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Caribbean Vacation Packing Guide

What To Pack!

Updated May 2022

Caribbean Vacation Packing Guide
Caribbean Vacation Packing Guide

Welcome to Our Packing Guide

The Caribbean is an enchanting wonderland of relaxation and adventure. With endless miles of beaches, turquoise waters, jungles and more, one can easily have the trip of a lifetime. Packing for such a vacation shouldn’t be hard, so we’ve put together a list to help you pack and included some of our favorites as well. We hope you enjoy!

Contents

Caribbean Vacation Packing Guide
Caribbean Vacation Packing Guide

Electronics

Cameras, power adapters and e-readers oh my! A little bit of tech can make your vacation simpler and more enjoyable.

Caribbean Vacation Packing Guide

Multi Charger

Multi chargers reduce weight in your bag and free up limited hotel outlets. Be sure to get one with multiple ports for your various devices. One of our favorites is this multi-charger from industry leader Anker. It has all the ports you’ll need for your phones, tablets, and e-readers in one portable package. Ah, sweet, sweet simplicity.

Caribbean Vacation Packing Guide

Power Bank

Whether you’re going to be on a long daytrip to Chichen Itza or a long day at the beach, having extra power for your phone and USB devices is a must these days. This slim powerbank easily fits in your pocket, but there are a wide variety of portable chargers for you to choose from.

Caribbean Vacation Packing Guide

Waterproof Headphones

Tired of the same pool bar music playing over and over? Why not bring your own soundtrack with you. Bluetooth headphones have gone waterproof so don’t fret about getting tossed in the pool or getting caught out in a warm tropical rain. The Jabra Elite 7 Pro is the top rated model out there these days, but there are waterproof earbuds available at all price ranges.

Caribbean Vacation Packing Guide

Waterproof Pool/Beach Speaker

Going to the pool or going to the beach, why not bring your music along! Bluetooth speakers are great to listen to music in your hotel room and on your balcony. Waterproof versions offer the perfect versatility in the islands! Our favorite is the Wonderboom 2 which is best in class for portability to audio quality ratio. You can get a travel case for it as well.

Caribbean Vacation Packing Guide

Tablet or E-Reader

Tablets or E-readers are great for hanging by the pool and relaxing or taking your favorite book or tv show to the beach! We love Samsung tablets and Apple Ipads for weight and power. If you’re a reader, the waterproof kindle paperwhite is an excellent way to entertain yourself as you work on that tan. The battery in it lasts for weeks and the backlight is adjustable for sunshine.

Caribbean Vacation Packing Guide

Waterproof Camera

There are tons of great options for cameras that can join you on your island adventures. While the GoPro Hero is the best action camera for video and has gazillions of available accessories to play with, many people find that it’s not ideal for taking still photos outside the water. The Olympus Tough cameras are hugely popular and take great pics in and out of the water, offering excellent versatility. Don’t feel like getting a camera? How about a waterproof housing for your smartphone.

Caribbean Vacation Packing Guide

Accessories Organizer

Power cords, earbuds, headphone splitters, SD cards and all the rest. These electronic accessory organizer pouches are a travel godsend.

Caribbean Vacation Packing Guide

Bluetooth Trackers

Things get lost or stolen on vacations. Such is the nature of the world. Why not protect the important stuff with Bluetooth trackers! Put one in your luggage, your purse, your beach bag or whatever. If it gets stolen or accidentally left behind, you can track your item with an app on your phone! Iphone users would want to get AirTags, while Samsung users can get Smarttags. Tile is a universal brand as well.

Caribbean Vacation Packing Guide
Caribbean Vacation Packing Guide

Sun Protection

The sun in the Caribbean can be hot, hot, hot! It’s important to protect your skin while also protecting the ecology of the reefs. We recommend UV shirts when possible and reef-safe sunblocks the rest of the time.

Caribbean Vacation Packing Guide

Reef Safe Sunblock

These days we have all realized how important it is to protect the ocean’s ecosystems and the natural waters of the earth. Using an eco-friendly, reef-safe sun lotion is a great way to do just that. This mineral sunscreen is the safest and most popular but there are many other choices available.

