Sunglasses, swimsuit, sandals. That’s all you need right? Well, don’t forget any of those items, but you’re not finished yet. To get the most out of your Caribbean vacation you don’t want to be without any essentials.
First and foremost all your documents should be in order, secure, and accessible. You’ll need your passport, driver’s license, airline tickets, and/or boarding pass. If you take prescription medication, bring a copy of your prescriptions as well.
THE CARRY-ON BAG
Pack your necessary toiletries, camera, a change of clothing, some cash, and your bathing suit. If your baggage is lost at least you can survive until it meets you at your destination. If you have your swimsuit you can even wait by the pool (instead of cursing in your room). Don’t forget a book or your iPod for the flight and any layovers.
Toiletries consist of the usual items; toothbrush, shaving necessities, and feminine hygiene products. Don’t bring soap or shampoo, which are usually provided by the hotel. (Same goes for towels and hairdryers.)
Choose durable luggage with wheels. This will save your back on long walks at the airport or the hike to your room at the resort. Put shoes in the shoe valet, outside pocket, or cloth bag inside the suitcase. Don’t bring golf clubs, tennis rackets, large beach umbrellas, or other items you can rent.
Roll your clothes to prevent wrinkles and make the best use of your space. Make a list of the days you will be on vacation and the activities you are planning. If you are going on a cruise note what you will do at each port. Don’t bring too many extras for “just in case.” Basics necessities are socks, underwear, lightweight khakis or linen pants, shorts, t-shirts or tanks, a light sweater or jacket.
You will likely want more than one bathing suit. Ladies should bring one nice evening dress. If you are going on a cruise, check to see what the dining dress code is. A sundress that doubles as a cover-up is a versatile addition to your wardrobe and makes it easy to go from the beach to lunch. Gentlemen will find that a few nice polos or golf shirts will be fine for day or night. Bring one nice suit jacket. In addition to flip flops you will want walking shoes and evening shoes.
It’s better to under pack a larger suitcase so you have room for souvenirs. And if you’re like me you have packed your bag well in advance with time and care. When you leave the Caribbean you’ll shove everything in rather quickly and wonder why you can’t zip your bag.
If you have room it would be nice to bring a beach bag, umbrella, and sun hat. Bug spray and a hooded jacket may be handy as well. Many Caribbean destinations provide snorkel gear, but if you have your own, bring it along.
WHAT TO WEAR
To save space wear bulky items on the plane. Wear your jacket and your clunky-est shoes. Don’t wear items that are metallic. Dress comfortably, especially if you plan to sleep on the plane.
A FEW DON’Ts
Don’t pack any camouflage clothing. Many Caribbean countries prohibit camo on civilians. White tennis shoes are a giveaway that you are a tourist. Don’t bring expensive jewelry or watches along. If you must, keep it locked up when you aren’t wearing it. Bring plenty of digital media/film for your camera or you will pay too much for it on vacation. Don’t bring too much cash. You will likely have access to ATMs. Do carry small bills for tipping personnel. Don’t forget to check with your airline for luggage regulations.
Remember comfort and practicality. You are on vacation after all. Don’t worry too much about your clothes. You’ll probably spend most of your time in your bathing suit, anyway. If you forgot to pack something essential you can likely purchase it in the gift shop.