Ia ora na, everyone!
I closed out the year of 2018 with a bang: a familiarization tour of the French Polynesian islands of Tahiti, Moorea and Bora Bora! I learned so much, had many great meetings with hotel staff to make personal connections, tried out some tours, explored as much as I could and also had a few cocktails and beach time.
If I am guessing right, a trip to French Polynesia may be on your list for the year 2019 (or beyond), so here are some tips for what to pack for paradise:
1/Bathing suits, bikinis, beach cover ups, bikini skorts, reef shoes and flip flops
This trip will be the perfect opportunity to pack light for perhaps the first time in your traveling life :) The above-mentioned items are really what you will be wearing most of the time when enjoying the tropical paradise of Tahiti and its islands. I really loved wearing a bikini skort and a tankini as these two items protect my skin a bit more from the sun. The sun is relentless in the islands and covering up a bit more than usual is not a bad idea. Reef shoes are a second important item if you want to go snorkeling or just want to go for a stroll in the shallow lagoons. These shoes are also available for sale "on location", but if you have them already in your suitcase you have more time for exploring, rather than shopping. Flip flops or open sandals are really the only other foot wear you will need (unless you plan on going hiking in Moorea of course, in which case you will need real hiking shoes).
2/Mentioning the sun, pack a serious supply of sun tan lotion + after sun lotion! Bring your sunblock from home, and PLEASE PLEASE select a reef-safe brand.
The chemicals that are most harmful to coral reefs are oxybenzone and octinoxate. If you use a sun tan lotion that is more natural, you will be helping to protect the amazing destination that you will be visiting. Also, sun tan lotion and after-sun lotions are very expensive in the islands and the selection may be limited.
Your eyes will be seeing some wonderful views, don't forget to pack your best and biggest shades!
3/You will be experiencing a tropical paradise with beautiful lush nature and flowers, juxtaposed to clear turquoise waters. In order for this environment to exist, you need the following ingredients: humidity, warm temperatures and rain. This means that you will see rain, sometimes coming down as a real downpour, and also mosquitoes. Bring a travel-size umbrella, a "rain jacket" for your cell phone and some mosquito repellant. I prefer using the OFF towelettes as you can conveniently through them into any bag. As much as I would prefer something natural to keep mosquitoes away, I am someone who really gets eaten up alive and these towelettes are really keeping unwanted tropical friends away.
4/Bring a water proof beach bag that is nice enough to also take when you go out to eat lunch or dinner. Your bag will not only accompany you to the white sandy beaches, but you will also be on a boat a lot. Having a water proof bag will protect your beach cover up and your novel from getting wet. I used a little organizer to put inside of my beach bag, so I could easily find my phone, lip balm, suntan lotion, and wallet.
5/Water, water, water....everywhere! And some eye-catching beautiful azure-colored water at that! However, you also need to stay hydrated on the inside. Take a refillable water bottle so you can have water handy at all times. I brought my favorite re-usable squeasy bottles to paradise. Drink, drink drink!
Extra tip: you can bring your water on board Air Tahiti flights as they do not have a security procedure as we know it in the United States. No need to dump out a bottle of nice Eau Royale that you snagged from your room before checkout! Just bring it with you.
6/Leave your make up bag at home and just bring some mascara and lip gloss. It's humid in Tahiti, people go there to completely and fully relax. There is no reason to layer your face with make up. Just put a nice hibiscus flower in your hair, put on some mascara and some lip gloss, and... you are good to go!
7/Another item to leave behind: your flat iron for your wavy hair. Gosh, my hair is crazy in humidity...but trying to flat iron it was such a waste of valuable relaxation time and guess what? Your non-wavy hair will last for about the full 5 seconds (pretty sure I timed it)! Just bring some leave-in conditioner and put your hair up. Focus on enjoying the beautiful nature of your destination, rather than on prettying yourselfup. It's not about your hair, it's about your experience in paradise.
8/Bring some snacks from home so you don't have to go buy something during the day at your resort. Nothing is cheap in Tahiti, or any other island, so save some money by bringing snacks from the US. Protein bars and pretzels are a great example.
9/Sun dresses, shorts, cotton T-shirts, short-sleeved shirts and ONE sarong, are the typical clothing requirements for a tropical vacation, but please also don't forget a sun hat or cap. Anything that can cover up that crazy hair mentioned previously and to protect you from the sun. Why did I say 1 sarong? Because Tahiti has sarongs with beautiful designs and colors and they are a good gift to bring back home. I wanted to buy so many of them as they are perfect to put in a suitcase and they are so multi-functional. I did manage to control myself and bought one mini sarong and two full sized ones :)
10/Last, but not least: pack your CAMERA or iPhone! The beauty of these islands is so overwhelming and the views are constantly changing, so you better have your camera ready for some awe-inspiring photos. Bring some equipment that can take underwater photos if you are planning on doing a lot of water activities, like swimming with the black-tip sharks and stingrays. Some good examples are: a GoPro Hero 7 or an Olympus waterproof camera. Some resorts also offer photography sessions, which is perhaps not a bad idea if you are not very good at taking beautiful photos yourself. That being said: it is pretty difficult to take a bad photo in Tahiti! A note about drones: a small drone, like the DJI Spark, could bring back some spectacular images. Keep in mind that you cannot use a drone in all locations, so please always follow the rules.
I hope these 10 Tahiti packing tips will give you some better insight in what to take (and what to leave at home) when packing for your dream destination.
Contact me at email@example.com if you need a Tahiti destination specialist to book your own personal trip to paradise. I will handle your vacation booking with professionalism. Without a travel advisor, you are on your own. With a travel advisor, you have a personal advocate who will turn your vacation into the trip of a lifetime.
Photos are my own. If you wish to use or share them, please ask me first. Mauruuru!!