January 2020

So your trip is all planned, flights are purchased, and your adventure is mere days away. Now you've got to take on the dreaded task of packing your luggage. Packing for the tropics is actually easier than you might think. Remember you'll be spending most of your days in the sun wearing only a swimsuit. That being said, every time I personally start the process of packing for a trip, I stress out about a myriad of concerns; not having enough clothing, forgetting a crucial item, packing too much. Take a look at the list below to make this process a little easier for yourself.


While this list is specifically from my most recent Jamaican getaway, it is a great jumping off point for any warm weather excursion. This list is for a 12-day itinerary, but bear in mind it wouldn't be much different if it was for 6 days or 12 weeks. You'd either need a little less clothing or a few more toiletries (if you don't think you can use local substitutes). Also, I did a lot of hiking and needed clothing for cold temperatures as well as warm. If you’re skipping the mountains, feel free to make some adjustments. 


I'll separate my list into several categories and add links to my favorite products I've found along the way.  




  • 7 Tank tops

  • 5 T-shirts

  • 4 Short sleeve button down (1 dressy option)

  • 1 Long sleeve button down

  • 2 Long sleeve zip ups

  • 3 Athletic shorts

  • 3 Chino shorts

  • 2 Athletic pants 

  • 12 Underwear

  • 6 Socks

  • 3 Swimsuits

  • 3 Hats

  • 1 Pajamas

  • 1 Winter coat (compression)

  • 1 Rain jacket

  • 1 Pair hiking shoes

  • 1 Pair sandals

  • 1 Pair water shoes 


  • Shampoo

  • Face Wash

  • Body Wash

  • Deodorant 

  • Toothpaste

  • Toothbrush

  • Cologne

  • Eye drops

  • Electric Shaver

  • Razor

  • Comb

  • Q-tips

  • Hair gel


  • Bandaids 

  • Medication (Ibuprofen, Dayquil, Anti-Diarrhea, Benadryl  Anti-nausea)

  • Laundry Detergent

  • Bug spray

  • Sunscreen


  • Passport 

  • House keys

  • Wallet

  • Cell phone

  • Paperwork (Flight information, Hotel information, Itinerary)


  • iPad

  • Wall chargers (bonus points if it has a long cord)

  • External charger

  • Book 

  • Airplane headphones (w/ a regular jack) 

  • Waterproof phone case (bonus if it floats)

  • Bluetooth speaker

  • 2 Sunglasses (One nice pair and one for ocean)

  • Earplugs

  • Eye mask 

  • Umbrella

  • TSA locks for luggage and day pack

  • Carabineers

  • Quick-dry bath towel

  • Quick-dry hand towel

  • Day Pack

  • 10 L Waterproof bag 

  • Tote bag

  • Packing cubes 

  • Waterproof bags 

  • Extra Zip locks

  • Collapsible Water Bottle

  • Snacks



  • Tripod

  • Fanny Pack

  • Plastic flask

  • Flashlight/headlamp

  • Beach Towel

Hi- I'm Evan, the Travel Wingman!

A Wisconsin cheese head transplanted to New York's big apple, I'm here to help inspire people to explore our incredibly diverse world through international travel. Follow along to learn the tools and information to make it all happen. From budgets and sample itineraries to packing guides and tour experiences- it's all here! So enjoy and feel free to reach me via my contact page.





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Salomon XA Pro 3D Trail-Running Shoes

You won't go wrong with Salomon's trustworthy reputation. These trail-runners offer you great stability and shock absorption while hiking. The perfect multipurpose footwear option, you can wear these to walk around town or through the wild. I used these to hike to the highest peak in Vietnam and they held up like gangbusters. 

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Rainbow Sandals- Classic Mocha

Everyone has a favorite brand of sandals, this just happens to be mine. ​Great to dress up and down, you can wear these to the beach and then turn around and wear them to the club. They dry super quickly and won't blister your toes. Even better, they last forever!

Moerdeng Men's Quick Drying Water Shoes

These water shoes are my favorite recent discovery. It is the perfect shoe to wear on a tropical excursion. You'll be surprised how often you'll end up wearing them. Quite inexpensive and extremely light, a pair of these shoes will be an excellent supplement to your footwear arsenal. 

