You don’t need much, honestly. Wasn’t a main reason for going there in the first place to get away from it all? But alas, there are a few essentials you won’t want to be without.
Clothing for the Pool
Sunscreen is a must for everyone. Some of us tend to burn quicker than others, and most everyone tries to tan too quickly. If you are striving for that bronzed god or goddess look, try using a higher SPF sunscreen at first and work your way down in SPF as the trip progresses. As for clothing: for the guys, a few pairs of swim trunks will do. You do need more than one pair that is, unless you don’t mind pulling on a wet pair every day. Bring multiple suits so at least one is drying while wearing the other. Some ladies treat poolside as if it’s a fashion show runway and would never be caught in the same suit twice. Bring however many as you feel necessary. A shirt for the men and a wrap for the ladies is a good idea for when you want to grab lunch as most resort buffets require at least that much on to dine. Flip-flops work best for footwear pool side and a ball cap or sunhat is a good idea if you’re going to be in the sun a long time
Clothing for the Beach
Once again, sunscreen is a must and a hat is not a bad idea. The multiple swimsuits apply whether you’re poolside or beach side. You don’t need to wear much else on the beach and some folks wear even less. While topless sun-bathing is not officially allowed it is general accepted on the beach but not at the pool; especially the kiddie pool. Water shoes are a good idea as some beaches may be a bit rocky.
Clothing for Excursions
You can pretty much live in shorts most of the time in the Caribbean; it gets unbearably hot and long pants are stifling. If you’re going into the jungle you may want long pants and long-sleeved shirts to ward off the bugs, but the heat may change your mind. Good walking shoes are needed if you’re going into town, the jungle or any other land excursions. Walking in sandals or flip flops gets hard on the feet, and some trips involve a lot of walking.
Clothing for Nightlife
Most resorts are pretty lax with dress codes, but if you are dinning in their sit-down specialty restaurants, men are required to wear long pants with dresses recommended for the ladies. Closed toe shoes are also recommended, so that means socks for the men or at least shoes you can wear without them. Sweaters may be needed by some for
the winter evenings but in spring summer or fall, you won’t need them. Some nightclubs have dress codes, so if the nightlife is calling, bring something a little dressy.
Accessories for Everywhere
Here’s where your bags fill up. If you have your own snorkeling gear, bring it. Yours is probably nicer and this way you aren’t sharing with every other tourist there. Remember, you’re surrounded by sand and probably drinking more than usual, so a couple pairs of cheap sunglasses would be a good idea; you don’t want to get bummed out when you scratch, lose or break your high-dollar shades.
Speaking of drinking, bring a Bubba Keg or other type of insulated mug. These are especially handy if staying at an all-inclusive because they tend to serve drinks in tiny plastic glasses. Not only will your mug hold more but it will keep that Pina-colada frozen for way longer.
Those little blow-up pool mattresses pack easily and are very nice to have at the pool. They only cost a couple bucks and you can leave them with the maid for her kids when you leave.
A watertight container which can hang around your neck such as a Poolmaster Accessory Case is quite handy at the pool, the beach or when you are snorkeling for carrying your cash, room key and credit cards. If security is important to you and it should be, check out Pacsafe products for anti-theft bags, backpacks, money belts and other good ideas to keep your stuff safe.
As mentioned before, bring lots of sunscreen; it gets very expensive in the gift shops. You may also want to bring Band-Aids, Neosporin and any other first-aid supplies to fight common scrapes and cuts as these are also very expensive down there. Bug spray is a must whether you’re jungle-hopping or Beach reclining. Don’t forget your meds either.
Last but not least, don’t forget the chargers for all your electronics; or better yet, leave the electronics home and just chill out.
Michael is a full-time musician and freelance writer residing in Morrison, Colorado. He enjoys downhill skiing, traveling and attempting to play golf. He excels in the sport of extreme napping so if you must call, make it afternoon.