Winter offers so much to enjoy — sled rides, snow men, cute cable knit sweaters. But after a while the cold can take its toll and the body starts craving some sun and a little vitamin D. When you start to feel the itch for warmer weather, it’s time to book a trip somewhere tropical or, at least, somewhere a bit closer to the equator.
To make the most of your escape from the cold, you’ll want to be sure you pack just the right items. So grab your suitcase, your swimsuit and your favorite travel outfit as you hit the road for brighter days! Here is our list of packing essentials for your warm destination vacation.
Here Comes the Sun
There’s nothing better than feeling the sun soak into your skin when you’ve finally arrived at your destination. But before you do that, make sure you proceed with a fair bit of caution so you can enjoy your trip without worry.
Understand the Climate Before You Book Your Ticket – The first item on your “what to pack” list should be a travel guide to wherever you’re going! Even if you don’t buy a travel guide, do your research. Depending on where you’re heading, “hot” might mean something completely different. The average yearly temperature in Greece, for example, is 59.72 ℉ while in the Bahamas it is 76.73 ℉ — almost 20 degrees higher. So a warm day in Santorini does not mean the same thing as a warm one on San Salvador Island.
The same can be said for humidity. In certain parts of the country the humidity is much higher, making the heat feel thick and muggy. In other areas the heat is dry and flat, which means your hair will frizz a lot less. No matter where you’re heading, be sure you understand the type of heat you’ll encounter so you aren’t caught off-guard, and so you can be sure to pack the appropriate strength hair gel.
Bring Lots of Shelter from the Sun – We all want to get a tan — sure. But we don’t want to turn lobster red day-one and curse the sun for the rest of the week. Sun protection can come by way of sunscreen, sunglasses, big floppy hats, baseball caps and bathing suit coverups, which you should definitely bring with you on vacation.
On the off chance you do catch a bit of a sunburn, make sure you pack some aloe vera gel, which can help heal the skin.
Another must-pack: loose-fitting t-shirts or sundresses that won’t cling to the body. Extra-long tall tees are great because they’re roomier around the midsection and longer than most shirts, giving you complete coverage from the sun and avoiding any further skin irritation.
Pack a Suit for Each Mood – This one goes without saying. Bring a bathing suit if you’re heading somewhere warm. Even if water isn’t your thing, you can still lie out and catch some rays for that sun-kissed glow everyone’s always after. One last recommendation: Bring a few different swimsuit options. One will definitely do, but our moods change day by day, so maybe our suits should too? Bringing a variety of options will also help you even out any noticeable tan lines, if that’s your thing.
Bring Activewear so You’re Ready for Anything – Even if your goal is to lounge by the beach all day and catch up on your reading, you’ll still want to pack clothing that could be worn for a pickup game of beach volleyball, just in case. Even if you only end up using it for an afternoon walk to the grocery store, it won’t hurt to have some clothing you can move around in. Along with your sandals, make sure you pack a pair of tennis shoes, athletic socks, some sports bras for ladies, a few casual t-shirts for men or whatever else you can run errands in.
Grab a Camera that’s Ready for Adventure – You don’t have to be a photographer for Nat Geo to take some killer pics while basking in the sun. Warmer weather brings all kinds of interesting wildlife, from alligators and iguanas to sea lions and sharks. Depending on where you head and what you do, the animals there might surprise you!
Pack an underwater camera if you plan to do any snorkeling, so you can capture the colorful coral and exotic fish native to your destination. If you’re planning on a bit of adventure, like zip lining or rafting, you might want to consider an on-body video camera so you don’t miss a second of the fun.
Summer Breeze Makes Ya Feel Fine
Warm destinations can get cold! Don’t forget that once the sun goes down so, too, does the temperature. Make sure you pack to accommodate any and all weather, just in case.
Bring One or Two Nice Outfits for Dinner – During the day, beach vacations are typically simple affairs: sandwiches and chips shoved into a cooler. As good as cold cuts are … the proximity to water means the seafood at your destination is more than likely incredible. So long as you aren’t on a remote island, chances are your spot has a lively restaurant scene too. Make sure you pack a few lightweight, dressier items in case you decide to go out for dinner or drinks. Anything lightweight and simple will do; flowy maxi dresses for women, short-sleeve button-ups for men.
Come Ready with Lots of Layers – It might get windy, it might rain. Warm destinations often bring tropical storms and a healthy ocean breeze. Especially if you know you’re heading out for dinner to an open-air restaurant, you’ll definitely want to pack a cardigan or light jacket just in case it gets a little chilly later in the evening.
Pack Clothing for Your Hometown Too! – It can be tempting to pack tank tops and flip flops alone, but if you’re coming from Chicago in December, don’t forget: You will need to fly back into Chicago in December. Be sure to pack shoes ready to accommodate whatever snowy mess you are heading home to. Airplanes, too, are typically very cold, so make sure you have an outfit that will keep you warm during the flight.
There is nothing better than escaping the cold and snow if only for a week or two. A warm destination trip is the perfect solution for anyone craving a little sun, some adventure and incredible food. Be sure you prepare for your trip with the right gear, and you won’t regret a single sun-kissed second.