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Mophie External Charger

It's definitely a good idea to bring an external charger on any vacation. You never know when you won't have access to an outlet. Also, I tend to use my phone more often than normal between the planning, navigation, and photography. This charger ​has 10,000mAh, almost double what other chargers offer. Even better, there is an insert for Samsung devices, both cables are attached to avoid clutter, and you can charge two devises at the same time.

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REI Quick Dry Towels

If you're planning on backpacking anywhere, it's a good idea to bring a quick dry towel. You might run into a hostel that doesn't provide that service. All of our places in Jamaica​ did, thank God, but you're better safe than sorry. Add on a hand towel and keep it in your carry on. It's perfect to wash your face after a long flight. 

Venture Pal Lightweight Daypack

There are seemingly endless possible choices for daypacks out there on the internet. I've used this particular one for the past three years and haven't been disappointed. It folds up for easy storage, the material is durable and the pack itself has the ability to hold a lot inside. Unlike some other daypacks, the Venture Pal has lots of pockets and compartments to keep everything organized.

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Earth Pak Waterproof Dry Bag

Another great product for your wild excursions. I've found that 10L is the optimum size. We used ours while swimming through the waterfalls, rafting down the river, and kayaking in the Blue Lagoon. It will keep everything dry even when fully submerged. ​Pick your favorite color, they have tons of options!

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Packing Cubes

These cubes are perfect to keep your backpack organized throughout your trip. I recommend bringing two large, two medium, and two small bags for all your clothes. Best quality about this particular brand is definitely the breathability!

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Weatherproof Zipper File Bags

These file bags are essential to keep your bag clean and organized. Use these for wet towels, dirty shoes, receipts, books, anything you can think of. It's a great idea to bring extras! You never know what you might need them for. 

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Vapor Collapsible Water Bottle

I love my collapsible water bottle. Virtually no weight and takes up no space when it's empty. When full, this particular bottle will mold to any space in your pack. It's an inexpensive product, and you'll be happy you brought it!


  1. Bring more face wash than you think. This is going to be your most used toiletry item.

  2. Bring an extra bottle of sunscreen. If you run out it can be expensive. Safety first!

  3. Go to your doctor and get medication in case you get food poisoning. Hopefully you won't need it!

  4. If you are staying longer than two weeks, think about doing laundry at your hotel so you don't have to carry more clothes around. Always bring some detergent to wash smaller items in your hotel sink. 

  5. Maintain organization in your backpack or suitcase. The last thing you want to be doing while on vacation is wasting time looking for something or, even worse, leaving something behind at a hotel. Keep your clothes separated into packing cubes (large for shirts/tanks, large for pants/shorts, small for socks, small for underwear). Bring extra zip locks and waterproof reusable bags to separate different items (receipts, books, travel notes, sleeping items, wet water shoes, towel, etc). You have no idea how helpful it will be. 

  6. As you use your clean clothes, turn one of your packing cubes into a dirty clothes bag to keep it separate. 


Finally, remember this list is just a jumping off point. It contains items that I usually bring on trips. Your list may look completely different. I urge you to follow a minimalist approach while packing. It's freeing to live off only the essentials. Remember to leave room for souvenirs! Good luck and enjoy your trip!






Get yourself luggage that you love. For the past two years I’ve had a passionate love affair with my backpack, the Deuter 65 L. Some features that I love about it; it has a zip-up pouch for your straps so they don’t get ruined by the airline, a detachable daypack so you have the option to avoid packing an extra one, and two separate compartments that can be used to separate anything- dirty things/clean things, shoes/clothes, wet things/dry things. The best part is that it's a side loader. I've had a top loader for 8 years and didn’t know how much it would change my travel experience. It is just so much more convenient to be able to grab what you want and not have to unpack the entire pack. Try some packs on at your local REI or Moosejaw and find what you like. It’s important to get something that fits your body as wells as your travel needs. I couldn't recommend this pack more to travelers who love convenience, comfort and style.