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What to pack for a tropical getaway.

A recent 5-day trip to Rarotonga, Cook Islands, in the South Pacific had me reviewing what I needed to pack for a tropical getaway. 

With the weather looking decidedly nicer than early winter in New Zealand, I spent time looking at the different climate and what I would be doing there. Travelling light should surely be easier when able to leave the bad weather gear at home.

Minimalist packing - simple but all occasions covered (Not shown: swimsuit, rash vest and exercise leggings.)

What to pack depends on where you are going.

Your destination is a really important thing to think about before you start packing.

Knowing the climate, cultural expectations of covering up, and the normal standard of dress of the places you'll be seeing, is crucial in not feeling under or over-dressed.

Rarotonga is a relaxed island. Even though it has 5-star resorts you can still dress smart-casual. Some modesty is expected in public areas - so leave the bathers for the pool or beach - not around town. 

Packing for the activities you plan to do.

What activities do you plan to do?

With snorkelling, sunbathing, paddleboarding, kayaking, hiking, walking, cycling, fishing all being very accessible activities in the Cook Islands - packing for these activities was essential. The main point being to cover up from UV rays.

Rarotonga is surrounded by a lagoon with plenty of coral and fish life. Many sunscreens are harmful to corals, so I opted to cover up with a rash-vest and exercise leggings. 

Having the right gear for activities is really important - but often the same outfit can be worn no matter what activity you are doing. You don't need to pack different items for different things.

My exercise leggings we the perfect cover-up when snorkelling. They were perfect for my tai chi on the beach each morning. And they we great for walks along the beach later in the day.

A light, silk dress can take you from poolside to fine dining.

The golden rules for packing light...

The golden rules for packing light...

  • Make sure clothing mixes and matches.
  • Make sure things can be layered for different looks and extra warmth.
  • Make sure items are versatile and can be worn in multiple combinations.

Add in a scarf or two, some jewellery, and a change of shoes and clothing can have quite a different look.

A walk along the beach at sunset then a casual dinner.

What shoes to pack when travelling light.

Again, following the rules above and thinking about where you are going - select your shoes carefully.

I packed...

  • A pair of Ecco leather sneakers - great for walking and stylish with a dress or shorts.
  • A pair of rose-gold Haviana flip-flops - great for beach to pool to restaurant.
  • A pair of aqua shoes - to protect me against coral cuts. 

THAT'S IT!

These shoes covered every occasion. I had thought about taking some sparkly sandals, but they really weren't necessary. I felt perfectly comfortable and didn't feel at all out of place in my chosen outfits.

Handwashing is the secret to travelling light.

Being able to do a few items of handwashing really is the secret to travelling light.

I washed my tee shirts and underwear once (the tee shirts were merino so could be worn multiple days between washing). I rinsed my leggings after snorkelling and they were ready for use a few hours later. 

And THAT WAS IT!!!

Travelling light makes travel so easy.

Once again I got to experience first-hand how travelling light makes travel so easy. 

  • Less decisions to make
  • Less stuff to carry
  • Less packing and unpacking
  • Less time wasted waiting for bags
  • More time for experiences.

What's not to love about travelling light?



 

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