place! Your plans for the rest of the afternoon and first day of vacation? Exploring the city, possibly hike, find something local and fresh to eat and then go for a night swim. The last thing you want to do is waste time thinking about what you’re going to wear!


I travel to the tropics a few times a year and I like to pack as minimally as possible. Packing minimally is key for any conscious consumer. The weight and amount of luggage you bring contributes to the overall weight of the plane. The weight of the plane determines how much fuel it burns, which ultimately impacts the amount of CO2 that’s emitted into our air. So, smaller bag = less emission output = happier planet. I can confidently say I have perfected the perfect minimalist packing list for the adventure maximizer.

Every minute on vacation is precious, and if you take a lot of pictures it’s important to wear something adventure friendly and stylish in the case you come across an amazing opportunity to shoot. Gotta do it for the gram, am I right??

Here’s all you need to bring on a tropical vacation:

 2 tops

1 cotton tank for the plane. Style tucked in, tied up and wear on a hike

1 nicer top. Style with pants during dinner or shorts during the day in the city (I love the Chloe Tie-Back Top from SUNDAYS)

 2 bottoms

1 pant. Style dressed up at night or down to the beach. These are my favorite from SUNDAYS, I also love these from Matter Prints

1 short. Style for walking around the city during the day or down to the beach. The paper bag style is the only style of shorts I wear now, these are my current favorites 

Eco-fashion tip: I personally prefer linen not only because (1) it’s biodegradable, breathable and dries quickly, perfect for humid environments and (2) can actually look good when wrinkled)

2 two-piece swimsuits 

Style for swimming, use the tops as sports bras or wear as a crop top during the day. I like to bring two suits to allow time for air drying, but you can definitely get away with just bringing one!

1 one-piece swimsuit

Style for swimming and as a bodysuit

1 pair of active leggings or shorts

Style for comfort on the plane, exercising/hiking. I recommend wearing long leggings in the rainforest for protection against mosquitos. My favorite leggings are these classic ones from Girlfriend Collective made from recycled water bottles!

3 pairs of shoes

1 pair of tennis for the plane and hiking

1 pair of Tevas or any waterproof sandals. Wear for watersports, protection against urchins, casual walking, and hiking in wet areas

1 pair of comfortable heeled sandals to style at night and nice dinners. I love my ethically made Nisolos.

1 robe

Style for sleeping in, as a kimono/light jacket or cover up at the beach. This one is my favorite from Miakoda NY!

1 maxi dress or romper/jumpsuit

Wear to a nice dinner or night out dancing

Under garments and socks

Ironically, don’t skimp here


Style to elevate and make any outfit look more chic. I prefer wearing gold or plated gold jewelry because it keeps from tarnishing. Etsy is a great place to get ethically made pieces.









Thank you so much Shae Burns for writing this blog post! 


Leave a comment