I have been dreaming of taking an extended vacation to Bali and Thailand since 2020, and it almost happened.
A few of my besties found epically affordable tickets and decided to book them for an adventure of a lifetime. The trip would be three weeks long, and we had exciting plans to stay in these gorgeous treehouses in the jungle, spending time on the beach, and exploring all that Bali and Thailand had to offer. Our trip included visiting Bangkok, Phuket, Sanur and Ubud. It was seriously going to be a dreamy vacation.
Even though we were unable to make that trip a reality, and for good reason, spending time in Bali and Thailand has still been on my mind. I’ve been dreaming of the beautiful tropical weather, gorgeous beaches, and getting a chance to bathe elephants at a sanctuary. This region of the world is so incredibly beautiful, and a paradise for anyone looking for a vacation that gives you both city and secluded tropical vibes.
Three years later, and I am finally excited to be headed to my bucket list destination in early October. I can’t wait to explore and get so much wear out of my favorite dress for travel. AND if I find myself visiting any temples I am packing this gorgeous scarf to take along for the ride (cover those shoulders, ladies!).
Going Glam In Bali: A Tropical Vacay Packing List
Since Bali in particular is where I will be kicking off my time in Asia, I will be concentrating most of my packing list around the activities we have planned for our week-long trip through Bali. From visiting temples and waterfalls, to taking surf lessons and spending time in the farmland and animal sanctuaries, this trip will definitely require a variety of essential pieces to wear.
No matter where I am traveling in the world, my absolute number one must-have in my suitcase is a sexy statement slip dress. I love a vavavoom dress that is effortless, yet still comfortable, and that looks just as cool with sneakers as it does with a pair of sexy heels. I wore this exact sultry dress on my last international trip to Switzerland, and let me tell you all it definitely turned heads. I am planning on taking her with me to Bali too, because I love that the colors and the design feel like they were meant for a tropical trip.
A basic black or white tee is fine, but the minute you add an asymmetrical element to a top, it instantly just makes you look and feel cooler. Adding asymmetry to an outfit creates interest, which is exactly what I look for when packing pieces in my suitcase. I like to incorporate both timeless basics as well as pieces that are trendy yet still feel chic. (And don’t forget this gorg scarf in case you pop into any temples).
The weather in Bali, just like my emotions, can be quite unpredictable. One minute you are walking in sunshine, and the next you can find yourself caught in a rainstorm (especially during the rainy season). Since Bali’s weather changes quite quickly throughout the day, it’s better to be prepared with a cute AF raincoat that will keep you dry rather than finding yourself soaked. So babes, bring the poncho or the raincoat so you can keep exploring through the lush jungly climate of this region of the world.
A good graphic tee instantly elevates the most basic of outfits. They make sweats look cool, add an edgy element to midi skirts, and IMO are one of the most versatile pieces for any packing list. This graphic tee in particular is from Billie Eilish’s H&M collection and is such a fun homage to graphic novels.
5. Cargo Pants
Do I even need to tell you all that cargo pants are “that girl” right now?! They are by far some of the most popular pants you can wear right now, and for good reason. They are fun and comfortable, and look good dressed up or down. I personally have been loving the affordable yet surprisingly good quality of Old Navy’s cargo and wide pant selections. The pair I love the most are ultra lightweight and breathable cargos, which is perfect for the hot, humid climate you’ll experience in Bali. And who doesn’t love a great pair of pants that are also super easy to pack?! They are an absolute win-win for you babes headed to Bali!
Sunglasses that come in unique shapes are definitely all the rage this season, but I am personally loving circular sunglasses. They give an element of fun without being overly trendy and are an absolute must for a sunny and tropical vacation.
I am a sucker for stunning jewelry and absolutely love finding pieces that I know I will wear forever. And once I build my perfect stack, I tend to not deviate. These Pearl Octopuss. Y hoops with a twist are so freaking cool and are exactly what I want to wear to fancy dinners on vacay.
8. A Sleek Bag
A few things I look for when it comes to the bags I pack for travel are the following: it needs to fit my essentials (phone, keys, wallet, lip gloss, and travel-sized sunscreen), it should look unique, and it should still be a piece that goes with almost every outfit I plan on packing. Which is why I love a good bag that is both sleek and a statement. And PS: while this gorgeous sequin bag might not fit the definition of sleek, it’s such a statement and would look oh-so-sexy with all of the sets and bodycon dresses I love to wear.
Is any tropical vacation complete without some sort of white linen or in my case linen-adjacent, button up?! I think not! I love a good white button-up because it’s the perfect piece to throw on over your bikini top, and quite honestly is the MVP of your vacation packing essentials.