Caribbean Vacation Packing Guide

Sunscreen Lip Balm

You might not think about it, but lips can get sunburnt fast in the tropics and make your life miserable. Using tropical flavored, sun protecting lip balm will make your vacation a lot more enjoyable… and delicious. This selection from Sun Bum is hugely popular.

Caribbean Vacation Packing Guide

Beach Hats

Protecting your head and face with a beach hat is both necessary and can be stylish. Men’s beach hats range from fisherman caps to fedoras to straw hats and everything in between. Women’s beach hats come in a variety of colors, brim widths and styles.

Caribbean Vacation Packing Guide

Womens UV Swimsuit

A great way to protect your skin, especially while snorkeling, kayaking or paddleboarding, is to get a UV-blocking swimsuit. They come in both short and long sleeve versions and as one piece, two piece or stand-alone swim shirts. This is a trendy and popular model and comes in a wide assortment of patterns and lengths so you can find one that fits your style.

Caribbean Vacation Packing Guide

Mens Swimshirt

A great way to protect your skin, especially while snorkeling, kayaking or paddleboarding, is to get a UV-blocking swim shirt. They come in both short and long sleeve versions, though long sleeves offer more protection. Some even come with hoods that can be handy on scorching days. This UV swim shirt has a comfortable relaxed fit that is great for humid weather. There are many UV swim shirt designs and colors to choose from.

Caribbean Vacation Packing Guide

Sunglasses

Sunglasses are imperative when in tropical locales. Protecting your eyes from UV light is necessary and sunglasses can make great style statements as well.

Caribbean Vacation Packing Guide

Lightweight Beach Canopy

Planning on spending a lot of time at the beach away from sun umbrellas and palapas? Lightweight beach canopies are perfect for families and groups alike. They set up easily in 10-15 minutes (check out this setup video) and can weigh just 2-4 lbs depending on size. We like the wide variety of tropical patterns available for this 4 lb model from Neso that easily fits in your beach bag, but many brands are available.

Caribbean Vacation Packing Guide
Caribbean Vacation Packing Guide

Beachy Things

Spending a day at the beach is why you go to the Caribbean! Looking to make your beach day the best possible? Here are some of our favorites to take along.

Caribbean Vacation Packing Guide

Sandproof Beach Blanket

Lightweight sandproof bach blankets are all the rage these days. Compact and under a pound, they’re easy to throw in a beach bag and take wherever you go. Most include 4 small stakes and have sewn-in corner pouches (to fill with sand) that keep the blanket in place, even in wind. Unlike putting towels directly on the beach, these blankets don’t absorb water and sand just rolls off. This is a very popular larger model, but there are numerous sizes and styles to choose from.

Caribbean Vacation Packing Guide

Beach Bag

Heading to the beach for the day, or setting out on a boat trip to nearby islands? Keeping your stuff together in a beach bag is the way to go. Choose from stylish cloth bags, lightweight travel beach bags, tropical rattan beach bags or bring an ultralight packable backpack if that’s your style. Whatever you decide, beach bags will make your vacation so much more convenient.

Caribbean Vacation Packing Guide

Snorkel Set

If you’re heading somewhere with reefs or tropical fish, bringing your own snorkel set can be very convenient. Renting equipment can cost $10-$20 a day and isn’t always well maintained or hygienically cleaned. If you just want to keep it simple, this mask and snorkel set is hard to beat. Want to spend more time in the water? This great set comes in 6 colors and includes a semi-dry snorkel, vented fins and an adjustable mask. Some people prefer full face masks, but they can be a bit more cumbersome.

Caribbean Vacation Packing Guide

Lightweight Quickdry Beach Towels

Don’t feel like lugging your hotel towels to the beach and then drying off later with sandy and musty towels? Bringing compact microfiber beach towels is just what the vacation ordered. While not as fluffy as normal towels, these quickdry towels are super convenient to toss in a bag and take to the beach, on a boat tour, to a waterfall or on a snorkeling adventure. We love the Eccosphy towels that come in dozens of colors and patterns.

