5 Tropical Travel Must-Haves You Didn't Know You Needed

Thursday, June 28, 2012

I recently returned from a mini-break in Nuevo Vallarta -- Puerto Vallarta's luxe, timeshare-filled northern neighbor. It was my first tropical vacation in a good long while, and the weather was definitely different from my usual trip -- hot and very humid, with nightly torrential thunderstorms. It was immediately apparent that normal fashion and beauty routines were not going to fly. The experience got me thinking about the real must haves for fashionable tropical travel.

Nuevo Vallarta - Grand Luxxe Pool - June 2012
My vacationing toes, at the main pool at the Grand Luxxe - Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico

Like you, I've read plenty of magazine articles that offer up suggestions like waterproof mascara, anti-humidity hair gel and 5-inch espadrille wedges for your humid, warm-weather trip. Reality check: if you are anything like me, you will not want to wear mascara or hair gel, or teeter around on 5-inch heels, on vacation. That's just silly. So, here's my list of tropical vacation must haves...the real ones.

Band-Aid Blister Block
Sticky weather means that your rubber flip-flops will grab your skin and rip it right off. No matter how used to flip-flops your feet are, they will fall prey to the unforgiving rubber straps once the humidity level starts inching up. This miracle-working waxy stick will save your feet from that ugly (and painful) fate. It has also come in quite handy in New Orleans and NYC in the summer.

Band-Aid Blister Block Stick

→ Buy the Band-Aid Blister Block Stick, $5.25, at amazon.com.

Avon Skin-So-Soft Bug Guard Plus
I've been in love with this stuff since my mom loaded me up with it before a summer in Florence, Italy. It's the ultimate tropical vacation multi-tasker. In one application you get a much-needed bug repellent, SPF 30 and a light moisturizer. It's PABA and DEET-free, and actually smells kind of nice.

Avon Skin-So-Soft Bug Guard Plus IR3535® SPF 30 Gentle Breeze Lotion

→ Buy the Avon Skin-So-Soft Bug Guard Plus IR3535® SPF 30 Gentle Breeze Lotion, $14.00, at avon.com.

2 Pair of Inexpensive Flip-Flops
Really, that's all you'll need or actually wear. For your basic, utilitarian pair it's hard to beat Havaianas in black. They're really comfortable and take a beating. For slightly dressier occasions, like dinner, I like this pair of beaded flip-flops from Kohl's. They look dressier and a little more special, but are inexpensive enough that you won't be bummed if you ruin them (which is always a possibility).

Havaianas Top Flip-Flop

→ Buy the Havaianas Top Flip-Flop, $18.00, at us.havaianas.com.

Hydrocortisone Cream
Despite your best efforts, the bugs will get you. Come prepared or you will be miserable. This surprisingly useful cream is also good for taking the sting out of a mild sunburn and reducing the inflammation on an unexpected blemish.

Cortizone-10 Maximum Strength Hydrocortisone Cream

→ Buy the Cortizone-10 Maximum Strength Hydrocortisone Cream, $9.99, at walgreens.com.

Remede Translucent UV Coat
You will not want to wear makeup. At all. But you will want to look decent for dinner. I've previously reviewed this miracle-in-a-bottle tinted sunscreen liquid -- check out the review for a more thorough exploration of its better qualities. Basically, this stuff and an eyelash curler is all you need to look complete once the wrinkle-busting, glow-inducing humidity sets in. Plus, it adds a nice layer of extra sun protection.

Remede Translucent UV Coat SPF 30

→ Buy the Remede Translucent UV Coat SPF 30, $40.00, at blissworld.com.

So, what are your tropical travel must-haves? Let us know in the comments!