The 5 Most Important Things You Forgot to Pack for French Polynesia

Updated August 28, 2022.

There’s always something, right? That one thing you forgot is that one thing you need! A couple of years ago, I wrote a post entitled “5 Things You Forgot to Pack for Hawaii,” and it quickly and consistently became one of my most viewed posts ever. And while French Polynesia and Hawaii have some definite similarities, there are a few things you need to remember to bring to French Polynesia in particular. Here are the essentials! 

Your Own Reef Safe Sunscreen

The coral reef systems around each island and in the lagoons (that perfect, turquoise-blue water you see in pictures really exists!) are very delicate, and it’s becoming more and more common knowledge recently that chemical-based sunscreens are bad for reefs and the sea creatures that live in them. If you wait to buy reef safe sunscreen when you arrive, you’ll pay about three to five times more for it than if you simply bring your own! So here’s a link to a couple of brands I like. One is liquid lotion, and the other is solid, just in case you need to save some liquid space in your carry-on!

Dermatologist approved: The Ultimate Traveler’s Guide to Sunscreen

An Adapter

If you haven’t traveled internationally for a while, here’s your reminder to bring an adapter for your electronic charging purposes! French Polynesia uses the two-pronged, European-style outlets (it is French Polynesia, after all), so pack a couple to keep your laptop, phone, camera, earbuds, e-reader, iPad, or other electronics of choice charged.

Water Shoes

This is an absolute must for any beach vacation, but especially one that involves coral. Not only will water shoes make it easier to walk in the sand, it will also protect your feet from hard, potentially sharp pieces of broken coral that wash up on the beach. Cuts from coral readily infect, but this simple, easy fix will make sure that doesn’t happen to you. Of all the products I’ve recommended over the years, this is the one that makes people write to me just to say how much they loved them, and that they never would have thought to pack them otherwise!

More here: What to Know Before You Visit French Polynesia

A Dry Bag

Islands are wet. They just are! And Steve and I just so happened to visit Mo’orea during their wet seasons—so wet, even the locals were impressed by it! And would you believe that I, a professional packer and island girl-at-heart, forgot to pack my dry bag? Whoops! As it turns out, no one’s perfect. But seriously, if ever we needed a dry bag, it was for this trip! 

A dry bag keeps water out, obviously, but it also keeps the sand out while you’re at the beach, and you can even take it out into the water with you if you don’t want to leave your valuables onshore. It floats on its own, and comes with a strap so it doesn’t float away! My favorite brand is Skog A Kust, and you can choose from a variety of sizes, styles, and patterns! I have both the backpack (perfect for hiking) and the cross-body bag, both of which I’ve used for years. You can choose what’s best for you!

Keep reading: The Best Solo Travel Gear Out There

Your Own Snorkel and Mask

It’s true, you could rent one for an hour or so at a time, but my husband and I enjoyed the freedom to go out to see the fishies whenever we wanted! Because we stayed in an overwater bungalow, we were able to get in the water right outside our door. And because of COVID, we didn’t have any nagging curiosity about how well our masks had been cleaned like we would have with a rental. It really didn’t take up too much space in our luggage (even traveling carry-on only), and I’m so glad we had them! 

*Some of the links above are Amazon affiliate links. This means that when you click the links to shop with me, you’re supporting my small business at no additional expense to you!

Want more? Check out my French Polynesia Page!

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