Caribbean Vacation Packing Guide

Swimsuit Wet Bag

Wet swimsuits are an annoyance in more ways than one. Mini “wet bags” are perfect to tuck your wet swimsuit into and toss in your luggage or beach bag. Its the beach vacation item you never realized you needed.

Caribbean Vacation Packing Guide

Water Bottle Safe

Heading to the pool and don’t know where to put your credit card and room key? Why not hide it in the base of your water bottle! Bindle bottles have a hidden compartment in their base with ample space for cards, keys and even earbuds. What’ll they think of next?!

Caribbean Vacation Packing Guide
Caribbean Vacation Packing Guide

Women's Clothing & Accessories

Leave your parkas and snow boots at home, we’re going to the Caribbean! Lightweight dresses, tank tops, flip flops and more. Dressing for the tropics isn’t just important, it’s fun!

Caribbean Vacation Packing Guide

Beach Dresses

When it comes to vacation dresses all you want is to be comfortable, cool and stylish. A dress that packs well and never looks wrinkled is also a bonus. Easy to dress up for a night out or simply throw on for a day at the beach we recommend this casual dress with more than 10 colors to choose from. But there are plenty of beachy dresses to explore in all styles, sizes and lengths. For some designer looks, you could also check out Kenny Flowers tropical designs.

Caribbean Vacation Packing Guide

Swimsuit

Yes, we know a swimsuit choice is a very personal one, as it should be. With all the new styles, fits and colors to choose from these days, it can be a daunting task to find something stylish and flattering. We love this slimming one-piece, this string bikini and this swimsuit for fuller body types. So go ahead and stroll along the beach or step out to the pool area with confidence in one of these beauties, or choose a style that fits you best! As with dresses, for some designer looks you can check out Kenny Flowers tropical designs.

Caribbean Vacation Packing Guide

Swimsuit Coverup

Going on a tropical vacation requires more than just a towel, you absolutely need a swimsuit cover-up so you can stroll to the resort pool or beach in style and comfort. You can choose a solid coverup like this favorite of ours, or a more airy style such as this one that comes in many amazing colors and patterns. With dozens of options available, coverups are perfect for all body types and oh so comfortable.

Caribbean Vacation Packing Guide

Tropical Tank Tops

A great tank top makes any woman feel sexy and carefree, which is exactly what everyone wants on vacation. With breathable fabric and a relaxed fit, this is one of our favorites, not only for vacations but for all those warm weather days at home too. But there are thousands of great tank tops to choose from!

Caribbean Vacation Packing Guide

Casual Beach Pants

A lightweight, airy pair of pants is essential for your holiday as even those tropical nights can cool down sometimes. Linen and thin cotton are comfortable and stylish. We adore these lovely pants and think they are great for a casual dinner or seaside drinks in the evening. There are many casual fit beach pants in great styles and plenty of colors to choose from. You can’t go wrong.

Caribbean Vacation Packing Guide

Shorts

Some great pairs of shorts are a dream come true on a tropical vacation. The perfect pairs will be wrinkle resistant, easy to wash, come in a wide assortment of colors and of course, be comfortable. We recommend this loungy pair for style and comfort; they also make your legs look amazing. Beach shorts can come in linen, denim, khaki, print or other styles.

Caribbean Vacation Packing Guide
Caribbean Vacation Packing Guide

Men's Clothing & Accessories

Lightweight clothing is the name of the game in the tropics. Linen and tanktops, shorts and swimsuits. Dressing for the tropics isn’t just important, it’s fun!

Caribbean Vacation Packing Guide

Button Down Beach Shirts

Button down beach shirts are a godsend in the tropics as they’re breathable and easy to take on and off when sweaty or wet from swimming. Tropical print shirts are great for hanging at the beach or hitting the tiki bar. Linen shirts are an upscale choice for cocktails and seaside dining. For some designer looks, check out Kenny Flowers tropical designs and Kahala Hawaiian shirts.

