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10 Essentials to Bring on Your Caribbean Getaway

caribbean vacation luggage

This blog post was updated on May 9, 2023.

From beaches to rainforests, there’s no shortage of stunning sights to take in on your Caribbean getaway. But if you forget to pack some of the essentials when rushing to catch your flights to Bahamas or wherever you’re flying to in the Caribbean, your perfect-paradise retreat might end up turning into a total misadventure! Here are 10 essentials you should bring with you on your island adventure.

Comfortable Shoes


Whether they’re sandals or hiking boots, make sure you bring comfortable shoes that will help you get to wherever you want to go. Think through possible activities that you’ll do on your trip (strolling on the beach in Martinique, hiking in Jamaica’s Blue Mountains, exploring ruins in San Juan, etc.) and pack your footwear accordingly.

Waterproof Sunscreen


We know, we know “but I want to get a tan!” is what you’re thinking. Yes, there is such a thing as too much sun! And you can actually fall quite ill from it, too. Be sure to pack waterproof sunscreen in your suitcase (or a 3 oz. travel bottle in your carry-on) to protect your skin while you’re laying out by the pool, taking a dip in the crystal-blue ocean, or hiking to waterfalls in St. Lucia.



Like we said, the hot Caribbean sun is no joke, so the key to keeping your eyes happy (and protected) from it is to wear sunglasses with UV protection. Remember to put them on as you’re lounging on the beach or bartering with vendors in the marketplace in downtown Fort-de-France.

RELATED: Staying at an all-inclusive resort? Here are 6 mistakes to avoid when booking your trip.

A Good Hat

beach hat

Another way to avoid sunburn or sun poisoning is by wearing a large-brimmed hat to keep those rays off your face. Hats also go a long way to shade your eyes from the bright Caribbean sun. The wider the brim of the hat, the better! If you’re not a hat person or are too worried about looking like a typical tourist, try a wrap, headscarf or vizor instead!

Aloe Vera


Let’s face it. There’s still always the chance that you get sunburned and if you do, it’s not going to be too comfortable. Pack some sooth some soothing aloe vera gel with you, to ease the stinging, heal the burn and sleep easy in your cabana at night.

Before you pack for your Caribbean getaway, make sure you book the best deal to get you there!


bathing suit

This should go without saying, but we all know that with the last-minute hustle to pack, you can very easily forget a swimsuit for a tropical vacation! You may want to bring two for good measure (and because they tend to dry slower in humid climates). Between the ocean and those St. Thomas resort pools, you’ll be spending plenty of time in the water.

Waterproof Phone Case

Gone are the days of digital cameras – now we rely solely on our smartphones for photos and videos. If you’re traveling to a tropical locale, it’s a good idea to invest in a rough and tumble, waterproof case to protect your phone from damage while you’re at the beach.

Breathable Fabrics

linen clothing

Tropical locations are humid, we all know that. So when it comes to packing for the weather, it’s best to leave your synthetic fabrics at home. Opt for breathable alternatives like cotton and linen pieces to keep you as cool as a cucumber while you’re sightseeing. A strappy cotton dress with a statement necklace or a pair of breezy linen pants with a short sleeved button-down is the perfect attire for Havana nights.

Light Sweater or Jacket

light sweater beach

While days tend to be hot throughout the Caribbean, some spots can really cool down at night. Resorts tend to crank up the air-conditioning to keep clients comfortable, too. So indoors or out, it’s definitely a good idea to pack a light sweater or jacket, which would also come in handy to keep cozy on long plane rides.

Bottle Opener

Before you leave home to catch your flights to Bahamas or wherever you may go, don’t forget to pack a bottle opener. This may seem strange, but keep in mind that a lot of beverages in the Caribbean come in glass bottles with caps that require an opener. Pop one on your keychain (be sure to pack this item in your check luggage) so you’ll be prepared for that beachside brew in hand.

What paradise essentials do you never vacation without? Let us know in the comments below!

About the author

Jen Westmoreland Bouchard

An insatiable foodie, art collector, and international literature aficionado, I have traveled throughout Europe, Asia, the U.S. and Canada. For the past fifteen years, I have written about my adventures for various travel and literary publications. I am the owner of Lucidité Writing ( and Bouchard Design Co. (

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