How to pack for your island vacation

How to pack for your island vacation

You have been locked up in our new covid world for way too long.  At last you are vaccinated and ready to book your vacation to Cancun, Hawaii, or somewhere equally as warm and exotic.

But what will you pack?  What will you wear?  How will you stay looking stylish on your vacation, even when that tropical heat makes you feel like a sweaty, frizzy mess.

The secret to not missing out on any fun on your vacation is packing the right things.

After 10 years living, sailing and working in the Caribbean, I have some tips to make packing easy.


Take heed of the old rule for packing ...

Pack everything you think you need onto the bed,
then put half of it back into your cupboard.

You will seriously wear the same things over and over again.

WHAT TO PACK for your island vacation.

  • Passport
  • 2 Swimsuits
  • At least 2 cotton sarongs (they have a million uses)
  • 3 lightweight dresses (preferably cotton or linen)
  • 3 lightweight tunic tops (again cotton or linen are best)
  • Two pairs of capri pants to wear to dinner (cotton or linen) colors that work back with your tunics & tops
  • Two pairs of shorts
  • Two t-shirts or fine cotton tops
  • One pair of plain flip flops
  • One pair of sparkly sandals
  • One pair of shoes to hike in or water shoes
  • Sunscreen, bug spray & lip balm
  • Toiletries
  • Credit card or debit card to access your money back home
  • Light cardigan for the evenings & airplane
  • Wind breaker (if planning a boat trip)
  • Hat - preferably with adjustable strap, so it can't blow off your head on a boat trip.
  • Scrunchies & Headbands to keep your hair from blowing in your face
  • Sunglasses
  • Day bag or beach bag
  • Phone & chargers (take lots of photos)
  • Audiobooks or Kindle
  • Pack some essentials in your carry-on just incase of late arriving luggage

Make sure to pack some longer sleeve items for sun protection too.  You don't want to get fried on your first day.

Try to stick to linen and cotton fabrics too.  Believe me, the difference between wearing these fabrics compared to wearing synthetics that do not breath (such as rayon, nylon and polyester) will be simply life changing.  I know, because I learnt the hard way.  I sweated it out in rayon dresses for the first 3 years before I thought to wear cotton.... and crazily enough I am a trained designer who should have known better haha.

Things NOT TO PACK for your island vacation

  • Towels - your hotel or cruiseship supply them in your room and around the beach or pool.... when you go out hiking to that waterfall, use your sarong as a towel.
  • Jeans (its too hot)
  • Synthetic fabrics - like rayon, polyester or nylon.... too hot.
  • Heavy moisturiser (humidity)
  • High heels (islands are very casual)
  • Hair dryer (hotel / cruise lines supply)
  • Expensive jewelry (security)
  • Take minimal make-up only.... the heat makes it melt of your face.
  • Heavy books
  • Wads of cash (security)


Other tips....

  • Take out travel insurance
  • Take photocopies of all documents
  • Leave a set of copies at home with family member also
  • Take emergency phone numbers
  • Ziplock bags come in handy
  • Seasickness tabets if planning a boat trip
  • Aftersun aloe vera get (sunburn ouch)
  • Leave-in conditioner is handy for the frizz


Click here to download our free packing checklist.... and have a great time!  Be sure to send us photos 

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.