Caribbean Vacation Packing Guide

Swimsuits

Swimsuits are priority one when headed to the beach. Whether you like longer board shorts or trendy shorter styles, bringing several swimsuits along will give you outfit versatility. We suggest bringing a pair in a solid color (or simple design) and at least one fun patterned pair. As with the button down shirts, you can check out Kenny Flowers for some higher end tropical designs too.

Caribbean Vacation Packing Guide

Casual Beach Pants

Linen and loose fitting light cotton pants are great for cooler evenings or upscale dining. These top rated linen pants come in both beige and white and every size imaginable. When looking for beach vacation pants, there are a wide selection of colors and styles available.

Footwear

Leave your snow boots behind, it’s time for the tropics! Lightweight and comfortable footwear is key to a relaxing vacation. Being prepared for a variety of situations means having a few different options available.

Sandals

Let’s be honest, you plan on spending a good majority of your time in sandals or flip flops. Having good ones is critical. Rainbow makes the best leather sandals period. They may feel a little snug for the first couple of days, but they will soon form to your feet and become an irreplaceable part of you. We also suggest bringing a lightweight colorful pair of flip flops for fashion statements.

Caribbean Vacation Packing Guide

Slip On Shoes

Casual beach shoes that slip on are great at the resort, at dinner or out on the town. In our opinion, the king of comfortable stylish vacation shoe makers is Hey Dude. Whether you want their slip on “lace ups” or their Wally loafers, all Hey Dudes are available in dozens of colors to fit your style. We love the lighter colors for that “island life” look.

Water Shoes

Stepping on a sharp rock at a craggy beach or in a cenote can ruin your vacation. We highly recommend a pair of water shoes to protect your feet in certain places. These lightweight quick dry water shoes will keep your feet healthy and are available in 40 colors! There are loads of colors and styles of water shoes to choose from.

Hikers

Plan on hitting the trails or heading to a waterfall? Many tropical locals have jungles and hills perfect for taking a walk in nature. Having a pair of shoes for going off the beaten path can make your day that much more fun. We adore Merrell Moabs for men and women as they’re lightweight and crazy comfortable. Hikers are must for adventure.

Luggage & Daypacks

Choosing your travel bags is a very personal thing, we get that. However, we definitely recommend having more than one option. A small roller or trolly style bag is perfect for a quick getaway. Something a bit more flexible for longer travel adventures becomes very useful very quickly. Of course, we always recommend having a day pack also so you have something convenient to throw your water bottle, snacks and quick-dry towel in for all those on location adventures.

Large Suitcase

A solid suitcase will get you from A to Beach easily. Wheels are a must these days and the more the better. 4 wheel rollers will change your travel life. This lightweight suitcase from Samsonite features a strong expandable exterior and well built zippers and spinner wheels. This ridiculously cool bag from Delsey comes in three amazing colors and sizes, and has all the bells and whistles. Leather accents, garment hanger, integrated locks, and more.

Carry On Bag

Bringing a carry on is perfect for those things you cant to keep handy or breakables you don’t trust in your checked bag. This top-rated carry on bag comes in 12 colors and is perfect for protecting souvenirs and tablets. Carry ons can be soft or hard, but make sure they have wheels for those long airport walks.

Daypack

Plan on heading on some adventures? Having a daypack handy for hitting the trail is helpful in so many ways. Bags with integrated hydration packs are excellent in hot tropical heat. Available in 18 colors, this is an excellent hydration backpack that actually has enough room to put stuff in. Perfect for those city explorations, beach days, and hiking day trips.

Packing Cubes

We never go on a vacation without our packing cubes. They are compact, lightweight and keep everything neatly organized. Easily move clothes and accessories from your suitcase to hotel drawers while keeping everything neat and tidy. We highly recommend getting a set with multiple sizes.

More

CARIBBEAN

Islands, Beaches, Cuisine and More

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