I recently gotten back from Guadaloupe, a beautiful island in the Caribbean that left me full of life and darker than a Hershey’s bar (but more on that next week). If you’re heading to the Caribbean soon, I’ve no doubt that you’re pretty excited, but chances are you might be a little apprehensive about packing for the occasion too. If that’s the case, let me put your mind at rest by giving you a few tips that should have you packed and ready in well under an hour.
1. Your Documents.
First thing’s first, pack all of your important travel documents, including your passport, plane tickets and driver’s license in the pocketbook you’ll be traveling with, or if you have a carry-on with lots of secure outside pockets, inside there. That way, they’ll be safe and easy to access whenever you need them.
2. Packing Your Carry-On.
Packing your carry-on for a trip to the Caribbean is a little different than packing it for other places, simply because it is kind of common for luggage to get lost or be delayed on the way (don’t worry it’s still pretty unlikely), which means it’s always a good idea to have a spare swimsuit, and because sundresses are a wardrobe essential in the Caribbean, a spare sundress too. That way, even if there is a delay, you can make yourself comfortable and spend some time sipping a cocktail by the pool instead of worrying about how much you need to freshen up. If you’re taking a camera, especially if it’s an expensive one, put it in your carry-on, so that it’s less likely to be stolen. It’s also a good idea to pack a little cash in your carry-on, so that you can buy those cocktails, tips the staff etc.. Don’t rely on being able to access your luggage, because although you probably will, there’s a chance something might go awry for a while.
3. Packing Your Checked Suitcase.
Your checked suitcase should definitely be on wheels because it can be quite a walk from the plane to your preferred mode of transport, and not only that but a lot of the Caribbean resorts aren’t as closely contained as those in the US and elsewhere, which means you might be facing a long walk from reception to your room or villa. Although there should be staff, who can help you. It’s still a good idea to prepare by choosing a wheeled model.
4. You’ll be Needing These Clothing Basics
The basic items that you’ll need to pack for your Caribbean adventure include:
-Double the amount of underwear and socks as days you’ll be there (it can get pretty hot and sticky)
-A couple pairs linen pants or capris
-Lots of shorts
-A handful of T-shirts
-At least a couple of bathing suits
– A Coverup (for when you’ve had too much sun)
-A Sweater or light jacket (for cooler evenings and air-conditioned buildings)
-A formal dress or two (for dinner)
With the Caribbean, the more of each you can pack the better because it does get quite hot and humid and being able to change more often than you usually would is really good. Top help you with this, try carefully rolling your clothing before you put it into your case instead of simply folding.
Before you go ahead and pack your favorite bikinis and swimsuits, it’s worth mentioning that each island has its own ways and customs and in some places, you might be expected to cover up more, which would mean capri pants and vests, and full swimsuits with sarongs, rather than bare-it-all bikinis. On other Caribbean islands, you can find topless and nudist beaches too. Just make sure you check what you need to do before you go.
6. Sun Protection.
If you’re heading to the Caribbean, you should never go without a minimum 30 SPF sunscreen, a couple of pairs of sunglasses in case you lose one) and one or two wide-brimmed sun hats to help keep you out of the shade. Sunburn is never a good look.
7. Bug Spray.
You won’t want to forget about packing some bug spray along with your other toiletries if you want to actually enjoy your vacation instead of spending it itching!
8. An Umbrella.
It doesn’t happen very often, but it does rain in the Caribbean, so having an umbrella, or whatever you prefer to keep you dry from the rain, in your suitcase will certainly be useful.
9. A Backpack.
Having a backpack with you will make it easier to transport your spare bathing suit, sunscreen, etc., to the beach or to carry supplies if you’re going on a hike. Now, you’re all set for your Caribbean adventure. I hope it is everything you imagined and more.
BONUS Tip: Still deciding what island in the Caribbean to visit first? Check out this list of The 25 Best Caribbean Islands from The Crazy Tourist!