When it’s -3° outside in your native region and you’re planning a tropical winter getaway to warm up a bit, it can be easy to overlook packing certain items in your luggage or backpack. My family took a winter road trip to Florida when I was a kid, and my parents left me in charge of my own packing. In Michigan in December it was about 18°, but my seven-year-old mind didn’t understand that in Florida it’d be in the mid-sixties. I clambered out of the purple Chevy van in Orlando wearing my Velcro snow boots and heavy winter coat. Have you ever wondered What to Bring on a Tropical Vacation?

Tropical Vacation Packing List:

  1. Sunglasses (the sun might be brighter in the Caribbean than it is in Fargo)
  2. Sunscreen (see above)
  3. A bathing suit (it has happened)
  4. Insect repellent (those mosquitoes may be thriving in Peru in January. After all, it’s summer there in January)
  5. A light raincoat / poncho (sometimes it rains in the summer)

Or, perhaps the opposite is true. Maybe you’re heading North to colder climes to hit the slopes, the snow-blanketed trails, or frozen lakes. While it may seem easy to anticipate the gear and items you may need, it never hurts to have a few reminders or a list to compare.

  1. Gloves and/or mittens and liners, and, of course, a trusty wool hat (you may also want to consider a neck gator)
  2. Hand / feet warmers (they’re much cheaper at the grocery store than at the ski lodge)
  3. An extra set of car keys (you don’t want to be that person combing the slopes alongside the slope groomer)
  4. Heavy wool (or similar synthetic) socks (ski socks if you’re skiing – you’ll appreciate that extra padding)
  5. Sunglasses (remember how bright that snow can be when reflected off the slopes?)
  6. Lip Balm (this one seems self-explanatory. You may also want some moisturizing lotion for your hands)
  7. First aide kit 

Then, of course, there are always the absolute basics:

  1. Camera (don’t forget a memory card or two, and the charger)
  2. Phone (and charger)