If you are planning a trip down south, or if you are already counting down the days until you leave, today’s post is for you! I recently had a friend ask me for advice, as she is going down south for the first time, and I instantly thought of a million things to tell her. It dawned on me that others may be looking for similar tips, so that is where I got the idea for today’s post! Keep in mind that when I say ‘down south’ I am vaguely referring to all inclusive resorts in the Caribbean. My family has been traveling for quite some time now, and so I feel like there are certain things I have learned over the years that I want to share with you! I hope you enjoy some of my tips and that you learn something before leaving on your voyage! If you have any other tips to share with first time travelers, please leave them in the comment section! Thanks for stopping by!
Whether you have fair, medium or dark complexion, I don’t care, you must wear (a lot) of sunscreen when traveling in the Caribbean. The sun is nothing like the sun here, it is super strong and powerful, making it incredibly easy for anyone (and everyone) to burn. I consider myself to have a dark complexion, and I usually bring 60 SPF for my chest because it is very sensitive, and 30 SPF for the rest of my body. Aloe Vera is also very important to pack! I would recommend finding a brand that is alcohol free – so much better for your skin!
Don’t forget to put sun screen on your feet!! Often times you won’t think to do it, and if your feet burn you can’t wear shoes at night! I love bringing a spray-on sunscreen just for our feet so that you don’t have to get all messy and rub the sand around. Another place that can be overlooked is your armpits! So make sure to cover weird little places like that, or you will end up with some really interesting burn marks.
It is good to be proactive and prepare for the worst when it comes to getting sick on vacation. I usually go to the drug store the week before I leave on a trip and stock up on ‘just in case’ meds. Two must items is something for diarrhea (sorry, this is gross, but it needs to be said) and some type of allergy medicine (good in case your get a weird bug bite). Cold & Flu medicine is also a good idea. It seems funny to think that you could catch a cold in the Caribbean, but I actually got sick one year and had to buy medicine with a foreign name brand who’s ingredients were printed in Spanish… not fun!
Some people may feel like they need to bring a different bathing suit for every day that you are on vacation. There’s nothing wrong with it, but it definitely isn’t necessary! Especially if your tops and bottoms can be mixed and matched. If you want to re-use any of your bathing suits, just rinse it out at the end of the day in the sink, and then put it out on your deck to dry overnight. Some stores even have bathing suit cleaner that you can mix in the sink before washing! (I’ve used this one before, and it works really well)
I live in cover-ups when I go down south, so I usually just bring 3-4 different colored ones and rotate throughout my vacation. Shorts and a tank are perfectly fine too, I just personally find that a light weight sun dress is so much comfier, and takes up less room in your suitcase! Don’t forget a pair of flip flops that you don’t mind getting a little dirty and/or wet! Stick with a neutral color so that you only have to bring 1 pair of shoes for the beach!
Beach bags are also really important when you are going down south. From past experience, I would recommend buying one that has a zipper to close it shut. I had cute bags in the past, but if they don’t zipper, so much sand gets in them and you basically need to clean them out every night. Also, you’ll feel a little safer leaving your stuff in your bag if it can be zipped up! I also like getting bags with bright colors, making it easier to find your chairs after you go for a walk on the beach! One year we used a bright yellow backpack, and we would laugh because it stuck out like a sore thumb! (see below)
Money wise, you don’t need to bring a lot of money with you, unless you are planning on doing different excursions and activities. But I would suggest bringing lots of American one dollar bills. The are perfect for tipping, and tips go such a long way for the workers. Some of my favorite employees to tip are the maids who clean the resort’s bathrooms, and the grounds keepers! They are never expecting it, so it’s really fun to put a smile on their face!
When it comes to makeup, I would suggest bringing a foundation that is a shade darker then what you would normally wear (including your regular). If you don’t have a darker shade, just go and ask for a sample of your foundation in a couple of shades darker. That way, you don’t have to purchase a whole bottle that doesn’t match your regular skin color.
One last item that I never travel without is a suitcase scale. It is a small hand held scale that you can weigh your luggage with. I always have it in the front section of my suitcase, and it always comes in handy! You can buy them at any luggage store.
I know there are lots of other tips that I could talk about, but I just wanted to cover the basics! Make sure to leave your comments with other packing tips that I didn’t mention!