Packing Essentials for Tonga
What are the things you can’t forget to pack for Tonga? You already know you need some sunglasses, probably a few pieces of underwear, but what else are absolute essentials? We go through some handy items you need to pack and why you need to pack them in this list of essentials to pack for Tonga!
For a full packing list, see The Complete Packing List for Tonga. Plus, see what weather to pack for in Tonga Weather by Month: What is the Weather Like in Tonga?
1. Reef-Safe Sunscreen
The sun is pretty glorious in Tonga, yet pretty harsh on the skin with UV levels of around 5-12 on the UV index. Whatever time of year you come to Tonga, it’s essential to wear sunscreen. We don’t recommend just any old sunscreen though, as you’ll ideally want something water-resistant, kind to the skin and kind on the fragile marine environment you’ll be encountering in Tonga. The perfect solution is water-resistant reef-safe sunscreen, which we list a whole bunch in 10 Best Natural Sunscreens for Tonga, as well as 5 Best Natural Sunscreens for Kids & Babies.
The amount of water activities available in Tonga is countless! But you probably were already well aware that you need swimwear for Tonga. However, what you might not know is that Tonga is a conservative country, where it’s best to wear shorts/rash vest when swimming on public beaches. You might also want to consider more “stable” swimwear for certain watersports, such as whale swimming, kitesurfing, scuba diving, etc. For more tips on what clothes to pack, see What Clothes to Pack to Travel Tonga.
3. Seasickness Pills
Even the hardiest sailor can get a gippy feeling in their stomach on the small tour boats in Tonga. With Tonga’s 170 islands and some amazing experiences on boats, like fishing or swimming with whales, you’ll be glad to have a few seasickness pills with you. Take a pill about an hour before getting on the boat and one on the boat if/when you start to feel unwell. See more medication to pack in What Medication to Pack in Your First Aid Kit for Tonga.
4. Lifestraw Bottles
Staying properly hydrated in a less-developed tropical country is always a concern. You don’t always have access to facilities to boil water and buying bottled water is not only a strain on your bank account but also on the environment. The answer, we’ve found, are Lifestraw Bottles. They have a sophisticated filtration system that removes 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria and 99.9% of waterborne protozoan, allowing you to drink the tap water in Tonga safely. Check out more about water safety in Tonga in Can You Drink the Water in Tonga?
5. Snorkelling Gear
Snorkelling gear will be provided on whale swimming tours, snorkelling and scuba diving tours. However, for those who have their own, it’s always easier to just pop on a mask and snorkel that fits you well rather than struggling with rental gear. Additionally, some resorts and accommodations on the beach with amazing snorkelling don’t have snorkelling gear available to hire, so we always recommend bringing your own to Tonga!
6. A Lavalava (Sarong)
… Or something to slip on that will cover the knees. As we mentioned, Tonga is a conservative country. When going outside of your resort, it’s best to be respectful and cover your knees. An easy way of doing this is to pack a lavalava (sarong) in your day pack which you can easily slip on. If you don’t have one, don’t worry. There are plenty for sale in gift stores and markets in Tonga. Remember, it’s also illegal to go out in public topless (including for the guys), so have something to cover your top half too!
7. Reusable Straw
With so many tropical drinks to try, between ‘Otai and cocktails, you’re bound to be offered plastic staws quite a few times in Tonga. Proudly say no to the plastic straw by packing your own reusable straw! That way, you’ll be a responsible traveller by not contributing easily avoided plastic to the oceans. See some of our recommended straws, Scurry Reusable Metal Straw and the Dinostraw Silicone Travel Straw.
8. A Valid Passport
We know what you’re thinking, “Of course, I’m not going to forget my passport!” But you might want to double-check that your passport is valid for at least six months after the intended departure date from Tonga, as required to enter Tonga. Plus, if you’re not from one of the 70 countries on the visa-waiver list for Tonga, you might need to apply for an Entry Permit for Tonga to get your Visitor’s Visa at the border. Get all the details in Do You Need a Visa to Visit Tonga?
9. Microfibre Travel Towel
Oh, how we love our microfibre travel towels. Super compact and fast-drying, they are everything you need for your water activities in Tonga or simply laying on the beach. It sure beats bulky and smelly cotton towels that never seem to fully dry! Check out an example of a good travel towel: the 4Monster Microfibre Towel.
10. School Stationery Supplies
Some of the accommodations in Tonga encourage guests to bring stationery to donate to the local schools. Ask your chosen accommodation whether they offer such programs. Or, if you know your guided tour includes a school visit, be sure to bring some school supplies along, such as pencils, pens, crayons, paper, etc, which will be most appreciated by local schools in need.