6 Essential Outfit Must-Haves To Bring To The Tropics

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Preparing for a tropical getaway? Here are 6 outfit must haves you must pack for your trip.

You have booked your hotel, secured your plane tickets, and planned your itinerary. Now all that is left is to pick out clothing pieces and accessories to pack for your tropical vacation. This task may sound fun and effortless until you realize that there’s a limit to the number of cute outfits you can fit into your suitcase. If you are having a hard time determining what to pack and what to leave out, or are merely looking for ideas on what to pack for your beach getaway, read on. This piece will discuss must-bring clothing items and accessories to make you feel and look good as you enjoy the sun, sea, and sand.

What Clothes to Pack for a Tropical Getaway

One of the best things about preparing for a tropical getaway is that it is easy to pack light. After all, warm-weather clothing pieces are not bulky, and there are tons of versatile options that you can mix and match to create varied outfits. To help you get started, here are six must-pack clothing items to help you look fresh and comfy while lounging at the beach during the day or partying at night.

1. Versatile Bottoms

Versatile bottoms, like shorts and pants, are staples for beach getaways. You can pair them with cotton shirts or stylish tops made of light and airy fabrics. Use these to create cute and comfy outfits for all sorts of activities, such as biking, hiking, and exploring hidden gems. Don’t know which styles to pack? Walking shorts, skirts, and pedal shorts are great options because they look classy and blend well with various tops.

As for pants, denim leggings are probably all you need since they are comfortable, stylish, and look good with just about anything. For instance, you can pair them with a white linen button-down shirt or underneath a short dress for shopping or visiting popular tourist spots. Compared to regular jeans, the leggings’ light fabric will be more comfortable to wear in a tropical climate and will take up less space in your luggage.

2. A Flowy Maxi Dress

A flowy maxi dress is perhaps the perfect clothing piece you can bring on a tropical vacation. Besides being flattering and comfortable to wear, this type of dress is ultra-versatile. You can pair it with strappy sandals and a wide-brimmed hat if you want to relax by the pool or enjoy a tasty brunch in one of the cafes near the beach. When night falls, you do not have to change your clothes at all. Just put your hair up, wear light makeup, change into a pair of sexy wedge sandals, and you are ready for a romantic candlelight dinner underneath the stars.

3. Body-Flattering Swimwear

A tropical vacation is about spending a lot of time on the beach, where you can relax, unwind, enjoy the breathtaking scenery, and take a refreshing swim. As such, you should pack at least one or two bathing suits in your suitcase. Perhaps you can bring one neutral-colored bikini bottom and two printed bikini tops for variety. Be sure to opt for designs, colors, patterns, and cuts that flatter your figure to boost your confidence.

You can also choose a one-piece swimsuit, especially if you plan on engaging in water activities like snorkeling, boating, or scuba diving. Aside from providing better body coverage, wearing a one-piece suit will make you feel more secure as it will stay in place even if you are active or encounter a strong wave. You can even wear your one-piece suit around town, if you like, by pairing it with a skirt or shorts. Complete the look with comfy sandals, sunglasses, and a hat, and you have an extra laidback outfit for casual strolls.

4. A Chic Linen Button-Down Shirt Dress

A linen button-down shirt dress is another staple in your tropical vacation wardrobe. You can wear it over your favorite swimwear before and after swimming to protect your shoulders and arms from the sun’s harmful rays. It can also help keep you warm if the weather suddenly becomes chilly after sunset. But it is worth pointing out that button-down shirt dresses are not mere cover-ups. With the right styling and accessories, this modest garment can be transformed into a sophisticated and chic outfit for bar hopping or fancy dinners. Dress it up with a belt and stylish heels, and you are all set to paint the town red.

5. Comfy Cotton T-Shirts

Of course, your beach getaway wardrobe will not be complete without a couple of cotton t-shirts. Cotton shirts are perfect for traveling to warm destinations because they are soft, comfortable, breathable, and lightweight. You can also use them to provide some extra coverage, such as wearing a top under your strappy maxi dress to create a cute ensemble. You can also wear your swimsuit under an oversized t-shirt and shorts so that you are always ready to jump in the water whenever you feel like it.

6. A Gorgeous Sarong

A high-quality and beautiful sarong is a must-have item for all types of travel as it serves multiple functions—especially for beach vacations. For one, you can wrap it around your body after a quick swim to stay warm before getting back into the water later on. You can also tie it around your waist and use it as a skirt. Do you want to draw attention to your beautiful shoulders? Transform the sarong into a halter dress by wrapping the rectangular fabric around your back, crossing the upper ends over your chest, and then tying them together behind your neck. Learn more ways to tie a sarong by checking tutorials online and practice them beforehand to expand your beach outfit options.

Aside from transforming a sarong into various outfits, you can use this versatile item as a headscarf when the sun is blazing hot. You can also lay it on the sand as an alternative to carrying a separate beach blanket. A sarong can also make plane rides more comfortable since you can roll it up and use it as a neck pillow or fold it in half and use it as a blanket.

Basic Accessories to Complement Your Outfits

Aside from the staple clothing pieces discussed above, remember to pack essential accessories to elevate your nautical fashion game. Here are some of them:


If you are not sure which types of shoes to bring, you can never go wrong with a pair of neutral-colored flat sandals, sneakers, and comfy heels. You can pair your flat sandals with your beachwear, maxi dresses, and other casual outfits as you get much-needed “vitamin sea” or engage in relaxing activities. When the sun sets, you can change into stylish heels, do your hair, and wear makeup to make your look appropriate for fancy dinners and parties. As for the sneakers, you can wear them to the airport and for activities that require hours of walking to support and keep your feet pain-free.


A pair of high-quality sunglasses with lenses that offer protection from UV rays is essential for your beach vacation. Aside from protecting your eyes, the right sunglasses can turn any ordinary outfit into something more fabulous. Opt for oversized sunglasses as they look more fashionable and provide maximum protection. Moreover, you may want to find a frame that is different from your facial shape to better complement your appearance. For instance, if your face is round, you will look good wearing sunglasses with square or rectangular frames.

A Wide-Brimmed Hat

Although a beach vacation can relieve stress and make you feel more relaxed, spending hours exposed to the sun can harm your skin. So, aside from using sunscreen and cover-ups, you should also wear a wide-brimmed hat for additional protection. When choosing a beach hat, make sure you opt for a neutral-colored one that fits your head comfortably, matches your clothes, and makes you feel fabulous.

Hopefully, this piece will help you prepare and pack staple pieces suitable for your beach getaway. You can follow the suggestions above to the letter, or adjust them according to your needs and preferences. Just make sure to focus on clothing items you can easily mix and match to expand your outfit options and prioritize pieces made with light and breathable materials to keep you fresh and comfortable despite the warm weather.

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Anjali Wadhwa (cheerfultrails) is a travel consultant and enthusiast who has traveled to 15+ countries. She shares about her explorations through her writings. You will find detailed itineraries, best travel tips and well experienced recommendations for food, transportation and hotels on her blog.

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