10. A Satin Midi Skirt
Satin is sexy. I love how the material slinks against my skin, and think that a good satin midi skirt is truly one of the sexiest things you can wear. And yet at the same time, it’s unassuming and looks just as stunning for a sensual date night as it does with sneakers for a little city exploration.
11. A Pair of Low Block Heels You Can Wear All Night
As a 5’2″ shorty, I personally gravitate towards shoes that give me a little extra height. I also tend to be a babe that loves to wear a good and comfortable heel. A pair of heels that I can easily dance in all night is key for me, and after years of traveling the world I have learned that the best kind of heel for walking cobblestone streets and generally rough wear, are low block heels.
My personal favorites that go with me everywhere are the Schutz clear low-block heels. They are hands down my most-worn heels ever and have gone with me to Guatemala, Switzerland and every trip to Miami.
12a. / 12b. A Plisse Set
Plisse sets just give me vacay vibes. I love that they can be worn together or separately, and they tend to be ultra lightweight and feel like pjs. A total win-win for my suitcase and for my personal style that consists of elevated basics.
13. A Tropical Scent
I naturally tend to gravitate towards perfume scents that evoke the tropics. I love to smell like I just spent the day at the beach sipping spicy margaritas, enjoying the scenic views of the waves and an epic sunset. If that’s your vibe too, then you will love Brooklyn Ellis’s sunfruit. It’s a flirty tropical sensation and is pure happiness in a bottle. Oh and it’s a clean beauty perfume line too. If you are looking to feel a little less flirty and a little more sultry consider adding tangerine boy to your collection, but be warned it will make your milkshake bring all the boys to the yard.
14a. / 14b. A Swim Set For Surfing & Scuba Diving
I am not sure why I agreed to take surf lessons while in Bali… but ya girl is going to give it the good old college try. I love water and going to the beach, but me and the ocean have had a precarious relationship since I was a young kid and got stuck under a wave tide. I was six years old and fearless, and let’s just say I am not quite as adventurous when it comes to ocean activities, but I guess I am going to have to be when the time comes for our lesson. The one thing I know for sure, is that I will at least look cute in one of these gorgeous swim pieces that are designed for surf and scuba babes.
When it comes to vacationing, the last thing you want is to overpack on shoes. They take up tons of space, and believe me when I tell you that you are much better off packing for comfort. Walking miles and miles in uncomfortable shoes is no bueno and cause for stress. So this a PSA for you all (and for myself) to pack less shoes and to choose the few pairs you pack wisely! I personally love tan and neutral-colored sandals because they go with everything, and there are some hella cute pairs from FitFlops that I’d walk a thousand miles in.
16. Waterproof Hiking Sandals
I’ve already mentioned several times that Bali has a tropical and sunny climate, and that it tends to be hella wet and rainy at least once a day. So on the days when I know that we will be venturing out to waterfalls, and spending more time in densely lush areas I know that waterproof hiking sandals are going to come in clutch. We aren’t doing any majorly intense hiking trails that will warrant closed-toe shoes, which is why I am opting for something that will work for both land and sea.
17. A Sun Visor To Protect Your Skin
There are many things I am concerned about when it comes to aging gracefully, and one of them is protecting my skin. I wear sunscreen every day, and do all that I can to protect my skin. This particular sun visor from bluestone has UV protection built into it and is great because you can wear it as a hat or use it to cover your entire face.
A belt bag sounds so much more cute than a fanny pack, but at the end of the day they are the exact same thing. A belt bag, aka lé fanny pack, is one of the most iconic OG pieces you can pack for any vacation. They are great for storing your more important items a little closer to your body and they also have become essential fashion statements. I personally am opting for one that is waterproof so I can hop in a kayak and not worry about ruining my things if I take a tumble, which believe me when I tell you I certainly have.
19a. / 19b. A Sexy Bikini for Laying Poolside
It’s quite honestly a no-brainer that you will pack several swim pieces for your trip to Bali, and a bikini should absolutely be one of them. I personally am a two-piece over a one-piece kind of babe, and am living for all for fun and beautiful colors available this season.
I hope this Bali packing list has you feeling inspired to book your next trip somewhere tropical! I personally can’t wait to be in Bali, and if you’ve been before drop a comment with a few recommendations for me.
ta ta for now,
XX – Kat
Hi, hi, friends! If you’re looking for even more tea from me, give my podcast, “Big Girls Gone Wild!” a listen! Follow me on Instagram for more of my day-to-day shenanigans (think lots of Colorado hiking, dog stories, food creations and all the tea on celebs). And if you feel so inclined, pop over to my YouTube channel, The Katrina Nichole, where I share plus-size fashion hauls, body positivity convos and all things inclusive movement. Byeeeeee!