Tropical Island Checklist
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Tropical Island Checklist

You and your family heading somewhere hot and sunny? Besides your flip-flops and swim fins, consider stashing these items that packing expert Anne McAlpin recommends for any family about to soar to the shore.

For Kids

For the beach:

__ Inflatable beach balls, tubes, and water wings

__ Disposable swim diapers

__ Waterproof sunscreen/insect repellent combo

__ Waterproof face/lip sunblock

__ Hat or cap

__ Refillable water bottle: Look for wide-mouthed ones to accommodate ice.

Not wild about packing tons of sand toys? Hit up your hotel restaurant for castle-creating tools. Disposable cups, bowls, and silverware are great for sculpting sand.

For the plane:

__ Favorite books and backpack-sized toys: Leave the talking ones at home!

__ Search-a-word or crossword puzzle books

__ Mad Libs

__ Vinyl stickers (such as Colorforms) for airplane windows

__ Non-sticky snacks: Consider tossing together a pretzel, dried fruit, and Cheerio snack mix before your trip, and storing it in single-serving bags.

Remember to pack headphones for any handheld games or portable CD or DVD players your children might bring.

For Parents

__ Mesh laundry bag: Keeps beach necessities in and lets sand sift out.

__ First-aid kit: Include tweezers, hydrocortisone cream, and rubbing alcohol, in case of jellyfish stings.

__ Waterproof/underwater disposable camera

__ Packable straw hat: Look for ones you can literally roll up pack in your bag.

__ Soft-sided cooler: It's easy to pack and perfect for keeping bottles, boxed drinks, and snacks cold.

__ Biodegradable travel soap: Use to rinse salt water from expensive swim suits -- also works as body wash and shampoo.

__ Pareo or sarong: Use as a bathing suit cover-up, towel, or shawl in air-conditioned restaurants.

World traveler Anne McAlpin is the author of the popular book and video series, Pack It Up. Visit her Web site for more travel tips.