You must have a warm, Caribbean vacation coming up on the horizon if you’re reading this. So, let’s start with congrats!
There is nothing better than a week spent on the beach under the sun listening to the sounds of the waves and feeling the plush sand in your fingers. Now we just need to help you with your Caribbean packing list.
As exciting as your upcoming trip is, the packing can leave many travelers feeling stressed and overwhelmed. What should I pack? How do I fit it all into one suitcase?
Am I forgetting something? These are all very common and valid questions you’ll constantly be asking yourself before your trip.
However, you already have a leg up and should pat yourself on the back because the fact that you’re reading this article means you’re preparing ahead of time to pack and not just throwing everything into a suitcase at the last second.
The more you prepare for your trip by creating a packing list for the Caribbean, the less chance you’ll leave something important behind.
No one wants to spend their first day in paradise at the store trying to decipher labels to purchase their forgotten moisturizer.
Trust us, these things happen, but the more you prepare, the better off you’ll be.
Here you’ll find a packing list with links to certain items that you may find useful.
Whether the packing process is daunting or a fun part of your vacation journey, we’re here to help all packers find relief knowing they’ve thought of every possible item they might want to bring.
Before we begin, let’s start with the basics. What to put everything in.
Best Luggage for the Caribbean
Before heading off for the Caribbean. You are going to want to ensure you have 2 – 3 solid pieces of luggage. You are going to want to invest in a good carry-on suitcase or carry-on backpack and if you are going for a longer time and need to bring more with you a good checked bag.
- 🧳 Carry-on Luggage – I love this Timbuk suitcase, it is the largest carry-on you can find and is so convenient.
- 🎒 Day Backpack – You are going to want a good backpack to take with you for when you are out exploring the Caribbean. They are also great to take on the plane for all your plane essentials.
- 🧳 Checked Luggage – I love this Dakine split roller and take it on all my trips where I need the extra space
- 🧊 Packing Cubes – These save so much room in your suitcase and keep everything organized
Flight Essentials for the Caribbean
Thankfully if you are flying to the Caribbean for the US or Canada you are looking at a relatively short flight, which is a great thing. Tropical paradise awaits you and it’s not that far away.
There are still a few things that you are going to want to throw in your carry-on to make your flight more enjoyable.
- Portable Charger
- Noise Canceling Headphones
- International Credit Card
- Cell Phone with International Plan
- Hand Sanitizer – Even before covid I always traveled with hand sanitizer
- Reusable Filtered Water Bottle – Save yourself some money and bring your own water bottle to refill
- Lightweight Sarong – These work great as blankets when the plane gets too cold
Caribbean Packing list
By the end of this, you should be prepared for your vacation more than ever. You have all the resources and information you need for packing your essentials.
Essentials to Pack for the Caribbean
Let’s start with the most important items that you absolutely cannot leave the house without. As long as you have these items, the rest don’t matter quite as much.
- Cell phone
- Wallet with cards/cash
- Travel Insurance
- Prescriptions, Medications, Glasses, Contacts
For your long flights or to relax by the ocean or pool, you may want to bring some entertainment with you. This could include books, magazines, e-readers, downloaded podcasts, movies, and songs. Don’t forget your headphones so you can enjoy these things.
1. Important Documents
Don’t forget to bring these essential items to the Caribbean including your passport and ID, cash, credit cards, and medication.
There may also be other important documents for your trip that you’ll need to bring. It’s always a good idea to bring a printed copy of reservations, addresses, and other information in case your phone dies or becomes lost or stolen.
Another important thing to do ahead of time is to print copies of your passport, ID, and credit/debit cards and have a copy with you in a separate place from the originals.
As well as having a digital copy and a paper copy at home. If any of these items are lost or stolen, you’ll be able to get through the rest of the trip with your copies.
Toiletries for the Caribbean
Broken out by hair care, skin care, and body care, you’ll find below a list of all the possible toiletries you may use that you’ll want to bring.
2. Travel Size Toiletries Bottles
These are great to bring just what you need for your trip to the Caribbean and leave the big bottles behind. Plus, it helps with not needing to check luggage.
- Shampoo, Conditioner, Dry Shampoo, Hair ties/clips
- Reef Safe Leave-in Conditioner – You will need this if you are spending time in the Ocean.
