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What to Bring on Your Caribbean Getaway (and What to Leave at Home)

Packing for your holiday can be slightly annoying, often because you need to do a whole bunch of laundry before you can even start to pack. You want to travel as lightly as possible, but you also don’t want to find yourself freezing because you decided not to bring that heavy coat to Sweden in January. When taking a caribbean holiday you can pack light, just so long as you pack smart. There are some essential items to bring aside from your passport and travel insurance policy (some of which you might not have considered), and there are other things which really should be left at home.

Caribbean Getaway

Don’t bring more than one pair of high heels. Many caribbean cities have streets that while beautiful, have not been maintained to a level that you’re used to. There are also a lot of wonderful cobblestone streets which can be rather difficult to navigate when walking in high heels. You might want to bring a pair in case of a formal night out, but don’t expect to be walking in them each day.

Bring a reasonable amount of sunblock and insect repellant. You will definitely need these things and they can be hard to track down in some caribbean countries where they are often viewed as a luxury item.

Don’t bring clothing with an army camouflage print. These fake army style clothes can be viewed with suspicion by local authorities.

Bring a hairdryer. Again, these are viewed as a luxury item and are hard to find unless you’re staying in a 5-star hotel. Don’t forget to bring a travel adaptor. Don’t bother with a hair straightener. The humidity in the air makes it seriously not worth it.

Don’t bring a lot of jewelry. It’s an island, not the Oscars. In a country like Cuba, street crime is wonderfully rare, but this is not the case in other caribbean destinations. You don’t want to draw unnecessary attention to your wealth, which is almost certain to be greater than the majority of locals. A lot of flashy jewelry just looks out of place. By all means, bring a few select pieces but don’t go overboard. Jewelry is also easy to lose when you travel so it’s just not a smart idea.

Bring something slightly formal to wear. This might be a light dress or a pair of dress pants with a collared shirt. Make sure it’s lightweight and made from organic fibers so that your skin can breath. It can be customary to dress up a little for dinner, and you don’t want to go to a fancy restaurant while still wearing the stuff you wore to the beach.

Don’t bring towels if they’re provided. You will need to check this with your accommodation provider, but only the most basic of places won’t give you a towel. Towels are bulky and take up a lot of space in your suitcase. You also don’t want to end up with a lot of sand in your suitcase after taking a towel to the beach. Sure, you can shake most of it out, but there’s always going to be an annoying amount leftover which will get into your clothes and shoes.

Bring enough day-to-day clothes. It would be ideal to bring enough shirts and pants (or shorts, more likely) to ensure that you don’t need to do any laundry. Laundry is more of an annoyance than anything, and if you’re doing something like a 20 day Cuba group tour you probably can’t bring enough clothes to avoid laundry altogether. But it should certainly be the goal for a shorter vacation. Get one of those vacuum pack bags that allow you to compress garments so they take up less space. Make sure you use one of the travel versions of these bags that allow you to roll the bag up to get rid of the air, since you might not have access to a vacuum cleaner when you travel.

Don’t bring a heavy coat. It will be hot, and you won’t need it. Bring a small lightweight jacket to protect you against rain and the occasional evening chill, and wear it on the plane to free up as much suitcase space as possible.

Bring a bottle opener. Don’t take it in your carry-on bag since it can be considered to be a weapon and will probably be taken off you when you go through security. Pack it in your checked luggage, and this allows you to enjoy a cold beer or a chilled bottle of wine when you’re out and about. This is a great way to save cash. Why pay bar prices for a drink all the time when you can take your drink to the park and relax? Be sure to check local laws with regards to drinking alcohol in public.