5 Essential Items to Pack for a Caribbean (aka Tropical) Vacation

It’s time to stretch out in the sun, dive into the crystal blue waters, and relax on your gorgeous Caribbean vacation. Yet before you get there, you’ve got to get your bags ready. Like any other tropical destination, there are a few must-haves you need, like sunscreen and swimsuit. However, you also need a few extras in case you find yourself on an unexpected night on the town or stranded on the beach. Make the most of our list and remember to pack these essentials for a wonderful time!

A Tote Bag or Daypack

daypackUnless you really don’t plan on leaving your resort, chances are you will have to carry something at some point. Having a sturdy daypack or  tote bag with a zipper will allow you to easily carry everything you need and provide some protection to valuables while you walk around. Personally, I don’t like to carry backpacks in crowded places that I’m unfamiliar with – it’s too easy for someone to access it in a crowd without you feeling it. I like tote bags because they can get tucked under your arm and you can protect your belongings without being that guy with a fanny pack. However, a daypack is perfect if you’re going out on a guided hike or touring with a group in a less crowded area. You can easily tuck some bottled water and a snack in there and not have all of the weight bearing down on one shoulder.

Snorkel Mask and Goggles

snorkel-gearThese are definitely worth the investment if you like to travel. A basic set of goggles and a snorkel very inexpensive. Why spend money repeatedly to rent these when you can own your own (and know that no one else has used them)? It’s a lot of fun to be able to hit the beach and do some snorkeling wherever you are. It gives you the flexibility of exploration without booking a guided tour.

If you wear prescription lenses, there are also options for masks with some vision correction. There’s a considerable jump in price for these products. Keep in mind that the refraction in the water will naturally correct your vision a little bit. I need glasses for driving, but didn’t have a problem without them when snorkeling.

Comfortable Shoes

shoesWhen packing for vacation it can be easy to forget to bring shoes that will be appropriate for every single thing you’ll be doing. It will never hurt you to throw a pair of sneakers or lightweight hiking shoes into your suitcase. Even if your intention is to never leave the beach, you never know when an awesome walking tour or hiking opportunity could unexpectedly pop up. The worst case scenario: you don’t wear them.

Waterproof Camera

My boyfriend and I almost went on a Caribbean cruise with our cell phones and a disposable camera. A month before the trip we realized we were out of our minds. We did some research and purchased an affordable*, waterproof camera and it was the best decision we made for that trip. There is nothing better than being able to frolic in the ocean, with your camera, and take amazing photos.

*I’m defining affordable as being between $150 and $200 for this product. After reading a lot of reviews, it was definitely worth spending some extra money to ensure that the camera was actually waterproof to the depths listed AND take quality pictures. The link is to the camera I personally bought and can attest to its performance. Many of these cameras are also able to be knocked around a bit, so we’ve taken ours skiing and hiking with zero problems.

Lightweight Packable Rain Coat

waterproof-jacketJust in case! You never know when you’re going to encounter some rain. It’s a great idea to buy a rain coat that you can compactly fit in the bag you’re carrying can be a lifesaver. You will also look less touristy if you’re wearing a real jacket as opposed to the cheap plastic poncho you’ll end up buying in a pinch. Many raincoats, like this one, will fold up into a small, lightweight square that are perfect for traveling.

There will always be something we manage to forget to pack when you travel, so don’t feel too distraught if you end up needing to purchase something while you’re away. Before going out to the store, especially if it’s something more expensive you need to purchase, check in the with concierge of your hotel or resort who will be able to make recommendations in the area. Remember that no matter what happens, rain or shine, to enjoy your trip!