- Lip Balm
- Face wipes/ Make-up Remove and Face serums
- Reef Safe Sunscreen – You will need lots of sunscreen
- Toothpaste, Toothbrush and Floss
- Medication, prescriptions, Vitamins
- Mini first aid kit in case anything happens
- LEAVE YOUR BLOWDRY BEHIND
Traveling can do some uneasy things to our stomachs, that is why it is always best to be prepared. I like taking an Imodium before I even land in a new country, just to get it in my body in working. Last thing I want is to be sick on holiday.
Beach Items For The Caribbean
Here is a list of useful items and accessories that might be helpful for your Caribbean trip. Each item is linked, so you can easily find it online if you want to learn more about it.
Of course, there are millions of options, but we wanted to provide some great recommendations for you if you’re looking to purchase any of these items.
4. Beach Bag
You’ll want a beach bag for a vacation in the Caribbean. This will be the perfect bag for carrying your belongings to the pool or beach each day.
This beach bag is perfect because it’s mesh, so it won’t collect sand and track it into your hotel room or Airbnb.
It has two little pockets to hide your important items, and it does not have a mesh base, giving it a little more structure. Best of all, its easy to throw in your suitcase without taking up space.
One of the most important items to bring to the Caribbean is your swimsuit. If you’re going to be on a tropical Caribbean vacation for a week, you may want to bring several swimsuits with you.
Here is a one-piece swimsuit with a cutout.
6. Beach Cover Up
To get you to and from the pool and beach, a coverup is usually much more comfortable than jean shorts and a t-shirt.
Coverups are super lightweight and breathable and also look cute. They’ll make you look stylish and put together when in reality, you can just throw the item on. There are tons of coverups to choose from, depending on your style.
7. Reef Safe Sunscreen
After your passport, sunscreen is probably the most important item. The sun in the Caribbean is hot and will burn you if you don’t protect yourself.
Burning your skin is unsafe and may ruin the rest of your trip if you have a ton of discomfort. This isn’t worth the extra tan, especially when your skin may peel.
When you choose sunscreen, ensure it’s reef-safe sunscreen to protect your ocean friends.
8. Good Sun Hat
Again, it is important to protect your skin from the harmful sun. Be sure not to forget to pack a good sun hat that will protect your face.
The sun is bright and unforgiving in the Caribbean. You’ll constantly be under the heat of the sun, and while this will feel warm and give you a great tan, it is also dangerous. Besides sunscreen, protecting your head, face, and eyes is important. Consider bringing sunglasses, sun hats, and baseball hats as added levels of protection against the sun.
Here are more ideas for easy-to-pack sun hats.
9. Waterproof Bag
If you plan to be at the water a ton or you’re going on a boat and worry about your things getting wet, a waterproof bag is a great protection tool.
The last thing you want to happen is to fall while getting in the boat and lose all your important belongings. and this This bag will protect your phone, camera, wallet, and other special items from getting ruined by water.
10. Underwater Camera
There is nothing like snorkeling in the Caribbean and seeing all the colorful and unique sea life. Consider bringing an underwater camera to snap photos of all your underwater memories.
They’re inexpensive and will allow you to look back on all the memories for years. Trust me once you start snorkeling you are going to want to capture the moment.
11. Filtered Water Bottle
You are going to want to stay hydrated at the beach and when you are out exploring.
If you are staying at a resort, this might not be necessary, but if you’re going to be doing your own traveling throughout the Caribbean, this is a great item to have.
Be sure to get one with a built-in filter to protect against germs. Some places don’t have safe drinking water, so be sure to research ahead of time and buy plastic water bottles instead if you’re worried, but a reusable water bottle with a filter is a great budget-friendly option.
12. Good Travel Towel
If you’re staying at a hotel or resort, a towel will be provided, but I still like to travel with one for when I am out hiking to waterfalls or exploring remote beaches so I don’t want to carry a bulky towel.
Travel towels are quick drying, easy to carry and when I am not using mine on vacation I use it as a hair towel at home.
13. Portable Speaker
If you plan on spending a good amount of time on the beach, you might want to consider this portable speaker to bring with you. Great for throwing in your beach bag and also for your hotel or Airbnb.
14. Good Beach Book
The best part about a Caribbean vacation for me, is sitting by the beach and catching up on a good read. I love this book and it’s so suiting for a relaxed vacation.
15. Bug Spray Wipes
If you hate carrying around bug spray as much as you hate mosquitoes, these are a great alternative. They are so easy and convenient to throw in your beach bag or day bag.
The Caribbean is a tropical climate, and with tropical climates come mosquitoes. However, these are great alternatives to dealing with messy bug spray.
Shoes to Consider for the Caribbean
Shoes take up a lot of room in our suitcase. So it is always smart to bring just what we need and leave all the others behind.
