Ah, packing. It’s the worst, right? Or is that unpacking? Either way, the good news is… You’re going places! And it’s even better news that you’ll be going to the Islands of Tahiti. If you need some ideas or you’re looking for a new little something special, this post is here for you. Here’s exactly what you need to pack to enjoy your time in paradise, whether you’re staying five days or two weeks—really!
On the Plane
Comfort is key, right? But you don’t want to look like you just rolled out of bed—you just want to feel like it! Here is my tried-and-true “airplane uniform.”
Leggings with Pockets
I mean, do other pants even need to exist? Give me some pocketed leggings, and I can go anywhere. Literally anywhere! Keeping your hands as free as possible is more than helpful when traveling, so having side pockets for your phone, boarding pass, chapstick, cash, or a credit card will keep your essentials accessible without occupying your hands. You’ll need your hands for coffee, putting your luggage in the overhead bin, and holding the hand of your travel buddy!
More here: Multiple Ways to Wear Your Favorite Leggings
Okay, you can totally go with an all black look and be considered “sleek” or “classy.” That’s cool. But when I’m headed to the islands, I like my colors bright! I don’t, however, recommend traveling in a white tee. Travel can be messy business. Or is that just me?
Airplanes are so fickle, you know? Like the Katy Perry song: “You’re hot, then you’re cold!” No matter where I’m starting and ending, no matter the season, I always fly with a light, full-zip jacket. Bonus if it comes with more pockets, like your leggings!
I love scarves. Not only are they light, easy to pack, and convenient for those chilly airplane moments, they’re also a fun way to add a pop of color if you chose that all black look! I love to pick them up in my travels, and I almost always get compliments on them! But my favorite thing about scarves is how easily I can use one to change up an entire look.
More here: 5 Beautiful Ways to Wear a Scarf
I learned long ago that comfort is worth a lot. Unless it’s winter time and I need to have boots with me, I always wear a good pair of walking shoes when I fly. These will also come in handy on the islands!
More here: The Ultimate Guide to Travel and Your Feet—Podiatrist Recommended!
On the Islands
You’re practically there! The fun part of packing is definitely tossing in a few bikinis, right? But might I recommend a couple of other items?
A Romper or Jumpsuit
I love rompers, y’all! And jumpsuits. I hope they’re here to stay a while, because you’ll see me wearing them whether they stay in style or not! Choose one or the other if you’re packing light, or take one of each if light packing is not your thing. Here are some fun options:
Read on: The Pros and Cons of Traveling Carry-on Only
A Dinner Dress
You’re in the Society Islands, but formal wear is not a thing. You will, however, want something a little fun, a little flirty, and a little special to wear to dinner. Or, since you’re in Tahiti, perhaps it’ll be appropriate to have something nice to wear while pearl shopping! Pack at least one dress, maybe two, that will be appropriate for a candle-lit dinner or a beach picnic.
Read next: Everything You Need to Know to Go Pearl Shopping in French Polynesia
A Casual Dress
Easy, breezy dresses are my look, y’all. Here again, comfort is important to me, but so is looking like I know how to dress! For island vacations, I try to find dresses that are flowy, wrinkle-resistant, and when possible, moisture-wicking. Here are some options:
1-2 Pair of Shorts
Or maybe dresses are not your thing. That’s okay, too! A pair of shorts easily goes from the beach to a casual restaurant to shopping local. It’s also a fun, pocketed alternative to a bathing suit cover-up.
It doesn’t matter how long you’re staying, you won’t need more than three tops—and that includes the one you’re wearing on your travel day! Don’t be afraid to wash and rewear. Don’t overpack here—save some room in your luggage to bring back some pearls or Tahitian vanilla! Go for one “nice” top like a linen blouse or statement piece, and pack 1-2 of your favorite tee shirts or casual tops.
