What’s in the Bag: Island Hopping Essentials

written by local expert Anna Faustino

Anna is a co-founder of Adventure in You and has been traveling the world for the last 9 years. She has spent time living in Thailand, Mexico, Indonesia, and Spain and is our local expert in these areas. Her expertise on travel, gear, and building businesses have been featured on Foundr, Business Insider, Yahoo Travel, and more.

Island hopping has to be one of the best activities that you can do when traveling around a tropical destination. As soon as I step on a boat, I instantly relax. Wind blowing on my face, water splashing about, and the warm rays of the sun gently basking on me. Whether you’re island hopping around the turquoise blue waters of Thailand or sailing across uninhabited islands in the Philippines, here is a quick list of island hopping essentials to bring with you to make sure your island hopping experience is as fun and enjoyable as it can be.


At the risk of sounding like my mother, do yourself a favor and pack the sunblock. Even if you’re used to basking in the sun all day, sometimes, the rays in a specific place are stronger causing you to burn. Lather on a thin layer before you brown yourself up. Alternatively, if you really want to get a tan, make sure you use tanning oil which contains some SPF. Your 50 year old self will give you self high fives for remembering to do this.

Read: Top 10 Most Stunning Islands in Asiasunblock island hopping

A Towel/ Sarong

As much as the whole flick and air dry thing works for your dog, bringing a sarong or a towel isn’t too much of a hassle. So unless you want to get cold and stay wet half the time, don’t forget the towel. Nowadays there are so many light and compact towels  which weigh almost nothing and are so easy to bring.

A Bottle of Rum

There is something about being on a boat while drinking some rum cokes. The pirates did it for years (minus the coke part), so there must be some sound logic behind it. Although this isn’t exactly “an essential”, it is if you want to properly chill and enjoy like a boss. Beers and spirits are welcome as well. Just remember to know your limits and not get too sloshed. rum for island hopping

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A Plastic Bag

This was a small trick which I’ve learned over the many years I’ve spent traveling from one island to the next (someone has to do it, right?). Always carry a small plastic bag with you which you can use later on. Whether it’s to store your wet clothes, flipflops, or trash collected during your trip, a plastic bag will always come in handy.

Reef Shoes/ Snorkel Equipment/ Rashvest

If you’re an avid snorkeler, you can bring your own equipment with you, otherwise, sometimes you end up getting stuck with crappy masks and snorkels. This happened to me once when we were in Indonesia. I haphazardly chose a mask and jumped straight into the water only to realize that it was too big for me which ended up leaking. While I could have easily changed it, the Manta Rays which we were chasing had already passed us by. On another note, if you burn easily, bringing a rashvest or a t-shirt will help you out when snorkeling for long hours.

Read: Snorkeling and Diving Spots in Asia that Will Blow You Awayisland hopping bag

A Med Kit

Unless you’re traveling with a tour, it won’t hurt to bring basic med kit stuff. A few band aids, headache medicine,and some hydrogen peroxide (in case you get reef cuts or sea urchin stings due to having too much rum. #truestory). While this is coming from the fact that I am very accident prone, having this stuffed somewhere in your bag would come in handy.


If you are spending the whole day under the sun, bringing enough water with you is essential. Heck, it’s probably one of THE most important items to pack. Dehydration sucks so make sure to keep drinking (rum doesn’t count) throughout the day.island hopping water


Trust me on this, any island hopping experience is better with snacks. Whether it’s a bag of crisps, some fruits if you’re being healthy or just a few nibbles, it will help keep you from going hungry while being out on the sun for the whole day.


Bringing a small set of speakers will instantly pick up the mood! Whether you want to DJ the experience of sailing from one island to the next or you just want to put on a Spotify playlist, every experience is much much more enjoyable when you have good music blasting.music for island hopping

Your Sense of Adventure

Now I’m not saying you have to be ready to jump a 20 meter cliff every time you go island hopping however, I would like to say that even if you forget to bring all of the above, the most important thing is your sense of adventure. Your willingness to try new things, to go out of your comfort zone and enjoy.

While a lot of these things are very basic, going the extra mile to make sure you’ve packed all these items will make for a fun day out in the sun.  So, what are you waiting for? Get packing, reading for your next adventure under the sun.

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An incredible list of the bare essentials for all you island hoppers out there!

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