Below are the shoes you are going to want to bring on your Caribbean vacation as well as the shoes you are going to want to leave behind.
Bring a good pair of sneakers you can hike in. I always wear mine on the plane to save room in my suitcase.
If you plan to go in the ocean or trek around waterfalls, you may want water shoes to protect your feet from rocks and other formations.
These days, water shoes can be pretty cute and look like normal sneakers. You can walk around in them all morning and then wear them right into the ocean, making them the perfect shoe for swimming, snorkeling, and walking around.
This is also a great way to save space in your luggage if the shoes serve multiple purposes.
A great everyday shoe in the Caribbean is a pair of waterproof sandals you can wear all the time. You can wear them every day to walk around, swim, and even go to dinner. This pair of waterproof sandals are super lightweight and very comfortable. Your feet will be supported, and these shoes won’t take up much space or weight in your luggage.
- Dressy Sandal
You are probably going to have a fancy dinner at least one time while on holiday. Be sure to pack a good pair of flat dressy sandals.
Shoes NOT to Bring on your Caribbean Holiday
- 👠 High Heels – Ladies you will most likely not need these unless you are going to a wedding
- 👢 Boots – It is going to be hot, you will not want to wear these in the Caribbean if it is cold when you are flying out to your tropical paradise consider wearing sneakers instead.
Extras to Consider Bringing to the Caribbean
These items are not necessary but will help to make your life a little easier.
16. Lightweight Rain Jacket
Depending on what time of year you’re in the Caribbean, you may or may not want a rain jacket. Mid-afternoon rain showers and storms can frequently occur during the wet season, but they often don’t last long.
A lightweight rain jacket will fit easily and compact into your luggage and even your beach bag, so if you have the room, you should bring one in case. This lightweight rain jacket can easily be folded into a small pouch to bring with you.
17. Travel Pillow
If you’re traveling by plane or other transportation and want to take a nap, a travel pillow will be your best friend.
It’ll support your neck so you can get comfortable. You don’t want to show up to the Caribbean tired and need a nap, so get as much sleep as possible during your travel journey.
You may also want an eye mask to help block any sunlight so you can take a proper nap.
18. Portable Chargers for Electronic Devices
We know you won’t leave without your cell phone and other electronic devices, but what about the chargers? This is much easier to forget but is super necessary if you plan on using your devices.
You also might want to bring a universal adapter depending on what country you are coming from and which country in the Caribbean you are traveling to.
Be sure to pack chargers for your cell phone, computer, e-reader, and other electronic devices. Another great item to bring is a portable charger to charge your devices anywhere on the go. Another item you may need is a universal adapter. Be sure to check your destination ahead of time to see if this is necessary.
19. Liquid IV
I tend to drink a little more than I am used to while on holiday. Something about those piña coladas on the beach that just go down so smoothly.
These are great and easy to travel with and will help you carry on while on holiday. Because the last thing you want is to be hung over while traveling.
20. Aloe Vera
This is a good shout if you plan on spending a lot of time in the sun. Even if you don’t get sunburnt putting some Aloe Vera on at the end of the day feels so nice.
21. Sand Free Beach Mat
If you are traveling to more remote places in the Caribbean where they might not have beach chair setups. You might want to bring a Sand Free Beach Mat.
The best thing is it is easy to throw in your carry-on suitcase as well as your beach bag.
Things Not To Pack For The Caribbean
The best piece of advice is to leave your expensive and priceless jewelry at home so you don’t have to worry about it getting lost or stolen.
Since you’ll be spending most of your time on the beach, in the water, or exploring, you won’t have a ton of need for high-end and invaluable jewelry.
We suggest that you stick to costume jewelry and leave your precious pieces at home. For whatever you decide to bring for jewelry, here is a great jewelry case to hold your items so you can protect them.
- Blow Dryer, Curling Iron, Hair Straightener
Leave the heavy hair styling products at home and go with a natural beachy look while on vacation.
- High Heels and Expensive Clothes
You won’t need these while in the Caribbean, so just leave them at home and enjoy the laidback lifestyle in the islands.
When is the Best Time to Visit the Caribbean
If you are wondering when the best time to visit the Caribbean is, I would say anytime you are able to. However, some months will have higher rain and chances of hurricanes.
But if you know the right islands to visit for the month you have free, you can most likely avoid these situations.
Now that you’re prepared, it’s time to start packing for your Caribbean vacation. Have the best time and come back with a nice tan!
Need more inspiration on where to take these items