What to pack for a trip to French Polynesia

If you want a tropical holiday in the South Pacific, it's not hard to see why the islands of French Polynesia are at the top of everyone's bucket list. With fascinating coral reefs, mesmerising marine life, captivating culture, and luscious jungles full of watermelon fields and coconut groves, you're guaranteed to have the holiday of your dreams. 

But you don't want to arrive at your destination and realise you've forgotten to pack the essentials. We've compiled a list of everything you'll need to make your trip a stress-free one. 


Weather appropriate clothing 

French Polynesia has a tropical climate and is warm all year. Bring light layers such as shorts, t-shirts, and dresses. Linen is a good fabric for hot climates.

Don't worry about packing formal, dressy outfits, as most resorts and fine-dining restaurants accept casual attire. However, it's a good idea to pack coverups such as sarongs or loose-fitting trousers to put on after you get out of the pool or when moving around your resort/accommodation. 

Comfortable walking shoes 

It turns out that relaxing in the sun and splashing around in the water isn't the only thing you can do in French Polynesia. To explore further inland (think: jungles, fruit plantations and pearl farms), pack a pair of comfortable walking shoes. But when we say comfortable, we mean comfortable. No one wants to battle blisters alongside the burn in your thighs and 25°C+ heat.  


While proper runners are needed for hikes and adventures inland, you should also pack a pair of sandals for moving from poolside areas, the beach or around your resort. You can wear thongs in most restaurants as the dress code is usually casual. 


Being sun smart is essential for holidaying in a tropical destination. Make sure it fits comfortably on your head (you don't want it flying away as you're splashing around in a lagoon or speeding through the waves on a jet ski) and is wide-brimmed to keep the sun off your neck. 


This one's self-explanatory considering the islands of French Polynesia are surrounded by sparkling blue water. Pack your favourite swimsuit to swim, snorkel with the region's extraordinary marine life and explore secluded grottos. 

The essentials 


This one's important considering you're jetting off to a tropical destination. Located in the Pacific Ocean, the islands of French Polynesia receive some pretty intense UV rays so you definitely don't want to be caught in the sun without sunscreen on.

We say the higher the SPF rating, the better. Apply a healthy amount of sunscreen before you leave every morning and after going in the ocean.

Insect repellant 

As with any tropical destination, mosquitos and insects are quite common, especially in the warmer months. If you don't fancy the idea of being a bug's breakfast, lunch, and dinner, make sure to pack an insect repellant.

Just like with sunscreen, you should spray a sufficient amount of repellant over the exposed parts of your body in the morning before you leave, after you get out of the water and in the evening when mosquitos are out in force. 


There's almost no point in going to a destination as beautiful as French Polynesia if you're not going to take photos. Taking photos means you can relive your memories (not to mention make everyone back home jealous). We're not saying you need to rush out and buy the newest model by Canon – your phone camera should do.

Reusable drink bottle 

Ensure you're properly hydrated when exploring the jungle of Huahine or lying by the pool by filling up your reusable bottle (yes, the water in French Polynesia is safe to drink). Or go for something a little fancier and get some electrolytes into your system.

Rucksack/day bag

A rucksack is handier than a suitcase if you'll be moving around the islands of French Polynesia. You'll also need a day bag for when you're out and about during the day for the essentials listed above.

The nice-to-haves

Visitor guide

If you're travelling on a group trip, like on our Tahiti, the Society and Tuamoto Islands tour, then you'll already have a leader to share local knowledge. However, if you're travelling solo, it's worth reading up on your destination and bringing a guidebook.

Most guides have super useful information about the destination's language, currency, culture, and way of life so you can ensure you're being culturally respectful.

Mini first aid kit 

From a simple scratch to sunburn, a first aid kit is always handy. For French Polynesia, bring calamine lotion (to soothe itchy mosquito bites), aloe vera (to cool sunburn) and band-aids (for scratches from wayward jungle branches).

Mask and snorkel 

While most resorts rent snorkel sets out, you may want to bring your own. If you don't have one lying around the house (who does?), you can buy a cheap pair from most department stores. 

Portable/collapsible cooler 

What's better than having a picnic on the beach? Answer: bringing a portable cooler to said picnic. While not an essential item, it helps turn on holiday mode. Pick up some fresh juice from a local supermarket, as well as a range of refrigerated cheeses, meats, and other snacks, for an unforgettable meal on the sand.

Want to learn more about French Polynesia? Return to French Polynesia FAQs

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