The cover picture was taken in “Jardin de Balata”, Martinique, 2015. I was in my island to spend the Christmas holidays with my family.
This post is entitled “12 tips when packing for a trip to a tropical destination”. Actually, it would have been more accurate to talk about the Caribbean more specifically because that is what I know about. Yet, it can apply to any destination and island with a tropical climate.
In case you didn’t know yet or as a reminder, I am originally from the Caribbean. It has its advantages, of course. I am lucky to go to Martinique about once a year unless specific duties or considerable issue come along. It has become an habit. Even when I was living in the US in 2014, I wanted to go there but the reason why I didn’t was the high price of the flight, almost the same as a Paris-Martinique one. So I renounced that year and went to an other Caribbean island, Haiti, as much interesting. I don’t regret it, definitely, as it was an opportunity for a new “adventure”.
Here are some tips you want to keep in mind when packing. Some are just reminders and obvious, some from experiences in those destinations, others are just cosmetics related and dedicated to women in particular.
- Check weather and sanitary environment beforehand. Obviously, you had considered this way before packing anyway! From storms, hurricanes to all the diseases and viruses brought by mosquitoes out there wthether it is Chikungunya, Dengue or currently Zika, you want to pay close attention. Stay tuned and informed. Eventually in extreme cases, you are not going anyway! Be careful at any rate. Check yourself too as for medical background. Update if necessary.
- Sunglasses and hats are not optional. Sun is no joke. I am sure you will not forget them anyway since the first one is the first thing that comes to our mind when the sun comes out. More than a simple fashion accessory, they are a must-have. Same for hats, not everybody need a hat yet you want to do as much as possible to prevent sunstroke.
- Bring mosquito repellent but do not rely on them only. Yes, that is the bad new. Usually mosquitoes in a tropical destination are warriors. Use repellent and more importantly stay away from those warriors that is to say in air-conditioned or windy places, you can check my other post about tips when you are on the spot. Do not scratch, resist the urge to, you still have creams for bites. Or more generally, have insect repellent, sometimes mosquitoes are not the guilty ones ! Watch out for spiders too. allergies.
- Sun cream, again no joke with that one. Protect your skin, especially at the beginning of the trip. Despite a tanned completion, I myself want to “play cool” sometimes without using any sun cream. Guess what ? I have already got sunburn. Not funny. Lesson learned. Do not be stubborn. In town it is even worse. Moistrurizing lotion after sunbathing is also important. Be careful lips are also vulnerable to the sun.
- Light clothes yes, but always bring one or two pants. The hunting for mosquitoes starts at evening (until late morning), so when you are going out for dinner they are actually looking for theirs ! Wearing a pant could help you avoid mosquitoe bites. All of those steps previously mentionned associated to healing creams should prevent “damages” and further damages.
- Bring flip-flops (beach sandals) not only for the beach but also because your pretty leather sandals do not enjoy tropical heavy rains ! And a beach bag…
- Adapt make-up to climate. Ladies, light loose powder prefered. Keep foundation for other climates…oily, sticky skin is very uncomfortable. It looks bad, and on the pictures too. The good new is once we get tanned, we most likely do not even need make-up ! Oh ! It feels good !
- Adapt fragrances to climate. Cologne prefered. Use light fragrances. With the heat it can be really overwhelming for yourself and for the others. On the other hand they usually do not stay all day. I personnally use the ones with vanilla notes for that reason, it is nice. Or, I use body lotion that comes with my regular fragrance instead of fragrance.
- Choose and bring appropriate products to prevent or take care of skin and heat rashes. It happens to me all the time the first weeks in the Caribbean.
- Choose and bring a combined skin and hair care. I mean to use for both skin and hair instead of one for each. “Huile prodigieuse” by Nuxe or “5 sens enhancing dry oil” by Rene Furterer for instance are good references. Hair get dry, dull and unglossy with water sea. You want to prevent that, actually protect hair before and after sea baths (and after a good shampoo) is ideal.
- Sure, ladies only ! Consider a mean for quick hair removal. Still, depending on the duration of the trip. Some “bad” news. The heat, tropical climate and humidity all together “boosts” hair growth. Uuugh ! A little confidence here, I always take my electric hair remover, just in case. You don’t want spend time at the spa during the trip because of that slight drawback ! But then again, you know better than me your habits, so it is also peculiar to each of us.
- Bring appropriate swimwear. Again for the ladies. “Appropriate” ahah, what do I mean by that, right ? I fall easily for pretty swimwear, any kind and color. I simply love it ! It is the perfect “outfit” to enjoy colorful and bright colors. I always look for the newest trends and collections. Some reality check though. One piece, trikini are really cool but not ideal to get tanned. Usually, I bring a bikini as well. So, you might want to consider this ! Is that superficial ?
Lastly, consider tips before, on the spot and after the trip to get the best experiences in a tropical destination !
And you, what do you usually bring with you when packing for a tropical destination ? I’d love to hear from you !