This one is totally up to you and your preferences, but my husband and I love to hike when we travel, so we always pack a few sets of activewear for the trails. It’s hot year-round in French Polynesia, so the moisture-wicking fabrics of most active pieces lend themselves well to the climate. French Polynesia has lots of active options to offer, like hiking, horseback rising, biking, and more, so pack for all your activities!
More here: How to Peactice Self Care on Travel
Comfortable Hiking or Walking Shoes
These can be the same pair your wore on the flight, or if you plan to get a little dirty, they can be a sturdier pair. Just remember to clean them off really well before you come back home.
You didn’t think I forgot the summery footwear, did you? I love feeling the sun on my toes, but I don’t love the achy feeling I get after a day of walking around in flip flops. Look for a pair of sandals with arch support and an ankle strap. Cute ones do exist. Take a look at these, which come in 5 colors!
Hat and Sunglasses
You’ll likely be glad you have both! The sunshine is strong here all year long, so it’ll be important to protect both your facial skin and your eyes. Make sure your sunglasses are polarized, too!
More here: The Ultimate List of Hiking Tips
This is my favorite way to change up an outfit that I’m wearing for a second (or third) time! A pair of statement earrings, a chunky necklace, or a bundle of bangles will go far in taking your look from the beach to dinner and back again. Here are some favorites:
I adore a cute pajama set! And call me cheesy, but I love a good theme. Treat yourself to a new pajama set featuring pineapples, palm prints, tropical flowers, or a bright color combo! Here are some ideas:
The right purse has your back. The wrong purse will break it. I may sound like an old lady, but I prefer to think of myself as “experienced” traveler. Please learn from my mistakes! Go for a crossbody bag at a minimum, but if you can find one you like, a backpack-style purse is the best, in my opinion.
Also helpful: The Ultimate List of Useful Solo Travel Gear
On the Water
Whether you’re staying in an overwater bungalow or a cool vacation rental in the lush greenery of the islands, the South Pacific waves will definitely be calling your name! Here’s what you need to answer the call.
A Cover-up (Bonus if it is also casual dress!)
Cover-ups can be so versatile! The right one could be a casual dress, a skirt, a kimono, or a wrap when things get chilly. Choose one you love and wear it with flair.
For my trip, I packed a one-piece and a bikini set. But you can double your options if you bring two bikini sets that mix-and-match! Whatever you choose, pack a couple of suits that make you feel good in them.
Never crossed your mind to bring water shoes? I’m so glad you’re reading this! You should never step on coral or other sea life on purpose, but if you accidentally scrape, or even touch, your foot on something underwater or on the beach, it can infect easily—and it will probably bleed a lot! Water shoes make walking on sand easier, and they’re easy to swim in, too. Don’t skip them.
Related: 5 Things You Forgot to Pack for Hawaii
Snorkel and Goggles
You can certainly rent some when you arrive, but the penny pincher in me will never die, so I suggest bringing your own for flexibility, budget-friendliness, and because… COVID. Although, I’m sure the ones you can rent are sanitized thoroughly after each use…Right?
Reef Safe Sunscreen
Don’t wait to get some when you arrive. It’s very expensive on the islands! Get some before you leave, and bring it with you. If you’re checking a bag, get the largest size and use it liberally—nothing ruins an island vacation quire like that day-1 burn, y’all. Or, if you’re trying to limit your liquids to go carry-on only, do what I do and get the solid version!
More here: A Dermatologist-approved Guide to Sunscreen for Travelers
A Dry Bag
Can you believe I forgot my dry bag?! It’s true! Don’t sweat it if you don’t pack “perfectly,” but trust me on this: You’ll be glad you remembered your dry bag. It keeps both sand and water out while you’re enjoying the beach, and you can actually take it into the water with you, so you’re not stressing about leaving your valuables onshore. Another great use? Hiking, especially if you visit in the rainy season (November-April). Islands are famous for pop-up showers, so it’s nice when you can be sure nothing in your bag is getting drenched along with you!
Want more? You’ll find everything you need to plan your trip on my French Polynesia Page, and all the best packing tips you’ll ever find are on my dedicated Packing Page!
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